While they may be pretty to look at, animals with albinism or leucism face many problems in the wild. In addition to sticking out like a sore thumb, white animals are sometimes born with crippling deformities and as such, rarely survive into adulthood. However, the strange and majestic coloration of some of these animals make for a once-in-a-lifetime sighting, so consider yourself lucky if you happen to run into any of these critters during your next foray into the outdoors.

1. Blue marlin

Image courtesy Maverick Sportfishing.
Image courtesy Maverick Sportfishing.

More than 20 miles off the coast of Los Suenos, Costa Rica, anglers Bob and Karen Weaver were shocked when they discovered a white blue marlin on the line. The fish, which was caught and released last March, is now being called the “unicorn of the sea.” Read more about this strange fish here.

2. Moose

Two white, or possibly albino, moose watch traffic pass by in Ontario.
Two white, or possibly albino, moose watch traffic pass by in Ontario. Image courtesy RMEF.

White moose are not just rare, in certain places they are considered sacred animals. For example, the Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia consider the animals especially important. At one time moose provided a main source of meat for the Mi’kmaq, who placed great cultural significance on the hunt. A white moose was seen as a spiritual animal and traditionally off-limits to hunters. When a group of visiting hunters took a large albino bull in Nova Scotia in 2013, the hunters brought the hide back to the local Mi’kmaq to take part in a special ceremony. You can read more about the story behind this picture here.

3. Seneca white deer

A herd of about 200 white deer roams the empty US Army depot in Seneca County, New York. The whitetail deer are not albino—their white coloring comes from a set of recessive genes brought on by generations in isolation. The animals originally arrived in Seneca when the herd wandered onto the depot as the Army was constructing a 24-mile fence around its perimeter. Starting in the 1950s, the animals came under the nominal protection of the depot because of their popularity with soldiers stationed there. At first there were only a few white deer, but they quickly multiplied due to inbreeding. You can read more about the Seneca white deer here.

4. Alligator

Image from Sherrif2966 on the Wikimedia Commons.
Image from Sherrif2966 on the Wikimedia Commons.

There are believed to be fewer than 50 albino alligators living in the United States, and several are in zoos or private collections. These white-colored predators are often nicknamed “ghosts of the swamp,” and generally have very low survival rates in the wild.

5. Raccoon


Have you ever seen an albino raccoon? This strange-looking creature was trapped in northeastern Indiana’s District 2 late last year. According to officials with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, it appears to be a true albino.

6. Mule deer

Jeff Foster with his albino mule deer buck. Have you seen one like it?
Jeff Foster with his albino mule deer buck. Have you ever seen one like it? Image courtesy Jeff Foster.

Just how rare are albino mule deer? Not even biologists have a definitive answer, yet some speculate that only one in 500,000 mule deer are born albino. Albinism occurs in mule deer far less frequently than in whitetail, and few ever survive into adulthood. That is why when Jeff Foster harvested a young albino mule deer buck, he suspected that it could be the only one of its kind.

Read more about it here.

7. Black bear

White black bears may sound like an oxymoron, but they do exist. You can even see one wrestling with a normal-colored one in the video above.

8. Turkey

Experts say that roughly one in 100,000 turkeys are albino, so what are the odds of seeing two at the same time?

9. Elk

It seems that being white-colored has little effect on antler growth, as this bull elk can attest to.

10. Coyote

Coyotes can still be a nuisance, no matter what color they are.

Are there other rare albino animals we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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