Rare albino alligator on display at the South Carolina Aquarium
Posted 5/10/2010 9:02:00 PM
Charleston is known for its ghost stories, but one place you’re sure to encounter a ghost -- or at least a creature that looks like one -- is the South Carolina Aquarium
In the renovated Blackwater Swamp exhibit, you’ll see a rare albino alligator. And although he might resemble a ghost, but you can’t miss him.
On a recent visit, he was swimming all around the tank, to the delight and squeals of the kids lined up in front to get a close-up view of his translucent scales, light eyes and many, many teeth. Albinism is a genetic condition where animals or humans lack melanin -- coloration pigment in the eyes, skin, fur or feathers. Because melanin protects the skin from the sun‘s ultraviolet radiation, albino animals are extremely sensitive to sunlight. Albino animals also can’t blend in with their surroundings, so there is no camouflage to protect them from predators. In the wild, albino alligators typically have a one-day survival rate.
The aquarium’s albino alligator receives special low-UV lighting placed at an adjusted distance in its exhibit, as well as vitamin D supplements to keep him healthy.
Kids are drawn to these pre-historic looking creatures, maybe because the look so menacing with their long snouts full of teeth.
Did you know alligators can go through 2,000 to 3,000 teeth in a lifetime? And they can stay underwater for almost an hour? You would learn that -- and a lot more -- if you visit the South Carolina Aquarium on the waterfront in Charleston.
Tickets are $17.95 for ages 12-61; $16.95 for 62 and up; $10.95 for ages 2-11; free for children under 2.
For more information, see scaquarium.org