Brookfield Zoo

Rare Albino Alligator to Make Summer Home at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo Alligator 5-17
Kelly Tone/Chicago Zoological Society

Visitors to the Brookfield Zoo are going to get an opportunity to see one of the world’s rarest reptiles, as an albino American alligator will be staying at the zoo for the summer.

The alligator, a 16-year-old named Snowflake, will be visiting for the summer from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. The 7-foot-long alligator will live in The Swamp habitat at the zoo, and will live there through September, the zoo said in a press release.

Albino alligators are exceedingly rare, with only around 100 currently living throughout the world.

“With their ivory-white skin and pinkish eyes, albino alligators would not survive very long in their native habitat of swamps, marshes, rivers and lakes in the southeastern US,” the zoo said in a statement. “Alligators bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature. However, an albino’s skin is very sensitive and can quickly burn. The sun also burns their eyes, making it harder for the albino alligators to see food and predators.”

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When albino gators are very young, they are susceptible to predators because their white skin makes it difficult to hide in the swamps that they inhabit, according to the zoo.

The Swamp features a plethora of other animals, including the alligator snapping turtle, the little blue heron, and the North American river otter. The attraction is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closing 30 minutes before the rest of the zoo.

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