More than three decades ago, a nest of alligators was discovered in the swamps of Louisiana.
The nest held 18 baby gators, but instead of blending in with the mossy green scenery, these babies were stark white.
The alligators were leucistic, the “rarest genetic variation of the American alligator,” according to wildlife park Gatorland Orlando.
Three of these white alligators made their way to the park, and on Dec. 7, Gatorland announced a birth that is “beyond rare.”
A baby leucistic alligator was hatched for the first time since that nest was discovered in 1987, Gatorland said on Facebook.
Bright white with “brilliant blue eyes,” the baby gator is one of just eight leucistic gators in the world, the park said.
“They differ from albino alligators, which have pink eyes and a complete loss of pigment,” the park said. “Leucism in alligators causes white coloration, but they often have patches or splotches of normal coloration on their skin.”
Leucistic gators can’t spend too much time in the sun and are prone to sunburn, according to the park.
The baby, a female, belongs to gator parents Jeyan and Ashley, and was hatched with a normal colored brother, the park said.
“These are incredibly special animals in the reptile world, and we are being very careful with their safety and security,” the park said.
The new baby will be on display for the public at the beginning of next year, the park said.
In the meantime, the park is asking for name suggestions for the white female and her green brother.
“For now, however, we continue to keep them safe where we can closely monitor their health and growth,” Mark McHugh, president and CEO of Gatorland, said on Facebook.
Gatorland is about 15 miles south of downtown Orlando.