Rare whiteness isn't just for giraffes - we've rounded up a bunch of pale animals closer to home.
By
Signe Dean

29 Jan 2016 - 5:54 PM  UPDATED 15 Feb 2016 - 5:05 PM

This week a rare animal stole hearts across the world - photos of a white giraffe calf Omo travelled social media as she was sighted in her Tanzanian home of Tarangire National Park.

New Hampshire wildlife researchers were pleased to see the stunning white giraffe still prancing about after last year’s sighting in April. Unfortunately Omo’s white hide makes her an attractive target for poachers, not to mention that standing out like this would also leave her more vulnerable to predators.

Omo isn’t albino as you might think - she actually has a genetic quirk called leucism. Albino creatures have disrupted production of melanin, the pigment that is responsible for colouring eyes, skin, hair, and fur. Conversely in leucism some or all types of pigment cells fail to develop, leaving the animal with faint patterns, spotty colouration or other marks. A tell-tale sign of leucism is the fact that Omo produces pigment in her eyes, not to mention her lovely ginger mane.

Albinism, leucism and other types of colouration oddities happen across the board in the animal kingdom. We had a look closer to home to bring you pictures of cute Aussie animals whose snow-white fur makes camouflage a problem.

Albino red-necked wallaby joey

Image by Mark Seton / CC BY NC 2.0

This adorable critter was spotted in Linton Zoo, UK in 2013. The pink eyes indicate it’s probably an albino specimen.

Albino swamp wallaby

AAP Image/NPWS, John Moberget

This rare albino wallaby, blending into the snow-strewn bush of Kosciuszko National Park in NSW, was spotted by field officers in 2009.

Albino kangaroos

It's more common to spot unusually white animals in captivity, because in the wild the lack of protective camouflage unfortunately can mean an early death. But with kangaroos being so abundant, it's no surprise we come across albino ones, too.

Albino Eastern Gray kangaroo joey at Featherdale Wildlife Park, Sydney. Image by Cameron Richardson

A rare wild albino kangaroo at Namadgi National Park, ACT. Image by Rohan Thomson.

Leo the albino echidna

Image by Tracee Lea.

One of the most famous echidnas in Australia, the adorable Leo resides at Symbio Wildlife park, where he was brought after a kind person found him wandering, dehydrated, in a carpark in Berry, NSW. The lack of pigment makes him look almost fluffy.

Albino Blue-wing kookaburras

These pretty baby Blue-wing kookaburras were found in early 2010 in Queensland's far north. They ended up at Eagles Nest Wildlife Hospital sanctuary, and were reported at the time as possibly the first albino representatives of their species.

Albino bats

These tiny Australian fruit bats are extra-vulnerable due to their lack of pigment.

Albino koala

No list of Aussie animals is complete without koalas - and even though this ghost boy was born in San Diego Zoo, he and his kin all hail from Australia. When the zoo keepers spotted the little red-eyed joey emerge from him mum's pouch in 1997, they were rather startled at the surprise.

Migaloo and other white whales

Migaloo, Australia's albino humpback whale, has a cult following.  He was the only known white whale in the world when Migaloo ("white fella") was sighted in 1991 passing Byron Bay. He's thought to have been born in 1986, and there's a website dedicated to collecting sightings of this rare animal - and other white whales.

Do you have a sighting of an albino Aussie critter not on this list? Tweet us at @SBS_Science!