A rare white crocodile dubbed as “Pearl” was spotted in the Adelaide River in Australia. The tourists and staff on the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise were excited upon seeing the white croc on Sunday.
The white croc could be the offspring of a famous white-headed crocodile named Michael Jackson that also lived in Adelaide River before he was killed after devouring the fisherman Lanh Van Tran in 2014, according to NT Crocodile Conservation & Protection Society. The conservationist also posted a photo of Pearl on social media and stated that the white croc has particularly touched their hearts, according to News.com.au.
It is estimated that the crocodile is about 3m (10ft) in length. A zoological expert said that the cause of Pearl’s pale appearance or white color could be hypomelanism, which is having a low amount of the pigment melanin.
Adam Britton, a research associate at Charles Darwin University, explained that Pearl’s hypomelanism could have occurred through genetics or during incubation. He further explained that during the incubation, if the eggs in the nest get a little bit too hot, it could lead to errors in cell division and cause mutations. He added that it could include a color mutation or a different pattern of scales on the skin, as noted by BBC News.
Britton continues that these crocodiles are “not uncommon” at a young age, especially in crocodile farms. It is also more unusual to see an adult crocodile with lighter coloration, according to Britton.
Most Australian crocodiles are green or grey and referred to as the saltwater crocodile or marine crocodile that are found in the northern Australia. They usually reside in the lower stretches of rivers, mangrove swamps, lagoons, deltas, and estuaries. They are considered the largest of all living reptiles and the biggest riparian predator in the world. They could also be found in Southeast Asia and the eastern coast of India.
The male crocodiles are estimated to be about 6.30m (20.7 ft) to 7.0m (23.0ft) long. Meanwhile, the females are about 3m (9.8 ft) or less. So, Pearl could probably be a female crocodile. Because of their size, these crocodiles are considered the most dangerous extant crocodilian together with the Nile crocodile.
[Featured Image by Peter Milota, Jr./Thinkstock]