NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Spots, the beloved white alligator at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas died Monday, the aquarium announce on Facebook. He was 28 years old. The exact cause of death is still being investigated.
Spots had a rare genetic condition that reduced the color pigmentation in his skin making him very vulnerable to sunlight and predators. Less than 15 out of 5 million American alligators have the condition, according the Audubon Aquarium.
“We have been fortunate to be able to experience the wonder of such a rare and beautiful animal,” said Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Managing Director Rich Toth. “Because of Spots’ leucistic condition, his chances for survival in the wild were practically impossible. We’re proud to have cared for him for more than 28 years.”
According to the Smithsonian, American alligators can live to about 50 years in the wild.
Spots was part of a clutch of seventeen infant gators recovered in 1986 from an area swamp by the Louisiana Land and Exploration Company.
The group later brought the some of the hatchlings to the Audubon Zoo and Spots was brought to the Aquarium when it opened in 1990.
Below is a chart detailing where Spots’s brothers and sisters now live.
|Blacno||donated to Houston Zoo|
|Mr. Bingle||Donated to Gatorland, FL|
|Antoine Blanc||at Audubon Zoo|
|St. Louis||retuned to LL&E|
|Phydeaux (Fido)||Donated to Gatorland, FL|
|Hannah Killer||Donated to Gatorland, FL|
|Crooked Jaw||Donated to Gatorland, FL|
|Two Spot||at Audubon Zoo|
|Thibodaux||on loan to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo|
|Schulte||on loan to Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park|
View this post on Instagram
Seeing double? Contrary to popular belief our white alligator seen here is not albino, but leucistic. Albinos do not produce pigment; the skin appears white, but is actually colorless and the eyes are pink because blood vessels are seen through transparent tissue. Leucistic alligators, like this one, also lack the ability of making pigment, but often this is not found throughout the whole body resulting in irregular patches of normal colored skin. #americanalligator #whitealligator #auduboninstitute #audubonzoo