South Carolina

Rare albino alligator is ailing and not eating, South Carolina Aquarium says

A rare alligator that’s a part of the South Carolina Aquarium is sick, officials said.

As it shared news about the ailing health of Alabaster, an albino alligator, the Charleston aquarium asked for good thoughts.

“Send out some positive vibes for our favorite gator guy,” aquarium officials said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Information on Alabaster’s specific medical condition were not included in the post.

But officials said effect of the illness have manifested in the form of a rash on his white skin and “disinterest in food,” according to the post.

The gator is being treated by the aquarium’s husbandry team and veterinary staff, officials said in the post.

“Rest assured he’s getting the best possible care,” read the post, which promised future updates on Albaster’s health. “(We are) doing everything we can to figure out what’s going on.”

Alabaster is part of the Coastal Plain exhibit, where he lives with other alligators, rattlesnakes and a Venus flytrap, among 5,000 animals at the aquarium, according to its website.

The gator joined the Charleston exhibit in 2010, WJZY reported.

Aquarium officials said Alabaster is one of “about 50 albino alligators known to be alive in the world,” as only one in 100,000 alligators is an albino, according to The State.

These rare reptiles “lack the ability to produce melanin in their skin,” per WJZY.

Aquarium officials said because of the albino alligators “white skin, they usually don’t survive long,” The State reported.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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