Some animals appear white other than their natural color. This coloring condition is called “albinism”. It’s rare and it happens to almost all vertebrates.
That being said, can red pandas be white too?
Yes, red pandas can be white. As strange as it sounds, not every red panda has a unique, beautiful reddish-brown fur color.
There is a documented case of albinism in red pandas after one was spotted in the wild. However, finding these white red pandas in the wild is difficult because they are very rare.
But just in case you spot an odd-looking red panda, there is a way to tell if it is an albino red panda.
Their outer appearance is all you need to know to identify them!
Keep reading below to find out!
Table of Contents
- What Does an Albino Red Panda Look Like?
- What Causes Albinism in Red Pandas?
- How Many Albino Red Pandas Are There?
- Is The Albino Red Panda a Different Species?
What Does an Albino Red Panda Look Like?
First, you should know that a white or albino red panda doesn’t appear completely white. However, white fur covers most parts of its body.
For albino red pandas, white fur replaces the normal reddish-brown guard fur. Their back, ears, and noses are the major parts with white fur.
The normal red panda’s white markings on the face remain white. These markings are whiter than other white furs on the albino red panda’s body.
What’s more, albino red pandas still have ringed tails, but it appears dull. Their bushy tails are almost white but have light brown rings.
Other parts that aren’t white include their mouth, which remains black. All of their four paws are brown.
Overall, albino red pandas are physically similar to normal red pandas. The main difference is their colors.
Now you should be able to identify an albino red panda. Have you wondered what causes this condition in red pandas?
RECOMMENDED READING: WHAT ARE THE BODY PARTS OF A RED PANDA?
What Causes Albinism in Red Pandas?
Albinism in red pandas happens when these creatures partially or completely lack melanin in their bodies. This melanin is responsible for coloring a mammal’s eyes, skin, and hair (or fur).
When melanin is little or not present at all, the eyes, skin, and hair don’t appear in their normal color. In the albino red panda’s case, the lack of melanin mostly affects their fur color.
An albino red panda develops almost white fur instead of their beautiful reddish-brown red panda fur.
How Many Albino Red Pandas Are There?
There has been only one albino red panda spotted in the wild. Its location was in China’s Meigu Dafengding National Nature Reserve, southwest Sichuan Province.
In addition, it was the first ever documented case of albinism in red pandas, not just in China but worldwide. They are rare and it’ll be hard to spot them if more exist.
There’s every possibility that the albino gene can pass on to its young. However, Scientists are still monitoring this red panda to be sure if it can produce albino cubs.
Is The Albino Red Panda a Different Species?
No, an albino red panda is not a separate red panda species. The only difference is their fur color.
Just like the regular red panda, albino red pandas live on trees and love to eat bamboo. Most importantly, they can mate with other red pandas.
In addition, just like any other albino creature, albino red pandas are expected to be weak and have poor vision. However, this isn’t the case!
Research carried out on albino red pandas proved that they are strong with no bad eyesight. They also move well and are so much healthy than regular red pandas.
In summary, there are albino red pandas. Their fur appears white due to the lack of melanin in their bodies.
These white red pandas are rare, and only one has been identified so far in the wild.
Moreover, it’s still not yet proven if they can produce albino offspring.
But this doesn’t mean they are a different kind of red pandas. They love trees and bamboo remains their favorite food!
In the end, albino red pandas are the same species as normal red pandas. They just don’t have that beautiful red panda fur.
Read our article – What does a red panda look like? to see to know all about a red panda’s true looks.