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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 07-12-2019, 08:11 PM   #1
Snowflake and Blizzard

a pair of bright white alligators at a Florida animal park have produced a rare batch of eggs that may result in new albino-to-albino young born in captivity.

The gator couple—a male called Blizzard and a female called Snowflake—are living at the Wild Florida Airboats facility in Kenansville. They became the first pair of breeding albino alligators in Central Florida after being acquired from St. Augustine Alligator Farm in May 2017.

Roughly three weeks ago, Wild Florida staff members known as the "Croc Squad" announced the female alligator had laid a total of 19 eggs, which were taken into incubation.

Yesterday, keepers shared a new video to Facebook showing the progress made since the eggs' discovery. To the delight of viewers, based on coloring, it appeared to be good news.

Some of the alligator eggs—which are being kept in a temperature-controlled area—showed known signs of fertilization. In a comment under the clip, staffers said they should know how many survived the process by September, approximately 60 days after their laying.

"Alligator moms are some of the best moms out there in the animal kingdom, but… Snowflake is blind due to her albinism," Wild Florida co-owner Dan Munns told WFTV this week. "To ensure these eggs have the highest chance of survival, we're relocating the eggs to a more secure location to help protect them from natural predators and monitor their progress."

According to WFTV, Snowflake is 25-years-old and Blizzard is 14-years-old. They are housed in a climate-controlled exhibit with dedicated areas for shade, and a heat-lamp.

Wild Florida explains on its website that albino alligators are exclusively located in freshwater areas in the southeastern United States. There are very few living under human care.

It was back on June 7 when officials confirmed to the public they intervened after Snowflake had started to form a nest and appeared to be increasingly defensive over the area.

In a video uploaded to social media, staff were seen entering the pen and distracting the female with sound. They said the eggs had to be removed to ensure they had a chance of survival as they were potentially at risk of natural predators, including racoons, fire ants and snakes.

"Congrats to Snowflake & Blizzard for the world's first albino to albino successful breeding program!" the animal park's Facebook account wrote at the time.

While it remains unknown how many will hatch, one keeper called Andrew said in the video: "There are only two people in the world who have ever successfully hatched albinos… and it wasn't from albino to albino. I would be super excited for even 50% [to live]" He noted they will never be reunited with the parents.

"Albinos are super fragile when they are young," he added. "Baby alligators are just in general. But albinos, they have really poor vision, they also get sunburned. Not to mention, Blizzard the male is housed with the female so we don't want him to [eat the babies]. The mommies are great, the daddies not so much." The young would not survive in the wild as they attract attention, he said.
Old 07-14-2019, 03:06 AM   #2
I read about those awesome gators earlier in the week. Hopefully, the albino babies will thrive in the care of their human keepers, especially since their mom is blind.

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