albino coatis

The following is an excerpt from the January 2011 Newsletter for The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center:

TBZ Creature Feature: Albino coatis

If you thought brown and black Quash were cool creatures, wait till you see their snowy white siblings! Looking like a couple of refugees from the North Pole, “Clorox,” and “Blizzard” are two super rare Albino Coatimundis that are happy to call the Belize Zoo their home. And the Zoo is just as thrilled to have them!

Albinism is a rare occurrence in nature, caused by the malfunction or absence of an enzyme that helps produce the skin pigment called melanin. As rare as they are, Albinos can show up in almost any species of vertebrates, even Coatis! And,though they may need a little more shade than their colorful cousins, Clorox and Blizzard are just as active and “quash-like” as their relatives. During the day, they enjoy climbing all over every inch of their enclosures, and dining on everything from bananas to bugs.

TBZ is the only zoo in the world to have such special albino coatimundis as part of their "family." Our albinos will soon become ambassadors for their species, in a very unique animal encounter at the Belize Zoo, to be called the “Albino Creature Feature.” Visitors will be able to meet these wonderful oddities of nature, and learn more about their species, and their condition, from an interactive perspective.

Remember to visit The Belize Zoo website at: www.belizezoo.org.

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