Houston Zoo

Houston's famous white alligator is "retiring" from zoo work

It’s bingo games and slippers from here on out.

JOSH HRALA
7 APR 2016
 

Many of us aim to retire one day to a life of luxury, with all the free time in the world to try new hobbies, hang out with our friends and families, and yell at kids to get off our lawns.

If that sounds like a goal of yours, get ready to feel really jealous of a reptile, because Blanco, the Houston Zoo’s famous white alligator, is retiring way younger than you will. 

 

According to Discovery News, the Houston Zoo has announced that Blanco, named after the Spanish word for white, will soon move to a "plush retirement community" called Crocodile Encounter in Angleton, Texas, where he will live out the rest of his days in peace.

And here's the kicker: Blanco is only 30 years old.

Blanco has become sort of a celebrity at the Houston Zoo, thanks to his unique white skin. Normally, when a creature is pale white, it’s because of albinism, but Blanco is not an albino alligator.

Instead, he has a rare genetic condition called leucism that caused him to lose pigment in his skin but not in other body parts. This means that his eyes, which are beautifully blue, remain colourful. If he were albino, he wouldn’t produce pigment anywhere, making his eyes appear red.

Blanco was born in 1987, and will probably live to the age of 50, leaving him about 20 years to relax at his new home. Crocodile Encounter took to their Facebook page to officially announce Blanco’s move:

"Blanco the Houston Zoo's famous leucistic (white) alligator that has been a fixture for so many Houstonians will soon be residing with us. We are humbled by the opportunity to care for this wonderful animal as he ages and have provided him with all a retiring alligator could possibly want from life. We hope Blanco will continue to amaze and educate Houston area children for years to come.

We are excited not just to have him with us but for the awesome change of life he is about to experience. Deep water, soft mud, and a bright Texas sky await him."

There’s no word when Blanco will actually leave the Houston Zoo, though it will probably happen soon. Hopefully he enjoys his new life of leisure. 

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