10 White Animals You Need to Know About

The color of an animal’s coat is a huge part of its physiology. Most animals’ fur colors blend in with their surroundings, making it more difficult for predators and hunters to spot them. Even apex predators adopt such a strategy when they need to flee from a losing situation. Therefore, colors mean a huge deal in the animal kingdom.

Other than determining the environment they can camouflage themselves in, colors can also help identify the sex, mating availability, toxicity and individuality of an animal. All these facts related to colors are all well and good, but to us, pure white is still the most elegant color of them all. Animals that sport a coat a white coat truly do look regal in everything that they do. And so, our love for the color white has led us to create a list of the world’s 10 most famous white animals today.

So, let’s get straight into the article.

Understanding the Difference between Albino and White Animals

Before we move on, we need to debunk any misconceptions you may have regarding white animals. The greatest one is the misperception that all white animals are albinos, which is completely untrue.

Albinos and white animals have distinct genetic and biological differences that set them apart. Albinos are animals that suffer from Albinism. This genetic condition reduces the production of melanin, the pigment that gives colors to their eyes, skin and hair. 

This deficiency in melanin results in albinos having very pale or light-colored eyes, skin and hair. On the other hand, there are white animals that don’t suffer from any deficiency and have a different genetic makeup that causes them to have a white coat. But if you look close enough, their eyes and skin will still have pigmentation.  

In this article, we’ll be talking about naturally white animals, not those who suffer from color deficiency. 

Top 10 White Animals

1. Sheep

Arguably the most easily recognizable white animal is a sheep. These nomadic animals have been long used for their wool, which has a distinct white color. Eventually, people process the wool and shipped to individuals in the textile industry who use it to create clothes and other garments. The shearing process is absolutely painless and requires special electric clippers that can shave off their entire coat without touching their skin. 

This practice of shearing sheep has been going on for centuries, making sheep one of the oldest domesticated animal species in the world. It also helps that the animal is incredibly docile and prefers living in a flock that can be easily led. Another fun fact about sheep is that they’re precocial animals, meaning they’re born with a full coat of wool. Makes sense why livestock owners breed sheep now, doesn’t it?

2. Polar Bear

Another animal that’s world-renowned for having a white coat is the polar bear. These arctic beasts are officially the largest land predators in the world and live in and around the Arctic area. This fact may shock people like us who know that polar bears spend most of their time on sea ice and swim through the icy Arctic Ocean. 

However, you might not have known that polar bears give birth to and raise their cubs on land, making them predominantly land animals. Another fun fact that you might not be privy to is that the white fur of polar bears is not actually white but only appears that way to us because it reflects all colors of light. Underneath their fur, their skin is black. 

Nevertheless, they still use their white fur to great effect in the Arctic environment, camouflaging themselves with their snowy surroundings and sneaking up on their prey. 

3. Beluga Whale

Switching our focus to the sea; allow us to introduce the only deep-sea animal on this list, the Beluga Whale. These creatures also exist in the Arctic waters and use their icy white color for almost the same purposes as a polar bear – to camouflage themselves among their ice-filled surroundings and sneak up on their prey undetected. 

These majestic sea animals also have an additional layer of blubber (fat), like polar bears, that helps them keep warm in the ice-cold Arctic waters. These adorable whales also have a special adaptation that allows them to control the blood flow to their eyes, which helps maintain clear vision and protects them from freezing in the cold Arctic waters. 

Measuring about 4 to 6 meters in length and weighing up to 1600 Kg, beluga whales are one of the smallest species of whales in the world. They don’t let their size hamper them, as they’re migratory animals that can travel huge distances in their Arctic habitat to find their prey. 

Did you know beluga whales are also called the dogs of the sea because of their playful nature? Check out this video and see a beluga playing catch with humans!

4. Snowy Owl

One of the top predators in their Arctic ecosystem, snowy owls are a unique species of owls in the world. We say that because, unlike other species, snowy owls are diurnal. This means they are active during the day, hunting and creating their shelters while most animals are sleeping. 

They are also quite distinct due to the white plumage that covers their entire body from head to toe and helps them blend in with the snowy landscape. The diet of a snowy owl living out in the harsh Arctic mainly consists of lemmings. However, if push comes to shove, these owls can also eat other small mammals, birds and fish. 

Like most other animals living in the Arctic, snowy owls are migratory birds that can travel considerable distances to reach their breeding and wintering grounds.

5. White Tiger

Remember how we said that this list would not contain Albinos? Well, it might not have albinos, but it does contain an outlier, the White Tiger. These tigers have not been classified as a species or subspecies of their own and are a rare genetic mutation of Bengal Tigers. However, they do not have albinism as they still retain pigmentation in their skin and eyes. 

The reason why these tigers do not possess the orange coloration of Bengal tigers is because of a single recessive gene. This gene is passed down from normal-colored parents who carry the recessive white fur gene. Sadly because of this unique mutation, white tigers are bred in captivity for years, dating back to 1950. 

This inbreeding has also led to health problems and reduced genetic diversity in captive populations. Most of these genetically mutated white tigers can be found in zoos and parks. However, questions are being raised about breeding and exhibiting these animals in captivity.  

6. Arctic Hare

Living in the snowy Arctic environment is just impossible for every animal. Unless they have special adaptations that help them not only survive but thrive in the cold. Arctic Hares are one species that have absolutely no problems living in freezing regions. 

These adorable creatures have a pure white coat that helps them blend into their surroundings. In addition, they also have a thick layer of insulating fur that helps them survive in the cold Arctic climate. This fur is made up of both guard hairs and a soft undercoat. 

To add to that, they also have a specialized circulatory system that helps them conserve heat. This specialized circulatory system stretches out all the way to the network of blood vessels in their ears. This allows them to expand or contract their ears, depending on the temperature, to regulate blood flow and keep their body temperature constant. 

Another way in which Arctic hares are different from many of the animals on this list is that their white fur is not the result of pigmentation but due to the structure of their hair. Every hair on their body is hollow and transparent, much like that of a polar bear, which allows it to scatter and reflect light in a way that makes the hare appear white. 

7. Arctic Fox

Arctic Foxes are a near mirror image of Arctic Hares when it comes to their physical attributes. They also thrive in the cold, snowy Arctic environment using their unique white fur that helps them blend in with the environment. Like the Arctic hare, their white color is not caused by pigment either, but by the structure of their hair. The hollow and transparent nature of each hair causes the light to scatter and reflect off so that the fox appears white. 

In summer, this coat turns brown to help them camouflage themselves in the Arctic Tundra. Their extra layer of insulating fat helps them survive in the cold Arctic. As a matter of fact, their tail is so thick and long that they can even use it as a blanket in the ice-cold Arctic climate. Additional attributes that help them brave the cold are their incredibly small ears and short snouts to minimize heat loss. 

They also have fur on the soles of their feet to keep them warm and provide traction on the ice. These physical attributes combined make Arctic foxes one of the most cold-resilient animals in the world who can survive some of the coldest temperatures on earth. 

8. Ermine

The animal that definitely wouldn’t have crossed your mind when we first started this list is an Ermine. These tiny menaces are also known as stoats and are species of weasel that live in different habitats worldwide, including the Arctic. During winter, in the snowier parts of the world, the coat of an ermine turns completely white, except for a bit of its tail, which turns black. This white coat helps ermines blend in with their snowy environment. 

Ermines are predatory by nature and don’t let their small size stop them from attacking prey much bigger than themselves. Their prey includes rabbits and hares. To overcome the size disparity, an ermine attacks the neck of these creatures with its sharp teeth, biting and shaking them violently until they eventually die. 

They’re also excellent climbers who can climb extremely fast to outrun a predator or catch their prey. Couple that with their amazing agility and fast reaction speed, and you’ve got a menacing predator with an impressive kill rate despite its small size. 

9. Swan

Swans are arguably one of the largest water birds in the world, with a wingspan greater than ducks and geese. But the best thing about them? They’re completely white. Until recently, it was believed that only white swans existed in the world. But some black swan species have been discovered in Australia since then. 

Nevertheless, we’re going to talk about the majestic-looking white swans. These intelligent creatures are known for their monogamous mating habits, meaning they choose one mate and pair up with them for the rest of their lives. A pretty huge feat considering that their life spans are much longer than most birds, as they can even live 20-30 years in the wild. 

Another impressive fact about swans is that, unlike most other water birds, these majestic creatures are also pretty powerful fliers. In full flight mode, their wings can stretch out to be around 2.5 meters (8 feet), a touch smaller than the tallest human in history, Robert Wadlow, who measured 2.72 meters (8 feet 11 inches).

Black swans? Of cours! Check out this video and see a black swan couple with their adorable little one!

10. Arctic Wolf

A subspecies of the grey wolf, the Arctic wolf is indigenous to Canada’s most northern polar tundras. They have smaller skulls and are generally smaller than grey wolves. These white animals shed their fur to become white for the winter, even though they are light grey to yellow in the summer. They maintain a white fur coat for most of the year because winter in their native habitat can last up to nine months.

An interesting fact is that arctic wolves and domestic dogs can interbreed and result in viable offspring. Due to this, some breeders have crossed them with domestic dog breeds like Alaskan malamutes and German shepherds to effectively domesticate their distinctive DNA.

Wrap Up!

Even before reading this article, you could probably think of a few white animals. However, we do hope that by sharing this information, we’ve helped you learn something new about some of the most unique white animals.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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