A flash of white caught our eye just as we entered the gates of the Daroji Bear Sanctuary. While we only had sloth bears on our minds, a furry white creature had us freeze in our tracks. It wasn’t hard to pick it out against the brown of the brush. An albino Indian grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii). A first for all of us there and quite a sight.
Colour variations can occur within a species and sometimes there are pale coloured anomalies in many species (leucism), but this mongoose had the classic features of pure albinism. Red eyes and a pink nose showing the complete lack of melanin, the pigment needed to colour skin, hair, eyes and even scales.
Albino adults are not seen in the wild often because they do have a hard time surviving. Problems with eyesight, and being too visible with no camouflage abilities also makes them poor hunters and easy targets. Hope this little guy lives a full life.
See this post about a leucistic Indian grey mongoose in Ranthambhore.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
The Indian grey mongoose is extremely common on the Indian subcontinent and can be seen in many types of habitats. Albino adults are a rarity in the wild because such individuals often don't survive to adulthood without the benefits of camouflage.