FOLLY BEACH, South Carolina (KFOR/Storyful) – Members of a sea turtle conservation group in Folly Beach, South Carolina were surprised to see a white hatchling scampering to the ocean – a sight they call “rare.”
Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program posted the video on Facebook, along with the explanation that the white loggerhead turtle is not albino, but rather, has a condition called leucism, a genetic disorder that causes reduced pigmentation.
“Unlike albinos, most leucistic animals have normally colored eyes,” the group posted.
Loggerhead turtles are typically dark brown or gray to blend in with the Sargassum weed of the open ocean currents, camouflaging them from predators for up to their first seven years of life.
“Camouflage is important to all animals, particularly very small sea turtle hatchlings that are predated on by almost everything. So, to be born white makes you stand out and very visible to predators. As beautiful as these animals are the unfortunate reality is that they rarely survive in nature,” the post reads.
The video ends just as the turtles make it to the water. Several commenters asked whether anyone saved the white turtle to live out its life at a rescue or aquarium. At the time of this posting, the conservation group had not answered those questions.