Adult white croc causes tourism stir in the NT

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Pearl the white crocodile
A mature white croc like Pearl is rare to see in the wild. PIC:  NT Crocodile Conservation & Protection Society

The sighting of a highly unusual mature white crocodile in the Northern Territory has got authorities there excited about the tourism potential.

The reptile, nicknamed Pearl, was spotted on the Adelaide River near Darwin on the weekend and it is hoped it will bring more visitors into the area.

The croc, which is estimated to be about three metres long, has a pale appearance due to it having a low amount of the pigment melanin, a condition known as hypomelanism.

Such crocodiles are apparently not uncommon at a young age, particularly in crocodile farms, but it is difficult for a pale juvenile to steer clear of predators.

There has been some speculation that Pearl could be the offspring of Michael Jackson, a famous white-headed crocodile that also called the Adelaide River home before he was killed after taking the life of fisherman Lanh Van Tran in 2014.

Adam Britton, a research associate at Charles Darwin University, told the BBC that Pearl’s hypomelanism probably occurred through genetics or during incubation.

“During incubation, if the eggs in the nest get a little bit too hot, it can lead to errors in cell division and cause mutations,” Mr Britton said. “It’s a little bit more unusual to see an adult crocodile with that lighter colouration …  I’ve seen crocodiles like this every now and then, but not as big in the wild.”

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2 Responses to Adult white croc causes tourism stir in the NT

  1. Problem being; The white one’s are just as deadly to the unwary – the murky water hides them just like their greener mates until they burst out of the water at over 40 kph.

  2. I thought that the author of this article must be smoking something.
    So I googled it and sure enough there are white look at.
    But a photo is good enough for me

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