100 Years – 100 Objects: Albino Raccoon

February 9, 2009

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1909 – meaning that the curators of the Houston Museum of Natural Science have been collecting and preserving natural and cultural treasures for a hundred years now. For this yearlong series, our current curators have chosen one hundred exceptional objects from the Museum’s immense storehouse of specimens and artifacts—one for each year of our history. Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind-the-scenes curiosities—we will post the image and description of a new object every few days.

This description is from Dan, the museum’s curator of vertebrate zoology. He’s chosen a selection of objects that represent the most fascinating animals in the Museum’s collections, that we’ll be sharing here – and on hmns.org – throughout the year.

True albino Raccoons (Procyon lotor) that were not farm-raised are very rare in the wild.  This individual was found in the wild nearby in League City. 

The fur on this entirely white specimen was not bleached or dyed in any way – it was a true albino found in nature.  Although the eyes are glass, they are red just as the living animal’s eyes were.  The eyes of albinos are red due to the lack of melanin, which makes it possible to see clear through to the red blood vessels.

You can see larger and more detailed images of this rare specimen – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the photo gallery on hmns.org.

Authored By Dan Brooks

As curator of vertebrate zoology, Dr. Brooks has more backbone(s) than anyone at the Museum! He is recognized internationally as the authority on Cracids - the most threatened family of birds in the Americas. With an active research program studying birds and mammals of Texas and the tropics, Brooks advises several grad students internationally. At HMNS, Brooks served as project manager of the world-renowned Frensley-Graham Hall of African Wildlife, overseeing building by an incredibly diverse array of talent by some 50 individuals. He has also created and/or served as curator for various traveling exhibits, including "Cracids: on Wings of Peril".

5 responses to “100 Years – 100 Objects: Albino Raccoon”

  1. Dusty Holladay says:

    Last night my husband shot an albino raccoon, true blue albino, it has no markings on it even has no rings on his tail. He is quite beautiful. Everyone we have spoke with has not seen one or they havn’t even heard of one.

  2. Andrew Stewart says:

    yes they are rare and i have one too. i got mine in 2001 and got it mounted its very nice mount.its in a display case like a time capsule, airtight to keep him white.feel free to comment at my email

  3. Ron Collins says:

    A female albino raccoon crawled into a blanket next to our backdoor on Fri. March 25th and had what looks like 3 babies, 2 of which look to be albino also.

  4. Jim Oberg says:

    I observed one last night [July 10, 2011] eating from our outside cat bowl by the front door vestibule. I’d never seen one before in 35 years at this rural Galveston County address. Full grown, pure white, red eyes, not at all nervous when I turned on the outside light. I went for a camera but it already slunk off when I got backOtherwise, in this drought crisis for local wildlife, I just let them be, and make sure to keep the water bowls full.

  5. Sylvia Allen says:

    Nov.14,2011 Knoxville,Tn. Approx. 20 yrs ago, I had a true albino with pink eyes and pure snowy fur. Three nights ago another pure white with pink eyes showed up with several buddies that were typical looking. Im curious as to why some albino racoons will have dark eyes and light brown rings on the tail?

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