White tigers are not a different species of tiger, nor are they albino. White tigers are simply tigers carrying a recessive gene that makes them white, just as some people have brown eyes and some have green eyes.
People deliberately create white tigers because they can be sold for more money than golden tigers. These white tigers are pretty, but they often have severe health problems.
- A recessive gene is responsible for creating white tigers. A recessive gene is one that a parent carries that might be less common, such as when two brown-eyed parents have a blue-eyed child.
- When tiger breeders discovered a white tiger, they bred that tiger to get more white tigers. Unfortunately, the only way to ensure that the recessive gene continues is to breed a father with daughters or granddaughters.
- The practice of breeding within family members is called inbreeding. A lack of genetic diversity means that tigers are often born with deformities or serious health issues. In these cases, the tigers are destroyed.
- In a litter of white tigers, there are usually a few golden tiger cubs. These cubs are more difficult to sell. Dishonest breeders sometimes destroy the golden cubs.
Questions and Answers
Question: What is albinism?
Answer: White tigers aren’t albino, but humans, mammals, and reptiles can be. Albinism happens when the body doesn’t produce the pigment called melanin. Melanin gives your skin, eyes, and hair their color. In albinism, a genetic mutation prevents the body from forming melanin or distributing it to the skin, hair, and eyes.
People with this condition usually have white hair and white skin. The irises of their eyes (the colored part) are pinkish-bluish. The pupils are red. People with albinism are more prone to sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging. They are also usually legally blind. They are often misunderstood and mistreated.
See photos of beautiful albino animals.
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Declan, Tobin. " What is a white Tiger? ." Easy Science for Kids, Oct 2019. Web. 20 Oct 2019. < https://easyscienceforkids.com/white-tigers/ >.
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Tobin, Declan. (2019). What is a white Tiger?. Easy Science for Kids. Retrieved from https://easyscienceforkids.com/white-tigers/
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