JUNE 13, 2012

Extremely rare albino alligator coming to Valley reptile sanctuary

Latest additions to Phoenix Herpetological Society will expand exhibit; sanctuary raising funds for unique observation deck above crocs
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WHAT: Rare albino American alligator comes to Phoenix Herpetological Society
WHEN: Fri., June 15
WHERE: Phoenix Herpetological Society, 78th Street and Dynamite Road, Scottsdale

phs logoSCOTTSDALE – The Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS) will add to its diverse collection of crocodilians with the arrival of an extremely rare female albino American alligator, along with the endangered species Morelet’s crocodile and a New Guinea crocodile, later this week.

The alligator and crocodiles are being flown to Phoenix, arriving late Thursday evening at the PHS sanctuary.

With a permit issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the endorsement of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the animals will bring the total number of crocodilian species on display at PHS’ Scottsdale reptile sanctuary to ten.

The albino alligator is one of only about 50 albino American alligators living in the United States. Called "ghosts of the swamp," the albino alligator's white coloring is due to a very rare genetic mutation that affects the production of melanin, a skin pigment.

The American alligator species is more than 150 million years old and is the largest reptile in North America, growing up to 15 feet in length and weighing 1,000 pounds. The alligator coming to PHS is about five feet long.

PHS building unique observation deck above crocodile and alligator exhibit
PHS is building a unique observation deck above its crocodile and alligator exhibit. With controlled access, the deck will permit students to observe animals from a truly unique point of view and document their findings in a safe and secure way.

"This is the crown jewel of our newly expanded crocodilian exhibit," says Debbie Gibson, Vice President of PHS. "When completed, this will be an extraordinary addition to our biology and science programs."

An individual donor has given $2,500 toward the $5,000 project, and PHS is seeking to raise the remaining $2,500 to complete it.