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Extremely rare white alligator is born at a Florida reptile park

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. -

An extremely rare white leucistic alligator has been born at a Florida reptile park.

The 19.2-inch (49 cm) female slithered out of its shell and into the history books as one of a few known leucistic alligators, Gatorland Orlando said Thursday.

"This is beyond rare. It is absolutely extraordinary," Mark McHugh, president and CEO of Gatorland, said in a statement.

The park is asking for the public's help in the naming the alligator, which is descended from a nest of leucistic alligators discovered in the swamps of Louisiana in 1987. The blue-eyed newborn is the first solid white alligator ever recorded to have descended from those original alligators. Of the seven remaining alligators from the nest, three are at Gatorland, McHugh said.

Leucistic alligators are the rarest genetic variation in the American alligator. They differ from albino alligators, which have pink eyes and a complete loss of pigment, according to Gatorland.

Park visitors will be able to see the leucistic alligator and her normal-colored brother early next year.

"For now, however, we continue to keep them safe where we can closely monitor their health and growth," McHugh said.

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