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Jennifer Snopko 217.782.5949
PRESS RELEASE: Illinois State Museum, Springfield, January 28, 2014
WHEN: January 28 - March 31General Museum Hours:8:30-5PM, Mon-SatNoon-5PM, Sun
Albino Animal Display Installed in the Museum Lobby. Albino animals usually must struggle to survive in the wild, but judging by this year’s Illinois winter, they are probably best coated for camouflage! The Illinois State Museum is exhibiting an intriguing and arresting array of albino specimens and their naturally pigmented counterparts. The animals will be displayed in the front lobby from January 28 to March 31. As winter’s white wanes, and spring once again returns to our four-season Midwestern land, visitors can appreciate the wonders and anomalies of Illinois’ wildlife that remains snow white.
WHERE:Museum Lobby502 S. Spring StreetSpringfield, IL(Spring & Edwards)
Always White? Albinism is caused by a genetic mutation that affects production of the pigment melanin. Albino animals have white fur, feathers, or scales because of the lack of black or brown pigmentation. An albino’s eyes appear red or pink. Albinism is a lifelong condition that does not vary by season.
Partial albinism can also occur. These animals may have patches of white (“piebald”) or be mainly white with patches of normal color. Partial albinos often have blue or normally pigmented eyes.
Though not albino, some animals molt seasonally, growing a heavier, white or lighter coat in the winter and then molt into a brown or darker summer coat.
The following albino and pigmented specimens will be displayed in juxtaposition to one another:
● American Mink (Neovison vison)
● Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
● White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
● American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
An example of a partial albino will be displayed:
● Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Two examples of a seasonally changing species will be displayed (one white and one brown):
● Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)
Did You Know? Albino animals are often given protected status. It is illegal to hunt albino deer in Illinois and several other states. Albino Eastern Gray Squirrels are legally protected in the city of Olney, IL. Albinism occurs in birds (1 in about 1,800 births) more often than in mammals (1 in about 10,000 births). About 1 in 20,000 people have some form of albinism.
The Illinois State Museum inspires discovery and caring about Illinois’ cultural and natural resources and heritage. The Museum integrates its original research and diverse collections to advance knowledge and create thought-provoking exhibitions and educational programs and resources. These offerings engage people of all ages in their own discovery and lifelong learning about the natural and cultural heritage of Illinois and its place within the world. The Museum promotes stewardship of this heritage to improve quality of life and ensure a sustainable future.