Ghost White Possum Spotted in Indiana
They say it's unlucky for a black cat to cross your path, but what if it's a white possum? That's gotta be extra lucky or something. Have you ever seen an albino possum? I've never seen one in person, but one lucky Hoosier did!
Albino Possum in Indiana
I was scrolling in my favorite Facebook group, Indiana Nature Lovers, where people from all over the Hoosier state share their cool nature finds. I've seen some really cool photos of eagles there, learned what an Oriole nest looks like, and now thanks to that group I've seen a photo of an albino possum!
Tammy Dzelme snapped two photos of the white possum and shared them with the group. She kindly allowed me to share her photos here too! She told me these photos were taken on the west side of Indianapolis, so not too far from here in the Tri-State!
What causes albinism?
When an animal is albino they are all white. Here's what National Geographic says about the cause of albinism in mammals:
In mammals, albinism occurs when an individual inherits one or more mutated genes from both parents that interfere with the body’s production of melanin, the main pigment that determines the color of skin, fur, and eyes.
Unfortunately, albinism in animals isn't super lucky, as it does make it harder for the animal to hide from predators, so they are an easier target. Hopefully that's not the case for this little possum!
North America's Only Marsupial
When talking about possums I always like to add in my favorite little facts about the possum. I feel like possums get a bad rap, but really they're very good to have hanging around. Did you know that possums are North America's only native marsupial? It's true!
Possum VS Opossum?
Okay when I was writing this article, truth be told, I wasn't totally sure which was the correct spelling. I've seen it spelled both ways. here's what Merriam-Webster says:
Both possum and opossum correctly refer to the Virginia opossum frequently seen in North America. In common use, possum is the usual term; in technical or scientific contexts opossum is preferred.
Since I'm just talking about a possum in the general sense, I decided to go with the first spelling, but both are correct.