TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A rare white sea turtle hatchling was spotted by conservationists on a South Carolina beach, and they worry it won’t survive without its natural camouflage.
Videos shared by the Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program, provided by TMX, show a pair of loggerhead turtle hatchlings waddling toward the sea.
“At first, we did not notice anything unusual,” the conservation group wrote alongside the video on Facebook. “But when they reached the ocean the water washed the sand off of their bodies and they suddenly looked quite different from one another.”
In the video, one turtle appears dark brown, while the other is white.
According to TMX, the group believes it may be an example of “leucism,” which features reduced pigmentation.
“Unlike albinos, most leucistic animals have normally colored eyes,” the group said.
Loggerhead turtles are usually dark brown or dark gray, allowing them to hide among the weeds where they spend the first three to seven years of life, according to Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program.
“Camouflage is important to all animals, particularly very small sea turtle hatchlings that are predated on by almost everything,” the group said. “So, to be born white makes you stand out and very visible to predators. As beautiful as these animals are the unfortunate reality is that they rarely survive in nature.”