Biologist Brian Freiermuth has worked closely with famed albino alligator Claude at the California Academy of Sciences. On Wednesday, he will help celebrate Claude’s 15th birthday with a gift of 15 fish-shaped cupcakes made from protein pellets.
Other than Claude’s skin, what’s different about him? He’s not that abnormal in terms of the behavior. His lack of good vision makes it a little more difficult in terms of training because he bumps into things.
What happened to the female alligator that shared the exhibit? Claude got a little stressed out. He would spend almost all of his time on his little heat rock and whenever he would get into the water she would chase him out. We had originally planned to have the two on exhibit, but he’s obviously the bigger attraction, so we opted to send her to St. Augustine Alligator Farm.
How long do alligators live? They have a life span … on average around 75 years.
Will Claude’s skin affect his life span? It’s hard to really say. There haven’t really been a whole lot of albinos in captivity.
What did his parents look like? His parents are both normal colored, but they both carried the recessive trait. You can see it in about 25 percent of the babies they produce.