Why White Tigers Are White

White Bengal Tiger in Houston

White Bengal Tiger in Houston

White tigers result from a recessive mutation. The mutation has produced rare white wild tigers, but most white tigers result from intentional inbreeding of tigers that carry the gene. The Cincinnati Zoo estimates about 1 in 10,000 tigers naturally display the black and white coat and blue eyes characteristic of the genetic pattern. The tiger still produces the pigment protein melanin, so it is not albino. White tigers are the same species as their normal-colored kin.

White Siberian Tigers

To date, all white tigers have been Bengal tigers or tigers with Bengal ancestry. The Siberian white tigers in Ontario, Canada were produced by controlled mating of Bengal tigers that carried the mutation with Siberian tigers to produce white cats.


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