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Fleeting Wonders: Playtime With a Baby Albino Whale

It’s a real life “baby wheel!” (Image: Daily Mail)

Prequels are all the rage these days, and nature has gotten in on the act. Off the coast of Hermanus, South Africa, scenes from Moby Dick: The Early Years have been observed via footage of a baby albino whale playing with its mother.

As reported by the Daily Mail, the two titans of the sea—southern right whales, to be exact—were found frolicking about 2,300 feet from shore. A friend of photo-drone enthusiast Anton Schutte alerted him to the mother-child pair, and he rushed out to deploy his flying camera, which captured the footage from overhead. The whales can be seen rolling around in the waves just beneath the surface, spraying out their twin waterspouts in the unique V-formation the species is known for.

The little (if only in a comparative sense) albino baby stands out all the more next to his mother, who has the standard dark gray coloration of most southern right whales. Albino whales, like albinos of any species, are quite rare, occurring in only two percent of whales born each year. Making the sighting even more rare is the fact that most albinos in the wild have a pretty tough time staying alive for very long. Most species have adapted their skin color to cater to their surroundings in some way that helps protect them from predators, but stark white albinos have a pretty tough time blending in, and are often easier targets.

An albino sperm whale like Moby Dick may be pure fiction, but this newly recorded albino baby is not totally alone in the real world. Maybe the most famous albino whale is a humpback named Migaloo, who has been observed off the east coast of Australia. Despite the dangers facing albino whales, Migaloo has managed to grow to adult size and has been seen since 1991 (or at least some albino humpback has been being seen—there has been speculation that some Migaloo sightings are actually other whales). Migaloo even has his own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Our newfound albino whale hasn’t reached that level of fame yet, but if it keeps being this cute, it just might.  

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to [email protected].