At Queensland’s Australia Zoo, “joey season” is always full of surprises. One by one, the baby koalas that were born six months earlier emerge from their mother’s pouches for the first time, introducing themselves to the rest of the world. This year was kicked off by a wide-eyed little guy named Macadamia, and the fuzzy exodus has continued, each joey cuter than the last.
But the season’s biggest reveal came on August 22nd, when a baby poked her head out and it was not koala-gray, but… white!
As news.com.au reports, the “extremely pale youngster” is the zoo’s first-ever white joey (although her mom, Tia, has given birth to others at other zoos). She does not have albinism, but rather a rare, recessive “silvering gene” that causes whiter-than-usual fur, zoo director Rosie Booth told the outlet.
The zoo is currently soliciting names for her on Facebook, where entrants include “Blanca,” “Matilda,” “Sheila,” and, somewhat inexplicably, “Bluebell.”
2017 has been full of white animals cashing in their 15 minutes of fame. Back in May, a ghostly piebald moose captured the world’s imagination after haunting a dirt road in Newfoundland. In July, Australian rangers found a slate-grey snake who happens to be paper white instead, and put it on display. More recently, a rare white elk in Sweden has become so popular that tourists have been invading the backyard apple garden where it likes to snack.
Celebrity aside, being an unusual color—especially a bright one—is often bad luck for animals, as it makes it easier for predators to spot them, Booth said.
But babies with the silvering gene often outgrow their unusual hue, Booth said. And even if this one doesn’t, she’ll be safe in the zoo, and in her fame.
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]