A residential community in Hanahan, South Carolina, just outside of Charleston, has a new denizen—an alligator of an unusual orange color.
Neighbors spotted the alligator and posted its picture on Facebook.
There are many animals that come in surprising, bright colors—the pink grasshoppers and blue lobsters of the world. But orange alligators are likely not born that way. In 2011, an orange alligator appeared in Venice, Florida, and was crowned the world’s first orange alligator. At the time, a Florida Fish and Wildlife representative told The Christian Science Monitor that the color likely came “from paint, stain, iron oxide or some other element in the environment that has left a coating on the animal, making it appear orange.”
Experts also suspect that the color of this newly found alligator comes from some environmental factor, rather than a genetic anomaly. One herpetologist speculated that algae could be the culprit; South Carolina’s Alligator Program Coordinator believes iron oxide (a.k.a. rust) from a steel pipe could have colored the alligator.
This orange beast won’t stay this way, though. Eventually it will shed its orange skin and turn back to its original color, likely an albino white.