Melanistic (all black) animals, the opposite of albinism. They’re much blacker than normal. While Black Panthers (actually leopards) are the most well-known melanistic animals, a host of others have also been known to change their dark black beauty.
Check out these 10 rare amazing creatures with beautiful and unusual coat colors. These are fun facts about the most strange melanistic animals in the world.
1. Black Panthers
A black panther is typically a melanistic color variant of any of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are black jaguars (Panthera onca), in Asia and Africa they are black leopards (Panthera pardus), and in North America they may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars (Puma concolor – although this has not been proven to have a black variant), or smaller cats.
2. Black Rat Snake
Pantherophis obsoletus – also known as the western rat snake, Texas ratsnake, black rat snake, pilot black snake, or simply black snake – is a nonvenomous species of Colubridae found in central North America. No subspecies are currently recognized.
3. Black Fawn Deer
The spectacular shot of a melanistic fawn was taken in the Northwest Hills of Austin, Texas, by renowned photographer R.M.Buquoi. Though rare anywhere, the area around Austin is a hot spot of sorts for melanistic White-tail deer… and their tails do seem to retain their characteristic white undersides.
4. Black Wolf
A black wolf is a melanistic colour variant of the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Black specimens are recorded among red wolves (Canis lupus rufus), and these color variants are probably still around today. Besides coat color they are normal gray wolves.
5. Black King Penguin
Melanistic King Penguins can be partially or completely black though their white “bibs” darken much more often than the golden yellow ear patches. An extremely rare all-black penguin was photographed near Antartica by Andrew Evans of National Geographic. The king penguin doesn’t look like his tuxedoed counterparts because of what one scientist described as a “one-in-a-zillion kind of mutation.”
6. Black Zebra
Two Plains Zebras, one with a rare dark melanistic coloration at Etosha National Park, Namibia.
7. Black Red Fox
The Silver Fox is a melanistic form of red fox. Melanism is an undue development of dark-colored pigment in the skin, and is the opposite of albinism. Silver foxes display a great deal of pelt variation: some are completely black, save for the white tail tip, while others may be bluish-grey. Wild silver foxes do not reproduce exclusively with members of the same coat morph, and can be littermates with the common red variety.
8. Black Lizards
Eastern Blue Tongue Lizards is very rare. The eastern blue tongue lizard is one of the most familiar reptiles in Australia.
New Zealand has more than 99 species of lizard. We have geckos and skinks, and 33 of our skinks are found nowhere else in the world. All native lizards are fully protected. Cats, mustelids, and rats pose a threat to all lizards.
9. Black Seal
10. Black Squirrel
Melanistic Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel; there are still a few of these squirrels in the area from periods when fires had been frequent. Melanism is just an extreme pigment mutation that causes deeply dark-colored animals.
11. Black Lion
In recent weeks, two very stunning black lion photographs have been circulating online. Why they attract such interest is that according to mainstream zoology, black lions simply do not exist. If they did, and were wholly black in colour, they would most probably be melanistic specimens; analogous if not homologous genetically with black panthers (melanistic leopards) and mutant all-black individuals of other felid species. Sadly, for those hoping that these two photos therefore represented some major cryptozoological discovery, the reality, as is true ever more frequently nowadays, is that they are nothing more than Photoshopped images.