Extremely Rare White Kangaroo Photographed in Australian Outback

An extremely rare white kangaroo has been photographed in the Australian Outback.

Sarah Kinnon spotted the animal at her property in Longreach, Queensland, while driving around a paddock with her husband.

Kinnon told Newsweek it was around midday and there were "many kangaroos" around, as there usually are in this area.

"Then out of nowhere, a pure white kangaroo was jumping with the rest," she said. "He didn't stop unfortunately so I just got some pictures of him moving along."

White kangaroo
Sarah Kinnon managed to capture the photographs as the kangaroo appeared "out of nowhere." Outback Pioneers

Kinnon saw a white kangaroo at her property about six months ago, but she did not have a chance to photograph it at the time.

Kinnon told ABC Australia, that it had been a "pretty incredible" sight.

"If you put a white sheet of paper next to it, that's how white it was. It blew me away really," Kinnon told the news outlet.

White kangaroos are extremely rare but have been spotted in the country before. The phenomenon is usually caused by albinism or leucism.

Albinism refers to the complete lack of melanin production in an animal. This affects the eyes, skin and hair, and often means they are all lighter in color. Albino animals are very sensitive to sun exposure and are often at risk of complete blindness, meaning they have a low survival rate.

Leucism is a genetic mutation that causes only a partial loss of pigmentation, meaning the animal may have lighter fur but it does not affect as much of their body.

Paul Oliver, Queensland Museum curator of vertebrates, told ABC Australia that he does not believe the kangaroo was albino, as looking closely at the photograph, the animal appears to have black eyes.

This suggests it is more likely the kangaroo's white fur is a result of leucism. Oliver told ABC he suspected it was the same white kangaroo Kinnon saw six months ago, as this phenomenon is particularly rare.

"Usually they don't survive, because obviously, they stand out, if they're albino they can't see properly, their melanin's not protecting them," Oliver told ABC.

Oliver suspects the kangaroo may become "a bit of a local identity."

Outback Pioneers, a sightseeing tour agency in the area, posted photographs of the kangaroo to Facebook and described the creature as "rare and beautiful."

Many social media users commented on the post with pictures of other white kangaroos they had come across.

One Facebook user, Christopher Sutton, said he used to photograph kangaroos for a living and only ever saw a white one once.

Another, Phill Elliott, said: "They are a magnificent sight when you see them. First time I did I thought I was seeing things."

As white kangaroos are extremely rare, Kinnon told ABC Australia that she hopes he doesn't end up "in a shooter's sights, or in front of a car."

"We just hope he sticks around and some more people can see him," she said.