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Besides examples of rare albino animals, it seems animals only have white fur during the winter. Additionally, and not coincidentally, the examples I've found live in the northern latitudes with predicable snow cover and have different colored coats in the summer months. Are there any examples of animals that maintain a white coat of fur year round, or are there simply no environments that such a trait would be beneficial in?

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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheep :) $\endgroup$ – L.Diago Jun 18 '18 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ White Cats $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Jun 18 '18 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ Relatedly (but not fur), all-white colouration is not restricted to animals that experience snow. Consider the white tern, a tropical seabird. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_tern. $\endgroup$ – bshane Jun 19 '18 at 0:49
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about only wild animals? Because there are numerous domestic animal varieties that have breeds that are white. There's also the white tiger: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_tiger And then there's the old argument about the zebra: is it white with black stripes, or vice versa? $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jun 19 '18 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf: Yes, only wild animals. Sorry, I should have been more explicit in my question. $\endgroup$ – wanderweeer Jun 19 '18 at 10:30
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Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have white fur all year long.

enter image description here enter image description here

There are probably several other examples. @L.Diago gave sheep as example. There are also all white troglodyte species.

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  • $\begingroup$ This may be splitting hairs so to speak but the fur of a polar bear is actually transparent and gives off a white color due to reflection of snow. polarbearfacts.net/why-are-polar-bears-white $\endgroup$ – wanderweeer Jun 19 '18 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ @wanderweeer It is actually a good point. I have never been able to fully understand the polar bear fur but I would note that on the second picture, on a green background, the polar bear still look white. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jun 19 '18 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ @wanderweeer: That explanation seems a bit confused. As Remi.b says, a polar bear can have fur that will still look whitish even when there is no snow around. The fur is (more or less) colorless and scatters the ambient light, so it looks whitish. Many "white" objects/substances are built of smaller parts that are somewhat translucent or transparent; e.g. salt and snow $\endgroup$ – sumelic Jun 19 '18 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b: I think it's closer to being blue and black tbh $\endgroup$ – Mehrdad Jun 19 '18 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b & sumelic: I wish I knew more about how the lack of pigmentation in the polar bear hair works optically and I'd agree that it has more to due with scattering the ambient light than it's surroundings. I don't ever remembering hearing a similar explanation for the white fur of other arctic animals. $\endgroup$ – wanderweeer Jun 19 '18 at 10:49

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