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
    Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ White Cats $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 18, 2018 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
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 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
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf: Yes, only wild animals. Sorry, I should have been more explicit in my question. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 10:30

1 Answer 1


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.

  • $\begingroup$ 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 $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2018 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
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 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
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b: I think it's closer to being blue and black tbh $\endgroup$
    – user541686
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 10:49

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