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Ask Buddy Batiste 

Answering questions for New Orleans kids

What's the story behind the white tiger at Audubon Zoo? Is it really white or just painted?

When I was little, I used to think the white tigers at Audubon Zoo were painted. I mean, everyone knows tigers have orange coats with black stripes. But then I found out there's nothing fake about the white tigers. Their coats really are white with dark stripes. And my mom said the reason white tigers have white coats is for the same reason that some people have blue eyes or curly hair. Tigers, like humans and other animals, have something called genes, which are kind of like blueprints for what we look like. Some genes are stronger than others and in the case of tigers, orange coats are stronger or dominate. But there are tigers who have the weak, or recessive gene, for a white coat. However, these tigers are very rare and don't meet each other often, so don't expect to see many white tigers in the future!

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