Publication Date: August 4, 2020
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Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
Claude is the story of the California Academy of Sciences’ beloved albino alligator, from his birth in Louisiana to his present day life in his swamp at the Academy.
Claude is a celebrity alligator and the mascot for San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences. His story started almost 25 years ago in Louisiana, where he hatched out of his egg to discover he looked different from the other hatchlings. They were green and Claude was white. The other hatchings avoided him, and his color made him vulnerable to predators. So Claude went to a special zoo that cared for alligators where he lived in a pen by himself. Now he was safe—but alone.
One day, scientists at the California Academy of Sciences heard about him and asked the zoo if he could come and live in the Academy’s swamp. He made a 2,800 mile journey to his new home, where he had a surprise—he would share his swamp with Bonnie, an alligator who the scientists hoped would be a friend for Claude.
Unfortunately, Bonnie didn’t like Claude’s differences either, so she was moved to another home. But then Claude was alone again—or was he?
With Bonnie gone, Claude began to interact with the five enormous snapping turtles who shared his swamp. The turtles didn’t mind at all that Claude was different! And neither do the millions of people who visit him every year. They know that Claude’s differences are exactly what makes him special.
Claude includes back matter with answers to frequently asked questions about the famous alligator, including information about albinism in animals.
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