Have you ever seen an albino snake? If not, then you’re in for a treat. Albino snakes are incredibly rare in the wild, and many people don’t know they exist. But they do — and they can be found in different snake families.
Furthermore, these snakes possess a handful of unique characteristics that make them stand out from their non-albino counterparts. However, there are other interesting facts regarding albino snakes that you may not know.
Luckily, this article will cover everything you need to learn about the albino snake: what makes them unique, their lifespan and health issues, how much they cost, and where to find them.
What Is an Albino Snake?
An albino snake is a snake that has a genetic mutation that causes it to lack the melanin pigment in its skin and eyes. Interestingly, albino snakes don’t always exhibit an all-white appearance. Some may have yellow, pink, or cream shades, which can vary based on their breed and genes.
That said, albino snakes are more commonly seen among Burmese pythons, corn snakes, and ball pythons than other breeds.
Albino snakes tend to have very pale pigmentations. Some have scales that are white or pinkish-white, while others are found sporting a combination of two muted tones, such as yellow and white or light brown or white.
You’ll also notice that their piercing eyes often appear deep pink or solid red instead of black.
How Rare Is an Albino Snake?
An albino snake that’s not a result of intentional breeding is an extremely rare occurrence. In fact, it’s estimated that only about 1 in 100,000 snake births result in albinism.
So even though it seems like you may be able to find an albino snake just about anywhere, they’re incredibly uncommon in nature.
Many reputable snake breeders discourage the promotion of albinos as well. They believe albino snakes carry health issues that make them less likely to survive long enough to reach adulthood.
Hence, if you’re planning on going out searching for one of these unique-looking creatures, you should know that it could take some time before you actually find one.
What Does an Albino Snake Look Like?
The appearance of an albino snake depends on what type of snake it is. For instance, an albino ball python will have a white coloration with yellow markings on its belly and sides.
On the other hand, albino corn snakes will maintain the same patterning as regular corn snakes but with lighter pigmentation.
Albino rat snakes can also appear to be striped like a normal rat snake; however, they will have a light cream tint instead of dark tan or deep brown colors.
A solid white albino snake can also occur in any of these species. In general, the factors that affect the appearance of albino snakes are largely dependent on genetics and the conditions during the embryonic stage.
But you should note that one thing’s for sure: all albino snakes, regardless of species or family, typically have red eyes. This distinctive trait clearly indicates that they aren’t capable of producing enough melanin.
What Causes a Snake to Be Albino?
From a genetic standpoint, albinism is a recessive trait in all animals, including snakes. It means that both snake parents should pass on two copies of the albinism gene for them to produce an albino snake.
To put it simply, if one snake parent carries an albino gene and another parent has a normal gene, there’s no chance of having an albino offspring.
Meanwhile, if both parents carry the same recessive albino allele, there’s a 25% chance of producing an albino baby snake.
Though if one parent is an albino and the other only carries the gene for it, there’s a 50% chance that some of their offspring will be born with albinism.
That’s why many snake breeders purposely pair up two snakes carrying recessive alleles in hopes of developing this rare type of snake.
Typical Behavior of Albino Snakes
Albino snakes often behave the same way as other snakes. They’re typically laid-back and calm, especially when socialized and handled correctly.
However, you’ll notice that an albino snake reacts differently to certain stimuli than a regular snake would.
Remember that albinism affects all parts of a snake’s body, including its eyesight. So even though an albino snake is usually easy-going, it may not be comfortable around bright lights or sudden movements.
Of course, like any other snake, an albino snake may become aggressive if it feels threatened or cornered. It may either start coiling up in a ball or strike at you with its fangs if you attempt to handle it roughly.
Overall, though, albino snakes are pretty easy to handle. But you should always seek professional help if you’re a new owner or if you have never handled a snake before.
Albino Snake Lifespan and Health Issues
Albino snakes often have a shorter lifespan than their standard counterparts. In the wild, albinos typically live for around 10 to 15 years. However, in captivity, they can live from 20 to 30 years.
Due to their genetic condition, albino snakes are more susceptible to health issues such as eye problems and skin infections.
Below is a list of some of the most common health problems faced by albino snakes:
- Blindness: Since albino snakes are sensitive to light, they’re at an increased risk of developing eye problems. They may suffer from corneal ulcers, which can lead to blindness if left untreated.
- Mouth Rot: Commonly known as infectious stomatitis, this condition is caused by a bacterial infection in the mouth of your albino snake. This can lead to poor feeding, weight loss, and even death.
- Respiratory Diseases: An albino snake has a very fragile respiratory system, which can be easily infected by bacteria, leading to several respiratory diseases.
Given this, it’s apparent why many people choose to keep albino snakes as pets. They’re more likely to survive in a human-controlled environment than one that’s left up to chance.
Albino Snake Care Guide
The key to housing albino snakes is to provide them with the right temperature and humidity levels, as well as providing them with proper lighting.
Luckily, this section will discuss the mentioned parameters in detail, along with the albino snake’s dietary and environmental needs.
As carnivores, albino snakes need to eat a lot of protein. This includes mice, rats, gerbils, and other small mammals. But they can also feed on slugs, snails, and even insects such as grasshoppers and crickets.
That said, the age of your albino snake will determine how large of an animal you need to feed it.
For example, hatchlings should be fed live pinky mice until they’re old enough to transition to frozen-thawed prey. You can give them one every 5 to 7 days.
Meanwhile, juvenile albinos can be given a pinky mouse or a small adult rat once a week. Meanwhile, for adult albinos, a medium to large-sized rat every 7 to 10 days should suffice.
The following video shows how albino snakes consume their food:
An albino snake should be placed in a 50-gallon enclosure. It should consist of a warm and humid environment with plenty of hiding spaces, branches, and substrates.
Specifically, the following parameters should be observed for an albino snake’s enclosure:
- The temperature gradient should fall between 75° and 85°F (24° and 29°C).
- A humidity level ranging from 45 to 75%.
- There should be a basking area that reaches 90°F (32°C).
However, the most important of all is to avoid putting the enclosure near any bright lights, as this can be stressful for the snake.
When choosing a substrate for your albino snake, it’s best to pick something that will not cause your pet any harm.
This means that you should avoid using wood chips or cedar shavings, which have been known to cause respiratory problems in snakes.
You should also not choose sand since it can be ingested by the snake and cause intestinal blockage. Instead, you should use aspen shavings, paper towels, or newspaper as a substrate for your albino snake’s habitat.
How Much Does an Albino Snake Cost?
Depending on the type of albino snake you want to bring home, it might cost anywhere from $40 to $4,000. But note that some albino morphs can be pricier because they’re rarer or they come from specific locations.
The following table outlines the average price ranges of a few albino snakes by breed:
|Types of Albino Snakes
|$40 – $1,000
|$200 – $750
|$400 – $1,500
|$150 – $500
|Florida Pine Snakes
|$250 – $500
|$600 – $4,000
|$50 – $400
It’s evident that there are various kinds of albino snakes that you can buy. Some of them are more common than others and therefore cost less money, but they’ll still require the same amount of care and attention.
Places to Find Albino Snakes for Sale
If you still want to own an albino snake despite all the risks involved, this section will walk you through some places where you may find albino snakes for sale.
It’s important, however, to acknowledge that there are very few legitimate vendors of albino snakes in the United States. That said, make sure to check their credentials and reputation before buying from them.
Here’s a list of some sources where you might find albino snakes for sale:
- Backwater Reptiles – As a proud member of the International Reptile Conservation Foundation (IRCF), Backwater Reptiles has a proven track record of responsible breeding practices. Their albino snakes often result from unwanted breeding. Nonetheless, they still keep them under their care.
- Snakes at Sunset – With over 15 years of experience, Snakes at Sunset has been working hard to ensure that their customers are satisfied with their purchases. This breeder offers a generous return policy, and they occasionally have albino snakes under their care.
- XYZ Reptiles – Based in Florida, XYZ Reptiles offers a wide array of reptiles and exotic pets, including albino snakes. They also boast an excellent customer service team that can help you with any questions or concerns you may have.
All in all, owning an albino snake can be risky because they’re prone to various diseases and conditions. So before purchasing one of these rare creatures, ensure that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Albino Snakes Friendly?
Yes, albino snakes can be friendly. But similar to other snakes, they aren’t always as receptive to human attention as other pets. They may even be downright defensive at times.
Fortunately, correct handling and socialization can help make your albino snake more friendly and trusting of people.
Do Albino Snakes Bite?
You might think that because albino snakes have pale skin and red eyes, they’re less likely to strike out at you. However, that’s not necessarily true. Albino snakes are just as likely to bite as any other type of snake.
Having said that, if you’ve been training and socializing your albino snake for several months, its natural tendency to bite should be greatly reduced.
Are Albino Snakes Venomous?
Some albino snakes are venomous, and others are not. An albino corn snake, for example, is non-venomous. Albino rattlesnakes and copperheads, on the other hand, are venomous.
Hence, if you’re looking for an albino pet snake that’s safe to be around you and your children, consider a corn snake — they’re generally docile and easy to handle.
Do Albino Snakes Get Sunburn?
Yes, albino snakes do get sunburn. They’re more susceptible to sun damage than other kinds of snakes because of their lack of skin pigment.
Thus, albino snakes should be kept in shaded areas or indoors if possible. Avoid putting extra lights on them as well, as these can cause further damage and make your albino snake ill.
Are Albino Snakes Cold-Blooded?
As part of the reptile family, albino snakes are, in fact, cold-blooded. They rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature.
But because albino snakes have no pigment to protect them from the sun’s ultraviolet light rays, they must spend most of their time hiding underground or in burrows.
Are Albino Snakes Aggressive?
Yes, albino snakes can show aggression, specifically if not handled correctly.
They’ll also usually lash out if they feel threatened or agitated, which is why it’s vital that you deal with your albino snake in a calm and relaxed manner.
Why Are Albino Snakes Yellow?
While a true albino snake is completely lacking in pigment, it’s still possible for other albinos to exhibit yellow skin. One well-known example of an albino snake with a yellow color is the albino Burmese python.
In fact, these snakes can be found in cream, pink, or even orange colorings as well.
As with birds, reptiles don’t solely rely on melanin for their coloration. They have multiple pigments in their skin cells that are responsible for different colors. Such pigments are produced by cells called chromatophores.
Are Albino Snakes Good Pets?
Yes, albino snakes, especially corn snakes, make good pets. They’re generally mild-mannered and easy to take care of, provided you have the right environment and equipment to keep them happy and healthy.
In captivity, albino snakes require a little more care than other kinds of snakes, though, because they’re more sensitive to light and heat than their non-albino cousins.
Similarly, in the wild, albinos are at a disadvantage due to their lack of camouflage — a problem when you’re trying to hide from predators!
Do Albino Snakes Have Bad Eyesight?
Unfortunately, albino snakes have bad eyesight. Due to their lack of pigmentation, they cannot see in the dark or detect ultraviolet light as adequately as regular snakes can.
In addition, they have a difficult time detecting movement, which makes them more vulnerable to predators.
Despite the many adverse effects of albinism in snakes, remember that these animals are still very much alive and thriving. They’re able to overcome the challenges of their condition and live quite long.
In fact, some albino snakes have even been recorded living up to 30 years! This is remarkable, noting that albino animals often have shorter lifespans due to their heightened vulnerability to predators and diseases.
All things considered, owners should be careful when housing albino snakes in captivity. While they may seem like a cute wonder at first glance, they need special care throughout their entire lifespans.
If you have an albino snake, please share your experience with us by leaving a comment below!