If you’ve ever seen a white snake, know that you might have seen an albino snake. Albino snakes are born without melanin, which gives the skin, hair, and eyes their color.
All albino snakes have red eyes, which is crucial to identifying the genetic condition. Albino snakes may not be completely white but may also have yellowish or pale hues. However, not all white snakes are albino snakes. The leucistic snakes, for example, may lack pigmentation in general or only in some parts of the body.
Leucism is a different genetic condition than albinism, as it can affect the production of body pigments other than melanin. Leucistic snakes have normal colored eyes, unlike albino snakes, which have red eyes.
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Albino Snake worshiped in Japan
Albino snakes are very rare to find. Because of their rarity, they are often worshiped in various parts of Japan as auspicious animals.
They are considered messengers of Benzaiten and believed to bring riches. They are also worshiped as goddesses of water. Many shrines and temples are dedicated to them as messengers, including the Suwa shrine.
Disadvantages for Albino Snake
A lack of melanin gives the albino snake bright colors making their survival even more complex. They may appear bright and beautiful to snake enthusiasts, but the condition gives this snake a lot of disadvantages.
Easy detect for Prey and Predator
The scale coloration of a snake depends not only on melanin but also on other pigments such as xanthophores or erythrophores. These pigments give the snake a distinct yellow or red color, respectively.
Lack of melanin causes these pigments to be dominant, so albino snake color varies from white, red, yellow, or orange. The predators or their prey can detect them with ease, drastically limiting their survival and the possibilities of their observation in nature.
Since the albino snake lacks melanin, this deficiency results in the snake’s vision and skin problems.
Hamper in Thermal Regulation
All snakes are cold-blooded creatures. Gray, black, or any other regular colored snake can capture or reflect sunlight, helping them regulate their body temperature. However, in albino snakes, the depigmentation of their scales complicates this process, hindering their body temperature regulation and endangering their survival.
Common Albino Snake
The albino snake doesn’t particularly belong to any species. Any species of snake can be an albino snake if it lacks melanin.
There are incidents in different parts of the world where albino rattlesnake has been found. However, the most commonly found albino snakes are corn snakes and Albino Burmese Python or Yellow python.
Albino Corn Snake
|Scientific Name||Pantherophis guttatus|
|Habitat||Pine and flat forest|
|Distribution||South Eastern United States|
|Life span||22 years|
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
Albino corn snakes are similar to any standard corn snake in diet, behavior, and reproduction. The difference lies only in its appearance. They are also called melanistic corn snakes because they lack melanin or black pigment.
They have striking ruby red eyes. Their body coloring is a dark red mottled pattern on a deep orange background with a white belly. Like all corn snakes, the scales are slightly keeled. It is a small snake: it will measure between 45 and 112 centimeters in adulthood.
This snake is relatively calm. Bites are scarce, except in cases of intense stress on the animal. The rare bites that may occur are not painful compared to other snakes or pets.
The snake is active during the day, but especially during the evening. It is in the evenings that you observe the corn snake in motion.
The snake is a great tree climber famous for its calm, but it can sometimes have defensive behaviors more than aggressive. Molting periods, habitat changes, and egg-laying periods can be more difficult for the animal.
They are most common in the longleaf pine forests and flat forests of the southeastern United States. They are also found in grasslands and other habitats.
Albino corn snakes seek refuge in cold climates in stumps, mammal caves, or underground shelters. In warmer months, corn snakes slither into abandoned buildings, invade rodent burrows searching for prey, and even climb trees.
They are a constrictor, and their diet consists of mice and other rodents, chicks, and lizards.
These snakes mate in both the spring and fall seasons. They are oviparous, meaning mothers lay eggs. The mother lays 10 to 30 eggs from May to July.
It lays them on rotting stumps and in heaps of decaying vegetation or other places where there will be enough heat and moisture for the eggs to hatch.
The eggs gestate for about two months. When born, the babies are 25 to 38 cm long. They can live up to 22 years in captivity, although their life expectancy in the wild is shorter.
|Scientific Name||Python bivittatus|
|Size||2-5 m in length90 kg in weight|
|Habitat||Rainforests, near streams, or in places such as grasslands, swamps, and rocky terrain|
|Life span||30 years|
|Conservation Status||VulnerableInvasive Species in Florida|
The Burmese python, better known as the yellow or albino python, is a constrictor snake native to Southeast Asia with an impressive appearance and size. They usually grow to 8 m in length in the wild, but they can be longer in captivity.
As one of the six largest types of snakes globally, Burmese pythons can weigh up to 90 kg and grow up to 8 m in length. The giant pythons are always female.
External characteristics distinguish Males and females. In males, the anal spurs on either side of the cloaca are much more developed than in females.
The coloring of this snake is due to a genetic mutation displaying bright yellow skin and red eyes. Although it is called an albino snake, this reptile is not entirely devoid of pigments; it lacks the black pigment, enhancing its yellow pigments.
Size of the Burmese Python
Newborn Burmese pythons average 56 cm and weigh 113 grams. Female Burmese pythons reach a larger size than their male counterparts, with the average length of a female Burmese python landing between 4–5.4 m.
The general length of a male Burmese python is still quite large, between 2.4 to 4.2 m, but can sometimes reach 5.1 m. Besides being one of the largest snake species, Burmese pythons are also among the heaviest of the giant snakes. A 17-18 foot Burmese can reach a weight of over 90 kg.
The Yellow Python is found in rainforests, near streams, or in places such as grasslands, swamps, and rocky terrain. When young, these snakes spend a lot of time in trees.
However, as they mature, their size and weight make climbing difficult, causing them to live mainly on the ground.
They are snakes that need a permanent water source that, preferably, facilitates their feeding. They are also excellent swimmers, staying submerged for 30 minutes before surfacing to breathe.
These snakes spend a reasonable amount of time absorbing the sun’s heat in the morning, generating energy for the hunting movement.
The giant yellow python is native to Asia and can be found in southern China, Burma, Indochina, Thailand, and the Malay archipelago.
They can also be found in other world regions, such as Florida, where it was accidentally introduced due to hurricane Andrew and are even considered invasive species.
In several countries, it is a safeguarded species due to problems such as hunting and trade in the skin and meat of this animal and the significant loss of habitat. This snake has a keen sense of direction and can return to its usual habitat, even after traveling tens of kilometers.
Burmese pythons live for 30 years, but they can be longer in captivity. The average python takes five and seven years to reach sexual maturity.
Burmese pythons seem sluggish in the wild, waiting along hunting trails and rainforest waterholes to catch their prey, but they are far from helpless.
They are excellent tree climbers and enjoy swimming and bathing (water supports their body weight).
Constrictor and Non-Venomous Snake
Pythons are constrictors, so they don’t have fangs; instead, they have backward-facing teeth and are not venomous. These pythons are carnivores and feed on birds and mammals.
They are often seen close to human habitats because of the large number of rats, mice, and vermin. Enormous specimens can attack pigs, goats, deer, and alligators; however, they rarely attack humans.
The snake uses its sharp backward-facing teeth to grab its prey, then wraps its body around it, contracting its muscles to kill the prey by constriction.
Burmese pythons breed in the early spring months. Females lay 50 to 100 eggs in spring. After laying the eggs, they gather them together and wrap themselves around them to incubate.
They will curl around the eggs until they hatch. The female Burmese python is the only snake that can increase its body temperature. While keeping the eggs warm, the muscles will shiver, and these movements help the female raise the temperature around the eggs.
The newborn snakes must learn to exist independently and fend for themselves. They usually remain inside the egg until they are ready to complete their first shedding, after which they hunt for their first meal.
People who have seen these albino snakes often marvel at how impressive they can look. Their penetrating gaze draws attention, but they are perfectly normal snakes. They eat the same food, behave the same, and are just as active as regular snakes.
However, they need protection; captivating them and raising them as pets are not the solution. Conservation of their habitat and banning illegal breeding for producing albino snakes are some preventive measures.
(Last Updated on June 9, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)