The Albino ball morph is an all-time favorite for most snake enthusiasts. It is a naturally occurring color ball python morph. They are found in Western and Central Africa’s native regions. They are, however, very rare in the wild. In the early 1990s, the astounding discovery of variant color forms in ball pythons caused a stir.
They are gorgeous captive-bred specimens that have been in the ball python market for a while.
The mutation goes by names such as Xanthic, T+ Albino, and caramel albino. The T+ means that this snake has a functional enzyme that contains copper responsible for the production of melanin. The famously known amelanistic albino is considered T- since it is deficient in this enzyme hence the mutation.
History of the Albino Ball Python
In the early 1990s, many pets lovers still didn’t own ball pythons despite being pretty common. Later on in the 1990s, the wave of taming and owning ball pythons was on the rise. A man by the name Bob Clark became enamored with a native African python, the albino ball python.
Not only did he want to own one, but he also wanted to try breeding it. After some time, Clark was able to get hold of an albino ball python and immediately started breeding. The exercise resulted in the first bred albino ball python in 1992. Due to his interesting experiment, the ball python market skyrocketed. People had always thought albinism was a natural, unique occurrence, but after Clark’s experiment, people’s curiosity was piqued.
Over the period Clarke was working on the said project, someone broke into his lab and stole all the research. Talk of a desperate enthusiast with a piqued interest! After that incident, there erupted a wave of ball python morphs in the market, as we can see today.
Albino ball pythons are 3 to 4 feet in length, and some occasionally reach 5 ft. They don’t typically bite and coil into a ball when they feel threatened. With regular handling as they grow, albino ball pythons become tamer. They have a strong body and a short tail.
Albino ball pythons move in a unique rectilinear motion. Due to their unusually wide body, albino ball pythons shove their bodies to the ground and use their belly to push their bodies forward.
An albino ball python’s diet consists mainly of small rodents. They survive on a diet of rats and mice throughout their life. They are nocturnal and prefer to feed at night. Younger albino ball pythons feed on fuzzies once a week and gradually begin to eat lagger mice or small rats as they grow. Adult pythons feed on one or two small rats and adult mice every seven to days.
When handled too often or when their habitat changes, these snakes may refuse to eat. Overhandling causes albino ball python stress that affects their eating patterns.
What should I do when my Albino ball python refuses to eat?
There are a few reasons why your Albino ball python won’t eat. Here are a few:
- Your snake is ill
- Your snake is about to shed or enter a shedding cycle.
- The enclosure conditions aren’t favorable. The temperature could be too high or too low, or too small or too big.
- Your snake is going through a seasonal fasting period.
- Your snake has just reached sexual maturity.
Some viable solutions to help your snake feed are:
- Ensure the conditions in the enclosure are right for your albino ball python. Pythons enjoy hides and like hiding during the day and coming out at night to eat. You can duplicate these conditions so that your snake can eat regularly. The enclosure should have a warm side with about 90 degrees to bask, while the rest of the cage at about 78 to 80 degrees.
- Leave your pet snake alone for about a week, then try using tongs to dangle a warm food item in front of them. Pythons can sense heat because they have heat-sensing pits around their jawline.
- Offer your pet the meal after sunset when your snake is more likely to eat.
- If frozen rodents don’t make your albino ball python eat, you can try using a freshly killed rodent. Very few ball pythons can resist a fresh, warm rodent.
- Take your pet snake to the vet to ensure they are healthy.
During the winter, your ball python may refuse to eat as they are usually fasting. Even if the enclosure is heated, your snake may still go into a fasting season. You should always provide some clean, freshwater in a bowl. If the water gets the substrate wet, ensure you change it regularly.
An adult albino ball python needs a 30-40 gallon vivarium. Hatchlings need a smaller enclosure of about 10 gallons. In the young ball pythons enclosure, you can use a paper towel with substrates. This kind of flooring helps keep the enclosure clean and allows you to monitor their fecal matter closely to ensure they are healthy. For a more natural setting, you may opt to use aspen bedding and cypress mulch. Newspapers are quite messy and tear easily.
In the enclosure, put in a good-sized water bowl for both drinking and soaking.
A vining plant that is good for climbing should be put in the enclosure since albino ball pythons are semi-arboreal and terrestrial; therefore, they enjoy climbing onto logs and branches. A hide box is another important enclosure accessory that these snakes enjoy since they like hiding away, especially during the day. Your pet albino snake should be able to fit into the hide properly and feel safe.
1. Enclosure lighting and temperature
Your snake’s enclosure should always be large enough to have a cool side and a warm side. Warming the enclosure can be easily achieved by putting a heating pad on one side of the enclosure. The ideal temperatures for the albino ball python are between 80-85 °F during the day, while at night, the temperature should drop to 75-78 °F. The warmer side, however, should remain at about 88-90 °F.
Like all other ball pythons, Albino ball pythons are more active at night; therefore, lightning isn’t considered necessary. Despite this, it is important to keep a light that mimics day and night cycles. Preferably, use a low wattage fluorescent bulb. Another great option is the UVB fluorescent lighting. Not only can albino ball pythons see ultraviolet light, but it also helps them synthesize vitamin D3. Studies show that ultraviolet rays can be helpful in a snake’s mental and long term physical health. For UVB lighting, opt for the low-intensity fluorescent bulb and avoid the coiled one. Preferably mount it 12 inches above the enclosure substrates.
2. Enclosure care
Proper enclosure maintenance is an essential part of good animal husbandry and keeps your albino ball python healthy. Keeping your albino ball python in the enclosure protects it from parasites and harmful microorganisms. The enclosure needs regular cleaning, both daily and weekly. Fresh food and water should be provided in clean containers. Fecal matter should be removed as soon as it is discovered.
Everything you use within the enclosure should be clean and sterile, including the cage decor and dishes. The substrates should be changed every three to four months. When cleaning and sterilizing, avoid the use of phenol like Pine-Sol. Instead, opt for alcohol and chlorine-based cleaners as your snakes can better tolerate them.
Albino ball pythons are very tame and docile. As small hatchlings, they are quite nervous and secretive. They tend to spend a lot of time hiding or in a ball. With appropriate handling as they grow, they grow less timid, climb into their owner’s hands, and even start exploring their enclosure.
The Albino ball python’s calm temperament and ease of handling make them easy and safe for kids to own and handle. Children should, however, be supervised when handling the snakes. Remember to wash your hands before and after handling your pets.
First, you need to determine when your albino ball python has attained maturity. Female albino ball pythons should weigh about 3.5 – 4.5 pounds and have attained at least three years of age. Male albino ball pythons must be at least a year old and weigh over 1.5 pounds. Next, you need to sex them. Albino ball pythons can be sexed using a process known as probing. This is where you insert a sliding probe into the snake’s cloaca, and the depth at which the probe goes without encountering resistance determines the sex of the albino python. For females, it is three to four scales deep, while for males, it is seven to nine scales.
You then put the female and male together after properly stimulating them to encourage them to mate. After successfully breeding and ensuring the female has fertilized eggs, wait for her to lay the eggs, and 52-60 days later, they will hatch. And voila, more albino ball pythons depending on the morph you mated her or him with.
All the albino pythons available to breeders and keepers are captive hatched; therefore, there are very few health concerns. The health of your pet snake wholly depends on proper care of the enclosure and a good diet. However, there are some illnesses you should be aware of:
Ticks and mites
Ticks and mites are small parasites that may occasionally be seen on pet snakes. They may either be infested when housed at a reptile dealer’s or breeder’s facility or when put together with imported pythons. These parasites feed on blood from the snake and should be removed as soon as you notice them. There is an extensive range of products that helps in the removal of these parasites.
When your snake has unhealthy gum tissue or their mouth doesn’t close well, it could be a sign of mouth rot or infective stomatitis. Healthy gums are pinkish white and have no veins nor marks. Symptoms of mouth rot include red blotches and other discolorations.
When your albino ball python is an enclosure that is too cold, they may develop respiratory issues that could be life-threatening. Respiratory problems manifest in behaviors like constant yawning, bubbling from the nose, gasping, and gaping. When you notice a combination of these signs, consult a professional vet.
Skin fungal infections
If your snake’s enclosure is too humid or too cool for long periods, the ball python may develop skin lesions that later become bloody and crusty. It is advisable to ensure that your snake is keeping warm and dry enough. The best course of action is to clean the wounds with Betadine or an antibacterial cream till they heal.
Some of the isolated shedding problems seen in albino ball pythons are retained eye caps and stuck sheds. Naturally, these snakes spend a lot of time in burrows and termites’ nests. These places are not only hot, but they are also humid. So when your snake is ready to shed, increase the humidity levels in the enclosure. This increase in humidity will help your snake shed easily without complications.
When feeding your snake, do not leave a live rodent in the enclosure. A scared mouse or rat may attack the albino ball python. Despite being great predators, captive ball pythons are attacked by rodents, and many end up dying horribly every year. Preferably feed your snake a pre-killed rodent or remove the live rodent if it isn’t eaten.
Albino ball pythons are sold at $250-$450 depending on their contrasting shades and age. Hatchlings cost less, and the adults are more expensive.
Where to buy Albino ball pythons
Albino ball pythons are available for sale at your local exotic pet store. Many breeders have a variety of these ball pythons because they are used for breeding new morphs, and they are easy to sell. You can also buy one from a variety of online stores. Ensure the store has experienced breeders and good genetics.
Interesting facts about the Albino Ball Python
Albino Ball Pythons aren’t all white.
Although this snake’s most popular color is the classic white and yellow, other pale variations do exist. Some may even say these variations are more beautiful compared to the classic shades. The snakes include the caramel albino ball python, lavender albino ball python, and the high contrast albino ball pythons.
There also exist other non-white albino pythons.
Albinism in ball pythons isn’t rare.
Albinism in albino ball python morphs is naturally occurring. This rare gene is passed down from parent to child. It isn’t an abnormality; it is just a genetic trait with scientists referring to it as a genetic disorder.
They have another interesting name.
Albino ball pythons are also called amelanistics. Amelanistics simply means they have a problem producing melanin. The name stuck due to their pale light-colored spots and their pink tongue and eyes.
They’re individually unique.
Did you know that no two albino pythons are alike? They are as unique as snowflakes. Their scales are pretty much like our fingerprints, unique and individualized. You can trace an albino ball python anywhere if you have its scale pattern.
Albino ball python enjoys long lives.
In the wild, albino ball pythons can live up to 12 years. In captivity, this ball python lives for an average of 30 years. Your snake is more likely to outlive most of your pets.
Albino ball pythons are pioneers of the recessive gene mutation.
Albino ball pythons were the first proof of a recessive mutation in ball pythons. A recessive gene is one that is dominated by other genes. Despite having recessive gene mutation, breeders were so enthusiastic and excessively indulged in breeding them when they first came to the limelight. When the fever took over, the snakes were all over.
They are up in the designer morph market. A designer morph is a snake bred explicitly by a breeder to produce certain colors and the desired pattern.
They are the best pet for you.
Albino ball pythons are thought to be the best pet for beginners and experts. They are small; therefore, they only need a small enclosure. They are also nonvenomous, adaptable, and docile in nature. They are easy to handle and are unlikely to strike when being fed. Not as common as the regular ball python, albino ball pythons are strikingly beautiful and have a winning attitude.
With their astounding beauty, docile nature, and manageable size, albino ball pythons are, without a doubt, an excellent pet for both experts, beginners, and even children. Their winning attitude and unique coloration make them a very sought after ball python in the market.