The Albino Ball Python morph was first produced by Bob Clark Reptiles, in 1992, and was a big contributor to the growing popularity of the species. That may have been a long time ago, but they are still popular today.
The Albino Ball Python is a recessive morph. This means that it has two copies of a recessive mutation for albinism, making it homozygous. The homozygous state is what is needed to visually express the gene. Animals with only one copy of the albino mutation appear normal and are known as heterozygous (“het”).
Albino Ball Pythons have patterning that is almost identical to that of normal Ball Pythons. The difference is all in the colouration.
Albinism of this type is caused by a mutation in a gene which codes for tyrosinase, the enzyme that catalyses melanin production. This is why you will sometimes see people refer to albino Ball Pythons as “T- albinos”.
As a result, this morph completely lacks melanin – the pigment that gives brown and black colouration. In effect, the background is white instead of black, and the dorsal blotches are yellow instead of brown. Just like in albino mammals, the eyes are pink.
Generally, albinos are more striking as hatchlings, then fade to more subtle tones as they get older. There is variation to this, however. In fact, some Albino Ball Pythons have more contrasting tones and striking yellows. These are known as high-contrast albinos.
Does the Albino Ball Python have genetic issues?
Most Albino Ball Pythons do not have genetic issues. The main known issue that comes with albinism is a reduced resistance to UV radiation. In nocturnal snakes, such as Ball Pythons, this is nothing to worry about.
That said, a number of breeders believe that breeding Albino x Albino can lead to birth defects, particularly missing eyes. It is true that I have encountered several Albino Ball Pythons with missing eyes over the years.
Then again, I’ve seen Ball Pythons of many other morphs, and also normal Ball Pythons, with missing eyes.
Recently, I also spoke to a large breeder who regularly breeds Albino x Albino, and says that he has not encountered the issue.
The case may be that missing eyes is one of the more common congenital defects in snakes, and that it is unrelated to any particular morph. Without a long-term, wide-scale breeding study we may never know for sure.
As with any albino animal, it is likely – though not 100% proven – that albino Ball Pythons have poorer vision than normal ones.
Albino is an outstandingly beautiful morph, hence its continued popularity after thirty years of existence. So, if you like albino – like many of us do – you can easily do a project that produces albino offspring, without any other genes in the mix.
For example, you could pair a het. for albino male to an albino female. This would result in roughly half of the babies being visual albinos. It’s this kind of project that is really great if you are a beginner, or just want to do a fun project.
I say this because a male het. for albino is much cheaper than a visual albino, and the unpredictable odds do make things a little more fun. If you’d like to calculate your odds on such projects, I suggest using the genetic wizard on World of Ball Pythons.
If you’re aiming to be a more competitive breeder, on the other hand, I recommend getting some additional dominant/incomplete dominant, or recessive genes into the project.
- Dominant genes like Pinstripe or Leopard will add intensity to an albino’s yellow pigment, and increase its coverage.
- Conversely, incomplete dominant genes like Cinnamon, Black Pastel or Blackhead won’t increase the area of yellow pigmentation – but will greatly increase the contrast it has against the white background.
- Finally, recessive genes will add a huge amount of value to any combination. An albino Clown, for example, will be much more valuable than a simple albino.
Top 5 Albino Ball Python morphs (my choice)
1. High contrast Albino
This is a line-bred morph. What this means is that it isn’t a combination of albino with something else, or even a different type of albino.
Instead, it is an albino that has been selectively bred for clean, contrasting markings that make its yellow pigment stand out nicely from the its white background markings. This can take several generations to achieve.
High contrast albinos are exceptionally beautiful albinos, which in my opinion are worth an extra $50 or so.
Interestingly, you can occasionally produce high contrast babies from average albinos due to the natural variability in Ball Python genetics. This is always a nice surprise!
2. Albino Clown
Albino Clown Ball Pythons are a stunning, dark yellow morph that really is a step up from a simple albino.
First and foremost, the Clown gene intensifies the colour. So much so that some examples of this morph have dark yellow heads, with a slight tinge of green. It’s hard to describe, but Blake, in the picture is a good example when you see him in real life.
On top the obvious esthetic value, Clown also adds monetary value. Add Clown to any breeding project and you will increase the value of the offspring. It really is that simple!
3. Albino Pied
Just like Clown, Pied is an immensely popular and highly valuable recessive gene. It’s difficult to go wrong with it if I’m honest.
Here in the UK, we even have breeders that focus almost exclusively on Piebald combinations.
Where the albino Pied Ball Python differs from the albino Clown is that it is arguably a lot more striking to look at.
The yellow pigment of the albino gene is broken up by bands of pure white, generated by the Piebald mutation. On “high-white” examples this is particularly striking.
The only thing I would say is that adding two recessives to a project can make the odds a little more complicated – think things through before investing. It could be better to spend a little more, and buy a Pied, het. albino male and an albino, het. Pied female, rather than trying to do it with just all het. individuals.
4. Albino Pinstripe
Pinstripe is a dominant gene both in name and in nature. It has an extreme influence on pattern, and is overwhelms other genes when it comes to visual expression.
So, when you add it to albino, you retain 100% of the Pinstripe pattern. What makes this interesting, is that the vast areas of brown pattern take on an orange colour due to the albino influence.
If you really like bright, orange snakes then this is the morph for you!
5. Albino Black Pastel
Combining albino with the incomplete dominant (co-dom) Black Pastel gene does a couple of cool things.
First, it increases contrast. Any morph enthusiast will tell you that increasing contrast is a good thing. Asides from colour, it’s one of the main things that catches the eye.
Second, it alters pattern in a unique way. The blotches along the flanks (alien heads) have white patches inside them, making for nice pattern overall.
These two factors make the morph stand out a lot more than albino on its own.
How much do Albino Ball Pythons cost?
As far as recessive morphs go, Albino is pretty cheap. In fact, you can get a hatchling albino for around $250 – 300 in the US, or £150 in the UK. Females do tend to be a little more expensive, but this is purely because they lay eggs, making them slightly more valuable for breeding.
Whether you go for a male or female, what is certain is that an albino Ball Python will often be cheaper than other recessive morphs available such as Clown or Pied.
Finding Albino Ball Pythons for sale
As with any morph you can find albinos for sale by looking on Facebook pages, Craig’s list, or reptile forums like Ball-Pythons.net. Obviously this is a great way to join a community and sometimes make friends with fellow enthusiasts at the same time.
Overall, however, I would say that going to Morphmarket.com is the safest way to buy. All breeders are subject to certain rules, and you can see the feedback that other buyers have left about them.
Albino Ball Python Summary
|First produced by:||Bob Clark Reptiles, 1992|
|Genetic issues:||None, but sensitive to UV light|
|Goes well with:||Candy, Piebald, Clown, Enchi, Pinstripe, Champagne, Black Pastel, Cinnamon, Blackhead, Pinstripe|
FAQ relating to the Albino Ball Python
Are albino ball pythons friendly?
Albino Ball Pythons are friendly. In fact, they’re just as docile as regular Ball Pythons and will be reluctant to bite in almost any circumstance. Years ago, there was a myth that albino snakes are aggressive, but for the vast majority of species this is not the case. In this case, the genetic mutation that causes albinism seems to have had no effect on temperament.
Are albino ball pythons rare?
Albino Ball Pythons are rare in the wild, but incredibly common in captivity. You can find them for sale, often around the $250 mark, on a regular basis. Though it is true that they are rare in the wild, this mutation seems to crop up more often than others. This is true for all snake species, not just Ball Pythons. It seems the only reason that they remain rare in the wild is that the bright albino colors make them an easy target for predators.
Are albino ball pythons sensitive to light?
Albino Ball Pythons are not exceptionally sensitive to light, but direct UV light can harm their eyes and skin. Because their eyes and skin lack melanin, they have no natural protection from UV radiation. This means that direct sunlight (or even UV bulbs) can damage their eyes and increase their risk of melanoma (skin cancer).