Albino Burmese Python
Species: P. bivittatus
Common Names: Burmese Python
Pythons eat birds and mammals, using a process called constriction. They wrap their body around their prey and squeeze until the creature succumbs. Though it is often assumed that the prey suffocates or is crushed, the truth is that constriction cuts off the animal’s blood flow and the cause of its death is a lack of oxygen to its vital organs.
Pythons are nocturnal, meaning they hunt and are active primarily at night. They live in the rainforest and spend their life on the ground and in trees when younger and smaller, but prefer to dwell mainly on the ground as they increase in size.
Burmese pythons reproduce in spring. Females lay eggs and will stay with them until they hatch. After the babies are free from their eggs, the mother no longer takes care of them and they must fend for themselves.
The “albino” color morph of the Burmese python is popular among reptile enthusiasts. It features a cream colored body with yellow or orange blotches, as opposed to the snakes more natural dark brown coloration. Though it is commonly called albino, these pythons are more accurately called “amelanistic”, as they lack the pigment melanin. Most true albino organisms are all white with red eyes. Many mammals that only produce color through the pigment melanin can be both albino and amelanistic, but reptiles produce color through other pigments, so removing melanin still leaves the snake with yellowish and orange pigment.
Though captive breeders can selectively breed these snakes for size as well as color, in the wild the Burmese python can reach nearly 20 feet in length and weigh up to 200 lbs.
Burmese pythons have a long history as pets, due to their relatively calm temperament. However, their growth rate and adult size is often underestimated, and they can outgrow many traditional enclosures and require specialized care. They can also potentially be dangerous, and may bite or constrict unwary handlers.