What Is an Albino Kingsnake?

Erin J. Hill

An albino kingsnake generally refers to a California kingsnake which has a genetic mutation preventing its exterior from producing melanin. This prevents the typical dark colors in most kingsnakes from appearing, giving the albino kingsnake a light appearance. Unlike certain other albino species, namely mammals, it does not appear totally white but is more of a pale yellow color with white stripes. They are often kept and bred as pets.

Albino kingsnakes generally do not bite unless provoked.
Albino kingsnakes generally do not bite unless provoked.

The albino kingsnake occurs naturally in the wild on rare occasions, but they do not typically survive well into adulthood. This is because most kingsnakes rely on their coloring to effectively camouflage them from predators, as well as to keep them hidden from prey during hunting. The light yellow coloring of the albino snakes make the juveniles an easy target for hungry birds and mammals looking for a meal.

Albino kingsnakes are known for their solid white coloring.
Albino kingsnakes are known for their solid white coloring.

In captivity, however, the albino kingsnake has become a widely sought pet. They are bred specifically to produce more snakes with this mutation. Albino snakes are sometimes harder to find than normal kingsnakes, and thus, they may cost more money to purchase. Many pet stores carry them, or they can be bought from reputable breeders.

The albino kingsnake, as well as other kingsnakes, are relatively docile in nature. They generally respond well to frequent handling by humans and generally do not bite unless provoked. Kingsnakes usually grow to be between two and four feet (0.61to 1.22 meters) long. Most times they are relatively easy to care for because they are generally low maintenance when compared to other pets.

Kingsnakes require a secure cage so that they cannot escape, as well as a box or artificial cave where they can hide during the day. The cage will need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that fecal matter and other materials are properly removed for the health of the animal. Kingsnakes eat rodents, like small mice, as well as birds and even other snakes. Most kingsnakes need to be fed at least once per week, although instructions may be given by the breeder on proper feeding or books can be purchased on snake care.

The albino kingsnake typically breeds easily and readily in captivity. They are usually between two and three years of age when breeding behavior begins, and six or more offspring may result each time. Selling kingnakes may be profitable, but it is important that breeders act ethically by ensuring the health of all offspring and parent snakes as well as by obtaining any necessary legal licensing if applicable.

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