Albino Milk Snake

Albino Milk Snake: Meet The Pink-Eyed Serpent!

Albinism affects all animals, including the unsightly invertebrates. There are white lions, white crocodiles, white kookaburras, white kangaroos, and colorless monkeys. Ever heard of white or mostly white snakes? Well, meet the albino milk snake then. They are simply stunning!

Though they face a number of disadvantages in the wild, they are super popular as pets. However, looking for albino milk snakes in the wild is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack since they are extremely rare. If you are thinking about getting one, keep reading till the end!

Albinism In Snakes: Mystery Behind The Extraordinary Beauty!

Albinism is a genetic condition that certain snakes are born with, and this is not visible only in reptiles, but also in mammals, amphibians and birds. This condition is caused by a recessive gene that reduces or stops melanin production in animals. Albinism can occur in humans too. However, In this article, albinism in snakes and how it affects the snake’s life will be explored.

Melanin is responsible for making certain parts of the body, like hair, fur, feathers, skin, pupil of the eye, or patterns on a snake’s body, dark or black in appearance. Absence or reduced presence of melanin in the body causes the body-parts mentioned above to look yellow, pink, or milky white in appearance. The animal which has this condition is called an albino.

Melanin is not the only pigment that causes coloration in animals. There are specialized cells called chromatophores in different classes of animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates, that give the body parts their color. Melanin is categorized under a group of cells called ‘melanophores’. Other than this, there are ‘xanthophores’ that provide yellow pigmentation, or ‘cyanophores’ that cause blue coloration in certain amphibians and fish.

Albino Milk Snakes: Physical Appearance, Behavior & Quality Of Life

Albino Milk Snakes Physical Appearance

Source: @singh_exotics

Milk snakes belong to the Lampropeltis genus and are known for their vibrant tri-banded appearance. They all have black-colored heads, and possess black-red-white crossbands all over their body. However, albino milk snakes, due to their inability to produce enough melanin, have no black crossbands at all, and have other subdued colors in their place.

Albino milk snakes typically undergo four color phases. Color change may occur or they may remain in one color morph all their life. The first one is the common tri-colored morph of the pattern orange-yellow-white, but as they age they become more yellow and white.

The second phase contains 4 colored bands of the colors red, orange, yellow and peach. The third phase contains albinos that have tri-colored bands when they are born that slowly fuse and become bi-colored within the first two years of their life. The fourth phase contains the Tangerine albinos that are the brightest out of the four, though they are more peach than tangerine.

Albino Honduran Milk Snake

Known by the scientific name Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis, Honduran milk snakes are beautiful serpents that are non-venomous colubrids. Classic Honduran milk snakes possess bright red color as their dominant feature, with intermittent black and white crossbands. The red bands are much wider than the other two. They also flaunt an orange head with deep dark stripes or markings. However, their albino counterparts look way different.

Albino Honduran Milk Snake

Source: @chaz.snakesnadders

Appearance: Honduran milk snakes have varieties of morphs formed via hybridization and genetic mutation, either naturally or within controlled situations. Some of these morphs exhibit albino characteristics. They are superbly adorable to look at and keep as pets. Let’s look at the morphs one after another and explore the nuances between them that make each quite unique!

  • Two-Headed Albino Honduran: The first albino Honduran milk snake morph that we will discuss is the phenomenal two-headed albino Honduran milk snakes! Yes, this snake really has two heads fused together at the necks, with each head having the ability to move independently. Birth of two-headed Honduran albinos are rare, and a couple of them were born in Florida and North Carolina.
    Two-headed albino Honduran milk snakes have a color that mimics the flesh of salmon fish– a pinkish-orange that will melt your heart. There are no black crossbands and the two heads are glossy-white, with light orange and pink markings. There are white crossbands with zig-zag edges, and in place of black crossbands, there are dull yellow to orange ones. The orange crossbands are the widest.
  • Other Albinos: Apart from the salmon colored two-headed albinos, there are some more morphs of Honduran milk snakes. One has red-white-orange-white pattern of crossbands, with orange markings on their white snout. There are completely white Honduran milk snake morphs called Snow Hondurans. They possess pink eyes.
  • Diet: All milk snakes, including albino Honduran milk snakes, usually go for rodents like mice, rats and voles, including small amphibians, birds, bird eggs, and other snakes. They do not have long fangs or venom, so they subdue their prey by constriction. They use their tiny teeth to grasp the prey, then coil around the prey to suffocate it, before swallowing them.
    Albino Honduran milk snakes are rarely found in nature, but like other milk snakes, they love to be around water, gulping down this sweet drink with the help of their tongue. Feeding two-headed Honduran milk snakes may be difficult because the two heads might fight for one piece of food, and they cannot be fed separately either. Not to forget, milk snakes are ophiophagous, so there is always that danger that one head might attack the other.
  • Habitat: The tropical and subtropical climate of the Island of Honduras, the north-eastern parts of Costa Rica, and Nicaragua are home to the beautiful Honduras milk snakes. Deciduous woodlands and grasslands, mountains and valleys of these areas are ideal places for these snakes to forage and grow in. Prairies and places near to freshwater sources are their favorite.
  • Behavior: Milk snakes are usually nocturnal especially during the summer time. They are not aggressive at all and usually hide for cover when attacked or threatened. Two-headed Honduran albinos are, under no condition, lesser than other milk snake subspecies. They are superbly active, feisty, and in captivity, they try to climb up terrarium walls all the time.
    The two heads of the two-headed albinos may try to go in different directions but they manage somehow. However, albino milk snakes may have ‘photophobia’ or extreme sensitivity toward light, especially natural light, because they cannot produce enough melanin. In captivity, they should be protected from direct sunlight to prevent any skin burn or eye damage.
  • Reproduction: Honduran milk snakes are oviparous meaning they lay anywhere between 3 and 18 eggs per clutch. Their breeding season continues between April and September. Albino milk snake hatchlings look exactly like their parents and could be between 7 and 8 inches long. Two- headed Hondurans hatching out from the eggs is very rare. There is a thin chance of one out of every 400 eggs that the hatchling may be a two-headed Honduran!

Nelson Milk Snake

Nelson milk snakes are born albino, and all their morphs are albino. They are one of the most cutest looking snakes around and quite popular as pets. Let’s get introduced to them!

Albino Nelson Milk Snake

Source: @avareptile_palu

  • Appearance: Nelson milk snakes have the scientific name Lampropeltis triangulum nelsoni. Their subspecies name has been given after the late honorable Edward W Nelson who used to be the chief for the US Biological Survey in the early 1900s. These snakes could grow between 3 and 4 feet in length, with some morphs growing even longer. They are quite slender in width.
    Albino Nelson milk snakes have the most amazing colors on their body! The classic look contains orange-white-yellow-white crossbands in that order. Within the white crossbands, there are faint yellow outlines where the black crossbands should have been. Heads are glowy-white with orange or pink markings. Eyes are pink in color. Red-yelllow-white-yellow pattern albino Nelson milk snakes also exist, with the red and the yellow contrast being truly mesmerizing!
  • Diet: Nelson albino milk snakes can glide on terrains, as well as swim in freshwater habitats, and even climb trees. In the aquatic habitats, they mainly feed on lizards and amphibians. On the drier grounds, they like to constrict prey like mice and rats and suffocate them to fatality. They have cannibalistic tendencies so can hunt down and feed off of the flesh of other snakes.
  • Habitat: Nelson milk snakes are found in Mexico, in places like Guanajuato, the Tres Marias Island, and Jalisco. There are lots of wetlands, grasslands, and mixed hardwood forests in these areas where the dwelling places of these snakes lie. Agricultural lands and freshly cultivated lands are also the lair of these beautiful albino milk snakes.
  • Reproduction: Spring and summer season witness the breeding time of Nelson milk snakes. Bushy and tree-covered areas, with nearness to water sources, are the perfect egg-laying sites of these albino snakes. Around 15 eggs can be laid per clutch, and the snakelets look like small versions of their parents. Like their parents, they do not possess any black crossbands.

Albino Sinaloan Milk Snake

Sinaloan milk snakes are another gorgeous subspecies of the Lampropeltis genus. In this segment we are going to take a look at its classic and albino morphs. Let’s jump right in!

Albino Sinaloan Milk Snake

Source: @reptile_haven_official

  • Appearance: Sinaloan milk snakes are originally a brightly colored subspecies of milk snakes with deep red or scarlet crossbands making most of its elongated form. These vibrant species also have black and yellow crossbands at regular intervals between the red crossbands. The red bands are much wider than the other two. The head has all three colors on it.
    Sinaloan milk snakes have a variety of albino morphs. Two most notable ones include the T-Minus and the T-Positive albino morphs. T-Minus albino Sinaloan milk snakes look a lot like the salmon-colored versions of Nelson and Honduran albino milk snakes. In the T-Minus one, a little bit of black pigmentation is visible in the form of purple crossbands. In this morph, some melanin is produced but not enough for the crossbands to appear black.
  • Diet: This variety of milk snakes frequent dry and moist areas, and are semi-arboreal as well. They mostly feed on rodents but would occasionally gorge on little songbirds and bird eggs. Small-sized amphibians, lizards and other snakes are also preyed on from time to time. They are non-venomous constrictors, and have no fangs or poison in their mouth.
  • Habitat: The state of Sinaloa in the north-western part of Mexico finds the home of the Sinaloan milk snakes. A moderate climate, and the presence of mountains and forests have provided an ideal habitat to these snakes to forage and grow in. During the day, they rest within rock crevices and under vegetation. They become active when the sun goes down.
  • Behavior: Like most other milk snakes, Sinaloans are secretive by nature. They are not aggressive at all and will rarely bite. Neither are they confrontational when they are disturbed but will usually seek cover to protect themselves. Milk snakes are known to mimic the tail-beating behavior of rattlesnakes and emit musky scent to keep predators away.
  • Reproduction: May and June is the time when potential mates copulate. A distinct courtship behavior can be observed where the males follow around one female using the pheromone trail that she leaves behind. Repetitive tongue-flicking action is also visible. A couple of months after copulation, around 5 to 15 eggs are laid. They sometimes breed twice in the same year.

Effect Of Albinism On Snakes: The Good Sides And The Bad Sides

One of the most adverse effects of albinism on animals is the reduced presence or complete absence of melanin from the iris, retina and optic nerves, which leads to abnormalities in eye development. The snake may face trouble focusing or perceiving depth. Albino snakes have pink eyes as the blood vessels become more visible due to the iris being white instead of being black. Furthermore, exposure to sunlight may cause a lot of discomfort to the albino critters.

UV rays from the sun may affect the scales and skin of the snake because their body lacks melanosomes that protect their body from harmful radiation. Also, the vibrant white color of these snakes may make them conspicuous in a wildlife setting which usually has a green and brown color dominance. Albino snakes thus tend to remain hidden most of the time in nature.

The two-headed albino milk snakes, mentioned previously, are actually twins that failed to separate, much like conjoined twins. This condition of having two heads is called bicephaly.

They may or may not have double internal organs, and in the wild, for the reasons mentioned above, they may not live long. But under human care and supervision, they may thrive.

How To Take Care Of Albino Milk Snakes At Home

Taking Care Of Albino Milk Snakes

Source: @froths_reptiles

Albino milk snakes should be handled with a little bit more care and love than you would normally do for other milk snakes. They are sensitive to light because of their inability to produce sufficient melanin in their body, therefore make sure not to place the terrarium very close to windows where sunlight streams through. Also avoid excessive heating and humidity.

Give plenty of hiding places, like caves and plants, for the milk snake to snuggle into. Place a large water bowl on one corner of the substrate so that it can drink water and soak itself in it whenever required. The substrate should be at least 2 inches thick made up of artificial materials, aspen wood chips, or corn and coconut fibers. Even crumpled up newspapers work.

Baby albino milk snakes could be housed in a 10-gallon enclosure, whereas for the adult ones, you may decide between 20 to 70 gallon tanks. The cool side should have 75 to 82℉, and the warm side should be maintained between 80 and 85℉. 40 to 60% humidity should be maintained by a digital hygrometer. Moss helps retain moisture so could be included.


Albino milk snakes might not have the best of luck in the wild, but out here, in the human world, people love and cherish them. If you have the same thought in mind, take a look at these FAQs.

Q: How do you identify an albino milk snake?

Ans: In classic milk snakes, the head is black and there are black crossbands on their body. But in albino milk snakes, due to reduced presence or absence of melanin, their heads are glistening white and they do not have black crossbands. Also, their eyes are pink or red.

Q: Do albino milk snakes have a shorter life span?

Ans: Yes, they end up getting preyed on quickly. The ones living in the wild are quite vulnerable to predators because of their white color which makes them appear conspicuous. The two-headed albino milk snakes have trouble coordinating between themselves and are under a lot of risk in the wild. However, captive-breds will survive much longer.

Q: Does albinism affect only Honduran milk snakes?

Ans: No, albinism can affect any subspecies of milk snakes anytime. The chances of an albino milk snake being laid is very thin though.


Albino milk snakes are quite different from other milk snakes. Other traditional looking milk snakes have red, black and white bands, black tails and black heads. However, milk snakes with albinism cannot produce the black pigment melanin so appear whiter than usual.

Albino milk snakes have yellow or pink color in place of black. They lack black crossbands and black tails. Their heads are also pearly white instead of black. They face a hard time in the wild due to being extremely visible to the predators, but to humans, they are a prized possession.

Hi dear readers! This is Rebecca, the lead analyst and blog writer for Snake Insider. Following in the footsteps of David’s guided path, I feel highly encouraged to make the most interesting snake-facts to a mass audience! In due time, I believe we’ll be able to present some jaw-dropping insight on snakes that’s sure to leave you begging for more! Personally, I’m a strongly motivated person to explore the most extreme environments should my work demand it. In many cases, I’ve ventured deep into territories that were never considered certain snake habitats and brought back necessary information. Rest assured I’ll surely be sharing them with you over the course of time.

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