If you love snake pets, then you've probably been to a reptile store, right? There, you may have seen an albino corn snake first-hand and admired to keep one; these snakes are just irresistible. Find in this post all the basics of caring for your albino snake, plus everything else you want to know.
An albino corn snake is a corn snake morph without melanin, a pigment that gives the skin its dark color. Consequently, albino corn snakes have red and white scales. Not only are these snakes eye catching but are also easy to care for and nonvenomous - not to mention their calm personality.
It's All About Melanin"Amelanistic" is the word here. By this I mean absence of melanin. An albino corn snake is therefore an amelanistic corn snake i.e. a corn snake whose skin does not contain melanin. You may want to relate this snake to an albino human. And yes, the two have a parallel in the sense that they lack the said dark pigmentation. While most albino corn snakes have white and red scales, some albino morphs contain shades of yellow and orange.
Red eyes is one of the most fascinating things about amelanistic snakes. Yes, no melanin, not black eyes; that's a fact that need not further explanation. As shiny as rubies; that's how I can describe the eyes of an albino corn snake. The appearance of the eyes, however, can vary between individual snakes. I have time and again seen albino snakes with fiery red eyes. I have seen those with dull dark red eyes too. Occasionally have I come across albino corn snakes with somewhat orange or pink eyes.
Caring for Albino Corn Snakes
Don't have prior experience on keeping snakes? You're not alone. Even the most experienced snake keepers lacked experience at some point. But with albino corn snakes, you don't need to be a very experienced snake keeper in order to keep the reptile happy and healthy. Just a little knowledge about pet snakes would do wonders. This is all thanks to the reptiles' less demanding nature. As a snake lover, I started bringing home this snake species while I was still young. That time I did not have any experience, but I have nothing to regret about given that out of the 7 albino corn snakes I brought home, 6 of them thrived to maturity. I sold 4 and I currently have two. So, when I say that you don't need a lot of experience to keep these snakes, I mean it. Let's now dive into care.
Housing: I use a 40-gallon aquarium, and it works just fine. This holds my adult albino quite comfortably. The logic behind this enclosure size is to allow my snake to stretch fully. Once I acquire an enclosure of this size, I can house my baby snake properly, and I don't have to chance the cage once the snake grows to maturity. Yes, I believe in one-time investment.
What type of material?
The enclosure can either be PVC, sealed wood, acrylic, or glass in nature. Each type of snake cage comes with pros and corns. For instance, glass enclosures allow for proper viewing, but it is heavy and fragile. PVC aquariums are good humidity and heat insulators, but are more on the pricey side of things. Just be sure the cage is well sealed so your snake doesn't escape. Given the slightest opportunity, an albino corn snake can escape, just like any other snake species.
Habitat setup: Albinos love to burrow, and that's why a basic housing setup should include substrate, a water dish, and a hide. For the best treatment of your pet, however, you should rise above what is basic. That said, I recommend (as most snake pet keepers would do), a loose, malleable and easy-to-sift substrate. Some of the best choices include coconut husk, coconut fiber, cypress mulch, aspen shavings. Alternatively, you can use non-glossy newspapers or paper towels.
When it comes to a hide, they are readily available at pet stores, so finding one is not a hassle at all. From hollow logs to rocky caves, you will have endless options to choose from. But don't just stop at what you find at the pet store; you may decide go creative. I have seen my friends coining some really good hides from small plastic containers. "Just ensure the container has at least two holes to allow the snake enter and leave with ease," one of them remarked. For my snakes, I use a rubber tube or a cardboard box, whichever is available. Some of these hides are disposable (think cardboard box), so I usually replace them when it's due.
Note: Provide your snake with at least two hides so that it doesn't get too cold or too hot. Install at least a hide on both sides of the cage (the cool side and the warm side). On top of the substrate and hides, your pet will need a water dish for a dip. Choose the right dish size depending on the size of your snake. If the snake is able to submerge itself, then that will be the right size. Drain the dish, clean it, and refill it with fresh water regularly. I do this every week, and all I can say is that it works. This will eliminate any chances of infection, and your snake will stay healthy.
Handling: I have never come across a snake with such an inquisitive and calm demeanor as an albino corn snake's. The snake loves interacting, and the best time to handle it is in the morning or evening, since that's when the snake is most active. It is no wonder albino corn snakes are described as crepuscular. Rather than restraining your pet (e.g. squeezing or gripping), let your snake move freely over your hand during handling, of course with your support i.e. you should act as a tree. When it comes to hatchlings, the case is slightly different given that these creatures are very small and are yet to get used to the surroundings. Allow them to gradually acclimatize themselves to the world before you can start handling them.
Diet: I feed my albino corn snakes frozen rodents. Yes, frozen because I don't want live rodents to harm my pet. No prey would be caught and swallowed without trying to defend itself with bites or scratches. In the process, the snake may sustain some injury, and that could be a recipe for health issues. In the wild, corn snakes constrict their prey before swallowing it whole. That's because these snakes are constrictors. The prey may include small lizards, frogs, birds, and small rodents, among others.
It's advisable to warm any frozen food before giving it to your albino corn snake. Warm food has good smell and taste. And while you can use your hands to offer food to your snake, you must be careful as the snake may miss the target when trying to strike the prey. A pair of tongs does a far much better job.
The quantity and type of food you give to your snake will depend on its size/age. While a medium-sized mouse is appropriate for adult albino corn snakes, pinky mice suit hatchlings. You can feed your adult and hatchlings every 7 and 5 days respectively. As for juveniles, small mice are appropriate. Juveniles can survive on one mouse a week. A good tip is to gradually adjust the feeding requirements according to the size of your snake.
Why Albino Corn Snakes are Good Pets
In the wild, albino corn snakes can live up to 7 years. That's because there is no one taking care of them, and predation is part of life. In captivity, albino corn snakes can live up to 20 years, of course with good care. This is something to be excited about, given that every pet lover wants a pet with a long lifespan. It is for this reason that these snakes boast a reputation as good pets.
What's more is that albino corn snakes are nonvenomous. Worry not if your pet bites you. You will only feel pain, but nothing more than that. Besides, these snakes are hardly aggressive, and they adapt well to handling. And, there is the beauty aspect. Loved for their unique patterns and vivid colors, albino corn snakes are a great beauty addition to any pet family. Last but not least, the snakes have a simple diet, which is readily available at pet stores. What other good thing would you look for in a snake pet?
Difference Between Common and Albino Corn Snake
The main difference between common and albino corn snakes is the fact that the former has melanin while the latter lack melanin. As such, the two are described as melanistic and amelanistic respectively. Melanin is a dark pigment present in the skin of most animals, and it is what defines dark-colored skins. As such, albino corn snakes are light colored while their common counter parts are dark colored.
Attractive and interactive, albino corn snakes can be a good choice for any snake lover. The snakes are easy to care for, and their diet is simple and easy to find. The fact that they can live up to 20 years in captivity is the icing on the cake. To cap it all, albino corn snakes can only afford dry bites i.e. these snakes are nonvenomous. What a pet!