With their striking white skin and silvery blue eyes, Blue Eyed Leucistic (BEL) Ball Pythons are a favorite among snake owners. They are considered desirable because of their genetic rarity that creates their unique colorings; BEL pythons are the whitest ball pythons.
So, let’s explore the blue eyed leucistic ball python and figure out everything you need to know.
What is a morph ball python?
The word morph is a contraction of the word polymorphism, a biological term that describes the occurrence of multiple forms or phenotypes that occur within a species. Essentially it is possible for the genes of a species to express multiple traits.
The genetics of ball pythons leads to a dominant or common phenotype, basically, a standard looking or genetically average ball python. Morph ball pythons are the less common genetic variations of ball pythons. Their genetic variation from the standard ball python leads to variations in color and pattern.
What are BEL pythons and how are they created?
The blue eyed leucistic ball python is a rare form or morph of a ball python that has very pale or entirely white skin and light blue, almost silver eyes. They are created as a result of breeding two “morph” ball pythons.
To create a BEL python requires the breeding of specific ball python morphs. It is possible to create a BEL python by breeding the following morph combinations:
- Het Russo ball python
- Lesser ball python
- Butter ball python
- Mojave ball python
Breeding any of these morphs with a standard ball python will not result in a BEL python.
What makes blue eyed leucistic ball pythons special?
There is only a 25% chance of a BEL ball python hatching from an egg created by breeding two of the morph ball pythons listed above. They are considered collectible by snake owners because of their rarity and unique appearance.
Although their skin is pale, they are actually not albino. The lack of pigmentation in their skin is not caused by a deficiency of melanin (the chemical that darkens skin), but by a lack of many different types of pigment. This is known as Leucism and gives the snake its name.
Not all BEL ball pythons are entirely white. Some come with a darker marking on the top of their skull or down their spine. This is caused by the different combinations of varieties of the parents.
Are BEL ball pythons found in the wild?
BEL ball pythons are very rarely found in the wild. Due to the exact circumstances needed to create one, there is a slim chance one will occur naturally in the wild. Breeders often spend years trying to successfully breed them.
Do blue eyed leucistic ball pythons need special care?
Put simply, no. Your blue eyed leucistic ball python will not need any special care beyond that of any other ball python. The only difference they have between other ball pythons is the unique expression of their genes that leads to their uncommon skin color.
To ensure they have the best comfort keep them in a 15-20 gallon terrarium to begin with. As they grow, the terrarium needs to get bigger alongside them, up to 40 gallons for an adult. Try to ensure a climate of 60% humidity and a temperature between 85-91 degrees Fahrenheit.
Feeding your ball python should be done with live or frozen mice. They should be fed once a week and the food should be no bigger than the largest point of their body. Young ball pythons can start on baby mice known as ‘pinkies’ while adults may be large enough to eat rats.
How much do BEL pythons cost?
Because of their rarity and the extra work and luck that goes into creating them blue eyed leucistic ball pythons cost considerably more than a regular ball python. While regular ball pythons can cost between $40 to $80, a blue eyed leucistic ball python can cost as much as $400 to $1000 depending on the breeder.
Getting into the business of breeding blue eyed leucistic ball pythons can be very rewarding as a result of their price. Breeders will actively try and create as many of the variety as they can. Although the demand is there, their supply is limited by the complexity of creating them.
Trying to breed your own blue eyed leucistic ball python can also get expensive. After buying the correct enclosure, you will need to buy two specific varieties of ball python and hope that they breed.
Even with the 25% chance of getting a blue eyed leucistic ball python, your profits may not break even. Don’t let that stop you. If you can afford it, breeding your own blue eyed leucistic ball python can be very rewarding both monetarily and through the tremendous sense of achievement.