Rare Python Has a Pumpkin Patch Growing on Its Skin

Piebald Ball Python

Photo: reddit

As we step into autumn, everyone has pumpkin on the brain—from pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes. But what about a pumpkin skinned snake? These rare piebald ball pythons have unusual markings that appear like jack o'lanterns right on their skin.

It can take years of selective breeding before the serpents come out with the perfect pumpkins, making them highly valued pets for reptile lovers. Piebald animals have a pattern of pigmented spots surrounded by unpigmented—white—areas. And it doesn't just happen with ball pythons. More commonly, the effect is seen in horses, cattle, dogs, birds, and pigs. The underlying cause is a sort of leucism, which is a lack of pigmentation that also accounts for the pale tigers and white giraffes that have appeared lately.

Breeding piebald snakes is not easy, as the coloration of the parents doesn't guarantee the coloring of the offspring. For instance, just because a female snake is 90% piebald, it doesn't mean her children will be—hence the years of trial and error to get the perfect pumpkin patch result.

And while people often consider ball pythons a “beginners” snake, think twice before making your purchase. The non-venomous constrictor can live 25 to 30 years and grow up to 4.5 feet long. They also need to be maintained at the proper temperature and humidity in addition to being fed fresh or frozen mice once a week. And while they can be handled—their docile nature is one of the reasons they're considered a good pet—doing so excessively can place unnecessary stress on them. Be sure you are prepared to take on the work before letting one into your home.

Piebald ball pythons are selectively bred for years to obtain a pumpkin patch pattern on the skin.

Piebald Ball Python

Photo: Eclipse Exotics (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Another breed that gets us in the fall mood is the Red Cornsnake, whose orange and red hues match closely with the season.

Corn Snake

Photo: Josh More

Corn Snake

Photo: Josh More

h/t: [reddit]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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