As Halloween gets nearer, everyone is thinking about pumpkin pies. But have you ever seen anything as beautiful as these rare piebald ball pythons with their unusual markings that appear like jack o’lanterns right on their skin?
Redditor rsantos11 posted an image of a really beautiful albino piebald ball python known as a pumpkin pied python and is specifically bred for these characteristics. Breeder Brian Stewart also shared photos and video of his beloved pumpkin pied.
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.