Ball pythons are the most popular pet python on the planet and among one of the most popular choices of pet snake. Though they can seem intimidating to snake newbies, Ball pythons are actually quite shy and easy-going creatures, so their docile nature and manageable size can make them great beginner snakes for first-time owners. Ball pythons also come in a fantastic variety of patterns and color variations – one of which is the rare and beautiful Axanthic ball python.
The Axanthic ball python is one of many morphs of the ball python and is uniquely monochrome in its appearance due to a mutation in its genes. Axanthic ball pythons lack the yellow pigment known as ‘xanthin’ in their genes, which results in the striking color combinations of black, grey, brown and white. Their actual pattern formations are more or less the same as regular ball pythons, which has led some people to describe Axanthics as old black and white photograph versions of the ball python.
If you’re keen to find out more about the Axanthic ball python, read our brief guide to this stunning snake breed below. We’ll take a look at all you really need to know about them including whether or not they make good pets, how dangerous they are as well as cost and shedding habits – we also have some interesting facts about their genetics and other morphs too!
Are Axanthic Ball Pythons Dangerous?
Axanthic ball pythons are not considered dangerous, but owners should be cautious about the potential harm they could cause young children or anyone unfamiliar with snake behavior. Thankfully, ball pythons are too small to constrict humans, even very young children.
However, you should be aware that some pythons may bite in response to stress or fear, and though their bites are too small to cause severe injury, the experience can still be traumatizing and painful.
For this reason, it’s advisable that owners purchase their Axanthic ball pythons from infancy so that they may be trained and well socialized among children and foreign handlers.
How Much Do Axanthic Ball Pythons Cost?
Although Axanthic ball pythons can be bought for as little as $50, their price can vary based on certain factors.
One reason why they may be fairly cheap to purchase is if their color has ‘browned out’ – as Axanthic ball pythons age, they tend to lose their striking monochrome color and develop a brown or muddy grey shade, so they will cost a lot less without their desirable black and white appearance.
Some second-hand pet stores sell Axanthic Ball Pythons at a very cheap rate because they may be sick or carry diseases, so take care to do your research and buy from a highly rated breeder.
Another factor affecting their cost is the sex of the snake, since female Axanthic ball pythons purchased at breeding age can be more expensive, costing around $300 to 500 each.
Designer morphs of the Axanthic ball python will also cause the price to sky-rocket – the ‘Stormtrooper’ designer morph of the Axanthic, for example, has been known to cost around $50,0000 due to its clean, high contrast black and white appearance!
How Big Does an Axanthic Ball Python Get?
Axanthic pythons will reach their adult size at around 3 years of age, and at this time, the male pythons will grow to a maximum of 3.5 feet, while the females can grow a little larger at around 4.5 to 5 feet long.
Are Axanthic Ball Pythons Good Pets?
Yes, Axanthic ball pythons can make great pets, especially for first-time snake owners. Though they will grow to a maximum size of 5 feet, they are a very docile and occasionally timid breed, so their appearance is definitely more intimidating than their personality!
They are also not so large as to pose a significant threat to humans (for instance, too small to constrict) and are generally easy to handle.
Axanthic Ball Python Cool Facts
- Its name comes from the Greek word Axanthic which means ‘lacking yellow’
- Cleopatra wore living ball pythons as bracelets – the Egyptian queen would wear the snakes as jewelry, which is how ball pythons and their morphs became known as ‘royal pythons’.
- They can live up to 40 years or more – the oldest ball python was recorded at 47 years old.
- There are over 5,300 ball python morphs
- They have between 100 and 150 teeth – all ball pythons, including Axanthics, don’t have fangs but instead over 100 triangular-shaped, which are curved to help them hook in their prey.
- They are worshipped by a Nigerian tribe – the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria values ball pythons in all their forms, as they are considered symbolic of the earth. The Igbo tribe allows the snake to roam freely in their villages and if one dies, they hold a funeral for them and even craft a snake-sized coffin.
Axanthic Ball Python Genetics
The monochrome color, or the lack of the ‘xanthin’ pigment in Axanthic ball pythons is down to a recessive gene. This means that for a ball python to become Axanthic, there need to be two of these Axanthic genes in their gene pairing of their parents that determines the color pigmentation. For example, an albino snake will only become albino because both gene pairs contain the recessive albino gene.
Recessive genes are usually overpowered by the dominant gene, but in the case of Axanthic ball pythons, they have two recessive Axanthic genes that win over the dominant gene.
For example, one parent snake may have a green dominant gene, but if the other parent gene pair has two Axanthic genes, their baby ball python will not show a hint of green – only beautiful monochrome!
How Rare are Axanthic Ball Pythons?
Axanthic ball pythons are considered to be very rare, but not because they are laboratory-bred ‘designer’ snakes. Because Axanthic ball pythons are a base morph snake, they can actually be found in the wild.
Breeding Axanthic Ball Pythons
In order to successfully breed Axanthic ball pythons, both of the ball pythons need to possess the recessive Axanthic genes. Breeding should never be done by crossing one snake line with another – it should only be done intra-line.
A reputable, high-quality breeder will follow a carefully regulated breeding program that includes things like creating a temperature-controlled mating environment, ensuring both mating partners have adequate food and introducing a second Axanthic male python to provoke the original male to mate if no interest has been shown.
Breeding Axanthic ball pythons to a safe and high quality standard is vital. If done improperly, health complications can arise for the offspring, which is why it’s so important to buy from a trusted breeder in the ball python community.
Axanthic Ball Python Shedding
Axanthic ball pythons tend to shed their skin every 4 to 6 weeks and they will usually show three signs that their shedding is due to begin:
1. First, their stomach will turn pink
2. Secondly, their skin will take on a much duller appearance
3. Lastly, their eyes will start to appear milky and opaque. Within the 36 hours that follow, your Axanthic ball python should begin shedding and their eyes will clear up.
Note that their enclosure will need to be misted down regularly to help facilitate their shedding. Ball pythons can shed with more ease if the humidity levels are maintained properly in their cage.
To further help facilitate their shedding cycle, you can also move their water bowl closer to the heat source in their cage. If their shedding appears incomplete, you can help them shed the remaining skin by soaking them in shallow water for two hours.
Most Popular Axanthic Ball Python Morphs
Breeders of Axanthic ball pythons have created many exotic and striking looking morphs, but below are a rundown of some of the most popular designer morphs of the Axanthic ball python:
Red Axanthic BP – these Axanthic ball pythons are not truly red in color, but they are as close to this pigment as you are likely to find with this breed. This morph has a tan or mahogany colored body with a reddish hue.
Black Axanthic BP – As the name suggests, the bodies of these Axanthic ball python morphs are almost entirely black, with only the slightest hint of the usual pattern formation beneath.
Axanthic Clown BP – Like real-life clowns, it’s quite hard to miss these Axanthic Clown ball pythons. These morphs have strikingly dark dorsal stripes all over their body, creating an almost stripey, monochrome circus tent look!
Stormtrooper BP – as mentioned earlier, these Stormtrooper Axanthic ball python morphs are one of the highest price-tag morphs and are named after the Star Wars Stormtrooper characters due to their pure and sharp black and white contrast, with no grey or brown in sight.
Super Pastel Axanthic BP – this morph may not be as colorful as ‘super pastel’ suggests, but it is covered in gorgeously subtle and soft shades of grey in contrast to its stark black and white pattern.
Axanthic Albino BP – with all the gorgeous patterned detail of the ball pythons but none of the pigmentation, Axanthic Albino ball pythons are fleshy pink or white in their coloring with red eyes and may occasionally have a yellow underside.