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Morph: Leucistic Black Ratsnake
Eyes: Bluey Grey with a black pupil
Ventrals: Plain pearly white

History: Reports of two WC Leucistic Ratsnakes have been rumored, one from Maryland the other Ohio.
In the early to mid-1980's an unusually coloured male Black Ratsnake was found in the wild in North Baltimore Co. Maryland. It was deep grayish-brown dorsally, with dark red tones, the ventral scales were unmarked except for some reddish and gray suffusion posteriorly. The eyes had an unusual copper tint to the irises. This trait is apparently some form of hypomelanism,and is now generally referred to as the Rusty Black Ratsnake
This snake ended up in the collection of Larry Rouch, formerly of Stafford, VA.
Larry proved the Rusty trait to be codominant, evidenced by F1 offspring exhibiting the trait. The original Rusty was bred to a normal wild caught female. He further discovered that the Rusty trait was linked to leucism as well when he did a Rusty x Rusty breeding and produced leucistics in the clutch.
The first leucistics he had available for around $500-$750 a pair.

Appearance: Hatchlings are born pink, as they mature they turn white. It is not unusual for them to develop a few random coloured scales on the body.

Snakes develop there colour whilst still in the egg approx two weeks before hatching. If you have ever had a hatchling leave it's egg prematurely you will of noticed that it looks very faded compared to a fully developed baby. This is due to the chromophores not having fully migrated from the neural crest to the skin. The neural crest is like a cell nursery and at various points in the embyo's development these cells leave the nursery (neural crest) in waves known as chromatoblasts.
What the leucistic gene does is stop the chromatophores from developing or prevents the chromatoblasts from reaching the dermis (skin).
Leucistic snakes have no melanophores (dark pigment cells), no xanthophores (yellow pigment cells) and only very limited amounts of iridophores (reflective pigment cells) this is why their skin appears white. The eyes get there colour from cells that migrate from the neural tube and not the neural crest (where the body colour cells migrates from). It is because of this independent developmental origin that the eyes are typically unaffected by the genetic cause of Leucism.

The terms leucistic and leucism are derived from medical terminology. The prefix leuc- is the Latin variant of leuk- from the Greek leukos meaning "white"

Leucistic is pronounced loo-kiss-tic
Leucism is pronounced loo-kism

Some (if not all ?) Leucistic Black Ratsnakes are also carrying the Rusty gene, some breeders have reported that breeding Leucistic to Leucistic has resulted in some Rustys in the clutch and others have had Leucistics pop out of a clutch of Rusty x Rusty parents.
It has also been speculated that Leucism in Black Ratsnakes is the 'Super' of the Rusty as this is a Co-Dominate gene. The genetics of this cultivar are complicated it would seem and also not conclusive at this time.

Combinations: Albino Leucistic Black Ratsnake

Other Leucistic Ratsnakes: Leucistic Texas Ratsnake

  • Leucistic
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  • Leucistic Eye
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  • Leucistic Black Ratsnake
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  • Leucistic Black Ratsnake
  • Author: AC Snakes
This site has information on the following genera of Ratsnakes ... Spilotes, Spalerosophis, Ptyas, Zamenis, Elaphe, Rhinechis, Senticolis, Pseudelaphe, Pantherophis, Bogertophis, Orthriophis, Gonyosoma, Oreocryptophis, Oocatochus, Euprepiophis, Coelognathus, Archelaphe