Ok so versions 1.0 got locked as it was very far off topic so I got permission from a mod to make a version 2! So here was the original post!
ok so I have a question, so been researching ball python morphs and came to learn albino animals have photophobia, so I understand they are sensitive to light so my question, how sensitive are they? I mean would you notice a difference in behavior like going away from light? and if they are sensitive will they most likely feel pain with large amounts of light? (these are not statements guys don’t attack pls.)
A side note, please don’t get to off topic last thread got locked because ppl were getting super of topic and some were conducting personal attacks. Thanks in advance!
I think the easiest answer is light sensitivity will vary depending on the individual animal.
In general, the albino will be more sensitive because it lacks the pigments to protect them from the rays. Think of us looking up at the sun. It may not feel bad to be under it but it hurts to look at. In most cases, they will change behavior, but again… individual animals react differently. Different species will also react differently. For example a leopard gecko will typically try and get away from the light. An albino iguana may just try to keep it’s eyes squinted or turned away, but less likely to run.
You never want to forcibly expose them to sudden bright direct light for an extended time without letting them have an escape route. I’ve found with my own animals it helps to gradually increase the brightness when needing to handle them instead of that shock. It makes them much less likely to try and flee from the death lasers…in the case of my albino leopard geckos, it also keeps them from immediately squeezing eyes shut so I can’t check on them.
Some albinos will still come out and enjoy basking in a brightly lit area, but again, let them do it on their own terms and make sure they have an escape option. They may just be a little more head to the ground and more easily spooked because they’re not able to keep as good of an eye on things.
I can relate to these little albino critters! I have very pale skin and burn in the shade! Lol! I have always worn sunglasses when I am out in the sun as well because my eyes are extremely sensitive! It makes sense that it might affect some animals as this way as well!
Oh same! I actually break out in a rash before even getting a tan on my worst days. Otherwise I’m constantly squinting sometimes even with sunglasses on.
I do not believe there is “pain” in the manner you may be thinking (I am assuming you are thinking an actual physiological response, something akin to a physical blow to the optic nerve or the like)
The lack of melanin in the eye does not prevent the pupil from contracting down and limiting the amount of light that falls on the retina, that autonomic response does not change.
Based on behaviours observed in other albinistic animals, there may be a slightly exagerated response similar to what you have when you walk from a dim indoor setting out in to full, bright sunshine - a small moment of disorientation but then stabilization. But it is not a long lasting response, maybe a second or two longer than an animal with normal eye pigmentation.
The potential issue is a more an accelerated age-related one. The melanin in the eye protects it from long-term damage from light exposure. Without the melanin, the eye structure is more prone to that damage and so albinistic animals are more prone to developing cataracts and eventually going blind. This has been a very well noted in the Albino alligators and most all of them are blind by four to five years because they sit out in the full blazing sun to bask and their eyes basically suffer chronic sunburn.
With snakes in captivity, if you are keeping in a lighted enclosure you can dial back the light intensity (perhaps half the lighting you would normally use for the cage size) and also be cautious with the amount and intensity of the UV you are using (and again, I will insert my personal opinion that I feel the hobby misuses UV by overuse anyways). Adding extra hide spaces and more substantial hides (fully opaque versus partially opaque or semi-translucent) can also help
All that said, I had an Amel corn that reached 24 years of age and had pretty substantial cataracts by the time he passed and he never seemed bothered by them. He still got around his cage and was able to locate and eat prey items just fine
Now I’m imagining teeny tiny sunglasses for albino herps!