Why do bananas seem to have more orange than albinos?

Why do bananas seem to have more orange than albinos? (at least when they are young)
One would think less melanin in albinos would make more brighter orange.
Or am I wrong?
Not just mine, but what I see on the market.
I know some albino morphs can be a bit more orange, but banana almost always seems more orange.
Or is it just me?
Just for example:-
My basic banana hatchling

My basic albino hatchling



I’ll take a stab here, but from what I understand you’re taking away the production of melanin entirely from an animal when it’s albino. This means no browns/blacks are being produced.

Bananas are still producing melanin, not as much as a normal ball or a pattern affecting morph; but still some. This results in the darker yellows/oranges that eventually turn to brown as the snake ages.

Balls can’t produce red pigment, so nothing like that is going on, but I’m sure we’ve all seen many pattern changing morphs that look very orange in comparison to the usual brown. I’d say this is what’s causing the difference here.


@nswilkerson1 Thanks, that helps a lot and that makes a lot of sense to an artist.
Brown is a kind of very dark red, and black can be red to the extreme darkness…
(or brown can be red and green but not relevant here)
so removing all the black pigment from brown in an albino by could change the orange to yellow.
Is the orange in bananas simply yellow with just a bit of melanin though?
But Yellow and a bit of black usually make darker yellows.
That’s unless the brown in ball pythons is a dark red (and so appearing brown) created with dark red (looking brown) melanin and yellow
Still a little confused. Unless melanin is not black but shades of red to brown if darker with the darkest so brown it looks black.
I suppose that poses the question, whats the base colour of melanin in snakes?.
Any colour thats dark enough appears black.


I’m going to correct myself here and quote @t_h_wyman from a post previously.

“ The colour palette in ball pythons is based on the brown (melanin) and yellow (xanthin) pigments.

The reason the “alien heads” appear as a golden/tan colour is because it is a combination of the yellow and brown pigments being present in the same cells/regions. Imagine if you have a piece of yellow stretch film and a piece of light brown stretch film laid on top of one another and you are looking at a bright light through it. The light looks golden. Remove the brown film and the light now looks yellow (Albino). Remove the yellow film and the light looks a light dingy tan (Axanthic)”

I think that should help!


@nswilkerson1 Again, if melanin is true black (grey to the darkest side) mixing with yellow don’t make orange.
The brown melanin would have to be dark red. So dark it would appear brown or in the extreme appear ‘black’
I’m not arguing with your superior knowledge, just trying to understand.
Maybe im being too much of an artist thinking about how colour works and less of a geneticist.
Edit: on the other hand I may be being dim/ I just could not do that with paint unless the black/brown was created with dark red…
So is melanin very dark red or something else?
Edit 2 thanks for making me think
Edit 3: From what you have taught me, I guess what my new question may be should have been is -
whats the base color of melanin in snakes?


Any colour can become black
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Good question!
Although @nswilkerson1 is right on:

This makes bananas/coral glows a type of a hypomelanistic: meaning less melanin as compared to albino= no melanin.
So you get some of the normal color coming through which can get you these darker shades.

Right on here, I will go one step further and say all ball pythons go through a color change of sorts, that is why you are seeming the beautiful, bright oranges in a hatchling. Unfortunately this will change as it gets older, and it will look more yellow and off white/lavenderish with very little orange. I work with a ton of coral glow and wish the hatchlings would stay so vibrant!! I love to put darker morphs to it, cinnamon, Mojave, Phantom, ect, for even more of the this effect, the bright oranges and sometimes purple looking colors that come through are just incredible in hatchlings!
Here is one of my adult phantom coral glows

Now some saturated with color hatchlings.


I get the different levels of hypo melanistic in banana, toffey, candy , hypo, ghost etc, with albino (or amelanistic being the extreme)
but how do we have orange if the melanin is not dark red based pigment is my question after all these points? is it refraction or something i am missing?
If melanin is pure black (grey to the darkest side) with no red how do we see orange
no combination of true black (grey to the darkest side) and yellow can make orange in art.
again. I may be being to art colour pallet focused.
edit: alternatively, maybe the yellow pigment could have some red in it,
Making it more orange depending on strength its more orange than yellow.


It is because orange is truly a tint of brown.


I think you’re being too literal when it comes to “black” in terms of art, no gene can code for the absence of light or the gray leading to it.

Melanin is various shades of browns, not blacks. Some browns that are so dark they appear black, others very light and tan.

You’re essentially mixing various shades of brown and yellow, to get the colors you’re seeing in all ball pythons.


I think like @nswilkerson1 said more very dark brown - lightest tan brown mixed with the shades of yellow. I understand this doesn’t technically mean orange without a shade of red in it but it may be how our eyes perceive it. Like you mentioned:

I do know there is some iridescent quality to the scales and maybe that comes into play. I do know there is no true red in the color of ball pythons, but a lot of morphs look like there is some type of reddish hue going on.(think some mojave sides, and there used to be a burgundy morph as well, and many others) Also there are many morphs that have real looking orange colors to them, so there has to be a reason we are seeing these colors without true red, unfortunately I don’t have a definitive scientific explanation.


All your questions will be answered by these two videos :wink:


Your basic banana looks more like a pastel?


Thanks, I get it now… eventually :roll_eyes:


Keep in mind albinism is a whole complex phenomenon. Hence why some T negative genes like Lavender look different etc. Along with the Tyrosamine positive stuff (Ultramel, Monarch etc)

There’s multiple types of melamine, xanthophores, etc that are all effected by not only the albinism gene/s, plus polygenic traits. You see more evidence of this stuff in boas, where different Anery, Tneg, Tpos, Hypos etc all look different, let alone the polygenic stuff.

Read even the Wikipedia articles regarding chromatophores, melanin, Tyrosamine, albinism etc. It’s fascinating.


Tyrosinase and protein synthesis.

Considering a banana being hypomelanistic is a stretch. Albino encompasses more than amelanistic.

Quite right its a pastel banana :+1:

So if I think I get it, in, an ‘albino’ is the total absence of Melanin ( brown made from dark red looking brown or black depending how dark) So only yellow pigment remains.

In a partial hypomelanistic, like a banana etc, some of the Melanin (dark red looking black or brown depending on concentration) remains but is lightened to oranges?


There are versions of albinism that have melanin still, especially Tyrosamine positive versions. There are many versions of melanin, we just term it as melanin as if it’s one thing - for instance in humans it’s a type of melanin that creates red hair which I found surprising. Humans have eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin, all with different functions and subdivisions with more specificity.


Yes, the easiest way to explain is that orange is a tint of brown. Without any additional from red pigments, we don’t have to quantify the addition of red into brown. So yellow pigments and brown pigments combining together give you that orange.


Maybe @t_h_wyman can provide a higher scientific explanation in his free time?

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