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 Post subject: White Cobra gives birth to 13 in zoo
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:42 am 
White Cobra gives birth to 13 in zoo

The Island 28JUNE2005
by Ifham Nizam

For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka, an Albino Cobra (Naja naja) pair at the Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela had given birth to 13 pure Albino snakes.

The Wildlife Heritage Trust (WHT) Wildlife Researcher Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi told The Island yesterday: "This may be the first time in the world that Albino Cobras had given birth in the captive breeding."

He said that it was a remarkable achievement by the zookeepers and commended effort by the Zoological Gardens Director to provide adequate facilities to such wonders to take place.

Kelum, who is a frequent visitor to the zoo, said that both parents were brought to the zoo from the Piliyandala area as juveniles in 1997.

He said that white Cobras and albinos are common in Bellanwilla, Boralesgammuwa and Piliyandala.

Asked whether the parents were a brother and a sister, he said that it is quite possible that they were from the same family.

He said that at the earlier stages the parents were fed with white mice and white rat sucklings. When they reached maturity, they were fed with white mice and chicken. Later they were transferred to the display cages.

In December, last year they mated in the display cage. In April, this year the female laid 20 eggs, which was carefully observed by Reptiles Supervisor Premasiri Peiris.

Later, Peiris separated the eggs from the parents and put them in clay pot filled with soil.

He put the eggs in an area where the direct sunlight is less effective; however, he kept on spraying water on the eggs on and of to prevent them from being drying out.

From June 16, he noticed young snakes coming out, however, he also found that seven eggs were spoiled.

Kelum says that all these eggs were pure white and oval shaped, 54 millimetres in length and a width of 30 millimetres. All the young's are one foot in length.

He said scientifically it was not possible to have all these sucklings born as albinos, unless it was from the third generation.

"That is when albino parents mate for the first time they would get all colours of cobras from black to pale brown, then the second generation of the albinos will also have the similar results but the third generation will have only genuine albinos - Pure white snakes with red eyes," he added

 Post subject: Albinism in snakes
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:42 am 
Albinism in snakes

As more and more snakes are bred, the concept and the definition of the word "albino" has changed.

When albino snakes first began being bred, back in the 1970s, one of the pioneer snake breeders and a man eminently qualified to speak on this particular subject, Dr Bernard Bechtel published his opinion that it would be better to refer to "albino" snake as "amelanistic." Of course, "amelanistic" means "without melanin." From that, most people began to define albinos as snakes that were without melanin.

Of course, amelanistic is an apt description of tyrosinase-negative albinos, most often called "t- albinos" or "normal albinos." For those of you who are lost here by all the references to "t" this and "t" that, the "t" stands for "tyrosinase." Tyrosinase-negative albinos have a defect in the gene that supplies the blueprint for the manufacture of an enzyme called "tyrosinase."

Back when the world was young and we all were seeing albinos for the first time, t-negative albinos were pretty much all that were recognized.

Tyrosinase is an enzyme that catalyzes the first two steps in the creation of melanin. Step one takes the amino acid "tyrosine" and turns it into a compound called "dopa" and step two turns dopa into dopaquinone.

The dopaquinone, itself an opaque black compound, is then taken through a multi-step process with each step being regulated and catalyzed by a different enzyme, until finally the end result is the opaque and inert black pigment we all think of as melanin.

A t- albino does not have functional tyrosinase and therefore it is not able to initiate the manufacture of black melanin. But it turns out that dopaquinone is also a precursor building block in the creation of other pigments as well.

There are a number of other tyrosine-based melanin-related pigments that are not created in the absence of tyrosinase. Most "melanin-related pigments" are not well known and few have names. An example of one that has been identified is "phaeomelanin."

Phaeomelanin is the melanin that gives blood pythons their red color. [That's why t+ albino blood pythons are called "red-albinos."


Albino snakes galore!

by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi

For the first time, ten Albino Cobras (pure white) have been born at the National Zoological garden, Dehiwala marking a significant event in the history of the Zoo.

"This is an Albino condition of the normal cobras," a Zoological Gardens spokesman told the Daily News adding that this condition develops when the recessive genes dominate in cobras.

According to K.E. Abeysiriwardena, the Zoo's Curator who counts 18 years experience in the field says this female cobra had laid 21 eggs out of which 12 offspring came out. Later two had died and 10 others are now in good health.

The parent snakes of these offspring are also white. They have been brought to the Zoo three years back after being caught at a shrub jungle in Piliyandala. "This is their first offspring. If the parent cobras are 100 per cent white, the off-spring also become white," he added.

Abeysiriwardena says Piliyandala is well-known for this kind of snakes and similar types have been found from that area.

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