MOONSHINE RAT SNAKES
These are a VERY newly discovered TRUE locality-specific ratsnake!. The original, extremely pale, off-white "greenish" ratsnake (a natural intergrade Yellow Ratsnake x Black Ratsnake) was captured by a good friend of mine (Jim Godfrey) in June of 2006 in the extreme northeast corner of S. Carolina.
The coined name given to this unique morph evolved over a long period of time, and over this long period, Jim finally decided that this morph would be coined the "moonshine" ratsnake. He decided on this name because of the very distinct dark and light phases of the moon (as in the varying phenotypes of this new mutation (morph).
He captured this snake while preparing to go to work just before the sun came up one morning in a huge wooded swampy area of the state. The snake at the time of capture was just shy of 30 inches in length. As it matured, it began taking on more of a light lavender pattern, and had very faint lavender blotches, as well as slightly darker longitudinal stripes that are also indicative of these ratsnakes pattern. The coloration also began to shift from basically a solid off-white to a light yellow and pink hued coloration. This animals eyes also seemed to be very dark, and not deep red or pink as in amelanistic albinos. This was also verified by the the very well-known snake breeder Don Soderberg, as he saw and handled this snake personally too.
Jim later caught two locality "greenish" rat females that he also captured less than 150 yards from where this original mutant male was found, and I have their EXACT capture locations pin-pointed on "google earth". How's THAT for precise locality data folks?
He later bred this morph male to the two normal "greenish" ratsnake females he later collected in hopes that this was a simple recessive trait that could be inherited, and produce morph offspring in the future. Well, as luck would have it, this trait did indeed prove-out to be a simple recessive one, and he has since produced morphs, as well as heterozygous recessive gene carriers for this genetic mutation. The REALLY bizarre thing about this morph, is that some are extremely light with very noticeably pink pupils, while others are slightly darker with corresponding darker deep ruby-red eyes. Quite an odd thing to see. This newly discovered morph is still very much in it's infancy, so there is still plenty to learn here about what exactly might be going on genetically with these!
Needless to say, this very interesting and newly discovered morph is as locality-specific as it gets!. This is definitely one incredible and unique morph to be included in the herpetocultural hobby in future years!