Rare Albino Rattlesnake Discovered on Farm Might be 'One in a Million'

A Texas ranch owner came across a rare surprise on his property.

'An albino Western Diamondback rattlesnake was discovered in the Texas Hill Country region, according to officials from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The snake was found on a ranch west of Austin. Texas Parks and Wildlife's Hill Country Wildlife estimated the snake to measure between 8 and 10 inches long.

"Here is something you do not see every day," read a Facebook post, which included two photographs of the reptile.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Press Officer Megan Radke said albinism in rattlesnakes is "very rare."

"Biologists will come across it every now and then but it's very rare across rattlesnakes," she told Newsweek.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, the Western Diamondback is the most common venomous snake in Texas. They're found in all parts of the state, with the exception of the easternmost part of Texas. These snakes can average 3 ½ to 4 ½ feet in length, even growing up to 7 feet.

Albino Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
A rare albino western diamondback rattlesnake was found on a Texas ranch owner's property. David Northcott/Getty Images

Typically, the Western Diamondback rattlesnake is brown with diamond-shaped markings down its back with black and white rings on the tail. Radke said an albino Western Diamondback rattlesnake's coloring makes it more vulnerable to potential predators because they're unable to blend into its surroundings.

"Fortunately, true albinism occurs very rarely in the wild," the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department commented. "Some say it happens only once in every hundred thousand births. Others claim it is even more rare — one in a million."

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildlife Diversity Biologist Nathan Rains told Newsweek that albinism makes it difficult for these snakes to reach adulthood.

The Western Diamondback rattlesnake's predators include hawks, feral hog, foxes and some other snakes, like indigo snakes.

He said he's received reports of seeing one or two of these albino snakes each year.

Radke told Newsweek that the landowner called a biologist when the snake was found but ultimately decided to release it back into the wild.

She said due to the rural area of the ranch, the landowner has likely come across snakes before.

"Snakes are all over the place, this is not unusual," Radke said.

She said people are advised to keep their lawns and fields mown and landscaped. People should also make sure their equipment is not laying around because snakes may see it as a place to hide.

The rancher wasn't the only one who stumbled across a venomous snake this week.

On Wednesday, Newsweek reported that a "massive" venomous snake was found beneath an air conditioning unit in an eastern Australian home.

Stuart McKenzie of Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 said he estimated the snake to measure about 5 feet in length.

If someone came across a snake that posed a threat in a more populated area, Radke said an individual may call animal control to remove and relocate the snake. However, she said the best thing for most people to do is to simply leave the snake alone.

Rains said rattlesnakes generally leave people alone as long as they aren't provoked. Rattlesnake bites are rare, and the severity of the bite depends on a person's reaction to it. After seeking medical treatment, someone who was bitten by a rattlesnake typically makes a full recovery.

"They're just as much part of the ecosystem as any other wildlife is," Radke said.