INTRIGUING FACTS ABOUT SNAKE MORPHS
What are snake morphs? You may ask. The term is commonly used to refer to snakes that look different from the common snakes but are of the same species. For example, a spider ball python and an albino ball python have coloration and pattern morphs of the same original species of snake.
Different types of snakes are used by the breeders to create morphs of different colors. For example, the albino mutation is where the animal produced lacks coloration almost wholly. There are snake species that are commonly used to produce Morphs. For Example Ball Pythons, Kingsnakes and Corn Snakes. The snakes that are generated from this process are mostly kept as pets.
HOW SNAKE MORPHS ARE CREATED
As explained above a snake morph is as a result of combining different species of snakes to come up with a snake that is of varying color and skin patens. So how exactly are they created? A breeder identifies the kind of snake that they intend to produce morphs from. They go to a great extent of importing the species they need at whatever cost so long as they are able to achieve the desired result.
Remember you don’t have to be a scientist for you to become a breeder. If you desire to get, let us say for example an albino ball python you have to breed it from an albino parent. The end result is a hot albino ball python. This tells you that it has albinism traits which it has inherited from the parent.
You can also take two morphs of different coloration, for example, one snake has a black pattern and another that does not have black. If crossbred, they will produce snake morphs that either lacks the black coloration or one that has it.
THE CORN SNAKES
They are among the most commonly bred non-venomous snakes in the United States. They are widely found in the southwestern part of the United States. The Name corn is derived from its color pattern on its belly that resembles the kernel pattern on the Indian corn. Another explanation is that the name relates to the fact that the corn snake is commonly found in corn and other crops.
Another name for corn snakes is red rat snakes due to their reddish-orange or reddish brown color. Their bellies are white and are checked with black. It’s not surprising to find corn snake morphs with orange patterns on them, and often they also have two black stripes under their tails. They make excellent pets for those that are interested in snakes, especially children.
Well, what is the standard size of corn snakes? They are known to be slim and are between 18 to 44 inches long.
They can angle their scales out to have a perfect grasp of the bark of the tree. This enables it to climb and sit on trees for long periods. Their heads are described as ‘spear shaped blotch”, their lips have dark vertical bars, their iris is red or orange, and they have round pupils.
AS FOR ITS SHELTER
As for its shelter, it’s good to ensure your corn snake morph lives in a spacious place. Whatever you decide to use, be it a tank or cage provided it’s large enough for your snake to grow in. Make sure the top is secure since they don’t enjoy being in captivity and will escape at any given a chance.
Keep the living quarters warm, and it should have a hiding place. Fill the living quarters with plants to keep your corn snake comfortable. Avoid using sand as its beddings as it can cause congestion when it enters their nostrils. Note that the plants you use should not be live as the fertilizer in the soil is harmful to the snake. For beddings rocks and treated wood that is available in pet shops is recommended.
TYPES OF CORN SNAKE MORPH
THE ALBINO CORN SNAKE
It’s called albino due to its lack of pigmentation. It lacks melanin which is responsible for the dark color in animals. In corn snakes, albinism means that the snake has any combination of these colors, orange, pink, red, white and yellow. Their eyes are either red-orange or white in color. It is also referred to as an amelanistic corn snake due to lack of melanin.
THE OKEETEE CORN SNAKE
The Okeetee snake morph is also known as Abbott’s Okeetee Corn snake. It has thick black borders on there back as well as very bright colors in general. The blemishes and the scale color are separated by the dark edges. It’s a favorite of many snake pet lovers. The Okeetee snake morph starts out very small but can grow up to 5.5 feet in length. The Okeetee snake got its name from Hunt Club in Jasper County, South Carolina in The U.S. This is also where it originates from.
THE ANERYTHRISTIC CORN SNAKE
This snake morph completely lacks the red pigmentation. Its scales don’t have the red color, and so they are a mixture of black, grey and white colors. Occasionally there is some hint of the brown pigment too. Some of this snake morphs will have a shade of yellow around the jawline.
THE LAVENDER CORN SNAKE
The lavender corn snake is as a result of breeding snow corn and a wild female snake. It was first produced in the 1980s. Its dark grayish to light pastel lavender.
BLACK CORN SNAKES
They are of the anerythristic corn snake type. This means that they lack the pigment erythrin which is known to produce yellow and red pigments. They are gray and black.
Corn Snake Morphs look like copper heads. Most people confuse them with copperheads, and this has led to the killing of the corn snake. The copperheads have hourglass markings while corn snakes have random and blotchy markings. The copperheads belly is not a black and white checked.
THE BALL PYTHON SNAKE
The ball python snake is also referred to as the royal python. It originates from sub-Saharan Africa. It is a non-poisonous constrictor snake. It is smaller in size compared to most African pythons. Its small size and docile temperament have made it famous in the snake pet trade.
The name ball python comes from the fact that the snake likes to curl itself into a ball. On the other hand, the name royal python is derived from the fact that the African kings used to wear it around their necks as an ornament.
An adult ball python can measure up to 6ft. The female ball python snake morphs are bigger with the mature one measuring between 4.0-4.5ft while the male is 3.0-3.5ft.
They have stocky bodies and small head. Their scales are smooth and have anal spurs on both sides of the vent. The males have large spurs than the female ball pythons.
Most ball pythons are black, dark brown with light brown or gold sides and dorsal blotches. Their bellies are either white or cream which may sometimes include black markings.
In the pet industry, the breeders have produced morphs with different colors and patterns as we shall see in a moment.
At first ball, pythons were not very popular. This is despite them having beautiful colors and perfect size and temperaments. This would not last for long since the snake breeders came up with morphs of the ball python that instantly made it the most sort after and expensive snake in all herpeto-culture.
BELOW ARE SOME OF THE BALL PYTHON MORPHS THAT ARE IN EXISTENCE:
THE ALBINO BALL PYTHON
The albino ball python was the first proven snake morph produced. It has no black pigment which leaves it with a yellow and white pattern, red eyes or pink eyes. Its one of the most popular designer python morphs. They come in high and low contrasts that it sometimes becomes challenging to tell the difference. The high contrast variety has a yellow to white contrast. To produce the albino ball python, you will need two high contrast hets. Breed normals that have strong dark patterns and less blushing within the model.
THE PIEBALD BALL PYTHON
They have been in existence from as early as 1966. They originate from Accra Ghana. The term piebald refers to having patches of black and white. This kind of pigmentation can happen to any animal humans included. It is on very high demand in the python world due to its beautiful colors and markings. It’s a recessive trait which is partially unpigmented with different color and pattern morphs.
THE AXANTHALIC BALL PYTHON
This is a snake morph that produces snakes with varying shades of silver/grey, brown, white and black. They tend to develop brown color more as they age. Few of them keep the original color they had as juveniles.
VANILLA BALL PYTHON
This is a co-dominant morph. It has a more normal appearance except for two clear differences. One other difference is that the vanilla is brighter than the normal’s and it also portrays a faded color around the top of its head.
BLUE EYED LEUCISTIC BALL PYTHON
It is also called the blue-eyed Lucy. Its one of the rarest ball python in existence. It is a solid white with sharp blue eyes. Morphs that produce this spectacular snake are Mojaves, Butters, Phantoms, Lesser, and Het Russos.
THE BUTTERBALL PYTHON
This snake morph is as a result of breeding the Mojave, Russo, Lesser and Phantom genes. It resembles the lesser ball python, but they are from a different lineage. Their colors brighten up as they age so the older the Butterball python is, the brighter it is in appearance. That’s how you tell the difference between the Butterball python and other types of ball python morphs.
The champagne ball python is a dominant morph. It is an orange colored snake with markings. Its belly is all white.
FOODS THAT ARE APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR SNAKE’S MORPHS
Just like all the other animals’ Snakes need to feed on a balanced diet for them to thrive health wise and grow to the required size. Rodents are snaked favorite food. But you will agree that in captivity it’s not an easy task for you to provide the sufficient quantity for your snakes. It’s therefore important to do due diligence on any other variety that is good for your snakes.
In other instances it’s hard to watch a live rodent being eaten by your snake so what do you do? You can feed them on already dead rodents or snake sausages. The snake sausages are nutritionally balanced foods that are sausage-shaped made for snake consumption. Quail eggs are also good for your snake. It’s advisable to serve them occasionally. Ones every two weeks is sufficient. Provide clean water to your snake always. Juveniles can be fed on lizards and frogs while the adults feed on mammals and birds too.
Due to the lack of venom, they kill their prey by constricting it. The snakes their prey and then wrap themselves around it suffocating it to death before swallowing it whole. To make your snake feel like it hunted the rodent or whatever meal you are providing for it, you can hold it using a forceps. Let the snake strike it, grab it and swallow it.
If you are feeding it on dead and frozen rodents ensure the rodent is defrosted, let it warm up to room temperature before feeding it. Try to have a variety of foods that are good for your snake to avoid having unhealthy snakes that can develop diseases which lead to the death of your snake.
THE REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF SNAKE MORPHS
Corn snakes mate mostly in the spring and fall. The female corn snake pops out 10- 30 eggs. They lay them in rotting stumps or vegetation. This ensures that the eggs get enough heat and humidity to incubate. After the female corn snake lays her eggs, she leaves them and never comes back. The baby snakes are born after about two months. They are between 10-15 inches long, patterned like the adults.
The life expectancy of corn snakes is about 22 years while in captivity, but they live less than that while in the wild. Finally, corn snake morphs are calm and very easy to care for. This has made them the most loved snake pets. Be careful though because they are smart at escaping from their homes.
On the other hand, female ball pythons mature from between 27 to 31 months. The males are ready for reproduction at 16 to 18 months. Their reproduction season falls between September and November corresponding with the rainy seasons.
THE FEMALES MATE
The female mate with several males before the female lays eggs. The reproductive organs of the male ball python are longer and are used to stimulate the female. Mating takes place by the male ball python wrapping itself around the female. After successful mating, the female stops eating as the eggs develop.
Upon maturity, the female lays from two to eleven eggs. Unlike the corn snake female the ball python female coils around its clutch of eggs for around two to three months until they are ready to hutch. The baby pythons then slit open the egg shells and come out. They are 65 to 103 grams at birth. They become independent immediately but hang around their birth environment for a few months before wandering off.
After acquiring a pet snake, the most important thing to do is to ensure that your snake stays much health. Be very careful about the meals, what they should eat and the possible sicknesses that they could suffer from and their management. This ensures that your snake morph lives longer.
Every snake morph has its characteristics that show if it’s in good health or not. Be careful to note any changes in your snake that may be pointers to ill health and take the necessary measures or even visit a vet.
SOME OF THE DISEASES THAT AFFECT SNAKES MORPHS ARE:
Dermatitis is a disease of the skin which is characterized by blisters and rapid shedding in snakes. If you notice that your snake’s surface is full of blisters then it’s probably because of this ailment.
It’s majorly caused by unclean living environment, Temperature fluctuations, too cold, too hot or damp habitat. Ones you notice this first ensure that the snake’s house is clean, dry and at warm temperatures. Consult your veterinarian for medication.
Just like in humans and other animals the snakes also exhibit the same symptoms when they suffer from respiratory problems. Labored breathing, mucous in the nostrils and mouth is some of the early signs that your pet is sick. The leading causes are exposure to a frigid and damp environment. Before you rush to the vet, keep your snake dry and warm and if symptoms persist seek veterinarian advice on how to manage it.
Stomatitis is an inflamed and sore mouth. It’s also a disease that can affect other animals too. It inhibits your snake from eating. Symptoms include loss of teeth, and a white substance is seen in its mouth. This infection is fatal to your snake so immediately you note these symptoms contact your vet. This is some of the most common conditions that affect snake morphs. It’s crucial to give your snake a health check occasionally by, checking to see if your snake morph is.
COSTS OF BEING A SNAKE MORPH KEEPER
The process of acquiring snakes of different genes from as far as Africa makes this business an expensive affair. For example, if the original snakes are imported from Africa to America, the transportation cost is higher than getting it from one of the states within the U.S.A.
Therefore different snake morphs are rated according to the cost of breeding and also its beauty. That is why the breeders go to any length to ensure high quality of snake morphs.
Some of the expenses that you will incur for you to own a snake such as a corn snake morph or ball python morph include:
This depends on where you are buying your pet snake. If its closer home then the costs will be down, but if you are importing then the value automatically goes up
Just like any other animals you have to acquire the necessary documents for you to be able to own a snake. This should be in line with the rules and regulations concerning animals in your specific area.
Before you acquire the type of snake morph that you desire to ask yourself if you can afford it feed it well, its medical expenses, Housing, and an emergency fund. Do due diligence before buying your snake because different snake morphs have different requirements in terms of its basic wants. That having said let us take a look at various prices of different snake morphs. The lavender albino ball python, the striped ball python, Palmetto corn snake and the albino ball python are among the most expensive snake morphs in the market. Their prices range from between $ 4000 to $ 40, 000. The Lavender albino is the single most expensive of them all.
Scary as this hobby might be to most, its one fascinating thing to venture into. The cost of production makes it impossible for the poor to keep snake pets. As for the breeders, things can only get better as they scramble to produce the best, most beautiful snake morphs in the world. From a feared and enemy animal to a friendly domestic pet, snakes have become to mankind. Read this: FACTS ABOUT SNAKES, 7 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT SNAKES,NO 3 WILL SHOCK YOU