It wasn’t long ago that we considered keeping reptiles as pets as taboo. However, over time, interest in herpetoculture is increasing. Herpetoculture is the act of keeping live reptiles or amphibians in captivity either for breeding purposes or as a hobby. Today, Burmese pythons are available in many striking and unusual patterns that do not often occur in the wild. How did this morph happen?
The differences in color and pattern between Burmese pythons are traced back to genetic and environmental causes. Genetic mutations can occur at any time and are inherited from one or both parents. This reason makes the most sense. So how does the environment have the ability to change the appearance of a snake? This effect occurs after fertilization occurs. Things like temperature or injury are usually responsible.
Pros and Cons of Python Morphs
While they look cool and inviting to humans, some snake morphs actually do more harm than good. While some pythons with unique colors and markings are safe in captivity, those in the wild are at a significant disadvantage. Odd colors sometimes reduce the adaptability of animals and turn them into prey, not predators.
Evolution has equipped today’s wild animals with the best chance of survival, and any mutation that diverges from it could benefit them or put them in grave danger. In captivity, this rule does not always apply. Rare morphs become very valuable, and many of these snakes require special care.
There are several Burmese python morphs that are incredibly beautiful and highly sought after. We’re here to tell you which of these color morphs are the most popular and explain how pythons acquired this disorder in the first place.
1. Albino Burmese Python
The first python to be noticed for its distinctive markings was the Albino Burmese python. These snakes do not have all the black pigment in their skin but retain some of the yellow and pink pigmentation. They emerge with thick orange and yellow blotches that stand out against a white background when they hatch. The color tends to get lighter with age, and the white background changes from translucent to bright white.
The albino trait in pythons is recessive, and when the animal breeds with a normal-colored python, the offspring become normal. Both parents have to show or bring traits for an albino baby to appear in the world.
2. Patternless Green Burmese Python
The second python mutation occurred in 1987 and was produced by a snake in captivity in California. These snakes are not very motivated to breed and only produce offspring once.
The name comes from an accurate description of the morph. Hatchlings are often khaki in color which fades to silver on the sides. Brown brown spots line the center of the back and spread along the sides. As the snake ages, its original khaki color darkens to an olive green, and the once thick spots fade and become less visible.
3. Burmese Python Without Albino Pattern
Burmese python breeders are experimenting and love to find out what happens when you breed two unique morphs with each other. Mating the Albino python with the Patternless Green python is how we got the Burmese Albino Patternless python. The gene for each type of snake is recessive, but four different hatchlings emerge. The majority appear normal. There is an equal share of green and albino snakes, which makes them only have a few baby snakes that have both albino colors without the traditional python pattern.
Albino-patterned pythons are born with a bright orange on the top that fades to white on the sides. There are only a few dark spots centered on the snake’s back, but the orange color and pattern fades as it turns into an adult snake.
4. Burmese Python Labyrinth
Not long after the green python was discovered, a German reptile dealer sold two snakes with a strange pattern. While traditional Burmese pythons have irregularly shaped dark patches that resemble a giraffe pattern, these snakes feature a maze-like gold print on a black background. Their markings are sometimes striped or elongated.
5. Burmese Python Albino Labyrinth
It didn’t take long for python breeders to play around with the unique markings of the Labyrinth snake. Traversing maze patterns with Albino Burmese pythons creates new and exciting morphs. In these snakes, the normally blackened areas of the common python and orange of the albino python are replaced with a bright white color and make the snake look like it is made of pearl and gold.
6. Granite Burmese Python
Burmese python granite really stands out among the rest. This snake has much smaller, more angular spots that are golden brown in color against a yellow background. The snake gets its name from the markings that look a lot like granite. The characteristic lance-shaped markings on the head diminish and give the head a pinkish-brown color.
7. Caramel Burmese Python
The caramel-colored python is an albino python with only a few minor differences. While true albinos have absolutely no black pigmentation, caramel snakes still produce some darker pigment. Hatchlings begin to tan with brown or caramel spots on their bodies. As they mature, the snake’s color becomes much lighter, and only a few brown spots remain. Some patterns have been described as having a purplish hue as an outline.
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8. Pied Burmese Python
One of the most distinctive python morphs is the Burmese Pied python. This snake has a body with many bright white areas and only a few colored designs extending along its body. There are regular and albino types. Some of the traditional dyes are brown, black, and gold, while others have only orange and yellow tones to them.
This list does not cover every morph that has been discovered, but it does describe in detail the most popular morphs and how they emerged. Of all the snakes in the world, Burmese pythons are some of the most docile and less demanding than other snake species. While not all pythons should be kept in captivity, some with morphs are much safer when cared for by humans.
Before finding your favorite morph and buying a python to take home, always make sure that you can afford to give them the best and most loving life possible. This size is unusual for most snakes caught, but some pythons reach lengths of over 20 feet and can gain up to 250 pounds in weight. With their large size and needs for food, cage, water and lighting, these reptiles require a lot of knowledgeable care and deserve the best care no matter how cool they look.
Featured Image Credit: danportman, Pixabay