The Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is a popular pet snake native to south and southeastern Asia. These are some of the largest snakes on the planet.
Thanks to a calm temperament, burmese pythons (click to read my care guide) are popular with snake keepers who want to keep a giant that has a docile personality. They have been imported since the 1970s.
Thanks to this, they have a number of colors and patterns available. These are called morphs. You can find a number of beautiful colors and patterns for sale.
You may even see some incredible combinations if you search.
An albino animal cannot express melanin. This results in a snake with light colors like yellows and creams. Some animals will have normal eyes if they still have Tyrosinase, while animals without it will have red, orange, or pink eyes.
The pupil will typically be lighter as well. This is a recessive trait. A regular albino isn’t too expensive, but any combination can be pricey.
Combinations that include other recessive genes like the albino labyrinth burmese python are very expensive. If you see the label “het” on a snake, that means it likely has one copy of the listed gene, but it will not have the appearance.
The albino patternless burmese python for example, will be full orange and lack any patterns.
If you don’t intend to breed your snake, what genes it has one copy of doesn’t matter. Many animals labeled as albino morph will actually just have amelanism.
This includes the older lines since they are properly amelanisitic since these snakes lack their melanin and not their red or yellow pigments.
The most common and oldest line of albino snakes has a white base with yellow, orange, or red markings. The eyes will be red. The pattern can fade with age.
Granite is a recessive pattern mutation. They have the typical gray, green, or gold background color. The difference is that the pattern becomes small, irregular blotches.
This second python mutation has unique head markings and lack any patterning on the belly. The light scales on the back will have a dark spot. This can be combined to create double or even triple recessive morphs by breeding with other morphs.
These snakes can also combine with other pattern morphs to create unique looks.
Green Burmese pythons typically start off as a khaki color.
Their color will change as the snake ages until it is an olive green as an adult. This makes the hatchlings have a brown tone versus normal siblings, while the adults will be more green in tone.
This is a recessive trait.
It is commonly combined with other traits like the patternless burmese python to create unique morphs. This morph is also sometimes called patternless green burmese python since it reduces the pattern in many adult snakes. This can be combined with other morphs to reduce or remove patterning.
green and albino snakes are popular.
Pied or piebald is a recessive gene in Burmese pythons. Like other snake species, it causes an animal to have patches of white over the body.
Snakes with more white or majority white are considered to be of higher quality and will command a higher price. This can be combined with other morphs to create a unique animal.
A snake with only the pied gene will have the normal browns and blacks with white patches. They tend to have normal eyes unless combined with another morph.
Dwarf Burmese pythons are snakes descended from the smaller island populations. A pure dwarf Burmese python will rarely get over 8 feet.
Most adult females stay under 7 feet and males rarely exceed 5. This can mean that they will be half the size of a mainland Burmese python.
It is most common to find half dwarfs or less. Very few breeders offer pure dwarfs for sale. This is very common so color or pattern morphs can be bred in.
The pure dwarf python doesn’t have any color or pattern morphs, just the classic chocolate brown spots. Half dwarfs will be larger than a pure. They can be 8-10 feet long easily.
Any less and you may very well end up with a full-sized mainland Burmese python. If you get a snake that is not a pure dwarf, be prepared to own a giant. One thing to note is that pure dwarfs that are less than 3 generations oot from the wild can be feisty.
If you want the typical Burmese python personality, go for a snake that is half or look for an animal that is listed as being F3 or higher. It seems to take about 3 generations to create calm Burmese pythons.
Caramel is a recessive gene. This is actually an albino that is T+. This means it still has Tyrosinase, which is an enzyme that catalyzes melanin.
Since these snakes have it, they have a different look than a T- albino. They hatch out with reds and yellows. By the time that the snake reaches adulthood, it is a yellow tone.
They can have some dark markings left, but it is reduced compared to a normal Burmese python.
There are two lines that are not compatible with one another.
One is called the waterview or wei line and the other is the gulf coast line.
Breeding snakes from these two lines will not produce a visual caramel, but it will produce a snake that could be bred to produce a double recessive. If you intend to breed a caramel, make sure you know what line you have.
The labyrinth burmese python is a pattern morph. It is a recessive trait that causes a difference in the appearance of dark patterns. The basic morph will have a normal set of colors.
The pattern changes to look like the walls of a maze or labyrinth. There may be light lines breaking up the normal appearance of the pattern. This is commonly combined to create unique appearances.
Hypo is the short name for hypomelanism. This means that the snake will have less melanin than a normal Burmese python. It will still have some dark tones present.
Many will be a light yellow or tan color when young. This can be combined with other morphs. Combining with granite will result in a light gray or lavender snake with the granite patterning.
It can also be used with other morphs like albino to create brighter whites.
This is a co-dominant gene. The super form is the leucistic or ivory morph. Hypo is very common since any pairing with a hypo will likely have visual hypo babies.
The champagne morph is a rare recessive morph. It results in bright tan patterns with a light border. This helps make their patterning seem more intense.
They tend to have white or light yellow bellies. They are rarely available and normally found with other morphs.
This is a lovely morph that creates a yellow-toned snake. They have a light cream for a background color and their markings are tan or yellow.
They are not strongly bordered like a normal Burmese python. This is a recessive trait.
The lava morph is another morph that is hard to find any information on. It is a recessive trait.
The pinstripe morph is named for its unique pattern. Instead of the normal big blotches with borders, the snake has long and thin stripes.
This gives the snake an appearance much like a pinstriped suit. They can be combined with other morphs to create intense patterns and colors. This is a recessive trait.
This morph causes a faded appearance.
They have the same basic colors and patterns as a normal Burmese python but they have a faded look.
Their patterns are less distinct. This is a recessive trait, so many snakes may only carry the gene but not have the look.
Scaleless Burmese pythons lack normal scales. Like other scaleless snakes, it can be a huge problem if it lacks ventral scales. Scaleless snakes can have problems shedding and may have issues with injuries.
This is a recessive trait and fairly rare. In Burmese pythons, their scales are replaced with a layer of keratin. This gives them a wrinkly appearance.
They do retain their belly scales so they can move around. The biggest appeal with scaleless snakes tends to be the more defined patterns and brighter colors.
The smoke Burmese python is a new and rare recessive morph. It is easiest to find in Germany and the EU since it was originally produced there.
The snakes have a unique lighter appearance than a normal Burmese python.
The appearance is likened to a haze of smoke over a normal pattern. They have an orange or pink pattern that starts on the head and continues down the body.
Stonewash is a rare recessive gene. There is very little information on this morph in English. They can have a faded look.
Butterscotch Burmese pythons have warmer tones than a normal snake. They normally retain the typical patterning. They have yellow, beige, and vanilla as their main colors.
Silverside butterscotch is very similar to the regular butterscotch. The difference is that the sides have a silver tone. This is a sheen that gives the scales of the morph a unique appearance. This may only be found in the dwarf Burmese python.
Paradox is one of the most unique Burmese python morphs out there. It was proven to be genetic. The exact inheritance is a bit murky since it is very variable in appearance.
This python mutation has been referred to as paradominant. It is considered mosiacism. This means that the patterns and colors are broken up and variable.
A snake with intense expression will have a pixelated look to their scales and patterns. It can be expressed with numerous other genes but it is very rare. It isn’t unusual for some snakes to have tiny paradox patches across the body. Some snakes may have one little patch near the tail while other animals show it over the whole body.
Blizzard and Pearl
Blizzard and pearl are common names for specific morph combinations. Blizzard snakes are a bright white and most will have darker eyes.
It is a combination of ivory and albino. Ivory is the homozygous form of the hypo gene. Pearl animals are light and may have a pink or lavender tone.
They are a combination of hypo and albino. This means that a blizzard snake just has another copy of the hypo gene.
There ate a number of other traits you may see listed if you are searching for a snake to buy. Many of these are either linebred or are names referring to het markers.
Some snakes that carry one copy of a recessive gene will have some minor visual differences to a normal snake. For instance, bedrock or leopard refers to the visual marker of a snake carrying the green/patternless gene.
Jigsaw is a minor pattern change that indicates that the animal may carry the granite gene. Finally, sometimes an animal with an unusual pattern or color may appear for sale.
For instance, many snakes with no known morph genes may have unusual striping in their patterns. Most of these do not proce to be genetic with breeding.
If you want to breed Burmese pythons, be sure you do your research. Many unique snakes do not end up having inheritable patterns or colors.
It is possible to breed for certain traits, but it can take years to do this since Burmese pythons take several years to reach the right size and body condition for breeding.
We hope this has taught you a bit about the various morphs of the Burmese python. There isn’t an infinite number of morphs like for the ball python, but more and more interesting morphs are popping up each year.
If you know of any unique new morphs or combinations, please tell us in the comments below.
If reptile owners here have a Burmese python, tell us what morph your snake is, but in my opinion even a traditional burmese python is beautiful!
If you have any other questions or comments, please leave it below.