Rosy boa morphs are interesting and beautiful. They’re generally a light brown to dark brown, and every natural variation has three stripes.
Rosy boa color morphs are different subspecies that are found in Mexico, California, and Arizona. These vary in color, from an almost fluorescent orange-red to pink or black. You can also find albinos, snow, axanthics and other color variations created by breeders.
There are natural variations to this family of snakes. Even ones living just ten miles apart in the wild can look dramatically different. Let’s look at the different colors of rosy boas and how much snakes cost to buy.
Rosy Boa Morphs List
While breeders do introduce morphs like axanthics and albinos to their captive collections, they’re also mindful to keep the subspecies separate.
This isn’t because of any problem that comes from interbreeding them. Having distinct genetic lines with different patterns and colors is what makes them so interesting.
Regarding length, weight and other characteristics, the different natural morphs are all about the same. The average adult size of a rosy boa is 500g, and they grow to between two and four feet, depending on both the subspecies and their captive diet. Their scales are particularly beautiful, like small shiny beads running along their backs.
So, they are local to Baja California, the very tip of north-western Mexico. You can also find them in southwestern Arizona, and the south of California. The population is divided into several distinct subspecies, which you can easily tell apart because of the color and pattern.
1) Mexican (Lichanura Trivirgata Trivirgata)
These are the ‘nominative’ subspecies, which means that they’re the best example of the overall species of rosy boa.
They were the first to be discovered and named by scientists. Today, people in the trade call them rosy boas or ‘triv trivs.’
These snakes have distinctive brown stripes, with a cream contrast color. Their stripes run from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail. The contrast makes them stand out. They also have black speckled markings on their underbelly.
You can find them in Sonora, Mexico, as well as Baja Califonia. There’s also a small population in southern Arizona (Organ Pipe).
2) Desert (Lichanura Trivirgata Gracia)
These snakes have a rosy pink or light brown pattern, with light brown to gray in between. This helps them avoid standing out in their natural desert environment.
You can find them in southern California and southwestern Arizona. They live in rocky scrubland and desert—picture canyons, cacti, and sunshine. They’re larger than the nominative subspecies.
They also go under the name Morongo Valley, named after a specific location where they can be caught. The Morongo Valley is in San Bernardino County, California, right in the middle of the desert rosy boa’s natural range.
3) Coastal (Lichanura Trivirgata Roseofusca)
These have the darkest appearance. They’re very variable in color and pattern. You can find ones that have red stripes with a cream background. Alternatively, there are other specimens with orange or brown stripes on a blue-gray background.
The stripe is irregular in appearance. The snake almost looks pixelated. The dotted stripe runs from the head to the end of their tail.
To imagine the coloration is one thing, but the dramatic pink color contrasted with black makes them stand out when you see one in real life.
These snakes are native to the west coast of Baja California and California itself. They share some of their habitat with desert rosy boas.
Because Baja California is quite thin from coast to coast, you can find them in the desert—and vice versa, you can find desert rosies quite close to the coast. This has led to people confusing the two subspecies, despite them looking so distinctly different.
4) Lichanura Trivirgata Myriolepis
These are a subspecies that are similar to the coastal rosy boa, except they have a brighter and more orange color.
You can find them in the northern part of Baja California and the southern part of California itself. The Lichanura trivirgata intermedia is a rosy boa that’s a mix of L. t. myriolepis and the Mexican.
Considering they share a similar geographical range, it’s no wonder that the subspecies have mixed.
5) Rosada Del Noroeste (Lichanura Trivirgata Bostici)
According to The Great Basin Naturalist, this rare subspecies is found only on Cedros Island, a Mexican island in the Pacific off the west coast of Baja California.
These snakes have thin black stripes as opposed to thicker brown stripes. They also have a yellower accent color rather than cream, and more/larger black blotches on their underbelly.
There’s controversy as to whether these snakes are a separate subspecies at all. When you find a snake in the wild, it doesn’t have a tag on it that tells you whether it’s a novel subspecies or not.
People disagree as to whether slightly thinner stripes mean that this snake should be considered any different to the regular Mexican.
Albino snakes were the first morph to be bred in captivity. That’s because they occur more frequently than other mutations, even in the wild.
Albinism is well studied, and we fully understand the genetic cause of the mutation. The journal Scientific Reports examined albinism. They identified the specific genes that are responsible for causing amelanism, which is a similar and related mutation.
If you breed snakes, you don’t need to know which genes exactly cause albinism. The effects are always the same. The mutation makes it so that the snake can’t produce normal amounts of melanin, which are what give the skin or scales dark color.
This means that they lose part of their pattern. They’ll keep the lighter part of their pattern, but lose the darker part. Albinos also have red or pink eyes, which is distinctive and colorful.
The albino whitewater is from Whitewater Canyon, which is on the Pacific Coast Trail. The first was taken from the wild rather than bred in captivity.
This snake has a quite mottled pattern. Compare them to the albino coastal rosy boa. The pattern is still mottled, but the contrast between the two colors is sharper. The albino Borrego is different again—this snake has straighter, more distinct lines.
Axanthic rosy boas are, in a way, the opposite of albinos. Instead of lacking dark coloration, axanthics only lack red or yellow (or both). ‘Xanthic’ originally comes from the Greek ‘Xanthos,’ which means yellow. Axanthic, therefore, means ‘lacking in yellow,’ meaning the yellow pigmentation.
If the snake is one that has quite a dark pattern, this can create a snake that’s black and gray. Axanthic snakes are quite popular, but there are precious few that have been bred so far.
If we’re talking about axanthics, breeders have produced a snake that’s a dark gray, with just a hint of their dark brown stripe too. They aren’t black and gray like other xanthic species, but they’re still a striking snake to look at.
Anerythristic rosy boas carry a recessive trait that stops them from producing red pigment. Anery rosy boas are quite common compared to other color morphs.
These snakes vary in appearance. Some are a creamy lavender color all over, and have bright blue eyes. Others are a darker blue, and retain their brown stripes, but have dark black eyes.
The exact variant depends on the locality. The Pioneertown—a snake from southern California—is the lavender-type specimen described above.
This snake was bred in captivity. The Borrego is the darker blue snake, with brown striping, and was found in the wild. The coastal anerythristic is gray and silver.
So far, these snakes are rare—there are only a few known, and they’re not available in pet shops or from most breeders. You can always check on Morph Market.
Snow rosy boas are like albinos, in that they lose their dark pigmentation. These snakes are the result of a combination of two other morphs, albinos and anerythristic snakes.
They’re whiter than regular albinos, because they lose both their dark pigmentation and their red pigmentation. Instead, they’re an even brighter and shinier white—almost silvery. They also have dark black eyes with red pupils.
There are a few breeders of snow rosy boas. One line is a light coffee color, whereas the other is snow. The ‘proper’ snow is a bright white from top to tail, and has no visible pattern until it grows older, at which point a very faint and light pattern does emerge.
There is a line of coastal snow rosy boas that are a shiny cream/off-white. These snakes have inherited red eyes rather than black.
A further mutation can be added to the list—if you breed a snow with a hypomelanistic snake, you can create a ‘moonglow.’ These snakes are very rare, and so far no moonglow rosy boas have become available.
Hypomelanism is like a halfway house between standard markings and albino markings. The snake loses some of their dark coloration, but not all of it.
It’s due to a partial lack of melanin, in the same way that albinism is a complete lack of melanin. The prefix ‘hypo‘ refers to a lack of something, coming from the Greek for ‘under.’
For comparison, a hypodermic needle goes under the skin, whereas hypotension is where your blood pressure is under the usual range.
Either way, this boa has a highly variable pattern. It depends on what locality the boa is from. If they’re a Borrego, for example, the snake is lighter than usual. Their red stripe along their back is heavily contrasted against a more cream background color.
Not only that, but the stripe is heavily mottled, which gives them a spotty appearance up close. This helps them stand out more than average.
Rosy Boa Color Morphs with Pricing
Rosy boas from two different locations can differ dramatically in color and pattern. While one has clear stripes from head to tail, others’ patterns are more mottled. And while one snake might be orange and white, others might be grey and white or grey and brown/red.
These are variations that occur naturally, not due to breeding. Then, you can still get all of the interesting variations that breeders create like axanthic snakes, albino snakes, and all sorts of other combinations. These are the result of genetic combinations that are bred in captivity.
|Albino:||$200||Albinos are a basic morph, but they’re still a vivid orange or cream color. They’ve also got bright red eyes.|
|Axanthic:||Unknown||These snakes are dark gray and brown but are uncommon. You’ll struggle to get a hold of one from a breeder or pet store.|
|Anerythristic (Anery):||$80||These snakes are variable in appearance. Some appear a creamy lavender color all over and have bright blue eyes. Others are a darker blue, and retain their brown stripes, but have dark black eyes.|
|Snow:||$200+||These snakes are similar to albinos but whiter. They’re a mix of albino and Anerythristic snakes. They range from silvery white to creamy white.|
|Mexican:||$80||Mexican rosy boas are a natural variation, found in northern and western Mexico. They have clear dark brown stripes on a cream background.|
|California (Coastal):||$100||These are similar to Mexican rosies; the main difference is in color. They’re the same cream color as Mexican rosies, but instead of brown or black stripes, their stripes are orange or pink.|
|Desert:||$90||Desert rosy boas have a rosy pink or light brown pattern, with cream in between. This helps them avoid standing out in their natural desert environment.|
|Lichanura Trivirgata Myriolepis:||$150||These are similar to coastals. They’re more orange and have distinct stripes.|
|Lichanura Trivirgata Bostici:||Unknown||These snakes come from a small island off the coast of Mexico. They’re similar to Mexican rosy boas, but they have thinner stripes.|
|Hypomelanistic Rosy Boa:||$100||The stripes have been diffused, so the snake looks fuzzy and high-contrast. They’re cream and brown/red.|
Whatever colors you can find in other snakes, you can find in rosy boa morphs. Unfortunately, they haven’t been bred as much as other snakes. Find out more about looking after them in our rosy boa care guide.