Western Hognose snake care

Top 5 Western Hognose Snake Morphs

Here are my top 5 Western Hognose Snake Morphs. These have been chosen for their popularity both now and in the future. Keep reading to find out more!

Here are my top 5 Western Hognose Snake Morphs. These have been chosen for their popularity both now and in the future. Keep reading to find out more!

What are the different Hognose morphs?

The Western Hognose has become incredibly popular in recent years. When this happens with a snake species, a similar pattern always emerges: more captive breeding leads to an increasing variety of color morphs. This is exactly what has happened with Western Hognose Snakes.

When I was a kid, you would have been hard-pressed to find an albino Hoggie, whatever price you were willing to pay. But thanks to this widespread captive breeding, they’re now widely available at a reasonable price.

It isn’t just the albino morph that has become widespread, however. A whole range of recessive, dominant and incomplete dominant (co-dom) morphs have cropped up in recent years. Let’s take a look at a list of the most popular ones before diving into my Top 5…

Dominant and incomplete dominant (co-dom) Hognose Morphs:

  • RBE Pastel (A.K.A. Yellow Pastel)
  • Arctic
  • Shadow
  • Green Hypo
  • Lemon Hypo
  • Anaconda

Recessive Hognose Morphs:

  • Evans Hypo
  • Dutch Hypo
  • Leucistic
  • Sable
  • Pistachio
  • Lavender
  • Axanthic
  • Toffee (A.K.A. Toffee Belly)
  • Pink Pastel (A.K.A. Pink Pastel Albino)
  • Caramel
  • Albino

What is a Toxic hognose morph?

OK, so you may notice that the Toxic morph isn’t on the list. This is because I’ve limited the lists above to single-gene morphs to keep things simple. When you get into two, three, or even four gene combination morphs, the list numbers in the hundreds!

Nonetheless, the Toxic Hognose is an awesome example of one combination morph that really needs a mention. A Toxic Hognose visually expresses both the Axanthic gene and the Toffee genes. This gives it a unique, light colour with a slight Toffee hue.

If you’re just getting into Hognose morphs, then a Toxic Hoggie might be a little expensive, but if you want to breed then they are certainly a worthwhile investment. Prices vary, so shop around before making a decision!

What does het mean in snakes?

Something you’ll notice when you start to research morphs is the term “het”. Het is short for heterozygous, which means having two different alleles of a certain gene.

An allele is one of several forms of a gene that can occupy a certain locus on a chromosome, and may change through mutation.

So… the reason we use this term in breeding projects is because recessive genes are only visible when the animal has two copies of the mutated allele. This is called homozygous.

Animals that are heterozygous for a recessive gene have only one copy and look exactly like normal animals. However, if you breed two heterozygous animals together, then some of the babies have a chance of getting two copies and visually expressing the gene.

Hets are often cheaper, so buying two hets can be a good way to start a project and eventually get the visuals that you want.

In a nutshell: breeding Het. Albino x Het. Albino = 75% of babies will look normal (but could be hets) and 25% will be visual albinos.

My top 5 Western Hognose Morphs

  1. Lavender Western Hognose
  2. Albino Western Hognose
  3. Snow Western Hognose
  4. Superconda Western Hognose
  5. Axanthic Western Hognose

To choose these morphs, I looked at how popular each one is, and how important they are for future breeding projects.

You may notice that most of them are recessive. Just like with Ball Python morphs, recessive Hognose traits tend to keep their value better over time. This makes them a good investment if you count on breeding.

1. Lavender Western Hognose

Top 5 Western Hognose snake morphs
Lavender Western Hognose Snake. Special thanks to Matthew Gudalajtys of Rear Fanged Reptiles for providing this photo!

First produced by David Turcotte, in 2005, this morph’s beauty is subtle, but nonetheless outstanding. Lavender is a recessive gene that reduces color, but also changes it.

The typical brown and tan colors of the species are completely wiped away. In stead, this morph has a subtle, light lavender hue. The pattern, on the other hand, is exactly the same as that of a normal animal.

With age, Lavenders do get a little darker, but still have a very cool, washed-out appearance into adulthood.

2. Albino Western Hognose

Western Hognose snake husbandry
A stunning albino Western Hognose Snake

As I mentioned earlier, captive breeding always results in an increase in available color morphs. For some reason, albino usually seems to be one of the first to emerge. This was also the case with the Western Hognose.

The first albino Hoggie was produced way back in 1992 by Richard Evans, though it took a while for them to become widely available – especially over here in Europe!

Like most other albinos, albino Western Hognose Snakes are striking in appearance. All their melanin is absent, leaving behind a beautiful orange and light orange/yellow color scheme. They also have pink eyes.

3. Snow Western Hognose

The Snow morph is in fact a combination of two recessive morphs: axanthic and albino. The visual expression of these two genes has the effect of completely wiping out any colour.

What you’re left with is a very light, almost white background color. For their part, the blotches and saddles that make up the dorsal pattern are very faded grey or cream.

As Snow Hoggies mature, they do lose a little of their brightness, but still tend to be a light cream colour. This alone is more than enough to make them an exceptional morph to look at.

4. Superconda Western Hognose

Top 5 Hognose morphs
A hatchling Superconda Western hognose. Photo credit: Matthew Gudalajtys of Rear Fanged Reptiles.

Out of the incomplete dominant (co-dominant) morphs available, Anaconda is probably the most popular – and unusual. Anaconda Hognoses have slightly reduced coloration, but it’s their pattern that makes them stand out.

Instead of the broad, rattlesnake-mimic saddles that a normal Hoggie has, the Anaconda morph has round spots all the way down its dorsum. With a little imagination, this is reminiscent of the pattern of a real Anaconda.

When you breed Anaconda to Anaconda, some babies can get two copies of the gene and be Supercondas. In this homozygous state, Supercondas take on a very unusual appearance.

They have the typical head pattern, but the all other markings are absent. From the neck down, they are a solid, golden brown. As you can imagine, this  makes them highly sought-after.

Furthermore, because they have two copies of the Anaconda gene – which is incomplete dominant – all babies produced by a Superconda will be Anacondas. It really is a no-brainer for a breeding project!

5. Axanthic Western Hognose

Western Hognose snake care
Axanthic baby western hognose snake

Axanthism is a recessive mutation that stops an animal producing any yellow pigment. As you’d expect, axanthic Hognose Snakes lack the browns and tans that usually make up this snake’s coloration.

What you get is an all-grey snake that retains the normal pattern of blotches and saddles. Though this may not sound spectacular, it is in fact incredibly unusual when you see it in real life. This is perhaps why Axanthic Hognoses are so popular, just like the axanthic morphs of many other popular pet snakes.

First produced by BHB Reptiles in 1990, you can expect the axanthic morph to be a fixture in a variety of new combinations in years to come. Just look at how successful it has been when combined with albino to make the Snow morph!

Top 5 Hognose morphs Quick reference table

Morph:Gene Type:Colors:
LavenderRecessivelavender hues
AlbinoRecessiveorange and yellow
SnowTwo recessive geneswhite and light grey to cream
SupercondaIncomplete dominant (co-dom)golden brown
AxanthicRecessivegrey and dark grey

What is an Arctic Western Hognose?

The Arctic Hognose morph is a genetic mutation very similar to axanthism. The difference is that the Arctic trait is linked to an incomplete dominant (co-dom) gene rather than a recessive gene. This means that two Artics bred together can also make a Super Arctic.

Conclusion

So there you have it, those were the five Western Hognose morphs that I think are not just the most popular, but also the most likely to remain popular.

But what do you think? Did I get the list right, or should a different morph have gotten the top spot? Feel free to comment and let me know!

Western Hognose Snake Care Guide

Do Hognose Snakes make good pets?

Resources:

Western Hognose Morphs – Ectotherm Empire

13 Incredible Hognose Snake Morphs (With Pictures) – Happy …

24 Awesome Hognose Snake Morphs – Reptile Advisor

10 Stunning Western Hognose Snake Morphs

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