California king snakes have a large diversity of morphs but, when scrolling through the web, it isn’t easy to find a full list of them, so I figured I’d do some digging myself.
How many California king snake morphs exist? There are easily over 20 natural morphs to California Kingsnakes, even more so if selective breeding is involved. The list is long, so look below for the many Morphs of the California King Snake.
Although these snakes look different, they are all from the same species and have almost the same personality and hunting techniques. Morphs are popular because they make these snakes look exotic, which is why they make popular pets.
Full List of California King Snake Morphs
- High Yellow Banana Morph
- Albino Morph
- Chocolate Morph
- Lavender Morph
- Reverse Stripe Morph
- Black and White striped Morph
- High White Morph
- Twin dotted Morph
- Twin striped Morph
- Reverse dotted Morph
- Reverse wide stripe Morph
- Vanishing stripe Morph
- Charcoal black Morph
- Mosaic Morph
- Mojave 50/50 Morph
- Aztec Morph
- Carpet Morph
- Half and half Morph
- Pinstriped Morph
- Hypermelanistic Morph
- Blizzard Morph
- Joker Morph
- Purple Passion Morph
- Lavender snow Morph
- Chocolate banana Morph
- Platinum Morph
- Palomar ghost Morph
- Dark phase ghost Morph
- Light phase ghost Morph
- Casper ghost Morph
- Pink pearl ghost Morph
- Coral ghost Morph
- Sapphire ghost Morph
- Mosaic Palomar ghost Morph
- Het Palomar ghost Morph
- Chocolate ghost Morph
- Whittier mud Morph
- Whitter Morph
- Whitter unicolor Morph
- Newport mud Morph
- CB Newport Morph
- Newport-Long Beach Morph
- Chocolate Black Newport Morph
- Banana Newport Morph
- Scrambled banded Newport Morph
- Blue-eyed blond Morph
- Lavender albino Morph
- Merker Hypo Morph
- Whitewater Hypo Morph
- Corwin Hypo Morph
- Mocha Morph
As you can see the list is extensive, and there are sure to be more found as breed making combinations continue to grow. So instead of talking about each one of these snakes individually, let’s talk about the general divisions that can be made in the morphs.
High White and High Yellow
This man-made category of morph refers to those California king snakes that are incredibly vibrant in their light color.
High yellow, or banana, morphs appear as a pale yellow with marks of black running down the snake’s body, with more definitive marks at the end of the snakes head and around the face and eyes of the snake.
High white morphs are similar as with the body of the snake remaining a pale white and less of the black popping through as the white body obscures but also accents those black blotches on its body. Once again the head of the snake is marked by a considerably higher amount of black around the eyes and neck of the snake.
Some high white snakes may be pale in color. The purity of their white scales is determined by their parents’ color. This morph came about through a larger series of selective breeding where the black marks on the body of the snake were slowly weaned out of its body, making them even further lighter in color.
Coastal and Desert Phase
Coastal and Desert phase morphs are two rather similar morphs that are less extreme or vibrant versions of the High White and High Yellow snakes. their bodies are more encompassed black or dark brown blotches that run consistently down its body making the vibrant white or yellow stand out in between the bands of the darker colors.
Coastal snakes are generally yellow and brown whereas the Desert phase morphs are white and black, though sometimes the black on a desert snake is more of a dark brown than a black.
Twin Striped and Dotted
Twin striped and dotted morphs have their vibrant color running through the center of their bodies with either stripes or dots lining the sides of that vibrant line down the snake.
These patterns are most obvious in snakes of lighter color so they often fall into the color categories of high yellow or high white. The sides of these snake either show very slight signs of a pattern or are devoid of a pattern entirely.
Reverse stripes are, well, just the opposite of the double striped snakes, with a single dark colored stripe running down the vertebrae of the snake. The term reverse stripe comes from the idea that the true color of the snake is the lighter color and therefore the darker color are the parts that aren’t striped. So, on these snakes, the reverse stripe is the lack of stripe of the vertebrate of the snake.
Once again these snakes fall further into the extreme categories of high white and high yellow as these colors are the most vibrant and make the center lack of stripe on the snake stand out the most.
These snakes are like the reverse stripe morphs, but instead of having that signature lack of stripe along the snakes back, these snakes have dots along their back.
Several of these snakes do not have a perfectly dotted back or their sides don’t have dots on them. Some even have such wide dots on them that they can be mistaken as a reverse stripe just based on the combined length of the reverse dots.
These snakes are rather incredibly rare as they are the least common of these reverse patterned morphs.
Reverse Wide Stripe
The reverse wide stripes are very dark snakes. Their backs are almost completely dark in color, and their patterns are really more told based off of what is on their side as that is where the color of the snake appears the most. They have a single wide stripe of dark color on their back and the vibrant high yellow or high white of these snakes are shown on the underbelly and on their patterned sides.
The vanishing stripe morph is a combination of a double stripe and a reverse stripe where the patterns of the snake slowly fade out at different points along the snake’s body. This leaves large sections of the snake being dark while still maintaining a fair pattern on other parts of the snake.
Mosaic morphs have heavily patterned sides with their back often missing color like that of a reverse wide stripe morph. Their patterns are much more obvious on the sides of the snake than a simple reverse wide stripe morph though, and the vibrant patches of scales stand out amazingly well amid all the dark colors on the snake.
Furthermore, the underbellies of these snakes are also often checkered so it’s almost like the top of the snake is the colorless bottom that several other snake have.
The hypermelanistic morph is a beautiful morph that appears as almost tiger-like stripes across the body of the snake. There is a sort of combination of colors in the pattern with darker colors surrounded by a lighter, almost metallic color that is then surrounded by larger dark rings.
These morphs are the most colorless medium brown to dark brown California Kingsnakes. They are a single color of brown and their looks appear more in the texture of their scales and the looks of the light as it shines off of the snakes body. The dark color makes the snakes glimmering scales really stand out as it slithers around.
This pattern of snakes show white in appearance in spots where yellow normally appears. In this manner, the snakes look almost discolored at times but are nonetheless very pleasing to the eye. They appear in many forms, having multiple dark varieties to them as well, as the group shies away from the yellow pigments of their skins falling to either white or dark brown.
Most of these colors and patterns come about by selective breeding which just shows the insane possibilities that these kingsnakes can have. They continue to change as they are breed in different combinations. And as people continue to breed these snakes, there is no doubt that their morphs will continue to increase in number.
Are California king snakes native to California? These snakes can actually be found from the western United States to northern Mexico. It just so happens that they’re exceptionally prominent in California, hence the moniker.
Where can I buy a California king snake? Underground Reptiles is always a great reference if you’re looking to buy a pet snake. They have plenty of options, and I’m sure you can find some really cool morphs if you look hard enough.