Boa constrictor morphs

The time has come:
It was always obvious that the breeding of genetically crippled boas ("Designerboas") would eventually lead into a dead end. Now the first domino has fallen, others will follow. Olaf Schal (we have a great regard for him) one of the most well-known "morph-breeders" in Germany, will return to his roots and dedicate his future efforts to pristine wildlife forms of boa constrictor ("true boa constrictors") again. He has given vent to his frustration about the designerboa scene" in a detailled statement on his website. There is talk of the genetical damage, one-eyed albino boas, IBD
and the conditions in the U.S. morph scene.

The favorite activity of some American boa keepers is to constantly create new color and pattern variants of the various species through selective breeding. As a tool for this purpose, a thorough knowledge of Mendel’s Square is required. We believe that some of these “breeders” know the principles of Mendel’s teachings better than the late Mendel himself at his time.

For example: One takes an albino Boa constrictor (technical term: amelanistic = lacking black pigment), breed it to an anerythristic/axanthic Boa constrictor (lacking red and yellow pigment) and thereby receives offspring that will theoretically produce one “snow boa” (almost entirely white) per 16 animals in a litter, when bred amongst each other.

Such creatures have absolutely nothing in common with these animals that live in the wild. In general, the probability of two specimens with such genetic defects (amelanism, anerythrism, and axanthism are just that) to meet in the wild is almost null. The creation of such an animal is possible in a captive environment only.

This is done out of pure commercial interest, and there is no limit when it comes to naming these “artificial mutants”.

It then sounds something like this:

"Hypomelanistic anerythristic blood-snow arabesque super-motley black muted ghost sunglow albino boa double het for blizzard, piebald and jungle".

We obviously exaggerated a little bit just now, but this is not all that far off. All of these terms are valid and exist, and have been taken from the current terminology regarding such morphs.

The reason that we write about this is that a few of these creatures have already crossed the pond and made their way over here, which will likely contribute to the further contamination of the captive gene pool.

It is also worth mentioning that the color and pattern morphs of Boa constrictor that are produced in the U.S. are almost all crossbred animals. The same is also true for "albino" Boa constrictor. Don't fall for somebody trying to tell you otherwise.

Another valid argument against the breeding of color and pattern mutations is the fact that these aberrancies of the "normal" form are nothing but genetic defects in the animals; hence the inheritability of the aberrant patterns and colorations.

Albino Boa constrictor | Albinoboas | Albinoboa Information | Salmon Hypo | Arabesque Boa | Bloodboa | hypomelanistic | anerythristic | Jungle Boa | sunglow boa | Jungle salmon | Pastel hypomelanistic | Leopardboa  | Super Jungle boa | Motley boa | one eyed albino boa | heterozygot | possible het Boa constrictor | Ghost boa | Harlequin boa | Boa constrictor Morphs

Speculations that the genetics of these animals contain further defects are not easily dismissed, and the emergence of one-eyed specimens among litters of albino boas in the U.S. certainly points toward this as well. Such effects are then further strengthened, as animals with the same genetic defects are bred with one another.

It is also apparent that captive propagation of albino boas is significantly less successful than that of wild-colored specimens (<<<click her for learning more>>>). Considering the general breeding results in 2003, the albino projects turned out to be nothing short of disastrous. It appears that either the fertility of these animals suffered from the immense inbreeding, or that it may have something to do with the genetic disposition.

The poor breeding results of albino boas have meanwhile caused several breeders of these animals to become seriously concerned.

This might also be one of the reasons why the demand for pure-bred Boa constrictor in the U.S. has lately been increasing continuously, with the prices of the animals – especially so-called "redtail boas" - almost doubling compared to what they were five years ago.

We cannot confirm the speculation (BINDER 2002) that even rare subspecies such as Boa c. longicauda may display weaknesses caused by poor genetics in any way. To the contrary, our experience has been just the opposite. This subspecies in particular is equally robust and hardy as Boa c. imperator.

The worst thing of all is to breed true locality specific boas to morphs in order to enhance the appearance of the latter (like it happens in the USA). The subspecies of Boa constrictor are either designated in app. I (Boa c. occidentalis) or app. II (all other ones) of the Cites law. That means they are either in immediate danger of extinction or threatened by extinction. Therefore it should be our objective to maintain these animals as they occur in the wild (like it is done with panda bears or gorillas with a great effort) and not meddle with it by producing morphs for primary financial interests.

Of course, there are a lot of supporters and enthusiasts of true locality specific boas also in the U.S. as this email shows:

Hello,

First off, excellent web site and great photos of boas from various locals. I read through most of your site and found some excellent information. I would like to point out one thing though if I may. I read this comment on your site quite often about breeding: "Like it happens in the USA". Now I have never had any formal education on reptiles. I cannot pronounce the Scientific names of most of the species I keep. I have though always enjoyed keeping reptiles. The breeders of boa morphs that are advertised on commercial web sites are in it for one thing. MONEY! They buy and sell from each other, selling morphs for as high as $30,000 each. There are still alot of enthusiast's though that wouldn't pay a nickel for one of these morphs. Please don't group everyone from the USA into inbreeding, morph producing people as it surely is not true. I have a hard enough time coughing up $400 for a juvenile Amarali much less $2500 for a albino. Anyways wonderful web site and remember not everyone from the USA is jumping into the designer reptiles, alot of us enjoy them enough as they are. Take care

Brent Prewit