KZN Red and Red Kenya- the two red house snakes. What's the difference?
There are some. I detail my observations from working with and breeding these two snakes below. First, we'll start with KZN Reds.
KZN Reds have been around in captivity much longer with several morphs established so very red house snakes here in the US are much more likely to have Kzn Red blood than Red Kenya.
Both types vary in color intensity and both can shift color at any time (like most house snakes can). There are noticeable differences in color tone between the two however.
Kzn Reds start out somewhat brownish and gain their red color as they age.
They also have a darker base to their color, and that color is typically fairly cool toned. Think " deep ruby". Kzn Reds certainly can have a warm tone too however it seems to be consistently less common.
They typically have a faint speckled appearance that is nearly patternless, with eye stripes that parallel to another line nearing the neck, similar to other capes, but that line quickly disappears down the body.
When bred to other capes, the first generation of offspring are similar to the pure kzn parents, but with a stronger amount of pattern more typical of non-locality specific capes. In my projects ive noticed this continues to look closer and closer to a standard cape the further the genetics drift from the origin source.
Both of these animals have Kzn Red Blood. Pictured above is KZN het T+ albino having a pure parent bred to a T+ albino cape. Its worth noting he has more pattern on his body then the pure KZN pictured below.
Red Kenya (top) & Kzn Red (bottom) Hatchlings
This beautiful example is a burnt orange color and still has the amazing solid eye color, black eye rings, yellow jagged eye stripes, and patternless body that differentiate this locality. Photo used with permission, Credit Sjoerd Prins of Royal House Snakes
Kzn Red & Red Kenya Cross
At the time of this writing I have only sucessfully hatched one clutch of Kzn Red - Red Kenya Cross but what Ive noticed is a mixing of the two traits.
F4 pictured to the right has the eye stripes and pattern typical of KZN reds with the warmer tone color and parallel red ventral scale coloration seen on some (but not all) red kenya.
M2 has the faded pattern and eye stripes of a kzn red but slight black rings and the warmer tone of red kenyas
M3 has faint black eye rings, solid eyes, and eye stripes that are closer together like the red kenya but with some parallel striping and pattern fading into the body like the KZN red does.
Based on these and the rest of the clutch I feel its safe to say that these two localities are fairly compatible despite their taxonomic differences (kzn red are a capensis and red kenya are fuliginosis). At the time of breeding them it was my hope to 1) see how the traits combine to further understand their differences and 2) be born with and continue to develop in time a nice deep red color. Time will tell :)
Kzn Red & Red Kenya Morphs
Naturally, I'm always thinking of new ideas and ways to make even more stunning babies. There isnt many morphs of these yet but I will be updating with pictures of morph babies of both as I create them. If you have ideas for what you'd like to see let me know!
-Red Kenyas- Red Kenyas hatch out already red, and their color tone is fairly warm, with an orange base (think ketchup).
They also have a different look to the eye. The eye itself is solidly the same color. Also notice the pronounced black ring around the eye, this varies in thickness but everyone ive owned or hatched has had it.
Pure Red Kenyas have no pattern other than their eye stripes. This has been consistent in my projects and those ive seen of others I trust. Ive noticed that they typically have some red parallel lines in their belly scales as well (pictured in kzn red/ red kenya cross section)
Their eye stripes also are shorter, typically kind of yellow in color, and a bit more jagged looking (like lightning? if that makes sense) when compared to the smoother longer eye stripes of the Kzn Red. I've also noticed that in Red kenyas the eye stripes touch or nearly touch at the nose, whereas they are farther apart in Kzn Reds.
Diversity of Red Kenya Color
As you can see in the two photos below and above, the Red Kenya locality is not a matter of what color or hue it is, they have a specific differences: eyes, eye stripes, eye rings, pattern, etc.
This Red Kenya is rather cool toned in color (partly due to the lighting) but still has all of the other "markers" of a red kenya.
Kzn Red Extreme Gene Albino (speckled) & Red Kenya Albino