Ball Python Genetic Behaviors and Morph Breeding Oddities



The Wobble

Affected Genes:

  • Spider
  • Champagne
  • Hidden Gene Woma
  • Woma
  • Super Sable
  • Power Ball (Super Spotnose)

The wobble is a neurological issue exhibited by several different morphs (see above) and is characterized by periodic equilibrium loss – in other words: these snakes sometimes ‘shake’ their heads, corkscrew, and/or sometimes turn upside down when they ought not to, and it’s not uncommon for them to lay in weird positions.

This particular neurological issue is NOT lessened by ‘outcrossing breeding’ (many other breeders have tried), it was NOT caused by inbreeding (the first spider in the world was collected from the wild with a wobble) and most importantly: there is exactly 0 evidence to suggest the wobble causes these animals any kind of pain or suffering. Their quality of life is not reduced by this neurological issue. They do not have a shortened lifespan or higher mortality as hatchlings.

The wobble is also not exclusively limited to ball pythons: jaguar carpet pythons also wobble.

Eye Defects

Affected Genes:

  • Super Cinnamon / Super Black Pastel / 8 Ball
  • Super Lesser / Super Butter / Butter Lesser
  • Lesser / Butter Piebald

Eye defects can refer to “bug eyes” (eyes that are abnormally large), “small eyes” (eyes that are abnormally small) or a combination of the above. Super Black Pastel/Cinnamon/8 Balls are known for having bug eyes, while Super Lesser/Butter and Lesser/Butter Pieds are known for having particularly small eyes (or mismatched), though Super Lessers have also been known to have bug eyes.

Cases of “no eyes” are sometimes seen and are usually the result of incubation problems (either too hot, or too much temperature fluctuation, is usually the culprit here).

Kinking

Affected Genes:

  • Super Cinnamon / Super Black Pastel / 8 Ball
  • Caramel Albino

A kink refers to a deformation of the spine. Many kinks are not life-threatening, but this depends entirely on where the spinal deformation is. Kinking can vary from a slightly upturned tail tip to the snake’s entire stomach being misplaced due to the spine’s formation. While kinking can happen as a result of incubation problems, it also is relatively common in both Caramel Albino and Super Cinnamon / Super Black Pastel / 8 Balls.

Female Fertility

Affected Genes:

  • Desert (Does NOT include Desert Ghost)
  • Caramel Albino

This section refers to morphs where the female has fertility issues. We will preface by saying that Desert is easily the most famous. Desert females cannot breed successfully. If they manage to ovulate, they will either slug out (if you are lucky) or they will become egg bound and very likely die. Many experiments have been posed to see whether or not this can be corrected – by waiting until the female is older; by waiting until the female is larger; by adding in more genes. None of these things have ever corrected it. Do not breed Desert females. If you own a Desert female, she must remain PET ONLY for her safety.

Caramel albino females are reputed to lay more slugs than most females. This is anecdotal.

Weird Sex Ratios

Affected Genes:

  • Banana/Coral Glow

Males of this gene tend to throw weird sex ratios. Often times, all banana/coral glow babies sired by a banana/coral glow “male maker” (in other words, a male who got his Banana gene from its father) will be male while the normal (non banana/coral glows) will be an even mix of male/female. Female banana/coral glows throw normal odds, but are significantly less common as a result.

A male Super Banana or Super Coral Glow, has one gene from it’s sire, and one from it’s dame, so the mix would be a combination of the above. Any of it’s babies getting the Banana gene from the grand-father’s passed down gene, would be all or mostly male. Hatchlings getting the other gene passed to it would be a somewhat even male to female ratio. Any male Bananas from this male super, you would have no idea if it was going to be a “Male Maker” or not until you breed it down the road.

Confusing, yes.

Fatal Combos

These are combinations wherein the breeding results in babies being either hatched and unable to survive, or simply do not hatch at all.

  • Sable x Spider
  • Super Champagne
  • Champagne x Spider
  • Super Hidden Gene Woma
  • Champagne x Hidden Gene Woma

The Super Spider is a hit-or-miss discussion: does it exist? Does it not? There is no concrete proof either way, and so it is not on this list. Breed spider x spider at your own discretion.

Ball Python Genetic Behaviors and Morph Breeding Oddities was last modified: August 14th, 2020 by Tom
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