Lizard's totally unnecessary snek thread

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by Lizardlicks, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    You asked for it. Or, well, one of you did, and now you all have to suffer my spergy ass. Good job @IvyLB . Enjoy the first of my (possibly) many posts about my favorite scale puppies, ball pythons!

    Fist Topic: Ball Python Genetics; A Simple Breakdown

    Ball pythons have amazing varitety. From the basic normal, or “wild type” python found in sub-saharan Africa has sprung over a hundred base “morphs”, or color mutations, and breeders have produced literally thousands of morph combinations. As of right now, the World of Ball Pythons website lists over 4,000 produced color and pattern combinations.

    But what is a morph? For ball pythons, a morph is a deviation in color or pattern from the standard wild type animal that has proven to be genetically inheritable by a snake’s offspring. This isn’t always as straight forward as it sounds, as the normal animals can come in a wide range of color and pattern already. Some animals might be hatched darker or lighter than others. They might have a very reduced pattern, or a very busy one. But until the animal has proved out- that is, demonstrated that its special quality can be passed down to its young- it can not be considered a morph.

    How does a ball python inherit a morph from it’s parent? To be as basic as possible for this explanation, the genes passed down generally come in three varieties: dominant, incomplete or co-dominant, and recessive. (Note, since very few ball python morphs are polygenic I won’t be covering that, but it’s basically what we do with dogs: line breeding to take a desired trait and multiply its intensity over several generations. These aren’t truly distinctive morphs in the same way that most ball python mutations are, and can be bred into or out of lines.)

    Genes are (usually, unless something goes wrong) passed down in pairs, but the pairs don’t always match. A word that get’s tossed around when speaking about ball python morphs is ‘het’. No, this isn’t the same as what tumblr refers to as “dirty cishets oppressors!" This is actually a shortened way of saying ‘heterozygous’. What heterozygous means is that the pair of genes the baby snake got from it’s parents are mis-matched. The opposite is homozygous, when both pairs are the same. What the baby snakes will look like largely depends on which pairs of genes they get from each parent, and if those genes are dom, co-dom, or recessive. One member of this pair by itself is called an allele. The location of where a gene/allele sits on a strands of DNA is called a locus. Later on I’ll explain why this is important to some morphs, but let’s move on to basic inheritance.

    If a snake inherits a dominant morph allele, no matter what other allele they get in the pair (with little exception, which I’ll explain later), that gene will be visually expressed. Examples of dominant morphs include spider, pinstripe, and leopard.

    If a snake inherits only one co-dominant allele (in other words, the allele pair is heterozygous), the color or pattern will be expressed, much like the simple dominant gene. However, co-dom genes do something special when you get two of a kind. They express a form that’s been dubbed “super”. An example of a co-dom gene and its super version is pastel and super pastel.

    Recessive is the trickiest type of gene to work with when you’re trying to get a snake that expresses this trait. If a snake inherits only one recessive allele (het), it WILL NOT visually show it. You will have to pair this animal up with another that carries at least one of the same allele, and hope that one or more of their babies get one from each parent. The odds increase significantly if you pair up homozygous snakes instead of heterozygous snakes. Examples of recessive morphs are piebald, albino, and clown.

    One thing I mentioned previously was that loci- where the allele is located on a strand of DNA- can be important to some morphs. In certain cases, alleles from different morphs will occupy the same locus, and crazy stuff can happen when they do. Instead of expressing like either of the two parent alleles, they combine to form something completely new. One of the most famous examples of a morph who’s alleles often occupy the same locus as other morphs’ genes is the mojave. The mojave is a co-dom morph. It’s super form makes a snake that has blue eyes and is mostly white except for some head pattern. But when combined with a lesser, the pattern disappears entirely, creating a pure white snake with blue eyes known as a BEL or blue eyed leucistic ball python. This is where that exception comes in about dominant genes always being visible; you can’t see a spider pattern on an all white snake!

    More striking, however, is what mojaves produce when combined with specials. The heterozygous alleles combine to create a completely different looking morph named a crystal.

    That’s it for basic inheritance. If I didn’t make your eyes glaze over with that info dump (or if I did, but you’re still interested, and want some sort of clarification) let me know, and I’ll keep going!
    • Like x 14
  2. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    oooooo this is super interesting! The only thing I am sort of on the fence about is where exactly the line is to declare a new morph? some of these look pretty similar to me (but I'm a halfblind person with no former knowledge about ball pythons except 'cute sneks' and I also have a very bad eye for detail except when I'm in decorating space :P) like the obvious coloration differences are pretty obvious even to me but then some of the patterns look similar enough that I wouldn't even be able to begin telling them apart! You probably need to know a lot of things breed snakes, huh.
  3. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    I am so fucking here for BP morphology. *chinhands*

    Faves include:
    Anything Silver Streak
    And of course you can't talk about any Silver Streak line without mentioning Skittles, the famous "What the FUCK this is amazing?!" impossible gene combo. Black Pastel + Super Pastel + Albino + Piebald = Silver Streak Paradox Pied. Somehow.

    I actually got to hold her, her breeder is near me. She's stunning (MISMATCHED EYES?!) and was literally priceless. Her first clutch of babies was selling for $4k+ EACH, and none of them showed her Albino traits but possibly carried. Her "price" on her show box was listed as "Stupid Expensive" and "No."​
    Cinnamon mixes and Super Cinnamon
    My juvie is a Cinnamon Pinstripe out of the same breeder as Skittles but she has a lot more red in her than the picture, that one looks almost green.​
    And the morph I would definitely sell my soul--and probably that of my first child--for: Mystic Potion
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
    • Like x 6
  4. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    A morph has to be different from it's wild type cousin and other established morphs AND it has to prove those different traits can be passed down to it's offspring. Some morphs are subtle and do take a bit of a trained eye. For the longest time I had so much trouble telling a pastel from a fire! And it doesn't help that unscrupulous breeders who want to turn a fast buck will produce sub-par quality animals. Then there's the extra confusion when two different breeders get a hold of a new morph at the same time and each name it something different, as in the case of banana and coral glow, or lesser and butter. The best thing to do if you're just getting into the hobby is pick a couple end game morphs that YOU like, then find as many of the absolute best examples of the particular morphs that go into making the ones you're interested in, and familiarize yourself with what sets those snakes apart.

    Example: I want a mojave bee, which is pastel+spider+mojave (bee is what you call a spider when it's in a combo with other morphs because it turns them stripy), so those three morphs are what I need to produce it. It doesn't matter how they get in there, but the way I planned it is I'm going to pair my lesser bee female Serket with a super pastel mojave boy. I didn't buy my lesser bee until after I'd done months of research into just what I wanted in a spider (bight color, high white on her sides). My super pastel mojave I'm gonna be even pickier about; I want one from Brian Gundy's "gold blush" line. The yellows are stunning and the patterns are all clear and crisp.

    Sweet! Skittles is freaking nuts. Most of the time you can predict what you're going to get with some accuracy, and other time you don't know WHAT just popped out of that egg. It's like Christams!

    SAME. My girls are from a small breeder in Texas I met through the forums, but they're both SMOKIN'. Seriously, the only other cinnipin I found that looked as good as she did was on BHB's website and Brian wanted $400+ shipping for just the one snake. This guy sold me her and and my lesser bee girl together for the same price with shipping included.

    Fucking score.


    • Like x 5
  5. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    Oooooooh you got a complete dorsal strip, mine's got a couple freckles:
    ... Someday I will get a picture of her not in a ball. And in normal lighting so she doesn't look so damn green.
    I want to get her out on the grass but our yard is composed of 237% Fire Ants.

    I am so jealous of the high yellow, she looks like spun gold.
    Your bee is gorgeous too, so creamy!
    (Also part of me is sad we both have Lady Sneks, even though I don't think she has a whole lot of breeding potential, she's a fairly ordinary cinnapin. But SCIENCE!)
    • Like x 4
  6. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    Aw, poor cute tiny! Well, that's okay, I don't intend to produce any super cinnies anyway because I don't want to risk the chance of kinking in the babies. Sad that that's an issue because the all black snakes look SO AWESOME. What I did get her for was this:


    Cinnamon enchi banana. My long goal is to produce a pied version 0u0
    • Like x 4
  7. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    SO ORANGE! I love it. That would be stunning with a half- or high-white pied.

    I can get better pics if you want to see if she's good enough to crossbreed in More Cinnamon in the later stages, so you get some gene variety. She's out of the SC Branch of Reptile Collective, so she's almost definitely a completely different strain.

    Here's something I've wanted to ask of another genetic geek:

    Say you get your CinnEnchiNana. If you were going to breed Pied into it, would you try to pair with a

    Pied + Cinn/Enchi or Enchi/Nana or Cinn/Nana for Max odds of PiedCinnaEnchiNana


    Pied + Cinn/Misc or Enchi/Misc or Nana/Misc for of Med odds of PiedCinnaEnchiNana, Med odds of ?????? Mystery Awesome

    Basically, maximum odds of ideal or moderate odds of ideal + throw in a wildcard to see what happens?

    (In a hypothetical world where all "boring" babies find loving homes and you aren't landed with more snakes than you can handle)
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  8. jacktrash

    jacktrash absentee sperglord

    oh dang i love hearing about animal breeding and genetics, especially when it's an animal as cute as those puppyface noodles.
    • Like x 4
  9. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard


    My plan is to get an enchi pied girl this next tax season and then a male banana het pied in a couple years and pair them together. The banana's funky ass sex linked inheritance pattern should actually work to my benefit here. With luck it should go something like this:

    "male maker" banana het pied male x enchi pied female = banana enchi pied male
    banana enchi pied male x cinnamon pinstripe female = banana echi cinnamon het pied male (possibly with added pinstripe)
    banana echi cinnamon het pied male goes back to the first enchi pied female, and fingers crossed, we get the enchi cinnamon banana pied (with a couple bonus add on options like pinstripe or super enchi). To increase the odds of hitting the combo I can hold back pied and enchi pied females from the first clutch and pair them up too, but they'll take a couple years to mature.

    If I hit the odds ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY it could take as little as three breeding seasons to get the end goal snake.
    • Like x 2
  10. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    If you can get the Pied to pop in ANY of those combos???? HNNNG.

    Man I don't even go for yellow sneks but enchi banana is surprisingly aesthetically pleasing?

    How much does the level of white in parent pieds factor in? Do you need a high-white parent to get a high-white baby? Or is it like horses and as long as the pied gene is present you get results? Could you have a low-white pop out one of those crazy ones where there's just a random splotch on a white snake?

    Edit: Slightly unrelated but how do you feel about freckles on your bananas? It seems to be a love/hate thing.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  11. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    Pied is neat in that it follows some patterns, but nothing is a guarantee. High white parents will, generally, be likely to throw a lot of high white babies, and the same is true for mid and low white, though a lot of it is still random chance. Also, some morph combos tend toward higher and lower white ratios. Enchi and pinstripe pieds tend to be low white, where as spider and cinnamon pieds tend to produce high white animals.

    Personal preference: I like mid-to-high white on my basic single gene pieds, but mid-to-low on pied combos. Otherwise, what's the point of making combos if you aren't going to see the pretty colors? And I'm not over fond of the super white white (like 80-90% white). If you want a snake with that little color get a BEL complex; either a super fire or a super mojave.

    As for banana freckles, I used to not like them but now I think they're kind of cute!
    • Like x 2
  12. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    So basically we have the VERY similar taste in noodle puppies :D
  13. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    Sounds like it! My two biggest snake philosophies are "everything pied" and "yes, but what if also enchi?" I do go for the yellow, orange, and red snakes though. I can't help it, they're so bright and pretty @u@
    • Like x 2
  14. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    i understood about half of that conversation but wow the snakes you want to get are cute! the fire-y orange one looks absolutely magical I'd be half convinced it was a photoshop if I just stumbled across the pic on my own.
    Magical Potion looks really cute :o

    (I'm really too impatient for complicated stuff like animal raising and breeding. also I'm kinda a wuss and a lot of reptiles eat stuff I get the crawlies from so I'm just kinda going to read this thread and be amazed that such cute snakes exist)
    • Like x 2
  15. An Actual Bird

    An Actual Bird neverthelass, Brid persisted, ate third baggel

    I don't understand anything but there are cute snek pictures and sciencey words and I'm a happy bird.
    • Like x 4
  16. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    "But what if pied" is an execellent life philosophy. I pair mine with a lot of "Okay how do we make brown snek blue."
    • Like x 2
  17. Hobo


    I love banana type pythons! They are super cute yellow noodles, especially the ones that are more distinctively yellow and have darker markings as contrast. My favs: banana desert ghost, banana lesser, banana mystic and kingpin banana desert ghost.

    I have to admit I was kinda struggling to tell the difference between the lesser and mystic, but I'm assuming the difference is that the mystic is browner and has a more consistent spotting pattern? Like the yellow stripes/spots down the spine are non-spotted while the ones next to them are consistently spotted with brown in the middle until the end of the tail? The lesser's pattern seems a bit more random by comparison. Would you guys be able to explain the naming conventions? Like obviously enchi vs lesser vs mystic all refer to something (presumably the pattern? /shrug), what is that something for some of the more common names? I'm definitely curious about lesser vs mystic at least! I'm also curious about the differences between the regular banana desert ghost and the kingpin version, they seem pretty different.
  18. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    Yeah, banana lessers lighten and look more yellow as they age, and the pattern is more random and all over the place versus the tighter rosettes on the mystics. The kingpin is what people in the hobby call the combo of lesser and pinstripe. A kingpin desert ghost banana is an animal with four active color and pattern genes. If you look at the little box to the left of the pictures it will list all the morph genes influencing the look of the animal. If you don't know what everything is, a good idea is to click each base morph and look at it without anything else interfering.

    (*Of note: dessert ghosts are getting less and less common. The females of the morph have all turned out to be unable to lay eggs due to a genetic issue that causes blocks in their oviducts. While they're still fine for pets, most breeders have opted to stop working with the morph.)

    (**Also of note: dessert ghost should not be confused with orange ghost, which is another name for hypomelanistic. They're two completely different morphs.)

    The only naming convention in ball pythons is that the person who first proved out the morph gets to name it. This is why you get understandable name like pinstripe and piebald, or more obscure ones like mystic and special. This is ALSO where you get the added confusion of the same morph being called two or three different things. Big, well known breeders who have connections with African exporters get first pick if someone brings in something unusual, but there may be 2 or 3 snakes with this unusual trait at all go to different breeders and each one proves it out and gives the morph a name, but turns out that it's all the same gene. Then there's a bunch of arguing in the hobby about is it or isn't it, who's example is the better quality, yadda yadda idfc I tune out the drama at that point. It's honestly all branding and marketing.

    A new morph could have a different color, different pattern, or both. Also, some morphs are subtle, but they do amazing things in combination with other morphs that a plain normal doesn't do. Those are often referred to as "enhancer" morphs, because they make what ever they're paired with pop.

    I'll use enchi as an example.

    It may be hard to tell apart from a regular normal if you don't know what you're looking for or it's a bad quality example of the morph. A good quality enchi should have it's dark marking making lots of bands across the animal's back. The colors should be clean and bright.


    I like plain enchis by themselves, but where the morph REALLY starts to shine is when you cross it into other morphs. Here's a single gene spider:


    And here's a spider enchi (known as a stinger bee):

    Enchi will work to clean up pattern and gives the animal an over all brighter look. It's a powerhouse to have in any breeder's collection. It's like nature's photoshop, haha!

    I think at this point I should take a break and write up the next bit. Expect another fun info dump soon!
    • Like x 4
  19. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    that stingerbee is super beautiful holy shit! That jewel-like green! That beautiful color distribution! what a pretty noodle!
  20. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    I'm semi confused, but this is all super interesting and AWW PRECIOUS SNEKS SO CUTE <3 <3 <3
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