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Ball python morphs: An ever expanding world

ball python morphs

The most unique aspect of owning a ball python is the sheer variety of patterns and colors that you can choose from. In fact, there are thousands, with more and more discovered each year.

The ever-expanding world of ball python morphs is an amazing one, but it’s sometimes hard to understand. 

Ball python morphs: What does it all mean?

So, you’re looking for a ball python morph, but you’re confused about all the technical jargon.

What does it all mean?

Well, to be perfectly honest, a lot of people are still trying to figure that out. Ball python morphs are genetics that are encoded into their DNA.

Meaning just like a baby can come out with brown eyes and dark hair, a ball python can come out with green eyes and a specific color and pattern.

Ball python morphs are a little more complicated than that. Don’t worry, we’re going to explain them. Let’s start with the basics.

But, it’s not as simple as seeing a color or pattern that you like one two snakes, slapping them together, and waiting for the babies to pop out of their egg.


The phenotype of ball python morphs refers to the appearance type of the animal. Some of these phenotypes include normals (aka “wild-type”) albino, pastel, super pastel, and so on.

The issue with classifying a ball python based on its phenotype is that they aren’t always caused by genetics. As an example, the “jungle” wild-type has been thought to be caused by a simple incubation technique.

But, on the other hand, it could be incredibly complicated genetic code that we just don’t understand yet.


The genotype of ball python morphs refers to the gene-type in regards to the genes within the snake. Genes always come in pairs. This means that a single copy from each parent.

Based on the ball python morphs that we’ve already discovered, we really only know about ball python genes based on the mutations.

Based on this, we really only know of two versions of the same gene to exist within an animal at the locus: Homozygous and heterozygous. 

Homozygous means that the animal has 2 identical copies of the same gene, which means it will result in a visual mutation.

Heterozygous means that the animal has 2 different copies of the same gene. This will result in what the industry calls a “het” example.

This usually results in an animal that lacks the visual concept of the gene, but it still contains that mutant gene. 


Another important concept of understanding how ball python morphs work is understanding the mutation-type.

The mutation type refers to how the phenotype and the genotype interact with one another in order to create the visual patterns and colors of the snake: hence the ball python morph. 

As we know now, there are 3 different categories for this mutation process, each with their own special perks:

Recessive: A recessive mutation is what happens when the heterozygous looks normal, and the homozygous genotype is a mutant phenotype. 

An example of this is the albino gene. In order to produce true albino babies, both parents have to contain at least one copy of the albino gene. Even if one of those copies is a “het”.

Incomplete dominant: When the snake is a heterozygous genotype, there is a visible mutation. However, when the snake is homozygous a different visual mutation occurs. 

One of the most popular examples of this would be the mojave gene. Alone, the mojave gene produces an animal that is darker than a normal, with a variation in the pattern. If you were to breed a mojave to any other morph, chances are that mojave babies would be produced. 

However, if you mix one mojave with another, the potential outcome is what the industry calls a blue-eyed leucistic (BEL). This is a completely white animal with, you guessed it, blue eyes. Much different than the parents’ visual colors and patterns.

Not all incomplete dominant genes work this drastically, but all of them will produce a different looking (even if the difference is slight) snake if both parents contain the gene.

Dominant: Both the heterozygous and homozygous mutation have the same phenotype. No matter what you mix, the result will always be the same. 

An example of this is the spider gene. Although you should NEVER mix two spider parents together (due to health concerns related specifically to the spider gene), they are considered to be dominant genes, which means that they will always be the same. 

Ball python morph odds

With everything above in mind, there is a little bit of math involved when calculating the potential outcome of the pairing. There are many places that offer genetic calculators to help this process, but it always helps to know the basics beforehand.

Let’s start with the basics. 

A normal homozygous + A normal homozygous = A normal homozygous. This is pretty easy to understand, but it’s the best way to explain what happens when you breed 2 animals that contain the same genes.

Heterozygous mutation + Homozygous normal = 50% hets. This means that half the animals produced MIGHT carry the gene, and the other half will not. Since there is no visual aid in this case, it will be impossible to tell which is which. That’s why you often see some animals marketed as a “possible het” or “Pos het”. The original breeder has no idea because they have no way to prove it.

Heterozygous mutation + heterozygous mutation = 50% chance heterozygous, 25% chance homozygous normal, and 25% chance homozygous mutant. With this mix up, some hatchlings will have the visual mutation, some will be het for the ball python morph, and some won’t have the gene at all. Again, in this pairing, unless the babies are visual mutations, they will be sold as “possible hets”. 

Homozygous mutation + Heterozygous mutation = 50% heterozygous mutation and 50% homozygous mutation. A good example of this would be a Piebald ball python morph and a het piebald. The result would be half babies that exhibit the piebald trait, and half that carry it as a het.

Homozygous mutation + homozygous normal = 100% chance of heterozygous. For example, a super phantom paired with a phantom. The result would always produce at least a phantom ball python morph. 

Homozygous mutation + homozygous mutation = 100% chance of homozygous mutation. Any “super” version of a mutation mixed with the same “super” version of the same gene will always result in offspring that are the same super. A super fire paired with another super fire means that all babies will come out as a super fire.

It becomes rather complicated when you talk about odds. Depending on how many eggs the female lays, and how healthy the eggs are throughout the incubation period, the results may vary. However, these statistics are roughly what you can expect when pairing up the different ball python morphs. 

As we stated just above, if you know the exact genes of your snakes, then be sure to use a genetic calculator to see what you can produce. That being said, it is always helpful to know how the morphs work on a genetic scale. 

Ball python morphs

There are hundreds of different ball python morphs, and more are discovered each year. This means that the rare morphs won’t always be so rare, and the price will consistently drop over time. 

It’s also important to note that no matter what the morph is, the care is the same. There is only one exception to this rule, but we’ll discuss that at the end of this section.

But, it’s always fun to look at some cool snakes! Here are a few of the more popular ball python morphs:

Normal ball python

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The normal ball python is what you would most commonly find in the wild plains of western africa. Although the pattern and color can vary quite a bit from snake to snake, they’re classified as being normal by their dark coloration and bold patterns from head to tail.

Banana ball python

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Banana ball pythons are probably one of the most sought after morphs simply because of their availability and colors. Many years ago, they cost just as much as a new car, but now they’re relatively cheap.

Albino ball python

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Albino ball pythons are one of the original imported morphs. Many years ago, you would be lucky to pick one of these up for less than $20,000. But now, they’re readily available, and a great addition to anyone’s home.

Pastel ball python

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Pastel ball pythons are much like the normal morph, only lighter in color. One of the defining traits of a pastel ball python are their green eyes.

Enchi ball python

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To the untrained eye, an enchi ball python is fairly similar to a normal. But, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice much brighter colors, and more sporadic patterning.

Leucistic ball python

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The Leucistic ball python morph exists in 2 forms: black eyes and blue eyes. Each one of these special morphs is the result of selective breeding between 2 lesser genes.

Clown ball python

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Although clown ball pythons are getting more and more available, their prices seem to be holding strong. The clown gene is quite unique, and is easily identifiable by the head stamp and markings under their eyes.

Spider ball python


The spider ball python, or the gene that makes them, rather, is quite controversial. The gene that they carry is proven to produce a neurological disorder in some snakes, causing them to lose balance easily. In some extreme cases, the snake can’t even slither or eat properly. 

Scaleless ball python

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The scaleless ball python is a genetic wonder. It’s also the exception to the rule we discussed at the top of this section. Although they are strikingly beautiful, they are slightly more delicate than your average ball python. They will absolutely require some extra special attention as far as terrarium/rack setup goes.

Average cost of a ball python

How much does a ball python morph cost?

As stated just above, new morphs are discovered and come into the industry each year. As time goes on, the demand for each different morph can either go up or down. 

Comfortably speaking, however, you can pick up a normal ball python for as little as $20-30. On the other end of the spectrum, new and unique morphs can range anywhere from $10,000 all the way up to $100,000+.


As a ball python keeper, you have many options. Ball python morphs are a natural wonder, and it’s always a pleasure to see what the industry will dig up next.

With everything stated above being said, each ball python morph is unique. Even within some morphs (enchi, for example) you will always find variations. No animal is the same. But, that’s what makes it fun, isn’t it? 

No matter what morph you have (aside from the scaleless) the care is always the same. With some cases like the spider, there are underlying health issues that you must take into consideration, but for the most part, all ball python morphs are simply “paint-jobs” that change the appearance of the snake and nothing more.

And with all of that said, if you enjoy learning about morphs, then I highly encourage you to check out our article on bearded dragon morphs. Although it’s not quite as expansive as ball pythons, it’s still very interesting.

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