Genes in Ball Pythons & Genetic Anomalies
Ball Python Genetic Anomalies:
For those of you that are considering a new ball python project or simply want to purchase a ball python, it can be an exciting thing for sure, but it is important to know what you are getting into. One of the things that you should be conscious of is the potential anomaly that comes along with crossing certain genes. Being aware of these issues may change your mind about breeding them or even purchasing one. However, when it is all said and done, it is important to note that just because a ball python may have an abnormality, that does not mean it would not make a good pet or even a prime candidate for your breeding program. Of course, as a breeder, you should always strive for perfection and even among anomalies, one should be extremely selective.
Here are some terms to consider as well as a chart to help summarize known issues:
Wobble: The term “wobble” is used to describe a ball pythons whose head will wobble side to side and occasionally flip backward and upside down. It is more apparent when the ball python is excited. Mild to severe wobbles have been seen in ball pythons and are fairly common to certain phenotypes (morphs).
Kinking or kink: This term is used to describe a spinal deformity. It is a general term that is used to describe ball pythons that either has a kink due to injury, development issues in the egg, or from its genetic makeup. With reference to development issues in the egg, it is believed that temperature spikes during incubation may cause this. ‘Kinking’ is also common to certain phenotypes as well.
Sub-fertility: This term is defined as a less than normal capacity for reproduction. In ball pythons, there are certain phenotypes that are known to be extremely difficult to reproduce. If eggs are laid, many times the neonates perish during incubation or shortly after. There is nothing that can really be done for this other than praying for some luck.
Infertile: It is defined as the inability to reproduce at all.
Bug Eyes: This is a term that is used to describe a ball python that is born with larger than normal eyes. This is seen mainly when crossing certain phenotypes (see chart)
Small Eyes: This is a term that is used to describe a ball python whose eyes are smaller than normal. This is seen mainly when crossing certain phenotypes (see chart)
Sex Ratio: Certain ball pythons tend to produce abnormal sex ratios. At the moment this is being seen with the Coral Glow / Bananas.
My understanding is that female Coral Glow/Bananas are capable of producing male and female coral glows at generally the same ratio. If the latter female, who I will call female 1, produces any male coral glow/bananas, they will primarily be female makers. The females that hatch from female 1 will be like the mom producing both male and female coral glow/bananas at generally the same ratio.
Now the males produced by female 1 that are creating their own coral glow/banana hatchlings will primarily be female makers, however, occasionally there will be a male that will hatch. Some say that you have a 5% chance to hatch a male coral glow/banana from a male (female maker). This new male that was produced by the male (female maker) will be primarily a male maker with a 5% chance that it will produce a female coral glow/banana.
So what about the hatchlings produced from a male coral glow/bananas (Female or male maker) that did not hatch as a coral glow/ banana? Strangely enough, the non-coral glow/bananas will be the opposite sex of the coral glow. Bananas they primarily produce. In other words, if a male (Male maker) produces a clutch of 5 eggs (2 coral glow/bananas and 3 normals) the coral glow/bananas will more than likely be males and the normal will be females). The same is true for Male (Female makers) except it is vice versa. Utilizing the same clutch as an example, this male would likely produce 2 female coral glow/bananas and the 3 normal hatchlings will be males.
Duckbill: As the name implies, a ball python is born with a mouth that appears flat resembling a duckbill.
Dinker: The term “Dinker” does not refer to a negative anomaly, but I will nonetheless include it since it deals with genetics. It is a term that is used in the reptile community for a reptile that has a desirable phenotype (Visual appearance) or the potential to produce a desirable phenotype when mixed with specific morphs. It will require breeding to prove it is heritable. It is also used when the genotype is unknown again requiring experimentation to prove it recessive, co-dominant, or dominant. In a nutshell, it is a reptile that a person is still trying to figure out.
|Hidden Gene Woma||Wobble|
|Sable x Spider||Difficult To Hatch, Severe Wobble|
|Champagne x Hidden Gene Woma||Severe Wobble|
|Champagne x Spider||Lethal|
|Desert||Females are Not Fertile|
|Caramel Albino||Kinking & Female Sub-Fertility Issues|
|Super Cinnamon / Super Black Pastel||Duckbill and Kinking|
|Super Lesser Platinum/ Super Butter||Bug Eyes|
|Lesser Platinum x Piebald||Small Eyes|
|Coral Glow / Banana||Males Produce Odd Sex Ratios|
|Homozygous Spider||Not Visual (Some question its existence)|
chart reference: owalreptiles.com/issues.php
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