Breeding projects

I’m planning on starting to breed reptiles, I want to breed corn snakes, western hognoses, and crested geckos. Is there any genetic diseases that may come with certain morphs, like how spider morphs in ball pythons have neurological issues. Any morphs to avoid? Anything I should know about breeding as I’m new to it.


IN crested geckos you can’t breed two Lilly whites together, as the super is lethal. Also Super Cappuccinos can have some issues as well(Smaller nostrils I believe)
I don’t know anything about the other species, but there will definitely be someone around to help you out with that!


Here’s my (very unexperienced) 2 cents:

Issues (there very well could be many I don’t know of)

  • I believe lily white x lily white in crested geckos is more often than not (if not always) lethal for offspring
  • I think palmetto corns have a tendency to have bug eyes, and some people are trying to work on that (it could be a genetic diversity issue in the line rather than a gene issue)
  • I believe Snake Discovery has a working theory that lavendar x lavendar hogs slug out more than lavendar x het lavs, but I don’t think that is proven yet

Cresties are oversaturated in the market, so you’d need really high quality animals with proven lineage and probably a very clear direction to take

Corns and hogs are slightly less saturated market-wise, but it would still be a good idea to have a very clear direction to take your project in

Also 3 reptiles to start at once might be a lot. If you are already keeping all 3 successfully maybe start with one project so you don’t get overwhelmed and burn out?


In crested geckos

  • As already mentioned, the super form of Lilly White is lethal. If they do manage to hatch they have severe neurological issues and will pass within days if not hours.

  • The super form of Cappuccino has also proven to be mostly unviable, even if they don’t have the nostril issue, they develop issues over time, such as muscle decay, they might struggle to breathe (even with perfect nostrils), and they lose coordination among other things. So they will likely have little to no quality of life by the time they reach adulthood

  • Cappuccino x Sable also has the nostril issue, not sure if they develop problems over time as well though, almost no info is out about them atm.

Like already mentioned, the markets of all three of the species you want to work with are fairly saturated already, so make sure you know what your goals are beforehand, and make sure to get a good hang of the genetics - would say it’s particularly important when it comes to cresties as their genetics are a bit more complex since there’s no true wildtype :blush:


Have you thought of other species? I am sorry to say, but at this point in time even larger breeders are struggling a bit to sell off the amount of animals they produce unless the it is a top of the line animal.

But as for “genetic disease” I believe they have mostly been listed, other than the immensely inbred animals some sellers produce.

I would also keep a bit of a watch on the genetic hypos, as I am still wary about how well the supers will end up doing. I am more so worried about breeding as according to the breeder they are scaled differently.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with breeding any of these species but just be prepared to hold onto them for many months if they don’t sell


Welcome to our community! I’ll get to the genetics question in a moment. Let’s start with things to know about breeding.

First thing’s first, I don’t suggest getting into breeding simply because you want to. That can be one reason, obviously, but it shouldn’t be the only one. We work with animals, we must take them into consideration as well. Before you start, you should think about what your goals are, what you want to produce, and how you plan to go about that. Start with one species and project focus, too many people underestimate how involved this is and jump in head first, only to get overwhelmed and want out after a few years.

You’ll need to budget, breeding animals is not cheap, the expenses are many, most hobbyists don’t really make a profit. Get everything you’ll need in order before you start. Find a vet, a supplier for food for your animals, enclosures, enrichment, etc. If you’re going big enough for multiple species you’ll likely need to register as a business, get a tax ID, pay for things like expo table fees & memberships to any marketplace you may use, branding & marketing, and more. I assume you live in an owned home and not a rental, but if you’re renting, be very careful about leases and what’s allowed. Have an emergency plan in place for major possible scenarios, for any weather your area is prone to, or if you yourself are in an accident/unable to care for your animals so that you/your family are not scrambling if an emergency were to arise.

This one is one a lot of people forget or ignore: Research the laws! Know what you can and cannot keep and why if your area has regulation. If you plan to sell online, you’ll also need to know which states (if you’re in the US) don’t allow the animals you sell. For example, you absolutely CANNOT sell a corn snake to someone in Georgia or West Virginia. You can’t buy or sell Scaleless or Ultra morphs (or any morph resulting from a cross with a native species) in Illinois without a permit . You can’t buy or sell hognoses in Colorado without a permit.

As for genetic issues, I don’t know of anything in regards to cresties or hognoses, but corns can have a few. As @cmills mentioned, homozygous Palmetto corns can have bug eyes, however as far as I understand it, this is 100% a gene issue that cannot be bred out, as it is tied to leucism and the melanocyte deposition in the eyes (this is why leucistic morphs in other species also commonly have eye issues). Other things to be aware of in corns:

  • Lavenders have been known to have issues with spinal kinks
  • Scaleless lack the protection of scales so they can injure themselves easier on anything sharp or jagged in their environment, and can have issues shedding if humidity is too low. Anecdotally I’ve heard some have issues with breeding.
  • ODD morph corns grow much slower, taking 5-7 years to reach breeding size, and have lower fertility. The females are also prone to egg-binding and death if bred before they’re big enough.

These aren’t genetic issues, but do be aware that Creamsicle & Rootbeer “corns” are actually hybrids and many people fail to label them as such. Do keep in mind that while you can prepare for known genetic issues, random problems do pop up and require dealing with, up to and including euthanizing animals that hatch with defects that mean they’ll have no quality of life. You’ll have to know not only how to do so, but to do it properly without causing suffering.

As @logar & @autumngeckos mentioned, the market isn’t the greatest for many species at the moment, and for the more common morphs you’ll likely have a harder time moving them. Be prepared to hold onto animals for months, even possibly years. Breeding and caring for these animals is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also a lot of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, tears, and it’s something you really need to be committed to if you want to make it work in the long run.