Gorilla is here! New Gene Understanding

Gorilla has been one of our favorite project at NBK Reptiles for years, one of Brian Papuccyian favorite gene (probably because he looks like a Gorilla himself lol). As much as we have been impressed by some Gorillas we have hatched in the past, nothing came close to what we discovered this year.

Gorilla is another gene that was selected in the 2010s by NBK team through African imports. It is a dark mutation with some crisp colours, sometimes with greenish hues.

Here’s a single gene Gorilla besides a regular from 2021

single gene around 400g

In the last couple years we kept our Gorilla breeding to a minimum trying to get a good grasp of what we had in our hands. In The last 10 years not too many combos were made, from what I remember, the HRA Gorilla was produced and did not make a Red Axanthic looking snake, but more of a HRA with a wide and maroon dorsal stripe, interesting but not crazy yet.

In 2021 we did try to see if the Gorilla had the potential to make some Pewter like combos when paired with Pastel. We did Gorilla x Enchi Pastel Ivory
(unfortunately I can’t find any picture of those babies in my phone dammit…) To be completely honest, they were a bit disappointing at the moment. No Pewter like combos and not even a dulled out Pastel from adding a dark gene (I expected something like Pastel and HRA interaction). We ended up with a Pastel Enchi Gorilla YB and a Pastel Gorilla YB. We kept them for a year and they held pretty good contrast in general, with deep rich blacks and vivid yellows and orange. We ended up wholesaling these snakes to focus on the newer generation of Gorillas we could make… that was a mistake when I look back at it now.
Here are the discoveries we made this year, you’ll understand what I mean!

So coming in 2023 we had little hopes for the project and tried to do different things with our 3 breeder females Gorillas.

They did NOT disappoint…

here is a GHI Gorilla versus a GHI
This is mind-blowing!

GHI Gorillas
The Gorilla added a very interesting amount of darkness in the GHI. They display more banded patterns than the regular GHI and a much wider dorsal stripe with deeper and more rich black pigments.

Same banding and wider dorsal with the GHI Gorilla Fire

GHI Fire (No Gorilla) Much less banded pattern and brighter

Those blew me away but the Blackhead version is what really opened my eyes.

Blackhead and Blackhead Gorilla (both Het Lavender)

The richness of the blacks on that Blackhead Gorilla is just nuts!

So what do we know now?

Gorilla is not a Black Pastel or a GHI. It’s not SUPER visual on it’s own and in every combos. Does it mean it should be disregarded? Absolutely not!

Where is Gorillas place in our future and the industry’s? Personally I think Gorilla needs some more work to really understand it’s full potential. I really like what I have seen this year with those dark combos, really really like it. Our next step is definitely going to see if we can make a super form of the gene. We have tried in the past but ended up with results similar as Super Leopards, more intense expression, but nothing concluding. We will be working on that in 2024.

I think Gorilla can be used as a darkening gene, but not an overpowering one. That’s why I think wholesaling the Pastel combos we made in 2021 was a mistake. By not seeing a significant impact, I thought the gene was just too subtle to be really interesting. Here’s where I was wrong. The Gorilla Pastel combos were disappointing because we expected the gene to work like the other dak genes we are familiar with. Instead we had a dark gene that kept vibrant yellows without dulling them down. Now that I look at it with perspective, I want to explore that Pastel avenue once again, but with a different eye on them.

My curerent understanding of the gene is that Gorilla can be used as a darkening agent in both dark combos to increase and bolden the blacks, but also as a contrats highlighter in more vibrant combos.
The project is so young, its hard to see where this gene will bring us, but my interest has never been greater!

2024 will hopefully bring us more answers and more amazing combos.

please let me know what you think of the gene and it’s potential.


Antoine Seguin
DPR coldblood, NBK Reptiles breeding manager


The ghi gorilla is just amazing! I also wanted to point out the pattern is also more spread out leaving more space inbetween the alien heads kinda like a Mojave for example, which really makes it stand apart as well! The blackhead seems like a great logical step for this morph as well, and looks great. This gorilla is like a very dark genetic super black back, which is very interesting and different from what’s out there! I’m going to keep following this morph! Great project👍


Looks like an amazing project!

Can you fill out the below for us;

Species: Ball Python
Name of Gene: Gorilla
First produced by whom: NBK Reptiles
Year First Produced:
Genetics Type: Inc Dom
In complex with other genes?:
Other names/aliases for it?:

Appearance; What it does/looks like?

  • Head:
  • Body:
  • Belly:
  • Tail:

Proven Lines:
Related Genes:



Looks like a legit black-back morph. Seeing the GHI with such a strong black back is really cool.


What a beautiful morph! Loving the pattern on them in the combos


Do you have a photo of the gorilla HRA? or even possible super gorillas? Honestly, this really just looks like HRA to me. Even the combos are basically identical.


I see a lot of potential in this gene, and am very interested. I know several people on here or on your Instagram said its basicslly HRA, but after reviewing on MM GHI HRA by itself - I can officially say, I don’t see the resemblance.

Gorilla not only darkens but ads nice flaming and spacing to the above alien heads in the GHI. Reviewing GHI HRAs on MM I dont recognize it.

Gorilla is a gene I’d be interested in getting into! Looking forward to the release :grin:


I am not a ball python fan at all retics are my thing, but after catching your video on youtube last nite im going to say this gene has some serious potential in fact i actually would give up my retic collection for one :slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face: and that is saying something look forward to following your future progress mate


Wow, I’m sure they’ll be popular once they’re on the market! I’d be curious to see one paired with a Suma or Stranger!!!


I suppose I should post examples of why I suspect this might be HRA.

Your animals do look like they come from exceptional stock and some of yours do have het lav (which may or may not affect the animals’ brightness) so these examples won’t be exact. Some examples are to show similar brightness, others similar pattern.

Similar HRA animals:

Similar HRA GHI + 1 fire

Some similar BH HRA animals:

Even if this does prove to be HRA, they are gorgeous animals and would be a high quality line. And if it proves to be entirely different, that’s great too! It’s still a gorgeous morph either way


I saw the posts on Instagram and was super intrigued by this morph. This gene clearly seems to have it’s hand on the contrast knob, and cranks it to 11 with what it has been put with so far.

I disagree thst it looks/behaves like HRA. HRA looks redder/browner, and has more dorsal blushing. It behaves very differently from HRA with GHI. HRA and it’s cousins Cinnamon and Black Pastel tend to turn down the contrast of the alien heads, or wash them out completely in GHI. This seems to do the opposite, making all the blacks blacker, all the brights brighter, really cranks up the contrast.

I’d LOVE to see what it does with GHI Mojave. My favorite thing in thst combo is how “out of focus” the alien heads look. I’d love to see if they stay fuzzy, but brighter or if they are brought into crisp focus and are higher contrast, like we saw in Fire GHI. My hope would be that the alien heads still look out of focus, but much brighter.

The sharpening and increased contrast effects of this morph are really compelling. I’d love to work with it.


That’s my boy Kylo Ren right there.


I have made a GHI HRA Mojave . With it would be a big comparison I think if Gorilla got put into GHI Mojave. So far this new gene looks similar to HRA but I see things in it that don’t match the 4 HRAs I have


I agree with you! I think gorilla is different then hra but it could be in the same complex, and I think it (in single gene form) should be paired with a single morph hra or just a cinny or black pastel to see if/how it reacts to this complex. I work with a lot of Corey woods original line of hra and love it, but this gorilla is definitely something different and special! (By the way kylo ren is a fantastic looking animal!):+1:


Thanks! And he still is too! He’s made some pretty babies!