Het showing through

I see a lot of conflicting opinions when it comes to Heterozygous snakes and whether some show visual signs of carrying certain genes or not.
As a example:

Het literally means carrying the gene but not showing.

My personal thoughts are that these snakes are not ‘het’ but actual visuals that are showing only slight markers.

Do any of you have any snakes like this and what is your opinion on the matter?

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Yes, there are some visual cues for some heterozygous recessive morphs e.g. ringer on het piebald. But, even if they have a visual marker they are still hets unless they are the full recessive morph.

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Markers are not always 100% accurate however I can tell you that I have never been wrong about a poss het pied I held back or bought, they always proved.

Now do I recommend people to buy animals on markers? No I do not some have little to no markers and some other mutations/combos have been known to have so called markers (ringers for example) while not being het.


So going off that, you do believe that hets visually show
markers without being a ‘visual’?

Also just to be clear, you are saying a pied ringer doesn’t necessarily mean that it is heterozygous?

But going by that, what point would it become it’s full recessive morph?

Say we get a normal with a HUGE pie ringer, would that not just be a piebald but less showing? It has visual cues and carries the gene… Should that not make it a ‘visual’?

A huge ringer does not make a pied a homozygous recessive. It also does not guarantee the snake is heterozygous. It guarantees that it has a ringer.

When selecting from two heterozygous animals I would select the one with markers. Especially when purchasing possible hets.

The key is you take a risk buying a het. The payoff is when your cheaper snake proves out to be het.

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Correct I have seen many animals over the years with ringers that were not het pied, I have seen it a lot with Cinnamon or Black Pastel combos.

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How would you tell the difference between a low white/low pattern piebald and a ringer?
Or would breeding it out be the only way to know?

Edit: just realised how clear of a difference the piebald pattern is to the normal pattern. I guess that’s a big enough of a sign.

The snake with a ringer wouldn’t have the pied pattern.

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How would you tell the difference between a low white/low pattern piebald and a ringer?

Pattern as well as belly even with extreme ringers.


Yeah I realised after I wrote that. Thank you though. :blush: Do all morphs throw out ringers on occasion or is it just a handful that we know of.

I have seen floating around that people think het genes can effect the way a morph looks. Do you think this is true? Is there a het you would consider a color ‘enhancer’? Would anyone seek out an animal that is het for a gene because of the way it will make the visual genes look? I wonder if a het gene would make a visual gene keeps its color better as the animal ages.

I have a ball python that is het for ghost and genetic stipe. I don’t have enough experience with snakes to notice a difference in his color versus non hets of his morph. But, my ball python is clearly not ghost yet his sheds are 100% clear. So I’m pretty convinced hets can effect the visuals of the animal. I think it would be easier to notice het influences on single gene visual morphs, too.

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All hets that are called visual hets cause visual changes. If the gene is dominant then as a het it will cause visual changes that vary from gene to gene. Some genes might make it darker, lighter, more expressed patterns, etc though I don’t know enough about bp genetics to give an example. Whether or not someone looks for an animal based on hets depends on what the purpose of the python is. If it’s going to be a pet or display animal then visual characteristics are important whereas if it’s going to be breeding stock then visual effects aren’t very important unless the breeder is hoping for the python to pass on the desired genes/effects to the offspring. Also the person must know enough about genetics to know what effect they want to see in the bp and what genes to look for to achieve that desired look.

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You have the problem of everyone wanting to fit everything into 3 neat boxes. Dominant, inc-dom, and recessive. Real life doesn’t work so neat sometimes. also think out of our classification system. We call everything dom, inc-dom or recessive compared to what we call normal. When compared to a pinstripe, normal is recessive. So don’t get hung up on classifications and just look at whats going on.

Heterozygous just means a mismatch pair of genes. Lesser is het, just extremely visual. Pastel is het but also extremely visual. However its not so visual when its a pastel super lesser. The same can be said about some we classify as recessive. Sure a het clown in some normals may or may not be obvious, but my pastel hypo pos het clown girl has such a pattern that is highlighted by the pastel hypo, id bet a lot of money to say she proves out. het pieds tend to show in some multi gene combos, you can see it in NERDs stuff for years.

basically it comes down to, its not always a simple as recessive or inc-dom, some are just visual enough sometimes to be identified but not enough other times. Sorta recessive, sorta inc-dom. Then piling on other morphs might highlight the sorta visual part of it also or mask it more.


So I have a super light colored snake he apparently has 5 genes im no expert I just want some insight he’s said to be a Pastel banana yellow belly pinstripe Het pied

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don’t know if he’s het pied

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someone enlighten me if you think he’s het pied

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Banana :heavy_check_mark:
Pastel :heavy_check_mark:
Pinstripe :heavy_check_mark:
Yellowbelly is going to be really hard to notice from pictures in this combo but not impossible. If you can provide some better ones then that will definitely help us help you.
Guide in asking for Morph Identification Help

As for het pied. “Het” means it is carrying the one copy of the gene but not visually expressing the traits. Pair it to another “het” or visual Pied and you will see visuals in the babies. There is no way of telling if it is actually het, that’s part of the gamble.

With that said, I believe Piebald is incomplete dominant and actually expresses visual differences to identify the “het” almost consistently in normals. In Combos with genes like Pinstripe in the mix, that’s going to be impossible to tell without breeding.

A few fun threads to help you on your way:


Sweet this was super helpful and thank you for the clear up on at least 3 of the genes and yea Het pied I was under the impression I wouldn’t be able to tell unless I bred him which I do in fact have a female pied so time with only tell when I have the chance to breed them but I kept reading that there were often tell tail signs but it doesn’t mean 100% but like you said it’s really hard to tell with his combo of genes but I’m gonna get some more pictures hopefully these are good

Do you have any reason to believe it’s anything other than what it is labeled? If your snake is from a quality breeder you should be able to trust there identification.