Morph Issues [Corn Snakes]

Morph Issues

This is a list of all the morphs and combos that have known issues associated with them. Feel free to reply with updates to this list.

Last Update: December 15 2021

Morph Issue Source Notes
Caramel Enlarged heart [1] weakness and sudden death
Striped Enlarged heart [2] weakness and sudden death
Palmetto bug/enlarged eyes
Stargazer Causes severe neurological issues, to the point where many snakes have to be culled [3]

  1. Known and potential genetic defects in morphs! | Page 4 | Reptile Forums ↩︎

  2. Known and potential genetic defects in morphs! | Page 4 | Reptile Forums ↩︎

  3. Morph Issues [Corn Snakes] - #5 by inspirationexotics ↩︎


Palmetto corns have bug/enlarged eyes.


I’ve never heard of Caramel or stripe having any issues. (And I’ve also worked with both morphs and haven’t had issues with them personally.) Looked through the source you have listed for those, and the person listing all the defects doesn’t have any sources listed for their info.

Lavenders have higher incidence of kinking.


I’ve scratched them off until we can find a true source


Sunkissed is, I believe, the original source of the Stargazer gene in corns, which is a recessive trait that causes severe neurological issues, to the point where many snakes have to be culled. Though it was originally discovered in Sunkissed animals, I believe it’s been outcrossed to many other genes. Homozygous Stargazer animals have the severe neurological issues, but het Stargazers can pass it on. Because of this I believe many European breeders especially use known het Stargazer animals to test others, and if an animal proves to be het Stargazer it often involves culling all of the offspring and culling or pet-only rehoming the het individual.


It is true that Stargazers first appeared in Sunkissed lines. It’s also true that, thanks to a tremendous amount of honest and difficult work on the part of a number of people involving many, many test breedings, it has been conclusively shown that Stargazer is a separate gene from Sunkissed. Thanks to these countless efforts and ethical practice, the Stargazer gene is now exceedingly rare. Although there is in some quarters a perception that that Sunkissed and Stargazer is linked, this is no longer the case. In fact, it was never truly a genetic linkage; the association was based on the initial occurrence of Stargazer in Sunkissed corns. It could have happened in any morph.

There is more information in the Morphpedia citations. For those who’d like a deeper dive, additional discussions going back a number of years are available on Also, when researching Stargazer or any genetic information, it’s important to be aware of source dates. (Note: I haven’t been directly involved in any of this research. I am profoundly grateful to those who were/are.)


@solarserpents @caryl we are always seeing many Palmettos flagged as being bug-eyed. Do you think this is a issue that warrants a disclaimer on Palmetto listings, as we do with other issue traits:


I know you didn’t ask me, but it doesn’t feel as necessary to me to put a disclaimer about the bug eyes. It’s not a discreet or subtle issue like stargazing or wobble, but one that can be clearly seen in a representative photo. I’m not opposed to a warning about the possibility for bug eyes but there do exist examples of both palmetto corns and leucistic Texas rats that do not have bug eyes.


Yeah, I think I agree with this. Wobble can’t be seen from a photo, but bug eyes are pretty obvious. I worry that putting that warning on all palmetto listings might make a potential buyer of a non-bug eye palmetto think that all palmettos develop bug eyes over time (which they don’t) and discourage them from buying. But maybe a little warning that said some palmettos have the bug eye condition would be okay?


Thank you guys!!

Just to be clear, this is just for discussion purposes … we do not have any plans to add this anytime soon


I personally think it’s all but necessary at this point, especially with so many breeders recently explicitly not stating their animals are bug-eyed despite the photo showing some degree of enlargement, not using the pet only tag (which should be required for these animals), and selling them full price despite defects. There are also breeders who post photos that don’t even show both eyes or are from an angle you wouldn’t be able to tell from the photos. It has gotten much worse recently as well. We wouldn’t necessarily need a disclaimer if people were educated and being truthful.

The thing is, any Palmetto breeding with another Palmetto can produce bug-eyed animals, and we need to be upfront about this, considering how many new keepers & breeders have come into the hobby recently. As long as the disclaimer is well-worded to make it clear these snakes don’t just develop enlarged eyes over time, it shouldn’t have any impact on sales.

That’s basically what was proposed by Thomas. I think it might be helpful if the “Learn More” led to photos showing both hatchling and adult Palmetto comparison photos, one animal with normal eyes and the other with enlarged, that way there’s a visual comparison someone who might not understand what to look for can use.


That’s true, I have noticed this. I feel like when palmetto was first coming down in price, there was an obvious distinction between bug eye and regular eye prices and breeders were pretty clear about noting the bug eyes in the description.


It used to be very clear, with no nonsense photos and notable price differences. Used to be a Palmetto with perfect eyes was around $500, with the bug-eyed animals being closer to $350. Now with prices coming down further and more new breeders, the waters have gotten muddied and it’s much harder to discern.

I’ve also seen more than one breeder trying to pass off animals with a more subtle defect as having perfect eyes, which irks me more than it should. Add to all of that these new breeders who have popped up whose listing photos are of such poor quality half the time the animal’s head is a blur, it’s a headache waiting to happen.


I agree that the issue of the link between bug eyes and Palmetto is worth an educational note of some type. Maybe I’m wrong, but it really does seem like there are more animals with a greater expression of the defect being sold now than just a couple of years ago. I understand that bug eyes cannot truly be bred out of Palmetto, but ignoring the defect and breeding/producing animals giant bug eyes while pretending that’s normal sn’t the answer either.

I really like this idea. Maybe even with a third pair of exemplars; normal, medium expression of enlarged eyes, seriously enlarged eyes. This could be very helpful. Hatchlings normally have cranial proportions which differ from adults. People who are newer to the hobby may have a harder time sussing or the distance between normally “big” baby eyes and eyes which can indicate a problem.


I like that idea too.

Sort of a side note, but I haven’t seen many, or maybe any, pictures of bug eyed adults. I’ve seen some babies with truly humongous eyes. I’m wondering if they’re less noticeable once the head gets larger.


Just a thought, and I don’t know if it would be possible, but could there be an extra dropdown for breeders to select from in morphs that have frequently associated issues? Wobble in jaguar carpet pythons or various ball pythons, bug eyes in palmetto corns or leucistic Texas rats, etc. If the seller selects no on said dropdown and the buyer notices said issue in a sale then the animal was misrepresented. I feel like this could alleviate a whole lot of issues on the buyer end.