Paying more for fewer genes

New member here. I was pretty serious into ball pythons back in the 2000-2005 era when Delta Dash was a thing and a simple male Piebald was $5000-6000 plus shipping. Oh, and every single snake came with a photo COA with full records of feeding, shedding, etc. (I feel really old.)

Anyway… I’m now getting back into my beloved ball pythons, and I see so very many new morphs and combos that it’s blowing my mind. My OCD nature never had to worry about finding 2-3 hidden genes in my snakes, and I always knew EXACTLY what genetic results were possible in any given breeding combo. But now, it seems that EVERY snake is a grand combination of twenty or more genetic traits, some of which I wouldn’t want in my collection. (For example, I’ve never been a fan of the Pastel gene, and I’ll actively try to avoid it.) However, in these crazy days of multi-gene morphs, I may have a difficult time trying to avoid some of the more common genes (like Pastel).

That brings me to my question: Would you pay MORE for a snake with fewer genes simply to AVOID a few rando genes which might confuse a particular project? Or would you save money, buy the snake with the extra unwanted genes, and breed out the unwanted genes in later generations (where possible)? Just curious.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.



Hello and welcome!

Absolutely! I can’t stand pastel, and have at times paid more and/or waited longer for a specific snake in order for it to not have pastel (as well as it matching my idea of the “perfect” version of that morph/combo). If I’m spending the money to buy a snake as part of a breeding project, I want it to be exactly what I want - not just close. Even if you plan to breed it out in the following generations, imagine making a pairing with the goal of producing something specific, and you end up producing exactly one baby with the set of traits you want….plus the one you were trying to breed out? At least in my mind, it would be so disappointing.

I’ve also paid more to avoid spider, as it’s a morph I’d also prefer not to work with. At the time I bought my female clown, there were several spider clown females listed on MM for $100 cheaper than her list price. They had been listed weeks before my girl was, and were there for a good bit after. It just wasn’t a compromise I was willing to make.

It’s definitely up to you, some people are more tolerant of having morphs that aren’t their cup of tea involved in their projects, and others not so much


So I have to speak up as a pet owner. I have a normal BP girl and she eats consistently and eagerly. She is healthy and happy with a great disposition. And she is beautiful of course.

So correct me if I am going down the wrong path but it seems to me that all this mixing and matching of traits, genes, etc of BPs could make them less healthy. For instance, why are spider BPs still being bred, head wobble and all? Couldn’t something like this happen to other morphs down the road?

I know it’s exciting to create new “looks” on the outside of the snake but what about the insides? Or am I just not making any sense of this? After all I am not a breeder so maybe I am making a big deal out of nothing.

Anyway, best of luck to you and your endeavors!


I’ve definitely paid more to get a snake without morphs I didn’t want in my collection. Otherwise when the animal you were trying to hit also gets the one you don’t want… It’s not worth it to have to continually breed a gene out if you can just never introduce it in the first place.

It’s basically time vs. money and it takes a lot of money to replace potentially years of time in breeding.


I went both ways. Bought some with several morphs and some single. I wanted single to make a cleaner two morph paring, and mixed to try and get something wild or different. With all, I paid what they was listed for and did not worry about if it was the right thing to do. As this was the way I wanted to go.

Some will say not to get single morph because people want a mixed verity. And a single is a wast of money. But that is there way of breeding, not everyones.

You will see a few say to keep your singles because they are or will be harder to find later.

Go with what you want to do and like, not what the majority is saying to do. You know your budget what you like and what your plans are.


There’s actually several more genes in the spider complex that can all have varying degrees of wobble as well. Spider itself, while causing a flaw iirc in the inner ear area? @t_h_wyman probably knows the specifics of it (and other genes as well) is not necessarily too bad. I feel like the incidences of spiders with severe wobble is less now than before or even just 6 years ago… which also makes the original outcry to ban them feel like just a way to attack ball python keepers in general.
Hidden Gene Woma. Champagne. Blackhead. Spotnose. These are other genes that can cause wobble that most people don’t even bat an eye at because they’re not spider. But especially when crossed with spider the issues can be even worse.

Caramel Albinos can lead to kinks.
Desert (not desert ghost) can have fertility issues and leads to many females becoming eggbound.
BELs can have issues with small eyes or bug eyes depending on the mix of genes…

It’s important to know what you’ld be working with as a breeder to understand what complications may arise. There’s a handy post on the forum for exactly that purpose. HERE

There are also a number of genes that honestly don’t affect them much at all… pastel is one of them. Yes it affects color but overall? Nothing else. It’s still just boils down to knowing the genes you’re working with.
I see it much like the different colors in pet hamsters, mice, cats or birds. There are so many variations there that don’t exist in the wild but are such a common occurance to us that we don’t blink an eye at them anymore. It doesn’t really affect them in a negative way 80% of the time. But the way that they are being kept and bred can. And that’s where you get into things like breeding munchkin cats or english bulldogs. I honestly can’t see spider gene being anywhere near as terrible as an english bulldog myself. Especially after seeing multiple bulldogs having seizures or heart problems and bone issues from how they were bred.

Opinions can vary a lot too from place to place. So it’s good to keep an open mind and ask questions like these though!


I personally paid a little more for one because I loved her pattern. I may have actually managed to luck out with an extra gene from her dad though now as she’s getting older and color changing a bit more…

With the right mix though, I would consider paying more as well!
I own a single spider combo right now in my collection and while I’m still considering breeding her (no visual wobble, great eater) I’d prefer to keep her and maybe an offspring as the only spider in my collection. Some of the morphs I was looking at are also ones that spider seems to pair pretty well with as well… opps. So that would be one for me when I actively start looking for a new addition~


I am sorry but this is a major pet peeve of mine. ONLY IN THE SUPER FORM DOES SPOTNOSE WOBBLE. I HAVE NEVER seen the single gene form of spotnose wobble. When combined with other genes like spider, champagne and hidden gene woma will you have a wobble, but only then.


I can’t say I would pay more for less genes, but I certainly would hold out for the animal I want, to ensure I don’t have anything unwanted. I have passed on an animal that was exactly what I had been looking for, because there had been spider in the pairing. Even though Spider did not appear present, I just didn’t go there. I have tried to largely keep Pastel out of my collection. In fact the only Pastel I have currently, is one female that is Leopard YB Pastel het Clown and a couple others that are either DG or het for DG. I will say that I think that is where Pastel shines and makes sense. Pastel and DG are like peas and carrots.


I would wait to buy the animal I specifically want and not settle for something else that was only “partially” what you want.

You can find all, to date recorded, morph issues are posted in the thread Armiyana linked so I will not repeat all of them here

There is a paper out that posits that the issue with Spider and its affiliated alleles might have an impact on inner ear development. But that is not a set in stone conclusion

Incidence of wobble in Spider (and affiliated alleles) is no more or less prominent now that it was six or ten or fifteen years ago, it is just that every now and then a furor erupts because something/one goes viral and throws it back to light for all the people that are newer in the hobby and have not looked into the history of the hobby


The wobble in spider (and other morphs that exhibit the wobble defect) is linked to the actual mutation that affects the appearance. It’s not because of bad selective breeding or inbreeding or stacking too many mutations or anything like that. The same gene that causes the colour/pattern change also causes the wobble. So there’s not really any risk of other genes that have never been associated with wobble suddenly having that neuro defect start to pop up. Hopefully that makes sense.


I do understand where you’re coming from. It can be a bit frustrating when it gets lumped in like that.
But I still feel that it is important to have the discussion that a single gene spotnose can cause a severe wobble when crossed with certain genes. It is considered part of the spider complex until something like genetic testing can prove otherwise.

If it was only something like a super spotnose champ? (Yes I know this isn’t possible as they’re allelic) Okay sure. Single gene is still fine. But it’s not. It’s still a single copy of the spotnose gene causing the defect when crossed with champagne.
Not having this discussion, especially with how popular spotnose is with clown combos at the moment, can be detrimental to new keepers.

So many people have said things like, “well the breeder never told me not to cross a spider with a spider.” In the past. Are you doing your part and telling people not to cross spotnose with spotnose when making a sale with a pair? I don’t honestly know how many breeders even consider it.
Luckily most of the eye is still kept on spider regardless. Blackhead is a nice morph as well as spotnose. I’ve actually considered one or the other for my Mojave group. But, I want to be realistic about my own expectations and potential health issues/combos to avoid.


:confused: spotnose x champagne is a perignon. when you breed a perignon to a normal you can still get perigons.

No I don’t think you do. When you worded it like this, you make people who are new to the hobby and just learning the morphs and what they do, it confuses people. YOU make it SEEM like spotnose in the single gene form with nothing else added has a wobble. You have no idea how many times i have been asked if my single gene spotnoses have a wobble due to this type of wording. WHEN putting out information you have to be VERY MINDFULL of how you word things.

Since you have must have just gleemed over this part in my last reply, i will add it here. I have HAD THIS VERY DISCUSSION ON HERE MANY MANY TIMES, and frankly it is very frustrating.

Spotnose alone, by itself NO other genes added **DOES NOT ** have a wobble.

not discussing any further so not to derail the topic at hand


Has this breeding actually been done and documented, Mary?


yes, i have actually done this pairing. It was many years ago i produced a perignon and then bred him to another female and produced more perignon. i don’t have pictures anymore of the babies from that pairing they were on an old computer that crashed and this was way before MorphMarket . I can remember if i posted it on bush league or not.

Travis: just looked thru my records it was spotnose champagne fire x ivory, it was a five egg clutch and it produced 2 spotnose champ yb


I actually didn’t know about the perigon I assumed since it was in the complex it’s allelic so maybe it’s actually not?

These are the same comments. Both are important in the way they are stated for different things.
That’s pretty much all I have to say on it all as well. I’ll be fine with PM followups if anything.


@armiyana @chesterhf @jawramik @wreckroomsnakes @cjbianco @graysnake

Thank you all for your input! It seems to all boil down to common sense/responsible/knowledgeable breeding. Even though I don’t know anything about the combinations of traits, genetics, genes, morphs, etc I understand the concept based upon the above common sense etc statement above.

I don’t want to open up a can of worms but I adopted (long story) a pastel/spider BP baby that was surrendered (headed for euthanasia) by a pet store chain because the little guy had a slight head wobble. I am assuming he came from a “reptile wholesaler “ and was sold to the store.

I suppose this was why I asked the question in the first place. The little guy is thriving now.

Thank you so much again guys! :blush::wink::lizard::snake::frog::+1:



First off welcome back into the hobby and welcome to the community :slight_smile:

You’ve brought up a lot of valid questions, and most everyone else has already given you solid advice on the matter to your questions. A lot has clearly changed since the beginning of the early 2000’s. I agree about waiting to purchase the exact snake you want, instead of letting money decide if it’s a yes or no for you.

There was another forum member not long ago (I think) who also didn’t like pastel and who also didn’t like having the 40 bajillion genes added to his snakes. So what he actually decided to do was start with single genes of the animals he liked, and start producing from there.

You will find that there are people out there with the same mindset as you and don’t like pastel, or don’t want the bajillion genes, etc. It’ll ultimately come down to what you want and when you can get it (if you don’t produce it).


Thanks for all the great advice, everyone! I really appreciate it, and I’m looking forward to starting a new (old) journey.



Yes and no. I would only buy a snake with the genes i wanted, so i wouldnt pay less for a snake with unwanted baggage. I just wouldnt buy that one.

As a seller i think i probably have an easier time selling than most as a result of being a gene snob😂

I only really like ten genes or so, the rest is just selecting for good examples of those traits. So if i want to add a new gene i generally look for the best exaple of that single gene. In that sense, i really pay the most for the least genes