Questions about a hybrid project

Ok so this is going to be a controversial topic.
Keep in mind I’m asking this question and I’m not 100% sure I want to take the risks to make this hybrid. So if all you have to say is negative reply’s, I don’t need to hear it. I fully understand the issues with fertility concerning hybrids, this is more a genetic question than anything and something I’ve wondered about for some time.

So I have a female 37.5% Tiger Het Pied Retic, she’s going to be very small as an adult.
I also have a male Pied Ball Python.
My question is IF I were to pair them, would there be a chance of making visual Pieds in the first clutch? I understand that the offspring, if any were to thrive and live would all be Het Pied F1 if they did not produce a visual in the first clutch. And that’s not knowing if they would even be able to reproduce as some hybrids are infertile. Also if I ever did go ahead with this idea, none of the hatchlings would make it to the market. This project would be for me, and I’m not selling any hybrid Retic Balls if I was ever going to produce them. I don’t think I’ll waste a breeding season on this, as my female retic is needed for my actual projects that have responsible and reasonable goals.

From a genetic standpoint, I would like to hear from @t_h_wyman, @chesterhf and @thebeardedherper as I know @thebeardedherper has experience with hybrids.

Again this is a hypothetical question. Yes I have the snakes to attempt this once the female is of breeding age and size, but am I going to, more than likely that’s a huge resounding no.


The main thing with the pieds is if they are compatible, so if they are compatible I would think you’d have a chance at visual pieds in the first generation. I would think they’re compatible since pied is found in a lot of animals ranging from birds, horses and if you can believe it reptiles lol. And if they’re found in so many species and have the same effect on every species I’d think with two somewhat similar species (bps and retics) the mutation would be located in the same place.


That’s my exact thoughts. Pied is so common in animals in general, especially in snakes maybe that genome is compatible throughout the species, I just haven’t found an answer to that question so thought I’d ask here.
Thanks for your input :).


If you’re quick to success, you might call it a Piebald Covid-Bat-Eater!
This will be interesting if you do it, for sure. I am actually more interested in seeing what tiger does to the ball python influence.

After seeing an Angry Pinstripe, I bet it would stand a great chance on all of the genes in your hypothetical pairing. My initial thoughts on piebald compatibility were less hopeful because I was picturing a piebald retic as we first saw them, which, in my opinion, was less impressive that what we are seeing now with higher amounts of white. The fact that head pattern is usually dominant, and white bellies between both species is standard for the piebald gene, I’d be willing to bet you would get pieds on the first try.

Then again, some recessives don’t mix. Axanthic ball pythons surprised me with how many incompatible versions there are.

I have never seen a retic/ball hybrid, I am loosely assuming it hasn’t been done yet. Correct me if I am wrong!

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They actually were first produced by NERD. I believe his also had Golden Child in it as well. Really beautiful snakes, but I don’t think he’s produced them for some time which makes me question the longevity of this hybrid lifespan.

That’s an interesting thought you have with the Tiger influence in the hybrid. I hadn’t thought what that would look like but it could prove to be pretty intense looking.
Also I thought about what you mentioned with the Axanthic lines in Balls. Axanthic no matter what the line, comes out looking the same as many Pied of different snake species, and yet they are not compatible at all.

Just a hard thought I had in my mind and needed answers too before I went mad lol.

It was a golden child and they stopped posting pictures of it not to long after they started. I fear the animal may have had a short life.

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Yeah that was my fear as well because I’ve yet to see a update of that particular snake.
Which makes me think they don’t have a good chance of surviving.

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In theory you could do it. I really don’t think you would get a visual pied because I’m almost positive they would be two different recessive genes. Any incomplete dominant genes from both sides should be expressed. Side note musurana have a incomplete pied gene.

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I feel like the way we might get complete answers might be to ask @thebeardedherper since he works with hybrids. I feel like it would be hard to keep the animal alive, and also feel like it would be hard to not have the retic eat the BP lol.


This is another thought I had, kinda along the lines of the topic that maybe Pied is Inc-dom and not recessive.
I personally am leaning to Pied not being recessive, and if it’s not, that would in theory produce “visuals” in the first clutch.

I agree in theory I could easily do it, but I’m really not sure I want to or put my female through all that work just to have my mind be put at ease. I’m really curious as to what would happen from this paring, but don’t want to produce snakes that don’t have a chance at making it to adulthood, which I still don’t know if they do or don’t.

That’s my biggest concern. Is how healthy would the offspring be to survive. If they have a good chance then great, but I don’t know if I want to find out the hard way.
And good point you make about the chance of the tic eating the Ball. Retics in the wild will eat other snakes, it’s not completely common but it does happen.
But luckily the female in question I have will be very very small, and obviously if I tried this, I’m not leaving them together without a close eye on them. But definitely something to keep in the back of my mind as a possibility if I paired them.

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I feel like it would be a cool experiment especially if it worked out. Obviously you should weigh the pros and the cons of what could be produced. But I guess if someone brought that up and I actually had the animals to try it, I think I might try it. Definitely keep all of us updated and let us know if you’re going to do it and how the process goes.

Best of wishes,


Oh for sure man. It’s still a long way out before I could even pair them. The female has at least 4 years maybe 5 before she’s ready and hopefully by then I’ll know how I stand on the project.
I’m very curious to try it but cautious at the same time.


Well it is NERD we are talking about so a lack of updates really does not mean anything. I mean… I have not seen any updates on the “Magpie” ball combo either. Kevin just seems to mentally move on from things rather rapidly as he gets new ideas

Re: Pied. Depending on which animals you include in the grouping, there are primarily three or four genes that are responsible for piebaldism. We do not know which of these genes are the source of the morphs we like to play with (there is a paper out now speculating the gene in balls). Is it possible the same gene is responsible for Pied in retics and balls, sure. This is basically how we ended up with Albino Burmballs. But given the difference in phenotypes between the species, I am inclined to say they are likely different genes. That being the case, a Pied ball x Pied retic would most likely generate double het Balltics that you would then either have to breed back to each other (which then gives you the fun of figuring out which piebaldism mutation is manifest in the offspring and also what the double visual looks like) or breed back to a visual of one or the other species (which means you end up with visuals that are either 75% ball or 75% retic, and also 50% poss het for the other species piebaldism gene)


Obviously we can’t know until the pairing is tried, but I suspect that the Pied gene in the Retic is not compatible with the Pied gene in Ball Pythons, because they seem to express very differently. The white on a Pied Retic seems to start at the bottom and extend upwards, whereas the white on a Pied BP seems to be dispersed in a truly random fashion. My two cents.


Pied phenotypes seem to segregate into three classes:

  • Ventral to dorsal (retics, Burms, corns)
  • Posterior to anterior (balls)
  • True random (rattlers, mussaranna)

Isn’t this a incomplete co dominant in these guys? Also the super form is all white besides the head? Or am I incorrect?

I know little of the inheritance pattern with mussurana, I just know from observing a few of them that the expression pattern tends toward the complete random expression

@t_h_wyman and @westridge thank you very much for sharing your thoughts.
You two bring up very good reasoning as to the possibility of the 2 Pied genes not being compatible, and give me a much better idea what the possibilities would be.

This is a really good point. I didn’t think of the possibility of having a double visual Pied given the chance( which sounds like is more than likely) that the 2 different Pied species aren’t compatible.

That really gives me a lot to think about, besides the ethics behind if I should pair them or not.

Again I really appreciate your thoughts, there are many things I don’t think about when it comes to this sort of thing. And both your input is greatly appreciated.


Ball python / retic hybrids have been produced before. I know for sure that Kevin Mccurley at NERD did, and it seems as though I’ve seen some others more recently. As for fertility I can’t say for certain, but I believe that ball X burms are fertile so I would assume the ball X retics would be as well. They are called balltics btw. As for the chances of creating pieds again no one can tell you that unless they’ve done it as genetic mutations are not always compatible from one species to another. What I can tell you is that if you chose to do this the babies would be highly sought after within the hybrid community if they prove to be healthy. I’d suggest reaching out to Kevin at NERD and see if he can tell you what his experience was with them. The male may require the female to be scented with a female ball to even get him to attempt it, and you may need to scent him with a male retic to convince her to accept him. I’m certainly interested in keeping up with the project however it goes, and I hope if you talk to Kevin you’ll share what you learn.