Spotnose Wobble?


I’m a prospective ball python breeder and absolutely fell in love with the Spotnose morph especially when combined with Clown. During my research I learned about the wobble being observed in Super Spotnose and various crosses.

@phantom_hatchery actually reached out to me on Instagram informing me the wobble had actually been observed in the heterozygous (single gene) form as well.

There are a lot of different things that can cause a wobble in ball pythons that aren’t strictly morph related. While I haven’t observed even subtle symptoms (head tilt) in my little girl, my concern is that spotnose is going to be similar to spider where ALL spotnose have a wobble it’s just more subtle.

Gathering information about Spotnose Morph, please respond if you have a lot of experience with the morph! (People who have access to a large sample size preferred but all answers welcome!)

  • Have you observed a wobble in Spotnose (NOT super)?
  • Were there any other possible causes for the head wobble? (Injury, Illness, Toxins, Over heating, other morphs, ect.)
  • Have you observed a wobble across the board or was it isolated to a specific line?

Thank you!

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I have a 5 yr old Spotnose Clown female and I also have one of her offspring, a two yr old Lesser Spotnose Leopard Clown. I have observed zero wobble in either, the caveat being I have a very small sample group and they are related. I also did not see any wobble in any of the clutch that produced the 0.1 Lesser Batman and there were 5 offspring that had spotnose in them. I will be hatching another clutch here in the next week or so. I will follow up with that after they shed and let you know if any behave differently. Just to let you know where my bias lies, I will not have, nor have ever had, a spider gene animal. I am dead against the perpetuation of a defect and if I saw the same in Spotnose, I would be done with them as well. This is not an indictment of others so please don’t torch me. It is my belief to which I am entitled.

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These are two breeders with lots of experience. If @wreckroomsnakes is saying that it doesn’t have a wobble, it doesn’t have a wobble. She is one of the breeders with the most experience hatching spotnose snakes.

Other factors can cause neurological issues causing a wobble, often being overheating or chemicals. When spotnose is mixed with champagne or spider it causes a severe wobble.


I have a very similar stance when it comes to defect which is why I created this thread. I did extensive research on all the morphs in my collection and have pages of notes on them. I couldn’t find any sources stating a wobble had been observed in spotnose other than super spotnoses and certain crosses.

However, I have noticed there’s a history of some larger breeding operations not disclosing things that they should just to turn a profit.

It’s going to be a couple years before my lovely spotnose girl is ready to breed so I’ll be keeping a close eye on this morph in the mean time. If the information about the wobble changes in the future I have no issues permanently removing her from breeding plans and just having a pretty snake in my collection.


Thanks for linking those! I had read those threads prior to posting but didn’t know those comments were from people with a lot of experience with the morph.

I know there’s a lot of other factors that can cause a wobble that’s why I included that as one of my questions. :grin:


Whether or not it is observed in the single-gene form (broadly or individually) it is a fact that the wobble is 100% associated with the gene itself. As such, all Spotnose will “carry” the trait.


Thank you for your comment I should clarify what I meant.

I understand that all Spotnose ball pythons will be carrier for a gene that causes a wobble. This does not mean the mutation that caused that gene in Spotnose is identical to Spider ball pythons or acts in the same way. Without genetic sequencing of both morphs and identification of the genomic sequence causing the wobble we can’t say for certain it is the same mutation.

IF the mutation is identical in Spider and Spotnose ball pythons we can assume it would present in a similar fashion in both morphs. Where heterozygotes express variable penetrance (how many express the wobble) and expressivity (the severity of the expressed wobble). With homozygotes expressing a compounding form resulting in increased severity and lethality. In humans we often see this method of transmission in autosomal dominant disorders such as Huntington’s Disease. Obviously, we see differences in patterns of inheritance already but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t caused by an identical mutation. All it means is there are other factors in the Spotnose morph causing a difference in penetrance/expressivity.

If the mutation is NOT identical in Spider and Spotnose ball pythons there is likely going to be differences in genetic inheritance. If these morphs end up being allelic doesn’t that mean the mutations are identical? Not necessarily! Two or more different alleles (i.e. different non-allelic morphs) being inherited together is known as genetic linkage. This is often observed in humans in regards to hair and eye color. Those are two distinct genes but they tend to be inherited together because of how close they are on the chromosome. Spider/wobble and Spotnose/wobble could be two different sets of two genes that are genetically linked and inherited together. What’s the likelihood of allelic genes independently developing a similar mutation? It might be higher than you think! The fact a wobble has been seen in several different morphs shows there is at least one area of instability in the genome prone to a mutation that causes a wobble. At least one of those areas of instability is located near the Spider allele which means it’s already subject to a mutation causing a wobble.

How can we determine this without genetic testing? Similar to how Super Spiders were determined to be lethal. People actively investigating the issue and reputable people pooling data with as many data points as they can collect. I have been working in genetics for long enough to know that classifying symptoms as the same disorder without empirical evidence is detrimental to everyone suffering with those symptoms. Genetics is a complicated field of study and sometimes things don’t like to behave in the way that we expect them to. I did extensive work in a neuroscience lab where one of the genes we were studying got ‘stuck’ to another gene making it difficult to do a double blind study. That was a rather infuriating discovery that made the study we were doing more difficult.

If you have any questions, need clarification, or would like me to discuss any of these topics in more detail please let me know.

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Just to let you know, Dr. Wyman is a geneticist. I am sure he knows all of these things and more lol.


I didn’t know that thanks for letting me know!

I also work in genetics!

I couldn’t find a lot of information about this specific morph as far as genetics so perhaps he has other sources I could look into!

I know tone of voice can be hard to portray over text post so I hope I didn’t come off as trying to correct you! I just get really excited when talking about genetics and tend to ramble on. Since a lot of ball python genetics is in it’s infancy there’s so much to learn which just adds to my excitement and rambling. :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile:

If you have additional information or resources I would love to check them out!

As Ashley notes, I do indeed have a very clear understanding of how genetics works :+1:t4: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Eh, maybe a little bit. But I mostly have a pretty thick skin and it is generally hard to ruffle my feathers. So we are all good

Nothing I can point to specifically, just a few decades immersed in the hobby and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many hours in school and the lab LOL

You very certainly do not need genetic sequencing. Spotnose and Spider are not the same mutation because if they were the same then the phenotype would be the same. However, it is possible, some might even say probable, that they are different mutation to the same gene. We would not need sequencing to know that. Given that it has been shown that Spider and Blackhead are allelic, if you were to breed a Blackhead to a Spotnose and get the combo and then breed the combo out and get only BH and Spotnose animals with no BH/Spot combo and no WT then you will have shown that these two mutations are also allelic and, therefore, mutations to the same gene. Much easier and cheaper than sequencing

I have seen a very large trend in the hobby of late to jump to “linkage” as being the cause for things these days. While linkage phenomena are certainly known in balls (looking at you Banana/CG… :face_with_monocle:) it is more parsimonious explanation for “wobble” is that the gene in question that is shared between all the known allelic morphs, and suspected for the others, is one that has an essential function and disruption of that function results in the secondary extended phenotype.

If you have not already seen this preprint (and also, please take not of my caveat in the post), you might find it interesting. And also better understand my argument for parsimony:


The increased severity over generations in Huntington’s disease is known as anticipation, common in trinucleotide repeat disorders, so not super relevant to the “wobbly morphs”, which as far as we know do not show a trend of worsening with subsequent generations. So a large part of the difference in HD is just number of CAG repeats. Although we have found a good number of genetic disease modifiers (papers coming soon - stay tuned!)

Have you read through the thread on allelic morphs? Allelic Morphs aka Complexes [Ball Pythons] A lot of this has already been covered/explored/discussed in great detail


This was a wonderful read thanks!

Huntington’s was a bad example for what I was trying to say (was simply saying hetero vs homozygous) but your clarification was beautiful!


  1. In single gene form- NEVER

       * In super form yes, in combonations with hgw- yes, champagne-yes.   I have never done spider with         spotnose, so i can not speak on that. All other i have not seen a wobble. 
  2. Pure speculation here, but it seems that when you add spotnose to a gene that already has a KNOWN wobble it makes it more noticable.

  3. as @erie-herps said a very large portion of my collection (which is fair size over 90 breeder females and 30 odd males, plus offspring and hold backs) have spotnose in them, only when mixed with hgw and champagne have i ever seen a wobble and in the super form. ALL SINGLE GENES HAVE NEVER SHOWN WOBBLE.

Hope that helps :slight_smile: give you some insight and piece of mind.