Hello… Super interested in these giants. Would love to breed some, but wanted to reach out to you guys to see what you know about them? Does age have to do with the size? I’m sure genetics is the biggest factor. Thanks, and many blessings to you all.
Voltas come from a specific region. Near the volta river or something like that.
And I’m with you. I would love one! But so would every other guy and gal and their dog! My husband and I are planning a trip to Africa so maybe we will stop and have reptile hunting adventure…
As far as I know. The size is due to their location and genes play a role. I’m not sure if it is passed on to the offspring but I have heard that 50% of the hatchlings will be voltas. They can also have up to 20 eggs per clutch and some breeders have them to give them the bigger clutches.
Some clarity here.
First, “sub-Saharan” is a misnomer as the entire range that ball pythons inhabit is geographically below the Sahara which make all ball pythons sub-Saharan
Volta is a locality of ball pythons. It is named for a river, as Grace guessed. Animals collected from this region, in broad terms, do seem to be larger than what we consider “normal”.
Now, whether this is a population specific trait or if it is just that the region, historically, has not been hunted as much and so the animals there are a more true representation of what a natural wild ball python population looks like and the hunters that do get out there know they can fetch a premium for a really large animal so they focus their catches on them, is not particularly clear.
As for the genetics of it.These are probably best thought of in the same way you would with dwarf and super-dwarf retics. Size has a genetic component but, unlike the morphs we are most familiar with where it is one gene = one phenotype, the trait is polygenetic. So when you breed out a Volta animal you are not going to get to get a nice even 50/50 split clutch of giants and normals but instead you will get a clutch of animals that tend to be larger in size. If you continue to breed these larger stature animals together then you enrich for those genes that contribute to large size and so you maintain the large-stature animals. If, however, you pick up one of these larger animals and breed it to a smaller-stature animal in your collection and then breed those offspring to smaller-stature animals in your collection and then breed those offspring… Well you get the point. The end result is that you dilute out the genetic component that contributed to size and you end up with animals that are no different than the majority of the balls in the hobby.