Walk-through Clutch ID

A lot of folks here have expressed interest in more explanation as to how breeders go about IDing things, as it often seems like we just know (and sometimes we do, practice makes perfect). But I just hatched a clutch and I figured I would walk y’all through my first initial impressions and what I’ve definitively IDed them as now that they’ve had their first shed.

So: pairing was an enhancer genetic stripe male to a leopard vanilla chocolate het desert ghost. The first thing I do in a pairing like this is verify that the parents are indeed what they were IDed as, because animals are very often incorrectly sold as things they are not. The male enhancer Gstripe is a visual owned by Kori Martin (and is up on her MM page currently, I believe). The mom (picture below) is very obviously leopard and very obviously vanilla (lightened color, head blushing) so the only gene in any kind of question was chocolate, but to me she looked consistent with leo vanilla chocolate (slightly reduced eye stripes and those single holes in reduced leopard pattern). I can use the babies to prove out she is in fact those genes (to some extent).

Now: All out of the egg! There were 7 eggs, one baby (a vanilla DG) unfortunately made it full term and tried to cut out of its egg but died before it could hatch, so 6 babies.

My first impressions out of the egg were two visual DGs (the two rightmost snakes), one that could possibly be DG (at the top right next to the other two DGs) and then three non-visuals. In the egg I actually thought that the bottom middle baby was chocolate DG, but after it came out of the egg it was clear it was not visual.

And: a full clutch pic after shed! Mom proved to be chocolate (right off the bat I see three definite chocolates) and vanilla with the baby that passed in the egg. Surprisingly I didn’t get any leopards, BUT mom is very obviously visually leopard, so it was just bad odds. As you can see though, the babies look very different after shed, which is why it’s so important to not ID babies before their first shed. I also normally base baby IDs on parent expression, but because mom has three genes going on here I’m not entirely sure what her chocolate expression looks like (but I’m guessing keyholes since she has a lot of holes in her pattern).

So now, I’ll post a picture of each baby before and after shed, and what I thought before shed vs. what I’ve IDed them as after shed! Some things I’m keeping in mind here: in my experience, het desert ghost can absolutely make noticeable changes to both pattern and hue. I’m less familiar with het gstripe but if it works like pretty much every other het, I’m assuming it can also alter pattern a bit. So I’m trying to ID these babies while keeping in mind I have multiple factors here that may contribute to what they look like.

Baby #1: Stunning! All of these babies are 100% het DG (if they’re not visual) and 100% het genetic stripe, so I have to keep in mind that can absolutely affect their color and pattern. Before shed, I thought this one was chocolate. After shed, baby #1 is very likely chocolate (reduced and narrowed eye stripes, reduced pattern/black back, mostly keyhole alien heads and the granite flecks in the alien heads). I don’t see vanilla (no clear headstamp or brightness) and no leopard. So I’m currently labeling this one a probable chocolate DH desert ghost gstripe, and often I can narrow down IDs I’m questioning after another couple of sheds.

Baby #2: Normal DH DG gstripe, possible chocolate. Also really cool. Before shed I thought this one was chocolate, but after shed, as much as the keyholes look chocolate in this one, I actually think this is just a normal DH. I don’t see any granite pattern and the back half of the body pattern looks more normal than chocolate, but it’s a toss up because it’s also black backed (something either het could be influencing). This one is possible chocolate but after looking at some normal DHs on MM, I’m thinking just normal.

Baby #3: Chocolate DH DG gstripe. Before shed I actually questioned if this one could be a DG chocolate, but it’s very clear after shed that it’s not - but it is stunning. Granite pattern, keyholes, reduced/narrowed eye stripes - this one is a gorgeous chocolate. It could also be vanilla because of how bright it is, but vanilla is also a pattern-changer and all I see here is chocolate, so I think instead this one is getting its brightness from whatever combination of het DG genes it has.

Baby #4: Vanilla DH DG gstripe! When this one hatched I thought it was just a normal, as I was expecting a very distinct vanilla headstamp like with fire. However, after doing some comparisons on MM, vanilla can actually be a lot more subtle than I thought it was. This one has a blushed head, some subtle wacky pattern, and a more creamy color, so because of this I currently believe it’s vanilla. However, fire and vanilla are both also enhancers like DG (just much more low level) so another shed or two will confirm if this baby is vanilla or not.

Baby #5: This one is my holdback! Before hatching I thought it was a chocolate DG, and after shed it is indeed a chocolate DG. The graininess has been cleared up by DG but the slight blushing on the head and the keyhold-esque patten (also affected a bit by DG) confirm chocolate. A couple friends have also suggested he might ba vanilla chocolate, and while his pattern is consistent with what I’d expect having vanilla in the mix, he lacks the definite bright headstamp I would expect from vanilla, especially seeing the headstamp of the baby that didn’t make it which was DG vanilla. Luckily I’m keeping this boy, so he’ll have many chances down the line to be proven out. He will never go back to his mom, as I don’t want to chance creating super chocolates (or inbreed when I don’t need to) but I have four other girls who will be happy to see him at some point in the future.

And last but not least, baby #6! Very clearly DG (blushed out head, super clean and bright pattern. When this one hatched I also thought it was chocolate DG, and after shed I still think it’s likely chocolate but its expression is definitely different than the male. Her head is way more blushed out and her pattern not quite as reduced. A couple friends have suggested she’s vanilla instead of chocolate which matches with her pattern better, but again, with vanilla I would expect a headstamp enhanced by DG, and she just doesn’t have the headstamp. So I’m labeling her DG possible chocolate, and she already has a home ready for her that doesn’t care one way or the other if she is chocolate.

And then for anyone who’s curious, I do have a picture of the vanilla DG baby (frozen in case a friend with a snake-eater species wants it) that didn’t make it but didn’t post it as I know it really distresses some folks to see dead babies. But I can, if that’s something y’all are interested in.

And of course - nobody is perfect. The next step in my process is always a) more MM comparisons to previously listed animals and b) checking with other breeders, mostly a small group of breeder friends I’ve curated whose ID abilities I trust, but I’m also opening it up here now to y’all.


Hey, thank you for doing this! It’s really fascinating to see the thought and observation process of an expert: as a total layperson, there are things you point out that I never would have clocked. This is an absolutely fantastic learning tool and I really appreciate you taking the time.

Do you think it’s worth sending in the shed for testing on your keeper? Do they have a test for chocolate or vanilla yet?


This is a wonderful illustration @inspirationexotics, and kind of like basic training! I know that a lot of people surfing the MM sales don’t have a clue of what it takes to be a reputable breeder, and that breeding is more than just putting 2 snakes together and rolling the dice. Of course I suppose the operative word here is “reputable”.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to share some of the A B C’s of the ID’ing process after the pairing and pipping! :pray::heart::blush:


TLDR because I talk in circles and go off on tangents every time I try to type something out…I am so grateful for this post, @inspirationexotics . Extremely grateful. The time and effort you put into this thorough and easy-to-follow step by step post is so appreciated.

I have noticed many times that you comment on morph ID help posts with not only your opinion of what the morphs are, but even in those posts you take the time to explain your reasoning. You graciously point out specific characteristics of the morphs that a total amateur like me would not notice (@kabre you hit the nail on the head with your succinct post).

I’m sure you’ve seen me thank you and our other lovely mrc friends who are kind enough to elaborate on morph ID help posts. It really helps.

Honestly, I try my best to learn the ID process, markers, coloring, patterns, but I’d be lying if I said that I am making a lot of headway, but progress is progress. But I won’t be giving up anytime soon. I ride the struggle bus in the morphs/genetics arena. :grimacing: Kind of like my mom taking the same exact Intro to Spanish enrichment course for several years in a row :rofl:

@inspirationexotics I think you are either “a natural” or a great learner! I’m jealous lol

And of course we have Dr. Travis Wyman, a.k.a. the next-level legend. Like those “woke up like this” memes

Dr. Wyman:

El Shaarawy Portraits GIF by AS Roma


Sexy Hot Girl GIF by Cappa Video Productions

Could’ve just replied “thank you” but instead I wrote a novel. :woman_facepalming:


Yikes! You’re downright ugly in the morning Gina! :joy:


It’s not just mornings @caron :rofl:


Oh yea right! I have seen your picture and you are downright gorgeous! On the inside as well as the outside!!! :heart::pray:


See, this is why so many people just absolutely adore you! You lift people up and are a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment :sparkling_heart:


Thank y’all for the messages!! I know some folks have asked for more in-depth information about IDing, so I figured I would give it a go with this clutch to try and explain what I’m actually looking for. When I first started breeding I made the decision to learn how to ID every single problem morph so that I would never accidentally buy one without knowing. Over time it just kind of morphed into being able to ID them all, and I know it comes very easily to me so I sometimes get frustrated and end up reporting ads where the snakes are very clearly mis IDed. I started by just trying to message the breeders myself but 9/10 times the answer is some form of “lol fu” :sweat_smile:


I see what you did there :rofl:


I hope to have the ability to ID that well one day! I have something floating in a pairing that I can’t place.

And just ugh… CG/Banana can be so frustrating to ID genes in. Lol


I also just wanted to point this out as a reason why you should never ID clutches based on what you expect to be in the pairing rather than what you actually see.

With mom being leopard, chocolate, and vanilla (all dominant or incomplete dominant), statistically each offspring had a 50% chance of being at least one of those genes, so I would have expected 3-4 of each gene in the clutch. Out of seven eggs I got 0/7 leopards, 5/7 chocolates, and 2/7 vanillas with almost no genetic combinations of those genes, so the odds were very skewed there. I ended up with three visual desert ghost babies, with one that died in the egg and a couple I thought were visual before they hatched that ended up definitely not being visual after they shed.

I see a lot of folks on MM kind of looking at the pairing to see what genes babies should have. While this is necessary to some extent, it also means a lot of folks ID babies as genes they are not just because what they expected from the ratio is off. This is why it’s really imperative you actually be able to ID the genes you work with consistently and with ease.

I’ve especially come across this a couple times with desert ghost - babies labeled as visual desert ghost because both parents were bought as visual DG, but the babies were non-visual and therefore meant that babies being sold as 100% hets were in fact only 66% hets as proven out by the pairing, but because the parents were assumed to be visual DG, all of the babies were also assumed to be visual DG even though the clutch results produced non-DG babies. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to report ads for selling animals as genetics they did not have, unfortunately. Moral of the story: IDing is incredibly important.


Oh absolutely!
I recently picked up a boy to take a gamble on what it actually has because of some interesting markings and the adult pairing…and I’ve sold a couple where it’s possible there could have been more, but I was just IDing/selling as what I know. BELs. Lol…
If they end up with extra genes? Awesome. I would never sell them as what I can’t ID though.

And the odds are always wild! I had one clutch where my super pastel lesser spider threw 4 out of 4 pastel lesser. 2 of which were definitely spider.
Her next clutch of 6? One bumble bee, one pastel lesser, one queenbee. 3 pastels.
My crystal male tends to throw more Mojaves then specials.

I hate having to report the ones that have bad listings, but yeah… I’d rather report than deal with people responding badly. Most of what I’ve reported has been people mislabeling allelic combos… Like saying they have a super Mojave mystic or something impossible like that. =_=;
I was looking through some sold animals the other day and found a bunch of mislabeled ones too which made me sad.