What to look for in a good ball python?

I’m a newcomer to breeding ball pythons and in the process of investing in my first group of breeders. Maybe I’m way over-thinking it, but I’ve been researching the heck out of everything, and the one suggestion I keep hearing is buying quality animals and quality examples of the morphs I want to work with. I’m coming from a background of breeding fancy mice, where there’s an agreed standard, but I’m not finding anything as cut and dry for ball pythons :sweat_smile:

So, I’m wondering what to you is a quality ball worth breeding? What should I be looking for beyond just health? What makes you decide, “Yep, I gotta have that one!”?

Here’s the ones I picked so far


When we had 12,
The first ever one was from a known breeder who supplied to shops up north. Then our next 5 were from a very well known breeder near us, I also picked a Crystal from him as she has blue and white eyes!
The next other 5 were from breeders and were proven breeders.
So we went for ones where breeders were known of and the snakes were well looked after and proven. One of them I had also though I jumped at was a Genetic Banded as none about in the uk. She wasn’t proven but had to have her.
Unfortunately we decided to not breed and stick with our crested geckos. So I only have my first ever Banana now! But atleast I have 1! :snake:
But that’s what we did when looking! As long as some healthy snakes in the morphs we wanted we were happy. And ideally from known breeders so we knew the snake was amazing! Also saw parents so we could see what they’d end up like.
All snakes went to breeders and are already breeding of growing up to be breeding :blush:


Quality can be subjective to a degree since everyone has different tastes… but your looking for the “best” of the gene expression.I have 2 pastels… one is holding its yellows better than the other although both are still quite orange compared to some. Calico - My friend loves his darker version because he wants his stuff dark, but most prefer the high white that can be seen with the gene. There is a lot of variation in every gene and what one persons quality may not exactly another persons. That’s my opinion and I’m sure some will disagree.


@steelserpents that’s what I’ve been doing 🤷 just getting what I find aesthetic. I’ve noticed a lot of people prefer crisp markings, and I really like the fading and gradients like in the first pic, the pastel disco inferno enchi.


What is considered a “quality ball python” is going to be slightly subjective depending on the morph. Generally pastels that stay vibrant and yellow without “browning out” are considered to be better examples of the morph, as are axanthics that stay more silvery/less brown. If you’re looking at certain morphs like black pastel, cinnamon, spotnose, enchi, orange dream and many others and find yourself squinting at the screen going “wait… is that a (insert morph here) or a normal?”, it’s generally not a good quality example of the morph.

Other morphs, like whether you prefer a busy or reduced clown pattern seem to be subjective.