Why all the fuss over Desert Ghost?

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to bash the Desert Ghost gene; I’m only trying to understand why the DG gene adds $10K to a project, while the (much nicer, IMHO) simple Hypo adds $100 max.

I know that breeders claim the DG will (1) continue to brighten and brighten with each shed and (2) will “clean up” a pattern to show much crisper details. However, I’m having a hard time believing either of these after looking at countless photos of adult DG snakes. In fact, many of the adult DG snakes that I’ve seen look pretty dark and “dirty” (opposite of cleaned up patterns), not bright and clean at all.

Is it like the Super Enchi, that really only shows its full potential when mixed with a few select genes like the Clown? If so, which genes need to be mixed with the DG to see the “cleaned up” pattern and brighter sheds?

As I said before, I’m really not trying to bash the DG gene, but it’s difficult to belive all the hype that breeders claim, when I can easily see that it’s not the case with most DG animals.

Thanks in advance for helping me to understand the DG gene better.



A big part is hypo has been around for a very long time, so it’s abundantly available so the value is lower.


I agree and disagree, you have a good and genuine question. I agree with @randall_turner_jr hypos was one of the earlier morphs ever to come out for bps, so that is definitely a good reason the price point is so different. The reason I disagree is just that dg is different in the way it gets brighter and some high end lines such as enhancer and bell line dgs can stay bright as adults. (You are correct though in saying some do pale out or get the darker tipping on their scales when older, so quality is important just like any morph!) Unlike most other morphs say as pastel that brown out over time. Also like you mentioned a good dg can clean up existing morphs even more because they can be slightly banded and reduced compared to normal or other morphs. Some great examples are dg/enhancer genetic stripe, clowns, hypo dgs look crazy as well, then you got all the multi morphs when you add dg to it just makes almost everything better! I think the price point will come down though, because there are newer genes doing some of the same type of thing such as Cory woods eramosa, and I already talked about the enhancer bloodline, I am sure there are/will be more that I am not familiar with.


Lace is another that does similar things, but any recessive that people see will clean up/brighten a project, means outside of the base homozygous/het, any specific combo represents years of work combining XY and Z to the recessive, and especially visual DGs with XYZ means a much higher chance of hitting whatever combo you are going for, even more so if any one of X, Y, or Z being a recessive - suddenly paying $10-20k to save on 5-7 years of work to hit your magic combo makes a bit more sense.

Even Hypo will be exponentially more expensive if combined with a newer recessive + 2 or 3 inc dom traits. But it does help that DG is a go to for doing certain things and Lace/White Lace and others kind of represent the same thing, while Hypo is going for a completely different look while DG and these others are going for contrast, which is a bit more applicable over a wide range of projects, from dreamsicles to Clown projects to give a couple examples.

This is my very inexperienced directly but secondhand understanding. It also helps that many popular breeders have made striking combos with these, and some want to make the first of other combos with DG, Lace etc.


I think the DG gene not only starts bright but get brighter as they age. Here are two animal that I bought as hatchlings in 21 and how they look today at 1000 grams or more. The first is just straight DG and nothing else. The second is Lesser Pastel DG.
This not my photo, it is the photo the Seller posted on MM when I bought him.


Lesser Pastel DG
When I first purchased her



Thanks for sharing the pics, graysnake. Your animals look amazing! :slight_smile:

Yes, I understand that SOME Desert Ghost specimens get bright and crisp with age, but many do not. IMHO, it’s like most any morph, you need to be selective of your particular breeding stock, and NOT rely on the gene alone to give good offspring. (I’m not sure if I explained that clearly.)

Your animals are clearly excellent examples of what DG could be, but they are definitely not the average DG. As I said, many DGs are simply not that spectacular, which is why I am so confused. It seems as though people are buying the GENE and not its visual EXPRESSION (aka phenotype). It should be the other way around, IMHO.

Mostly, I’m wondering why the big breeders continue to claim that the DG makes all other morphs bright and clean and crisp and enhanced, when that’s only true SOMETIMES. It just feels like a little bit of (possibly) deceptive marketing. Again, IMHO.

Regardless, there is no doubt that the DG can enhance a BP to stellar good looks, as illustrated by your super sweet DG specimens. :slight_smile:

Thanks again for sharing!



DG is recessive just like Pied, Hypo, Clown, etc. So if it is het for DG, it will not look anything like my animals. I have about 5 other animals that are het DG and in their current form, they look Meh! One is OD, het DG, het Pied and it looks practically like a normal. But when I breed them and get visual DGs, then look out. Here is the pic of the boy I am talking about. Not much to look at. Hope that helps.

Feeling spicy today so I’ll add to the blasphemy.

I also think DG is a bit overrated (even though it is one of the best and most versatile morphs out there!) It’s amazing at what it does, which is produce bright, contrasted snakes that don’t brown out. However I do think the colors wash out instead of brown out. Which can look incredibly nice and without comparison! But I think people tend to discount other morphs that similarly clean and prevent browning out but with a variety of different color palates as they age.

Basically I argue that there are some morphs with similar power to DG but with their own flavor, that imo don’t get a similar recognition across the hobby that they deserve.


Oh, I understand the recessive trait and how it works, graysnake. I wasn’t talking about hets. I was talking about fully expressed, homozygous animals.

However, thanks for explaining it to any newbies who might stumble upon this thread. It’s important info, for sure.


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Have you seen DG in person? The reason I ask is because I was skeptical till I saw dg in person, after that I had no question about what directions I was going in. This was 2019ish. I’ll never forget, it was an enchi dg male, pics did dg no justice imho.

You stated that the “big breeders claim dg makes all other morphs bright and clean and crisp and enhanced, when that’s only true SOMETIMES.It just feels like a little bit of (possibly) deceptive marketing. Again, IMHO.” No, it makes the combos brighter most of the time, proof is in the pudding. You can literally go to MorphMarket and compare with dg/without dg. With your own very eyes and the majority will prove the breeders point. With my few years experience with dg, I can honestly say that I stand behind what the big breeders have said about dg 100%. But like with every morph, there are great, as well as horrible representations.

DG brought life back into a lot of projects. Clown for one (at least for me), which is one of, if not the most popular morph there is. I fell out of love with clown because of how clown aged, dg changed that. Look at what it’s doing with the axanthic project, the clown/pied project, the lightning pied project. Double and triple recessive combos are the future, and dg will flourish.


Desert ghost imo looks so much better then anything hypo. It brightens, cleans, and just all around makea everything better. I have 3, 1 super paatel dg, pastel dg (his daughter) the just a dg. The 3 are my absolute favorites in looks.


For me the VPI axanthic Clown DG combo hatched last summer was what made it a must have gene. I sure hope that animal continues to age as well as the last photo I saw posted.

Correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t DG been around a while and dipped in price before a recent combo inspired surge in popularity? One of many examples of poor judgment on my part not seeing the potential earlier.

Still not sure I’ll be able to ID desert ghost hatchlings but I sure like pictures in their prime. I currently have ten 2022 possible het desert ghost combos that I’m anxiously waiting hoping for a test so I’m apparently drinking the cool aid big time.


I think that it’s so popular (and expensive) mainly because of how it reacts with other recessives, such as Clown, Axanthic, and Pied. Those morphs tend to brown out as they age, but Desert Ghost brightens them considerably and keeps them bright. It looks amazing with co-doms as well, but when you start putting it with other recessives and it gets harder to hit the double, triple, or quad visual combos then it ramps up the price considerably. I’m a big fan of Desert Ghost myself, I’ve got a male Pastel Chocolate DG Hypo that gave me some beautiful double het babies and I can’t wait to see how the visuals look!


I think there’s also a huge potential for, once the DG price, especially for 1-3 gene combos normalizes it will be amazing for pet animals. DGs generally speaking (as above said, with good polygenic traits etc) age quite well. So if you have a combo that’s identical to the next but with DG added, it will really grab people’s attention compareitively and demand a price hike though one that’s a bit more modest compared to current pricing.

All that said, I like Lace more too. Firstly, the single gene expresses in the phenotype which is great, and White Lace (the Super) ages amazingly. Kinova has an amazing video on this. I think as Lace/WL grows and proliferates, it will really add some much needed competition to DG.

Marketing. That’s why.

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I have a male and 3 females like this one. I think they’re awesome and that being het DG is helping them nicer. I can’t wait I make some Super Orange Dream DGs and some Acid OD DGs. The female DG that I had the pleasure of working with and pairing up looked pretty awesome as a stand alone, base gene morph. She was of the more Axanthic appearing type but looked sweet. As mentioned and like with anything, there is always gonna be some specimens that appear more desirable and nicer looking than others. Good luck with with your project!


I understand what you are saying and as a person who is in love with Hypo I kind of had similar thoughts. I knew it made animals brighter but I never truly experienced it myself until I produced a visual DG myself last season.
These two are half siblings (same sire) both are Chocolate Pastel but one is visual DG and the other is visual Hypo. Both a extremely gorgeous and depending on what you like, one or the other could be for you.


OK, everyone. I’m officially changing my position on the Desert Ghost gene. After seeing @graysnake’s “hatchling vs adult” photos above and the comparison pics by @criticalconstrictors, as well as seeing the DG mixed with a few select morphs such as my beloved Clown — What a spectacular animal! — you may consider me SOLD on the Desert Ghost. :slight_smile:

Never too proud to have his mind changed,


I have a granite type gene I’ve been working in my collection that increases highlights, turns the black in leopard almost ink black, adds blushing, etc. My goal is to work desert ghost into it to accentuate all those characteristics even further. I think it’s going to be a great enhancement. It’s all about the art of combining stuff to make unique or cooler stuff