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Q: How did morphs arise (Ball python mainly)?
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Hello! I've searched everywhere but to no avail. With all these new morphs on the market, seems normals have lost the credit I think they all deserve. My question is: wouldn't breeding a normal to a normal eventually produce one of said morphs? I understand it wouldn't be anything insane, but I'd like to believe that all normals are potentially het for everything (not counting the double combo, etc morphs of course). Is this true? Has anyone had anything unusual arise from normalxnormal breeding over a long period of time? Very curious to hear your stories :) Thanks!

Points: 150
Topics: Genetics
Tags: Ball, Morph, Python
Species: Pythons > Pythons > Python regius
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 11/9/2010 6:04:25 AM

Some people have had "surprise" babies. You are right that all of these morphs came from somewhere. Albino morphs are found in almost all species, and in theory, it is possible for one to just pop up as an abnormal baby. BUT- then again- do we know if those parents were "het" albino? no one really knows for sure. I am no expert by any means, but I do know that a normal to a normal- will most likely only produce normals. You will never get a 4 allele co-dom morph randomly from two normals. Or you shouldn't. People have played with the genetics to concentrate certain genes for many years. It is possible for these animals to find each other naturally in the wild, and wild pieds, albinos, bananas, pins ect DO in fact exist- But PEOPLE are the reason why we can take two animals we KNOW for certain carry the gene and put them together to create the visual in recessive genes, or two combine to co-dominant genes to make animals like pewters (cinnamon or black pastel to a pastel), or Pastaves, jigsaws, kingpins, ect... Currently, as far as we are aware- you can not have a "het" for a dominant or co-dominant gene. With these genes, the animal either shows it, or it doesn't have it in it's genes at all. Simple as that. So- again- with normals, if they don't look like much- they probably aren't. They could potentially create a "super form" of some gene we didn't know they had, but this is ONLY if two animals with the same co-dom genes are bred together. EXAMPLE: Mojave to Mojave creates the Blue Eyed Leucistic, the pastel to pastel creates a super pastel, cinnamon to cinnamon creates the all black "super cinnamon" and so on. There are genes that so far it is arguable if there is a "super" form or not- like the Pinstripes and spiders. But as far as a normal possibly carrying a gene for a recessive morph? That is entirely possible- but unlikely in most cases that you will be able to figure out what that animal is compatible to in its lifetime. I don't know if this is a good "story"- but that is just my understanding on Ball morphs. Normals deserve respect as well as any other living creature- but the sad truth is that in the "breeding" world- you try and stay away from breeding normals as best you can as to avoid too many normals without good homes. I say take "oddball" normals and see what they come out with, but otherwise, time after time of breeding normals and creating more, is just creating more normals that you will struggle to find GOOD reliable and responsible homes for.
Member Comment 11/9/2010 6:05:05 AM

whoa- there are suppose to be paragraph breaks in there. sorry about that!
Author Comment 11/9/2010 6:10:24 AM

Thanks! It's nice to see some input. I love normals so much, and just wish for others to see that they should not be the few in the clutch that make you sigh. :)
Member Comment 11/9/2010 6:30:33 AM

I know what you mean lol. I definitely am trying my best to pick animals to breed that will not produce normals unless they are 100% het for a recessive gene. It is hard to find homes for these animals that you care about- normal or not. The only difference is that when someone pays a ton of money for an animal, you figure they are going to do what they can to keep it alive lol. Sad but true. Oh well. I suppose that is the name of the game. :(
Accepted Answer 11/10/2010 12:19:38 AM

I love my normals :)  I have one that I've had since I was a little girl - she's 19 years old now and still going strong! 

The morphs all arose from animals found in the bush.  I think a majority of the morphs came from wild caught animals that then bred, at least as far as ball pythons are concerned.  The "super" form of most morphs is man made, but I am pretty sure that all the morphs came from wild caught animals.  From what I read in the Barker's "Pythons of the World" book on the subject, it wasn't until the crazy Americans started looking for and breeding the unusual looking ball pythons that the natives in Africa who were catching them started to look for unusually patterned animals. 

Half of my friends think most of the morphs all look the same - it's only us reptile people who can see the minute differences.  Think back to the 90s when no one knew there were mojaves, vanillas, fires, or any of those more subtle morphs!  People just didn't know what to look for.

There are several morphs that came from "normal" ball pythons bred to other normals that threw wierd babies.  Phantom, vanilla, and sulpher are a few I can think of.  The originals looked just a little odd but the babies were what really showed the traits off.  Heck, one of my girls is actually just such a project.  Looks like a pretty little normal ball python but her babies all came out unusually colored and golden.  Hoping to prove out whatever it may be this season!
Author Comment 11/10/2010 1:42:49 AM

Very interesting :) Thank you all for your stories. It's all fascinating!
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