Morphology of Snakes

Co-dominant: A visible mutation appears when a single gene in an allele is different than normal. Two different genes can bring a ‘super’ form of that gene which looks different than the single gene itself.

Dominant: When a single allele is different than the normal allele.

Het/Heterozygous: Has a gene inside of the snake that is not visible. Otherwise none as a recessive trait.

Homo/Homozygous: A matched pair of mutated genes

Recessive: The gene is present in the snake, but not visible, but can be passed down. Example (albino is a recessive trait)

Snakes contain genes that are responsible for their colors and patterns. Each gene contains an allele from each parent of the snake. When bred, snakes combine their DNA/alleles into their babies. There are many different forms of ‘mutated’ alleles (explained below). These genes are not just present in the snake world, but in every species.

Since mutated alleles are more uncommon than normal alleles the snake with mutated alleles is usually more expensive. Many people spend thousands of dollars on obtaining the next created morph. When I think of the word morph, Ball Pythons come into mind. The market for Ball Pythons is extremely flooded with all sorts of morphs. Example: Albino, Axanthic, Banana, Clown, Pieds, Pastel… etc.

Of course there are other snake species that are well known for their wide range of morphs, corn snakes, king snakes, red tail boas, burmese pythons, and reticulated pythons.

Morphs may be awesome however some genes are weak and when bred together can produce unhealthy babies and kinked snakes. Always do your research before buying a snake. Example: The spider Ball Python is usually born with a ‘wobble’ due to the weak genes in its DNA, this gives the snake a neurological problem which causes it to bob it’s head all around when moving, sometimes it even affects its eating. Weak or damaged genes can also cause the female snakes to not be able to become gravid/they are infertile. Example: Desert Ball Pythons, Caramel Albino Ball Pythons.

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