Some of the most coveted and expensive genes in the Ball Python hobby all have one thing in common: they’re recessive. Recessive genes are harder to breed for, requiring at least one copy of the gene to be present in each parent.
They also tend to have a big effect on appearance, and these two factors keep them right at the top of every breeder’s wish list. In this article, we’ll take a quick look at what makes recessive morphs special.
As always, I’ve provided links to some morph guides at the bottom of the page, so don’t forget to check them out!
What does recessive gene mean in snakes?
By recessive, we mean any gene that is not dominant in its heterozygous form. In a nutshell, wherever the normal gene for color and pattern is present, it masks the recessive gene.
That’s why breeding an albino to a normal snake produces all normal babies. The normal gene has become dominant, and the albino gene is in “recess”.
It’s still in there, but needs two copies to actually look like an albino. As hatchlings get one copy from each parent, it’s impossible for an albino to produce visually albino babies with a normal snake (that has zero copies of the gene).
The most profitable Ball Python morphs
As I’ve explained above, the nature of recessive genes makes breeding them slightly more complicated. To get a recessive project started, you either need two heterozygous animals (and a little luck) or a more expensive homozygous (visual) animal.
When a new recessive gene appears on the market it tends to be expensive. So most people can only afford to buy hets, and breeders are initially reluctant to let go visuals anyway.
This leads to two things:
- The prices are high
- The rewards are high
By taking a look at ads for Ball Pythons online, and asking around, you’ll see exactly what I mean. Newer recessive genes like Monsoon still go for eye-watering prices.
If you like to gamble, then it’s on a new recessive project that you might just win big. On the other hand, you could lose big too! But that’s all part of the fun.
Recessive Ball Python morphs list
To date, there’s over forty different recessive genes available, some of which are taking off faster than others in terms of popularity. In the list below, you can see all of the ones that are reasonably widespread in terms of availability.
If you plan on making some long-term breeding plans, your collection should include at least one of these morphs. Clown, Piebald, Monsoon, Puzzle, Cryptic, and Sunset in particular look set to be very popular, for a very long time.
- Axanthic (several lines available)
- Black Axanthic
- Black Lace
- Caramel Albino
- Desert Ghost
- Genetic Stripe
- Lavender Albino
- Orange Ghost
More on recessive Ball Python genes:
- Spotnose Clown Ball Python breeder’s guide
- Puzzle Ball Python breeder’s guide
- Albino Ball Python history and breeding
- Top 5 Recessive Morphs to date