32 Words Everyone Needs to Know When Talking About Morphs(Ball Python Edition)

Ball python terminology can get confusing especially when talking about morphs. I’ve put together words that we commonly use in the ball python community that could use some explanation.

Welcome to the Ball Python Terms Dictionary

1. 0.1

Definition: One Female 

In ball python terms this number system to quickly identify the genders and amount of snakes they have.

0.1 meaning one female, 0.2 meaning 2 females and so on. When you see a number like 4.2 for example means there are 4 males and 2 females. The number on the left represents males and the number on the right represents females

2. 1.0

Definition: One Male

The ball python community uses this number system to quickly identify the genders and amount of snakes they have.

1.0 meaning you have 1 male, 2.0 meaning you have 2 males and so on.

If you see the number as 2.1 for example this means there are 2 males and 1 females. The number on the left represents males and the number on the right represents females

3. Alien Heads

These are patterns on a ball python that are bulbous with two dots in the middle and look like little alien heads.

alien head
Alien head patterns on a ball python

On a normal ball python it would be the brown patches that have 2 black circles in them. With a bit of imagination you’ll see some of them resemble a head with two eyes.

Not all ball pythons have them since there are some morphs reduce the amount of alien heads on a ball python or even get rid of them completely.

4. Banding

Banding is the pattern on a ball python that resemble a band across their back. Unlike a ringer, this usually describes the brown pattern on the ball python.

Banding doesn’t have to be brown though. It just describes is the presence of a single color going around the back of the snake. On a Normal ball python it would be brown but in all cases it describes any color that goes from one side to the other.

band on pastel spider
Yellow Banding on a Pastel Spider YB Ball Python

5. Banger

In ball python terminology banger is a word we use to mean more than one gene in a ball python

Use this word to describe a ball python with lots of genes that are desirable for a breeder’s project. 

If it follows a number such as 2 banger or 3 banger, it’s just another way to identify how many identifiable genes the snake has.

Ball pythons are more than just their paint jobs. Click here to find out why.

6. BEL

Stands for Blue-eyed Lucy or Black-eyed Lucy

Blue/Black-Eyed Leucistic ball pythons are ball pythons that have a lack of pigmentation which is caused by a genetic condition.

Unlike an albino, BEL lacks all pigmentations where albino lacks only melanin.

Some morphs that create BELs include Lesser, Mojave, Butter, Phantom and Fire.

7. Blushing

The word blushing describe paleness in a ball python’s color where it would normally be dark.

Areas of “blushing” on a Hypo Pastel Ball Python

Certain morphs will cause blushing in a ball pythons color. A great example of this is a Super Pastel where the head has a lighter color than a single gene Pastel.

ball python with head blush
Super Pastel Leopard Ball Python with head “blushing”

8. BP

It doesn’t stand for beer pong this time, but Ball Python.

It’s basically a pet noodle

9. Cheerios

In ball python terms cheerios describes patterns on a ball python that resemble little O’s

ball python cheerios
Cheerio patterns on a Mojave OD

Unlike Keyholes, this pattern is a complete circle with a black dot in the middle.

10. Co-dominant

To make it simple a gene is considered co-dominant when that gene, combined with another co-dominant gene, makes a third phenotype that doesn’t look like either parent or have traits of both combined.

Co-dominant identifies a type of gene. In the ball python community we use it interchangeably with incomplete dominant even thought they have different meanings.

Watch us in action! See how we identified our very own ball python clutch, one baby at a time.

11. Dominant

The exact definition of dominant genes is that they are genes that produces the same phenotype in the organism whether or not its allele is identical.

In ball python breeding terms dominant describes a genetic trait that overrides any traits from other genes.

An example of a dominant gene is Pinstripe.

Pinstripe Enchi Pastel Ball Python

12. Dorsal Stripe

A dorsal stripe describes the color or pattern on the uppermost part of a ball python usually as a solid color.

The dorsal of the ball python is the uppermost part of the snake where its spine would be. On a normal ball python it is broken up into different patterns. In some morphs it will show up as a single stripe along its back.

dorsal stripe
Chocolate Pinstripe ball python with a distinct dorsal stripe

13. Double Recessive

A gene is recessive when it is masked by other genes. A double recessive just means that a ball python has 2 recessive genes.

A recessive gene trait will only show up if a ball python receives a copy from each parent. Double recessive is when a baby ball python receives two different recessive genes from its parents, but doesn’t necessarily have the traits of those recessive genes.

14. Eye-Stripe

An eye-stripe is the black stripe that goes across a ball python’s eyes in certain morphs including a Normal.

15. Flaming

Flaming describes the white patterns that appear on the sides of the ball python.

When describing a ball python’s flaming pattern they can be described as high flames or low flames. It basically describes how high the white goes up the sides of the snake.

Flames on a ball python
Ball python with flames

16. Headstamp

A head stamp is the pattern on the head of a ball python. This can sometimes distinguish what genes a ball python has.

For example a Spider ball python that makes the eye-stripe go above the eyes instead of through them.

17. Het

Het is short for heterozygous which technically means the two different alleles, from each parent, interact with each other. This determines how their traits are expressed. When a ball python is het for a gene it means that it carries the recessive gene.

A ball python that is het for a gene will not have any visual presentations of that gene, but you’ll know it is has the gene by knowing if its parents’ carry that gene onto the snake.

18. High Expression

High expression is a way to describe how much pattern is on a ball python. This just means that patterns or colors show more than other ball pythons with the same genes.

19. High White

Certain morphs cause a ball python to be white in certain areas like a Pied, for example. High White is a way to express that a ball python has more white than other ball pythons.

There are so many variations of a Pied and usually the amount of white on a Pied gets carried on to its offspring.

So, if a Pied or other morph is hight white it usually makes high white babies. 

20. Keyhole

A type of pattern on a ball python that resembles a keyhole.

The keyhole pattern on a ball python is similar to an alien head mentioned above except the bulb shape of the pattern only has one black hole.

21. OD

Stands for Orange Dream – ball python morph that itself doesn’t look too different from a Normal but when combined with other co-dominant genes look amazing.

22. OG

Stands for Orange Ghost – a line of hypo/ghost morph that dulls out the color of a ball python.

23. Pied

Short for Piebald -a recessive gene that causes white pigmentation on parts of a ball python.

24. Poss

Short for possible. “Poss” is used to describe a ball python’s morph when a ball python it is possibly heterozygous for a recessive gene. The reason it would only be possible is because they won’t show any traits, but one parent could carry the gene onto the snake.

25. Recessive

A recessive gene is a gene that only shows when two alleles(one from each parent) are present in an offspring.

Recessive genes are identified in ball pythons when both parents need to have the genes in order to create offspring with a visual of that genetic trait.

26. Reduced Pattern

Reduced pattern describes the lack of pattern on a ball python.

Some morphs create a reduced pattern in ball pythons, but it is usually done by selective breeding.

27. Ringer

A ringer describes a white banding that is usually outlined by color on a ball python.

They are not hereditary since ball pythons with ringers don’t always produce ball pythons with ringers.

Ringers were thought to be a trait of a het Pied ball python, but they show up in other morphs as well such as Puma.

Ball python with Ringer
Puma Ball Python as a baby

28. Saddles

This word is used to describe a broken dorsal pattern that shows up as an oval shape mimicking a saddle. You see them in corn snakes most commonly, but this can be used to describe a ball pythons pattern as well.

29. Single Gene

Ball pythons are single gene when they only carry one genetic trait. This can be used for a ball python with one dominant gene, one co-dominant gene or visual recessive gene. 

30. Super [gene]

When a ball python morph is a super form of a gene it means that it is homozygous for that gene. To get a super form 2 alleles must lie on the same location on a chromosome. 

31. Wobble

Wobble describes a neurological condition a ball python can get that causes it to move its head side to side in unnatural ways.

Like any animal, ball pythons can have medical anomolies such as this one. The name comes from the wobbling action of a ball python’s head caused by the neurological condition.

It’s commonly seen in certain genes like the Spider gene. Although this condition poses no threats to the health of a ball python, some see it as a sign that they shouldn’t be bred to stop it from passing on to their offspring. 

Genes known to cause wobbles: Spider, Woma, Powerball and Champagne

32. YB

Stands for Yellow Belly – a ball python morph that creates flames and adds a bit of orange. The super form of a Yellowbelly is an Ivory.