This is a list of all the morphs and combos that have known issues associated with them. Below the table is further detail on each morph or combo.
|Hidden Gene Woma||Wobble|
|Black Head x Spider||Masks the Spider's wobble|
|Sable x Spider||Difficult to hatch, severe wobble|
|Champagne x Hidden Gene Woma||Severe wobble|
|Champagne x Spider||Lethal|
|Desert||Female fertility issues|
|Caramel Albino||Kinking and female sub-fertility|
|Super Cinnamon/Super Black Pastel||Duckbill & rare kinking|
|Super Lesser Platinum/Super Butter||Bug eyes|
|Lesser Platinum x Piedbald||Small Eyes|
|Banana/Coral Glow||Gene resides on a sex chromosome|
A condition present in quite a few morphs is what we call "The Wobble". It is known to appear in Spider, Woma, Hidden Gene Woma, Champagne, Super Sable, and Powerball. It also shows in Jaguar Carpet Pythons. An even more severe wobble is known to appear in Sable x Spider, and Champagne x Hidden Gene Woma combos. For the purpose of this article, I'm going to refer to the following morphs as "Wobblers". This was orginally written with the Spider gene in mind, but can apply to the other Wobblers.
Anyone who owns one of the Wobblers or seen one in person, most likely already knows what I'm talking about when I refer to "The Wobble". Wobblers have an apparent neurological issue. Which I think the best way to describe it is that they essentially lose their equilibrium, moving in directions they normally wouldn't move in. You may not even see it, it can be a subtle as them just tilting their head once in a while, shaking in their head. It can be as bad as them corkscrewing their body in the air almost uncontrollably. It could only happen during feedings or other potentially exciting situations for the snake or it could just be a constant occurrence. The snake could have no signs as a baby and show it as an adult or have it as a baby and grow out of it.
What I am getting at is, this is very variable, every Wobbler is different.
Search "Spider ball python wobble" on Youtube and you can see some of the extreme cases of the wobble. Now it must be clarified that most Wobblers are nowhere near as badly afflicted as those you will see online. Don't let those select few deter you from these morphs. The majority are subtle and won't exhibit a extreme wobble.
The wobble is linked to the gene. The normals that come out of the same clutch as a Wobbler don't have the wobble, the condition is only present in Wobblers. Anything with a Wobbler gene in it, whether it be a Bumblebee or one of NERD's crazy creations, will all have the wobble. Breeding a low wobble Wobbler can result in some offspring with a bad wobble. Breeding a Wobbler with a bad wobble can result in low wobble offspring. There appears to be no way to selectively breed it out.
I have herd a myth that inbreeding may cause the wobble. I will be bold and say the Spider is the most out-crossed morph (meaning breeding unrelated animals) in the ball python world. There is no proven Super Spider, so Spider x Spider breeding are very rare today. So the myth is false, it is in no way related to inbreeding.
A question often asked is "What if my snake can't eat because of the wobble?" The combos with the severe wobble can have this problem. As for the other Wobblers, in all of my research, I have only found 1 person that made a claim that they had a baby with a wobble that was so bad, it could not eat. One Spider out of the multiple-thousands of Wobblers out there. With that said if one pops up that cannot eat, by design it will not be around. But besides that one case, they all eat, poop, breed, and live healthy lives in captivity.
Some of you may be asking "Why would you breed a snake with a defect?" There is actually a small debate on the ethics of breeding Wobblers. Here is my personal opinion on the matter. We breed them because it's a morph, in truth every morph is a "defect". People have brought up the arguement that they would not fair well in the wild. My response would be, they are only going to remain in captivity and they eat, poop, breed, live healthy lives just like any other ball python in captivity. The Spider morph has been doing great in the ball python world since 1999 and is considered a staple morph by most hobbyists for any collection.
Now I will also share a theory based a some limited animals I have interacted with.
I don't believe the wobble is going to be seperated from these morphs. There is too much evidence it is linked directly to the gene, but I think it can be reduced. I see stress levels might play a factor in the amount of wobble the Spider's show. As stated before, every snake is different, but I have personally seen how changing homes can bring a minimal wobble, to horrible wobble, to minimal wobble again. Many people report only seeing signs of it while only feeding, or only while being handled. I feel this strengthens the idea that stress or excitement can elevate the condition.
I know this may be a touchy subject for some Wobbler owners whose snakes exhibit a particularly bad wobble. They may feel like i'm saying their not taking care of their snake correctly. I will say if your snake is eating and living a healthy life, you are doing a great job, there may be Wobblers that will always have the bad wobble, but also it may need extra accommodations beyond the normal to feel less stressed (ex. extra hide, more foliage, less direct light, ect). Yes, I am suggesting the 2 hide, water bowl, cookie cutter setup may not be right for every ball python in general and the Wobblers just shows it. I have talked this over with many people and online and I think it all comes to the same conclusion that it's near impossible to test this theory. Some people have stories that strengthen the theory and some have stories that 100% conflict with it. So take it as you wish. If you have any input on this feel free to contect me, it would be great to hear what you have to say.
Black Head x Spider
We have rescently found out that the Black Head gene appears to mask the wobble when paired with Spider. This doesn't cure the wobble, as Spider offspring will still have a wobble, but it is reported that Spider Black Head combos do not wobble. It is unknown if this works with any other morphs.
Sable x Spider
Along with the severe wobble issue, the Sable x Spider combo has issues even thriving in the first place.
t is reported that this combo does not live very long after hatching.
Pearls that are alive display a sereve wobble and do not thrive for long. Known to be Lethal. However, there was a snake that is thought to be a Soulsucker Pearl (Homozygous Hidden Gene Woma, Heterozygous Lesser) that not only thrives, it displays no wobble at all. Hopefully there will be more information soon.
So far two have been hatched and did not thrive very long at all. Appears to be homozygous lethal.
There was a long running debate about the Super Spider that can be concluded as being homozygous lethal, the explination gets its own page here.
There is significant evidence that Desert females are not able to produce viable eggs. There are many reports of females becoming egg bound and when they do lay, all slug eggs. One theory was that the females can not thermoregulate their eggs correctly and cook them. So a few have kept their females in a cooler cage in hopes of good eggs and so far they have all still laid slugs. Many are trying different methods to see if they can get the females to lay viable eggs, but so far have been unsucessful.
Caramel Albinos are known for having a very high kink rate. This means they can be born with a deformed spine. The kinks may or may not be an issue with the animal's ability to thrive. Also Caramel Albino Females are known for having what we call sub-fertility issues. They can lay viable eggs, just there seem to be extreamly high rate of slugs for many. Now with that said, I have talked to a few breeders who have zero issues with the morph on both accounts and claim they do not do anything out of the ordinary. Hopefully more information can come out about this gorgeous morph.
Super Cinnamon & Super Black Pastel
Super Cinnamons/Black Pastels sometimes have an issue called a duckbill. They can have a narrowed nose near their eyes, making the end of their nose look wider, giving the illision they have a bill. I have read of a few cases where the deformity was too great for the animal to eat, but most of the time, it does not seem to effect their eating or cause any other issues, they just look different. There are also reports of having a higher than normal kink rate, while it still appears to be pretty rare.
Super Lesser Platinum & Super Butter
Super Lesser Platinums/Butters are known for sometimes having bug eyes. All this means is their eye ball sticks out farther from their head than a normal ball python would. Besides looking different, there are no issues with the bug eyes.
Lesser Platinum x Piebald
It is repoted many Lesser Platinum x Piebald have smaller than normal eyes, it does not appear to affect them.
Banana & Coral Glow
Since it was proven by Warren Booth that pythons and boas have XY chromosomes, we can now explain what we see with the Banana/Coral Glow as a sex linked gene, that has frequent crossing over events.