In the pet reptile world, Ghost Ball Pythons have become anything but ghosts. They are among the most popular pet snakes to own and can be seen in almost any pet store. Back in the early 2000s, this morph of Python was relatively unknown. Now, it is hard to find any reptile enthusiast that does not know about the Ghost Ball Python.
This popular pet snake’s name comes from a recessive genetic trait that requires some technical explanation. Usually, only the recessive offspring of anery and hypo snakes are considered to be “ghosts.” A simple online search will attest to this snake’s popularity. The results page will be littered with sites offering Ghost Ball Pythons for sale and discussing topics related to this snake, from genetics and appearance to care and maintenance.
If you would like to learn more about these topics and more, read on. It certainly doesn’t hurt to learn more about these beautiful serpents.
Are Ghost Ball Pythons Dangerous?
Many people associate pythons with huge, dangerous snakes slithering about in the Amazon stalking its prey. In reality, Ghost Ball Pythons are not like that silent assassin slithering to your death.
Ghost Ball Pythons are usually too small to cause life threatening injuries by biting or constricting. However, if one of these snakes do bite or wrap themselves around you and squeeze, it can cause injuries requiring a hospital trip.
Use caution when handling a Ghost Ball Python. It is also recommended to purchase one of these snakes from infancy so that you can properly train and socialize them to avoid accidents like this.
How Much Do Ghost Ball Pythons Cost?
At the initial purchase, a Ghost Ball Python is worth anywhere from $100 to $800 USD. The price depends on the morph you buy and where in the world you are buying them.
After the initial purchase, additional purchases will need to be made. For example, you will need to buy a tank for your python to live in; moss, shavings, or other bedding for the bottom of the tank; a basking bulb and a light dome for proper temperature control; food; and expenses for veterinary trips. The cost of all of these products and services depend on the individual shop’s prices.
How Big Does a Ghost Ball Python Get?
When they first hatch, Ghost Ball Pythons usually measure around ten inches in length.
Female adult Ghost Ball Pythons are usually between three and five feet in length. The males are usually shorter, measuring two to three feet in length.
Fully grown adult Ghost Ball Pythons usually weigh around four or five pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kg).
If you properly care for your Ghost Ball Python, it can live to be as old as 30 years. Some have even lived longer. The longest recorded lifespan of a Ghost Ball Python was close to 40 years old.
Are Ghost Ball Pythons Good Pets?
In terms of owning reptiles, you can’t get much better than Ghost Ball Pythons. Many snake owners see these pythons as close to an ideal pet.
Their smaller size, compared to other pythons, makes them easier to keep in captivity without dishing out too much for a large sized tank.
Ghost Ball Pythons can come in many different colors. This vast array of color can make owning one of these snakes a visually rewarding experience.
Ghost Ball Pythons typically have a pretty friendly temperament. It’s always good to get along with your pets. This also means that biting and constricting occasions are less likely to happen.
Ghost Ball Python Cool Facts
Owning a Ghost Ball Python can be a cool experience. Here are some fun facts that might make your ownership more fun:
- Ghost Ball Pythons are docile creatures which makes them chill pets to have
- Ghost Ball Pythons like to be held and often do not have any aversion to humans
- Ghost Ball Pythons are one of the smallest breed of python
- Ghost Ball Pythons constrict their prey, which means they wrap their body around their prey’s and squeeze until their future meal suffocates
- The name of Ghost Ball Pythons come from their habitual action when they get nervous or upset: they tend to curl up into a ball with their head in the middle
- Ghost Ball Pythons originated from the Savanna Desert
- Ghost Ball Pythons can climb trees, though they seldom make the effort
- Ghost Ball Pythons thrive in hotter temperatures, between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit; however, their skin is sensitive and easily burns so beware of the heat source you use.
Ghost Ball Python Genetics
When a Ball Python is referred to as a ghost, that means it is the recessive offspring of an anery and hypo snake. If you were completely lost reading that sentence, no worries, we have an explanation for you.
A hypo snake is a snake that lacks the black pigmentation in their skin and, consequently, has less black coloration.
An anery snake is one that lacks red coloration on its skin.
A recessive offspring is a baby snake that possesses two copies of the recessive genes of both their hypo and anery parents.
What this translates to is a Ball Python that lacks both the black and red pigmentation in their skin. This gives them a pale, ghost-like look.
When referring to “morphs,” people mean the design and coloration of the snake. This can also be known as polymorphism. This is a natural product of genetics and makes for some beautiful displays.
How Rare are Ghost Ball Pythons?
If you are speaking of Ball Pythons, this species is not rare at all. In fact, it has become one of the most popular snakes to own.
However, if you are talking about Ghost Ball Pythons, you will find that this specific morph is quite rarer. For an offspring to have two copies of a recessive gene is a genetic lottery that plays at 50/50 odds.
If you are banking on an Anery’s and Hypo’s offspring to have enough copies of both recessive genes to be considered a “ghost,” the odds go down even further.
Ghost Ball Pythons are not the rarest of snakes. However, they are not the most common, either. They are just rare enough for many snake owners to consider them a unique find.
Breeding Ghost Ball Pythons
To breed a ghost ball python can be a bit of a game of luck. You need to have both an anery snake (lacking red pigmentation) and a hypo snake (lacking black pigmentation) as parents then hope that they produce enough offspring that a good number of them will be a ghost.
Ghost Ball Python Shedding
A Ghost Ball Python, due to its pigmentation genetics, will always appear to have a hazy color to its coat. This will give it the semblance of always being in shed. However, their shedding habits are fairly similar to that of other snakes.
The coloration of Ghost Ball Pythons usually includes a lot of greens, yellows, browns, and greys. However, when they shed, the discarded skin will appear clear and translucent, very much like an albino snake’s skin.
Most Popular Ball Python Morphs
Morphs simply refer to the design and coloration of the snake’s skin. There are over one thousand, some even guess as many as two or three thousand, different morphs.
Some of the most common morphs for Ball Pythons include:
- Albino Ball Python with pale yellow and white coloration giving it even more of a ghost-like look
- Axanthic Ball Python with a faded black and white coloration and a Rorschach like design
- Blue Eyed Leucistic Ball Python with no pigmentation whatsoever making it look brilliantly white
- Bumblebee Ball Python with black and yellow coloration similar to that of a bumblebee, hence the name
- Butter Ball Python, named for the buttery and caramel-y yellows and browns it shows
- Candino Ball Python which was bred from a Candy and Albino Ball Python and shows yellows and grays on its coat
- Champagne Ball Python which has a white underbelly but a champage-like coloring on its back
- Chocolate Ball Python which was named for the rich, chocolately color it has
- Cinnamon Ball Python showing a cinnamon-brownish coloration
- Clown Ball Python which shows a light brown and yellow coloring that is very similar to the design of clown face paint
There are many more morphs, some rare and some popular, but to list them all would be a yearlong process. The above are just some of the more well-known morphs that you will commonly see sold in shops.