Jungle Ball Python
Ball Pythons have some of the most diverse and beautiful combinations of mutations that affect their color and pattern. In the last 10 years, the number of genetically inherited traits that we have discovered in ball pythons is easily several dozen of single, simple traits, with the combination of those traits easily numbering into the hundreds. For the average person just beginning to scratch the surface of ball python breeding, learning about all the morphs and mutations, and all the fancy names for them, can seem extremely daunting. When you own morphs and are trying to create new ones, or just figuring out what you could potentially hatch out when you breed together animals carrying different traits, it can seem nearly impossible to memorize all the possible combinations and outcomes. Fortunately, you don’t need to memorize the hundreds of combinations; instead, you can use a formula called a Punnett Square to predict your chances of hatching out specific types of offspring. Using a punnett square properly will enable you to figure out potential offspring for any possible combination of traits.
In this article, it’s my goal to help you understand how to use a simple punnett square. To learn how to combine two, three, or more traits in a punnett square, I highly recommend picking up The Complete Ball Python, which has two excellent chapters on punnett squares that will help you out. In addition, search online for a free tutorial on genetics to help you out, or even consider enrolling in a basic biology course for a more thorough understanding. Next month’s article will cover basic breeding principles such as inbreeding, line breeding, outcrossing, and their relevance in reptile breeding programs over the short and long term.
First, let’s talk about recessive traits. These traits are only visible when an animal has two copies of the gene, one from each parent. Some examples of recessive traits are clowns, piebalds, ghosts, and the various types of albinos. Understanding how to predict your clutches is fairly easy – use that punnett square! It’s a fairly simple method of determining probability per egg of what could hatch out.
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