Hypo, Hypomelanistic, Ghost and Orange Ghost. By Rolf Dennison  

Hypo Ball Python
Enchi Orange Ghost

The four names in the title of this article are different names given to the same morph. In this article we will refer to this morph as the Hypo morph. Hypo is a recessive mutation that reduces dark pigments like the blacks and browns and although there are different lines of this recessive mutation like the Orange Ghost line, they all follow the same general description. Other lines which are talked about are Yellow and Butterscotch lines and all these are all compatible with each other. The reduction of dark pigment makes the Hypo morph appear “soft” and sometimes even blurry or hazy, hence the other name ghost which has been given to this morph. The Hypo morph seems to enhance the orange colouring, which gets lighter and more ghostly with age. The ghostly appearance occurs due to the decreased amount of melanin (darkened pigment) in their genetic makeup. Unlike most Ball Pythons, Hypos’ sheds are clear and don’t display any pattern whatsoever.

Now as we describe a Hypo Ball Python some might think that it isn’t as unusual like as some of the other morphs, but you would be wrong. When you see a Hypo Ball Python in the flesh their colours and shades of brown and black really jump out at you and it truly is a beautiful mutation in Ball Pythons. What is even more exciting is what it does to combos: it can make even the simplest morphs look unbelievable and that is what is so exciting about this recessive mutation.

The Orange Ghost gene is a different line of Hypo. Early on, the Orange ghost established itself as the nicest of the hypo or ghost lines. The Orange Ghost Ball Python is a high colour animal with a bluish tint that often makes the animal look like it is beginning a shed cycle, except without the dullness that often accompanies this period.

Let’s have a look at a few breeding’s with the recessive Hypo morph.

Breeding a Hypo with a dominant mutation
Let us take a look at breeding a Hypo with a dominant mutation. I will use a Honey Bee (Hypo Spider) as an example. As we mentioned, the Hypo mutation is a recessive mutation. The Spider mutation is a dominant mutation. When you breed a Hypo to a Spider you will get babies that are 50% normal het Hypo and 50% Spider het Hypo. Now you can take one of those Spider het Hypo babies and breed them to the Hypo parent and you will get 25% normal het Hypo, 25% Hypo, 25% Spider het Hypo and 25% Hypo Spiders. So, as you can see even when introducing the Hypo mutation to the simplest of dominant mutations there are amazing and exciting combo morphs that can be produced!

Breeding a Hypo with another recessive mutation
This type of breeding takes longer as both mutations are recessive and therefore will take longer to get out. Let’s take a look at breeding a Hypo Clown, or what they call a Candied Clown. When you breed a Hypo to a Clown, all your babies will be normal het for Hypo and het for Clown (Double het for Hypo and Clown). When you breed those babies to each other you will have a 1/16 chance of producing a Candied Clown (Hypo Clown)! It’s not a great chance and therefore the double recessive Hypo mutations are not as common and are of much higher value.

Being a recessive mutation, the Hypo Ball Python will for a long time be in strong demand and as mentioned crosses very well with other ball python morphs to make some jaw-dropping combos. We are still at the early stages of introducing other mutations to the Hypo mutation in our country, so it is exciting to see what there is to come of this mutation, which I personally feel is a must have for any Ball Python Breeder. I hope this short article helps to introduce you to this mutation and to understand the value of it.

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