The Desert Ghost morph in Ball Pythons is still rare and not as common as many other morphs we see today. One of the reasons why there are not so many around is that the morph is a recessive morph, so therefore it takes longer to reproduce this morph than the other dominate and co-dominate morphs that we see so much of in today’s Ball Python world.
Its pattern displays a striking definitive contrast, with blushing throughout the dark area. The lighter markings are bordered with a stark paper white, which then fades into a yellow-to-cream colour. It is said that pictures of the Desert Ghost Morph don’t do it any justice, it is only when you see an adult Desert Ghost Ball Python in the flesh that you can really appreciate and understand just how awesome this morph is. Upon hatching, the Desert Ghost resembles the co-dominant Desert – and without going off topic, the first Desert was assumed to be a Desert Ghost and that is basically how the Desert got its name. Both are fairly light and very clean in colour as babies, but that is where the similarities end. Unlike the Desert, which keeps that light khaki colour throughout adulthood, the Desert Ghost develops a clean ivory white colour as a full grown adult.
A lot of people say that certain morphs get better with age and to tell you the truth that is not true with most morphs – but with the Desert Ghost, there is absolutely no denying it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the Desert Ghost is the only ball python mutation that has more contrast as an adult than it does as a hatchling. That alone makes this gene extremely valuable in producing a “perfected” version of your favourite co-dominant combo morph. For example, look at the Desert Ghost Bumble Bee.
So as we mentioned earlier, the Desert Ghost is a recessive gene, so let’s have a look at how this gene works.
Below is an example of a few breedings with the recessive Desert Ghost morph.
Breeding a Desert Ghost with a dominant mutation
Let us take a look at breeding a Desert Ghost with a dominant mutation. I will use a Desert Ghost Pastel as an example. As we mentioned, the Desert Ghost mutation is a recessive mutation. The Pastel mutation is a dominant mutation. When you breed a Desert Ghost to a Pastel you will get babies that are 50% normal het Desert Ghost and 50% Pastel het Desert Ghost. Now you can take one of those Pastel het Desert Ghost babies and breed them to the Desert Ghost parent and you will get 25% normal het Desert Ghost, 25% Desert Ghost, 25% Pastel het Desert Ghost and 25% Desert Ghost Pastels. So, as you can see even when introducing the Desert Ghost mutation to the simplest of co-dominant mutations there are amazing and exciting combo morphs that can be produced!
Breeding a Desert Ghost 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 Desert Ghost Clown. When you breed a Desert Ghost to a Clown all your babies will be normal het for Desert Ghost and het for Clown (Double het for Desert Ghost and Clown). When you breed those babies to each other you will have a 1/16 chance of producing a Desert Ghost Clown. It’s not a great chance and therefore the double recessive Desert Ghost mutations are not as common and are of much higher value.
Being a recessive mutation the Desert Ghost Ball Python will be in strong demand for a long time 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 Desert Ghost 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. Currently they are an expensive mutation, which is understandable considering their rarity and also their beauty, so they are well worth the investment. I hope this short article helps to introduce you to this mutation and to understand the value of it.
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