Many beginners enjoy keeping banana ball pythons because of their beautiful colors and unique patterns.
Their beautiful yellow splotches set them apart from typical ball pythons.
These banana snakes are loved for their distinct yellow and tan bodies. But the comparison with bananas goes beyond that. These morphs also develop black spots throughout their body as they age.
This color and pattern was first discovered in the wild in 2003 and quickly became popular. Some hatchlings were even sold for $20,000! Luckily banana ball pythons are now much more affordable.
Keep reading to learn more about why these ball pythons are so popular. We also share their colors, size, genetics, price and how to care for one.
All About Banana Ball Pythons
Banana ball pythons are a type of ball python morph famous for their yellow splotches and black freckles. This unique color helps them stand out when compared to the typical black and brown wild-type ball pythons.
Instead of the common black and brown base with tan blotches, these ball pythons have a lilac or gray base with yellow and tan blotches.
These yellowish blotches around their bodies are what gives them the name “banana”.
The first morph was found in the wild in 2003 by West African locals. It was thought to be the result of an aberrant mutation. These forms of mutations are usually extremely rare and have a low chance of survival.
Will Slough heard about this banana species and imported the snake from West Africa.
Many people believed this snake had a genetic defect. However, Will recognized this could be a new morph and began to study and breed the snake under a project he named “Banana”.
After years of selective breeding he was proven right. The banana is a naturally occurring morph.
Slough bred the first clutch in 2003 and hatchlings were sold for nearly $20,000 each.
All banana ball pythons for sale today are believed to have originated from that one individual Will imported.
Even though ball pythons had been bred in captivity since the late 1980s, 2003 was the first time the pet trade had seen this morph. Fortunately, banana ball pythons are now very easy to breed and lots is known about the inheritance and breeding process.
Many breeders hatch and raise these pythons to create unique morphs and see how mutations change their colors and patterns.
There are now many types of banana ball pythons that have different color combinations and patterns.
Some morphs have thinner blotches while others have very large blotches. The color can also change with some individuals showing both banana and all-white.
Rarer morphs such as the banana clown ball python are still expensive and hard to find. However, the typical banana ball python can be purchased for under $250.
Appearance, Color, Patterns and Marking
Typical wild-type ball pythons have a black or dark brown base color with light brown or yellow blotches.
Banana ball pythons are known for their bright yellow and tan blotches.
Banana morphs have a light purple tone throughout their body and lighter blotches that are mainly yellow with some tan. These yellow blotches are very irregular and are typically concentrated around the sides of their body.
These morphs are named for their yellow blotches. However, their creative nickname goes beyond this simple yellow.
As these snakes age they will begin to develop small black spots and freckles throughout their body. This looks like the black spots a banana develops as it continues to ripen. They will also become progressively more gray and the yellow splotches will become less vivid as they age.
Regular bananas get their color from one parent, either their mother or their father.
It is a codominant trait which means that it only takes one parent to pass it down. This trait will be expressed regardless of the trait inherited from the other parent. It is impossible for a hatchling to carry the banana allele without showing it.
An individual that gets the allele from both parents is known as a super banana ball python. Super balls look like a washed-out, lighter banana. They also have fewer black spots.
Breeding two banana ball pythons is the only way to create a super species.
Banana Ball Python Size
Many beginners often want to know how big does a banana ball python get.
The truth is that they will grow to the same size as any Ball Python.
Females will typically grow from three to five feet in length while males will only grow to three feet.
Banana ball pythons do not show any other physical changes besides coloration and patterns. They will grow to similar lengths as other morphs.
History and Breeding
The first banana ball python was a wild snake that was found in central West Africa in 2003.
This wild specimen was a natural morph that fascinated many experienced python breeders and enthusiasts.
The morph was imported to America by Will Slough in 2003 and it is believed that all pet banana ball pythons come from this one imported individual.
Breeding banana snakes had a very slow start in the mid-2000s.
The genetics of this morph confused breeders for many years. It was unknown how the gene was passed from parent to offspring.
Early breeders especially had a difficult time understanding the genetic trait that caused this specific morph.
Many breeders that participated in the early breeding program realized that there was a considerable number of females being produced and very few males. This caused the price of males to be nearly five times more than females.
It was later discovered that males can either be “male makers” or “female makers.”
This means that depending on the male, about 95% of their offspring will be either male or female. To make things more difficult, most of the first male morphs that were used by breeders were female makers.
Breeders began to understand this new aspect of breeding ball pythons and were able to choose whether to breed a male or female maker.
It was later discovered that if the male python got its banana gene from its mother it would be a female maker. The opposite is also true.
Banana Ball Python Morphs
One of the most interesting aspects of banana ball pythons is that they can be bred with other morphs. This creates a wide range of colors and patterns which is one of the many reasons why they are an extremely popular morph.
The gene is codominant so it can be expressed alongside other morph genes.
An individual ball python can show both the banana and the morph of a different gene.
For example, the addition of a second banana gene can cause a decrease in the number of black freckles that appear on them.
Breeders have taken advantage of this and created many different morph combinations.
These combinations are known as designer morphs and some of the most well-known ones are described below.
Banana pied ball pythons are very well-known morphs.
They are easy to spot because of the random oddly-shaped white patches that show up around their body. In some cases, entire segments of the snake will remain white while the rest of the body will be the typical colors of a banana.
This morph is only hatched when two ball pythons that have the piebald gene are bred.
The gene that results in a piebald is recessive. This means that a snake needs two copies of this gene in order to show it. They will also need the codominant banana gene.
The name of this morph is very fitting as these snakes have one long stripe running down their spine..
Banana pinstripe morphs have very thin and irregular bands in place of those distinct ball python blotches.
These snakes also have smaller blotches across their body. This means the majority of their color is whatever their base color is.
Banana pinstripe morphs are very common because the gene responsible for it is dominant. Only one of the python parents has to have the gene for its offspring to inherit it.
The banana spider ball python is similar to many spider morphs, but it has the yellow and tan colors.
Spider morphs normally have smaller-sized blotches throughout their body with less patterning. The lighter tone is usually the more dominant color with thin bands of the darker base color.
Unfortunately, this gene does cause a neurological disease known as “spider wobble”.
This neurological issue causes a decrease in coordination and chronic head wobbling. Little is known besides that, but it is present in regular and banana spider ball pythons.
The banana cinnamon looks like a typical banana ball python, but with a reddish pigmentation to the lavender base color. This results in a very interesting combination.
This morphs’ blotches are bright orange, instead of the typical yellow.
In order to breed a banana cinnamon you need one cinnamon parent and one banana. This will result in a 25% chance that the hatchlings are a banana cinnamon morph.
Super Banana Ball Python
The super morph is a much more pale version of a regular banana ball python.
They are typically born with the same colors as a banana morph, but as they age their coloration fades rapidly. These snakes will also not develop the black specks that a regular banana morph will have.
Super morphs occur in 25% of hatchlings that have two banana snake parents. This means the python will have two copies of the banana gene.
Their gender is heavily reliant on whether the father was a female-maker or male-maker.
The banana pastel morph is a pale version of the regular banana ball python. They have a more pale background color that is lighter than lilac.
These morphs can easily be confused with super species. Their distinguishing feature is that they have the black specks and freckles.
The pastel gene is also codominant and can be easily paired with the banana gene.
Black Pastel Banana Ball Python
The black pastel morph has the opposite effect on banana ball pythons.
Instead of lightening the background color, it will darken it.
These morphs typically have dark purple or dark gray base colors. The blotches will have a deep orange color and the snake will also have larger black specks.
Their genes are very similar to the pastel banana.
Banana Clown Ball Python
The banana clown morph is a very distinct morph that is highly sought after.
These snakes are similar to regular clown morphs, but are much lighter in color.
Instead of blotches along the side of their body, they have a large band that travels down their spine with small irregular patches throughout their body.
Their base color is typically a bright yellow hue.
The genes that code for the clown morph are recessive. This makes them slightly more difficult to breed which results in much higher prices.
Banana Ball Python vs. Coral Glow Ball Python
The only morph that is commonly mistaken for a banana is the coral glow.
Banana morphs and coral glows are very similar in color and pattern. A lot of people often use the terms interchangeably.
Genetically they are very similar, but there are subtle physical differences that set them apart.
The only difference is that they are from different bloodlines and as a result have very subtle distinctions in their coloration and patterns. Most coral glows are more orange than yellow while the opposite is true for banana pythons.
Banana Ball Python Price
Banana ball pythons for sale typically fall in a price range that is more expensive than regular ball pythons.
Even though they no longer cost over $20,000 to own, some morphs can still run at a steep price.
A standard banana ball python can sell for $150 to $250.
Designer morphs that are harder to breed (e.g. clown and piebald) are usually more expensive. They can run to as much as $4,000.
|Banana||$150 to $250|
|Coral Glow||$250 to $450|
|Banana Cinnamon||$200 to $550|
|Banana Clown||$500 to $4,000|
|Banana Pastel||$175 to $500|
|Banana Pied||$300 to $600|
|Banana Pinstripe||$200 to $350|
|Banana Spider||$200 to $300|
|Black Paste||$250 to $500|
|Super Banana||$350 to $750|
When buying a banana ball python it is important to know if you want to keep it as a pet or for breeding.
If they are solely meant to be kept as a pet snake and not for breeding purposes then you will not need to determine their gender and what type of “maker” they are.
When you find a banana ball python for sale it is first important to determine if they are healthy. Focus on their health, behavior and feeding response.
Ball pythons that are healthy should not have excessive fat rolls, nor should their spine be visible.
Open mouth breathing, lack of appetite, and aggression are signs of an unhealthy snake.
Ball pythons that are tolerant of handling, well-fed, and comfortable in their enclosures are great choices.
Do Banana Ball Pythons Have Issues?
Banana ball pythons are relatively easy to care for.
Like all ball pythons their husbandry requires no previous experience and is simple.
If the right care is given these snakes can live for as long as 30 years. They should be kept in glass tanks with lots of plants, hides and coverage.
Most people enjoy keeping ball pythons for their docile temperament and fascinating hunting strategies.
The banana ball python is especially sought after for their unique colorations and patterns. The bright yellows contrasting with their lilac body give them a very unique look.
In many species morphs can come with unwanted genes that make the individual more susceptible to health issues. Some examples include the enigma morph that causes equilibrium problems in leopard geckos, the silkback morph that causes bearded dragons to lose their scales and the chimera axolotl morph which reduces their lifespan.
However, all banana species are just as healthy. They have the same level of health and resilience as their non-banana relatives. Since they have no health-related differences, they also come with the same common health problems that all Ball Pythons have.
Ball pythons are typically prone to obesity, shedding problems, and respiratory infections. If not given proper care and the right tank setup, your python can become prone to these issues.
Obesity can be caused by a feeding schedule that provides an excess amount of food, which is very common for first time owners. Shedding and respiratory infections are usually caused by incorrect humidity as well as poor hygiene and an unclean enclosure.
Some common signs and symptoms of illness include open mouth breathing, discharge from the mouth or nose, lethargy, food refusal or loss of appetite, behavior change, and weight loss.
One of the most beautiful and interesting ball python morphs is the banana.
Banana ball pythons have bright lilac and yellow colors and distinct black spots that set them apart from other types of ball pythons.
Many reptile breeders seek these snakes out because of their interesting genetics.
This morph is codominant and can be combined with a number of other morphs to create amazing colors and patterns.
Since 2003 they have become increasingly popular with new types of banana morphs being developed each year. Some of the most popular are the banana clown, banana spider, banana pied and banana pinstripe.
Are you interested in buying a banana ball python? Which morph is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Not sure this morph is for you? Learn about the blue eyed leucistic ball python.