Spider ball pythons and wobble explained
What is a wobble, how is it caused and can it be cured?
Some people believe breeding Spider ball pythons should be banned because they have a wobble. A wobble is a neurological issue that results from the Spider morph. Spiders tend to move their head uncontrollable. A ball python without a wobble will keep its head still when it not moving and won’t move its head up and backwards. This movement is referred to as a wobble. A wobble is variable and tends to decrease when ball pythons get older and is more noticeable during stressful moments and during feeding Because it is a genetic issue, it cannot be cured in any way. Surprisingly, Black head, another gene that is allelic to spider can reduce the wobble in a Spider ball python. A Spider probably has a lower amount of protein (currently unknown which one) because one allele is non-functional. The Black head on the other hand probably has a higher amount of the same protein that a Spider lacks. Combining them and making a Spider Blackhead cancels the shortage of protein from the Spider allele out. This is why a Spider Black head also almost looks like a normal.
Should breeding Spider ball pythons be banned?
Spider ball pythons are the best known examples, but other morphs also have a wobble. Woma and Spider have a high chance to have wobbles and some examples have severe wobbles. Despite the neurological issues, Spiders thrive in captivity and actually are among the best feeders. This could be because they are less stressed (people with neurological issues such as Down syndrome also appear to have less stress). However, we believe that these issues are just too severe and that’s why we decided NOT to keep and breed Spiders and Woma ball pythons. We just think there are so many other great looking morphs that it is unethical to keep and breed Spiders. Does this mean breeding them should be banned? We don’t know, this is for you to decide!
Is Spider the only morph?
Other genes that tend to have wobbles (but nowhere near the levels of Spiders and Womas) are Champagne, Hidden gene wome (Hgw) and Super Spotnose. It is already known that Champagne is also allelic to Spider (although a Spider Champagne cannot be made because it is lethal) because it is also allelic to Champagne. Hgw could be allelic to Spider too, but this has not been shown as far as I know, but we do know that Spider and Hgw is lethal too.
Further reading /watching