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Desert Clown...a first?

Posted by: Editor on 7/3/2010
July 1, 2010 proved to be a very exciting day for all of us at HVH.  One of our favorite ball python genes has always been the clown gene.  We like the fact that it is both a color and a pattern variation, as well as the fact that many clowns tend to grow lighter in color as they age, as opposed to browning out like so many other ball python genetic mutations.  We also have become very interested in the desert gene, which we have found to stay very clean and bright well into adulthood.  Combining these genes has always been a goal of ours, so last summer when we had the opportunity to pick up a male desert 100% heterozygous for clown from Chad Brown and Robyn Markland at Pro Exotics, we jumped on the opportunity.

We have several regular deserts in our collection, but when Robyn sent us photos of the desert het clown it was clear from the pictures that just being heterozygous for clown was having a visible impact on the desert phenotype.  Compared with our other deserts, the desert 100% het clown had the same clean bright pattern but much richer reds and browns around the edges of the pattern. Below and to the right is a picture of the adult desert het clown today.  For those of you with deserts in your collection the difference should be clear.image 

Once we got this guy in our collection we wanted to pair him with a number of our adult females, which we did, but most of all we wanted to pair him with one of our adult reduced patterned female clowns.  We thought the ultra clean earth tones from the desert would combine quite well with the already rich yellows and browns of the clown, hopefully cleaning up and brightening the clown gene.  

We went ahead and paired the desert het clown with one of our more reduced patterned adult female clowns.  In early May we got a clutch of 5 eggs and were hoping for the best.  One of those eggs went bad during incubation, but the other four hatched successfully on July 1.  To our delight, we were lucky enough to hit the odds and the first head out of the egg was the beautiful desert clown pictured below with two of his siblings.  Any time you successfully hatch a baby ball python the experience is both exciting and rewarding, but it's that much more so when the head that pops out is something you've never seen before! 

imageWe're not sure if we were the first to produce this beautiful combination - we haven't seen any others yet, though I'm sure Chad and Robyn at Pro Exotics will produce several this year.  Either way, the desert clown has met and exceeded all of our expectations out of the gate.  We've hatched several pastel clowns in the past, and all have been beautiful.  That being said, the desert clown blows every pastel clown we've produced out of the water in terms of the brightness and clarity of the color.  In fact, it reminds us more of the killer clown than the pastel clown, though we feel the color is even brighter and pattern even cleaner.  We were also very pleased to see the reduced pattern from our adult female clown carry down to her progeny!

We continue to produce pastel clowns with the hope of refining the color intensity and pattern variation through careful selective breeding, but we definitely see desert pastel clowns in our very near future!  The cleanliness the desert gene brings to its combinations is simply too good to ignore, and we expect to see the desert gene as an integral component of many of the best combinations in the future.  Below is one final shot of the little guy on his own.  Thank you very much for taking a look, and good luck to everyone with their projects!  And a big thanks to Chad and Robyn at Pro Exotics!!


Categories: Ball Python Morphs |
Tags: Clown | Combos | Desert |
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