17 FRESH BALL PYTHON MORPHS
By CLIFF SAWIT
Photos by JEFFREY C. LIM
Animal Scene is back once again with another dazzling array of serpent stars, with Jepoy of Lucky 6 Reptile Farm sharing with us his prized new Ball Python mutations. “Some of them we’ve produced for the first time this year,” says Jepoy, “while most of them are holdbacks.”
Holdback is a herpetologist term for Snakes whom the herpetologist has decided to keep for a while to see if they develop desirable qualities. After a bit of age and development, the herpetologist can decide if they will cross the Snake with other morphs or will consider letting them go.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GONNA GET
How did Jepoy end up caring for so many beautiful reptiles? “The endless possibilities in breeding combinations that you can create is what fascinates me the most,” he explains. “Each one of them is unique and special in their own ways.”
Jepoy recalls what it feels like to watch eggs hatch. “I still remember the joy I felt when I saw them peeping out of their pearly white eggs. They were like ‘Kinder Joys’. You have an expectation, but you never know what you’re going to get.”
It hasn’t been all smiles for Jepoy as a Snake parent, however. “My first Snake’s name was Snow White. She was a Butter Lesser whom I got from Majestic Balls. She only lasted a week because I didn’t listen to what my friends said. They told me never to overfeed because it’s dangerous for Ball Pythons. I learned my lesson the hard way and never did it again. Most of the other things I know about Python care I learned from my more experienced keeper friends. I would also like to give a big shout out to my L6R family: Royce, Kuya Jon, Jake and Orlie. To everyone who has supported Lucky 6 Reptile Farm from day one, thank you very much.”
We asked Jepoy which one of these stunning serpents is his favorite. “The Sunset is my favorite because [they were] my dream morph. I had to go through so much paperwork and permits just to get the trio
Het pair in 2017.” Trios are Ball Pythons with a combination of three different morphs, while a “Het” Ball is a Python carrying a recessive gene without visibly expressing it.
Jepoy’s Sunsets have a feisty personality to match their fiery good looks. “Sunsets are the most exceptional ones for me, they’re the only ones who are very aggressive. Had my fair share of nips from them,” he said, laughing. “Second would be the Super Enchi Lavender Albino, I assist-fed her for more than two months, so I got really attached to her.”
Jepoy had more to say about his fierce Sunsets and chilled out Enchi Lav Albino. “All of our Sunsets and Het Sunsets are hot-headed,” he explains. “I’m not sure if it’s particularly because of their genetics but that’s what I noticed. And as for the Super Enchi Lav Albino, it’s quite normal for some hatchlings to not know how to catch their prey so they need to be assist-fed or forced-fed.”
We asked Jepoy about his own daily care routine for his babies. “I usually start checking them the moment I finish my cup of coffee in the morning. I check on them again at night. I do this so if any of them are sick, we can cure them right away.”
Just like other people who take care of Ball Pythons, Jepoy has learned not to feed their babies every day. “Feeding and cleaning is our team routine on Mondays and Thursdays. Just don’t forget to always check on your Ball Pythons so [that] if there is one with an infection, you’ll notice if they do right away and be able to treat it ASAP. You have to look out for some diseases, specifically [respiratory infections] because [they’re] very contagious and can wipe out [entire groups], and even if they don’t, they might slow your projects down.”
Because of the negative depictions of Snakes in mythology and other stories, people often view them with trepidation. “When people hear the word ‘Snake’, they often feel scared,” says Jepoy. “Ball Pythons are different; they’re docile. It’s very rare for them to be aggressive — even my children hold them. They are non-venomous. However, it took me two years for my wife to finally allow me to [care for one],” he confesses with a laugh.
What about the nips that Jepoy’s beloved Sunsets gave him? Are they cause for concern? Not really, according to Jepoy. “Usually, they think that you’re giving them food, so I get a few nips, but that’s just their feeding response. It’s also part of [caring for Pythons], so I got used to it. Just wash your hands with soap and you’re good to go.”