Banana Ball Python: A Complete Guide

Banana ball python, in particular, have been very popular for the better part of the last decade. And it has been a continuous trend ever since. However, new hobbyists may find this particular variant a bit confusing for various reasons.

Banana ball pythons are one of the more unique genetic types of ball pythons, and you can identify them by their distinct yellow coloring. Banana ball pythons share similar behavioral traits with their non-banana cousins or regular ball pythons. 

The reason people need to do a fair bit of research before getting a banana ball python is because of the price tag. Banana ball pythons are expensive. Its price fluctuates based on the pattern type and the vibrancy of the color. To make that easier for the new people in the hobby, I’ll share my experience of taking care of banana ball pythons in this article.

banana ball python

What Is A Banana Ball Python?

Banana ball pythons have a distinct yellow/golden coloration with a wide range of patterns. They usually don’t grow very large, making them a fine choice of pets. 

These stocky snakes have bold patterns and colors, and they are usually non-aggressive(mostly) and easy to handle. Banana ball pythons are also one of the easiest snakes for beginners. But like most reptilian pets, you’ll need to provide them with a good enclosure with high humidity and heat retention. 

Banana ball pythons are also meat eaters, so you’ll need to feed them all sorts of things to enrich their diets. I believe it is a crucial point to get across- they can not survive on a vegan diet. If that goes against your lifestyle, you best look for other pets. Here’s a quick guide for more information on a ball python’s diet.

Banana ball pythons and pythons, in general, have sensitive olfactory senses. So, you mustn’t introduce harsh-smelling chemicals to their enclosure. Here’s a detailed guide on how to avoid irritating a ball python’s sense of smell.

Origin Of Banana Ball Pythons 

Banana ball pythons are original natives of the wilds in South Africa. There aren’t any exact dates, but the first banana morph showed up around the early 2000s. It was also the time when selective and exhaustive breeding of the variant started on a large scale.

For the longest time, they stayed as a rare and exotic snake species, and owning one at that time would dent your pocket quite a bit. Ah, before I forget, it’s probably worth mentioning that banana ball pythons also go by a completely different name— Coral glow.

Honestly speaking, I think Coral Glow is an objectively better name, even though it doesn’t capture the snake’s characteristics quite as well as Banana does, but that’s just me.

The snake goes by two completely different names because of the import/export system back in the day. Two different breeders managed to produce the same morph around the same time. But they were not aware of each other. And they supplied or exported these hatchling to America through two completely different channels.

One called it the Coral Glow, and the other called it Banana. And for the longest time, these names confused the heck out of a ton of hobbyists. So much so, that people bred the species together to see the results. Eventually, people figured out that they are virtually the same thing, and now people use these names interchangeably.

Characteristics Of Banana Ball Pythons

Some of them have high contrast, while some, usually the ones with super genes, have paler scales, like this one, for example. There are some variants with black spots as well. Some people prefer that sort of pigment, others don’t. The most recognizable variant of the banana ball python is the yellow belly.

Characteristics Of Banana Ball Pythons

You can usually go two ways with a banana. There’s the pale version, where you typically get high contrast and deep yellow and orange colors, such as a banana freeway or asphalt. Or you can go the darker route and breed regular bananas with darker snakes to get more distinct colors.

Do note that banana ball pythons with darker genes tend to have more black spots than the ones with lighter genes. While they usually fade with age, they never entirely disappear. 

Another characteristic of the black spot is that they usually show up over the darker patterns. The yellow-colored area usually stays unblemished. 

Breeders often mix genes to remove the black blotches- even from darker variants. This Enchi is a fine example of that. Breeding bananas with pinstripes and supers can potentially remove the black spots, but there’s no guarantee. However, such combinations usually reduce the color contrast.

In terms of the overall build, the banana ball python has a narrow head compared to its physical proportions. It slowly thickens toward the middle and end, starting from the neck. Some bananas have uneven spotted patterns on the head, while some have a continuous flow all over the body.

In some rather rare cases, banana ball pythons can have large blotches of black spots called paradox spots. These aren’t genetic mutations and won’t get passed down through breeding.

Are Banana Ball Pythons Friendly?

Banana ball pythons are usually very friendly and easy to handle, but there can be some grumpy ones in the mix who may require some extra care.

Using the word aggressive may be a bit of an overkill for describing banana ball pythons with attitude issues. The more accurate adjective would be— “overly defensive”. These little snakes are usually more afraid of you than you are of them.

You can also identify when a ball python shows irritation by the way they coil. One in a friendly mood will usually stay relaxed, move around, and try to coil around your hand when you pick them up.

An angry banana ball python will coil within itself, and stay stiff, almost like a loaded spring. They also tend to hide their head when they feel threatened.

Are Banana Ball Pythons Rare?

Not anymore. Banana ball pythons used to be rare. But due to popular demand and increased breading, they’ve become quite common.

At one point, banana ball pythons were some of the rarest pet snakes on the planet. One specimen could set you back tens of thousands of dollars- a tremendous amount for a pet. So, a lot of folks couldn’t even afford to keep one.

That all changed when breeders figured out how to produce them effectively through many trials and errors. It turns out that banana genes are sex-linked. Sex-linked genes are typically rare for pigment-related morphs in ball pythons, but it is, nonetheless, a good thing because it makes breeding specific colors much easier.

Are Banana Ball Pythons Rare

It is so easy, in fact, that even a novice can start breeding banana ball pythons. So, these days, they tend to be a lot more common.

Here is a watered-down version of the breeding sequence:

Male Female
Males have X and Y chromosomes to give to the baby.  Females only have X and X chromosomes.  
A combination of X and Y makes the baby male.  A combination of X and X will make the baby female.  
The banana gene can reside in either the X or the Y chromosome. In this case, the male will be called a female banana maker and a male banana maker, respectively.  The banana gene for a female resides in either of the X chromosomes.
Males born from a male-maker banana male will have a 95% chance of being a banana.   Females born from a female-maker banana male will have a 95% chance of being a banana.                  Females with banana genes are much more inconsistent in terms of producing bananas of a specific gender.   They can only ever provide the X chromosome with the banana gene. So, a banana baby born from a female banana will have a 50/50 chance of being a male or female banana.

As you can tell, producing banana ball pythons is very easy. The thing that takes a bit of skill is getting the desired pattern. There’s no concrete guide on what breed will give what results, so you’ll need to experiment with a few and see how things go.

How Expensive Is A Banana Ball Python?

Recently. banana ball pythons go for around $200 to $500. The specific price can vary depending on the color and pattern of the python. 

Even just 7-8 years back, the price of banana ball pythons was close to 10k USD. Which is understandably a lot for a pet, and not many people could shell out that much cash. Needless to say, banana ball pythons made a lot of people a lot of money.

But many also lost significant fortunes trying to dip into this supposedly lucrative hobby. With breakthroughs in breeding techniques and an overall increase in breeders, the price range took a nosedive, and it’s sitting comfortably in the 200-500 bucks range these days.

Even 500 is the absolute upper limit, while 250-300 is the general range for very good bananas with great patterns and colors. This regular banana ball python is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, and this spinner is on the higher end.

Conclusion

I hope you found this guide useful. And if you do want to get into this hobby, I would urge you to do ample research on how to take care of these snakes before you get them.

Banana ball pythons stand out among the python family because of their beautiful pattern and expressive color palette. Its rare, sunshine-like color makes it as popular as double super ball pythons.