GHI Ball Python – How to Care for It!

If you have been interested in ball pythons for a while, you have probably heard of GHI.

If you have friends who are into ball pythons, they have probably mentioned GHI ball pythons.

GHI stands for “Gotta’ Have It!”

Matt Lerer discovered the GHI ball python morph in 2007. When you are the first person to discover a new morph of a ball python, you get to name it whatever you want.

Most of the time, new morphs are named after the company that breeds them.

Matt Lerer decided that most ball python fans would agree that this is the morph they “gotta’ have,” so he named it Gotta’ Have It, or GHI for short.

The GHI Gene Is a Pattern Enhancer

Lerer discovered the unique pattern of the GHI ball python on two imported ball pythons that arrived at his snake farm in Florida.

He later discovered the same pattern on a third ball python in another shipment from the same importer.

GHI ball pythons have a much darker background color than the typical native ball python.

GHI Ball Python

They have the same kinds of patterns running over the background as most wild ball pythons, but these patterns stand out much more clearly due to the color contrast.

Since Lerer’s initial discovery, breeders have created a Super GHI that has even darker background colors.

These two genes have been used to breed more morphs with an amazing range of patterns and colors.

Taking Care of a GHI Ball Python

The GHI ball python is a beautiful morph that does not need any special care.

However, enthusiastic owners of GHI ball pythons often make some mistakes in pet care due to their enthusiasm to show off their beautiful snake.


Ball pythons, including GHI ball pythons, can live happily ever after in translucent plastic tubs stored on a rack.

However, what is the point of having a beautiful morph if you can’t admire it and show it off?

Your adult GHI ball python can thrive in a glass terrarium of at least 36 inches x 12 inches x 18 inches (90 cm x 30 cm x 45 cm).

A glass terrarium of this size can become its forever home.

However, hatchlings and young GHI ball pythons do better in small plastic containers. They are intimidated by large spaces and may stop eating if you put them in a large enclosure too soon.


When you have a beautiful ball python, you want to be able to see it. Full-spectrum lighting brings out all of the colors of your snake.

Full-spectrum lighting is not essential for your ball python’s health the way it is for some lizards.

Ball pythons get all the vitamin D they need by eating their prey animals whole. But you cannot see any colors in their patterns that aren’t also in the light you have shining on them.

Never put your ball python’s enclosure in direct sunlight. Intense sunlight can overheat glass terrariums and kill the snakes inside them.

Use full-spectrum fluorescent lighting to bring out the colors of your snake, on a daily schedule of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.


All ball pythons need 50 to 70 percent humidity inside their enclosures.

The air inside their cage should be moist enough to encourage easy skin shedding, but not so moist that algae and mold grow inside the cage and moisture drips down the side of the glass.

Get a hygrometer for measuring the humidity inside your ball python’s enclosure.

If the humidity is below 50 percent, then mist the cage for a few seconds early in the morning.

But if the humidity is over 70 percent, make sure you do not use the mister and make sure only one water bowl is inside the cage.

How the Genetics of GHI Ball Python Works (Super GHI)

Once you see a GHI, you may want to breed your own beautiful morph. Fortunately, the genetics of the GHI morph is not particularly difficult to understand.

You’re probably familiar with the concept of dominant and recessive genes. When an organism inherits one dominant gene, it gets expressed.

The recessive gene is not. Organisms that get two recessive genes express that trait.

The gene for GHI color is a “codominant” gene. If a ball python gets just one copy of this gene from one of its parents, it has dark background coloration of the GHI trait.

But if a ball python gets two copies of the GHI gene, one from each parent (both of which would be GHI ball pythons), it becomes a Super GHI Ball Python.

All the offspring of a Super GHI ball python will be at least GHI, depending on which gene it inherits from its other parent.

If you mate two Super GHI ball pythons, all of their offspring will also be Super GHI.

Thinking of Breeding GHI Ball Pythons?

If your objective is breeding baby GHI ball pythons, here is what you need to know::

  • If you mate a GHI ball python with a normal ball python, on average, 50 percent of their hatchlings will be GHI.
  • If you mate two GHI ball pythons, on average 25 percent of their offspring will be Super GHI, 50 percent will be GHI, and 25 percent will not have the GHI trait.
  • If you mate a Super GHI ball python with a normal ball python, all of their offspring will be GHIs.
  • If you mate two Super GHI ball pythons, all of their offspring will be Super GHIs.

But the really interesting results come from breeding a Super GHI to another ball python morph for a combination of dark background colors and distinctive patterns.

Breeding a Super GHI to a Mohave, for instance, will yield a ball python with a distinctive yellow pattern on a nearly black background running down the length of its spine, with a more typical ball python color pattern on the lower half of the snake’s body.

In this cross, the GHI takes the pattern to the top of the snake’s body instead of jumbling it up across the entire body of the snake.

Or consider mating a Pinstripe morph with a GHI Ball Python.

The Pinstripe morph is a really golden snake, with a line down its back. It doesn’t have a complicated color pattern.

But when you mate a Pinstripe morph with a GHI, the line on top of the snake almost completely disappears and the rest of the hybrid’s body has GHI color with a more typical ball python pattern.

Or consider crossing a GHI with a Banana morph.

Banana characteristics are also due to a codominant gene. Half of the offspring of any Banana morph will be Banana morphs.

If you breed a Banana morph with a SuperGHI, all of the offspring will be GHIs, but half of them will carry the Banana gene.

The result is a snake with a golden Banana color pattern offset by an intensely dark background.

These are not the only possibilities for creating a new morph with a GHI ball python. Striking, unique morphs have resulted from breeding a GHI with a:

  • Super Mojave
  • Pastel Mystic Enchi
  • Pastel Orange Dream
  • Firefly
  • Pastel Mojave Hypo

The possibilities for breeding new morphs with GHIs are endless.

If you love ball pythons, get to know this morph. We are sure that you will agree that your Gotta Have It.

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