The Vanilla Ball Python really is an underrated and unappreciated gene. A good line of Vanilla can be used to transform morphs into stunning combos. It is a co-dominant (or incomplete dominant) mutation, meaning that it does have a super form, which is known as the super vanilla. They are sometimes easily confused with fires, but the super forms of each are worlds apart, and if you ask me, the vanilla will take you much farther in breeding projects than a fire will, simply because the super vanilla is not a white snake, and looks great.
Vanillas are extremely variable, about as much as normals are. They can be very bright with obvious head stamps, all the way to looking almost just like a normal. Vanilla’s are typically used as a lightening gene which acts very similar to the fire. They tend to clean up a morph, and make them glow with brighter yellows, and cleaner patterns. For this to happen, you will need to have a high quality line of vanilla to get the best results. Great looking snakes typically produce great looking offspring.
Vanilla’s do have a head stamp. The brighter it is, the better. Typically the headstamp will just be a bleached out head, but can also take the shape of a V pattern, or look similar to the shape of a mickey mouse hat. Sometimes vanillas might have a muted headstamp, but if you are searching for a Vanilla you will want to get a line with nice markers, and the headstamp is all important.
Vanillas have extremely variable pattern and traits. They vary from mostly normal looking pattern and slightly banded to aberrant patterning with warped alien heads. There’s really no specfic pattern traits that can be used to identify a vanilla. The coloration that a good line of vanilla should have will be a lighter color than normals. Hues of yellow, orange, and sometimes a light creamy look to them. This gene can be very subtle to so obvious you may think its a fire! Its really mostly about the head stamp. However, one thing I have noticed with vanillas is the pattern on the tail will be much brighter in color than the dorsal pattern towards the front of the body. Several morphs share this tail highlight as well, including fire, but it is something to look for if you are having a hard time telling if a snake might be a Vanilla instead of a normal.