A ghost ball python is a variety, or color morph, of the standard ball python that has paler scales due to a reduction in melanin. Full melanin production gives scales a black or brown color, but reduced melanin gives scales a faded or orange color.
Melanin is one of the primary animal pigments. Ghost ball pythons carry two copies of the ghost gene, thoroughly reducing their ability to produce a normal amount of melanin. Having only one copy of the ghost gene results in a snake with a normal amount of melanin. Snakes with either one or two copies of the ghost gene may be green, gray, brown or various shades of yellow, but they always have faded black or brown areas.