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Sunkissed Corn Snake

Rich Z

Staff member
From my 2005 SerpenCo.com website.

Sunkissed Corn Snake

These were originally marketed by Kathy Love as Hypomelanistic Okeetees years ago. Subsequent experimentation discovered that this line of Hypomelanism was incompatible with the "standard" Hypomelanism that we had previously been working with. Consequently, there was a bit of concern about the immense amount of confusion that could result by having two separate and distinct lines of "Hypomelanistic Okeetee" floating around in the marketplace that when bred together would produce only normal colored Okeetees, and not hypos. So this type "B" Hypomelanistic line was simply renamed to "Sunkissed".

Now just recently it was discovered that not only are the type "A" and type "B" Hypomelanism incompatible (meaning that when they are bred together, you get normals), but they are cumulative in their effect when an animal is homozygous for BOTH of them. In other words, a corn snake homozygous for both "A" and "B" (Sunkissed) Hypomelanism will be approximately twice (more or less) as brightly colored as the snakes homozygous for only one of them. Of course, there is a great deal of work to be done to explore this more fully, and the potentials of where this can lead when combined with other cultivars opens up an entirely new world to explore.

And yes, it does really complicate things as well. From what I have seen, in animals that are heterozygous for both "A" and "B" Hypomelanism, as well as animals heterozygous for only one of them, there doesn't appear to be a clear rule of thumb for determining which one is which in all of the offspring. Some have the peculiar differences noted in the original Sunkissed line, but certainly not all of them.

As for the peculiarities mentioned above, I guess I should detail them further. For one thing the head pattern and head shape in general, including the eyes, are rather unlike your typical corn snake, much less an Okeetee corn. They look more along the lines of what you see in some racers. Not only that, but the temperment of the Sunkissed is, being kind, rather "spunky". They are rather nervous and quick of motion. Also more apt to bite the hand that feeds them then any other line of corn snake I have ever worked with. Most do calm down with maturity, but younger ones can be a real handful.

Time will tell where this line will lead, but the introduction of a new Hypomelanistic gene that is incompatible and additive to the standard "A" Hypomelanism introduces some truly intriguing possibilities to consider.