First Produced By: Doug Beard, Bill Love, Len Krysco, Kevin Maxwell, Daniel Parker

Aliases: Ghost, Hypomelanistic, Hypo Type A

Issues: N/A

First Produced In: Unknown

Availability: Rarest

Last Updated: 2022-01-06

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Hypomelanism is a recessive trait that visually reduces melanin or dark pigment usually by about 50%. The variation of brown in normal Cal kings is also noticeable in hypomelanistic specimens. In other words, not all hypos from a particular strain are going to be the exact shade of brown. The shade of brown a specimen would normally be will determine how light a hypo is.

In nature, hypos are rare, but seem to turn up more commonly in Sacramento and El Dorado Counties in Northern California. [1]

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Doug Beard is usually credited with having the first Hypo Brooks in the hobby, though Bill Love started producing them at almost the same time, and Len Krysco also had some. Other sources say Kevin Maxwell actually had the first ones. Since it’s impossible to go back and figure out what the real story is, we will just credit these guys for having the earliest involvement with them.

Doug’s line is reported to have originated from a wild caught from Collier County. Since that original animal was then used to make Hets, it’s impossible to say what other locales may have been added. The first Hypos were very pale especially as adults, and some were very yellow. Bill Love, who was co-owner of Glades Herp at the time, probably sold many with the hidden Hypo gene in them, which could explain why they started popping up in other collections.

In 2020, Daniel Parker hatched what seemed to be some hypo babies from his Pinellas County Sand Kings.[2]

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A hypomelanistic king will have a lighter head than a normal king that is about the same shade of brown. The pupils can be black or dark red. [3]


Generally, hypos are light brown, but some may be medium brown if their normal form is very dark brown or black. [4]


In captivity, there are several different strains and it is unknown at this time if they are compatible or not. Lots of specimens are mislabeled hypos due to their coloration. Some specimens that actually are hypo have lost their identity as to what particular strain they belong to. If you suspect you might have a hypomelanistic specimen, you must prove your suspicions through test breeding. This involves breeding your suspected hypo to the darkest brown kingsnake you can find. If the babies come out very dark brown or black, there’s a good chance your snake is hypo. If the babies come out different shades of brown, hold back the darkest pair to breed together, or hold back the darkest specimen you can eventually breed back to your suspected hypo. When breeding these siblings together, or one back to its suspected hypo parent, you should get a percentage of babies that are noticeably lighter than the rest and lighter than their heterozygous parents when they were the same age. This will prove if you have a hypo or not. If you get a small clutch of eggs, it’s always possible the odds will not be in your favor and you will not see the recessive hypo gene expressed. This can also happen with normal sized clutches of eggs, but that is rare. If this is the case, you may have to go for a second clutch if possible or wait to pair them again the following year to hit the odds. I mention this here, because many specimens are mislabeled hypomelanistic. [5]

Proven Lines

Beard Line, Love Line, Krysco Line, Maxwell Line, Parker Line, Pyramid Lake, Lemke, Bell, Castaic, Merker, Sharp, Brant.

Related Traits

No known related traits


  • Alabaster (Axanthic Hypo Peanut Butter)
  • Albescent (Amelanistic Axanthic Hypo)
  • Flamethrower (Erythristic Hypo)
  • Goblin (Axanthic Hypo Peanut Butter)
  • Hybino (Hypo Lavender Albino)
  • True Hybino (Amelanistic Hypo)

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