Changing directions today onto Ball pythons. We have had great luck on a myriad of projects over the years getting various color and pattern morphs established, but we have failed on one project which we have really wanted to get going: the Burgandy albino. Featured in the lower right hand quadrant on page 78 of our ball python book, this snake is really a unique and beautiful morph. She has two predominant colors, one a soft reddish and the other a straw yellow. Since any derivation of red color is rare in ball pythons, we feel that this mutation has the potential to teach us something about the basic color make-up that we see. What happens when we cross it with an axanthic? What color will be left? Lots to do! Unfortunately I have not succeeded in breeding this snake-it is the exception happily, but frustrating none the less! This year after 5 years in captivity I am hoping for success-we will see!
The snake was an import adult female. I knew this was going to be a hard snake to breed because historically it has taken us an average of three years to get wild caught adult females to breed for us. The best success strategy with these animals is to put them with a male right as they come out of the wild. Because of quarentine issues this is a strategy we don't employ, so we usually don't see results until much further on down the road.
Though I tried in successive years to breed this imported adult, I got no results. She was primarily bred with a many time proven male and though she copulated many times I just couldn't get any follicle growth going. This is a snake that we get asked about a lot-and much to my dismay I have not been able to deliver the hets that everyone is waiting for! This year I decided to do something drastic and see if a strategy where she would receive a strong influx of food would get her going. For her to have a noticeable influx I kept her on a minimal diet for six months. I fed her one small rat/month. She was not happy! Actually the funny thing about this snake is she has a serious attitude-she will hiss and try and bite you-which as we all know is almost unheard of in this amazingly sweet and docile species! After this "diet" I really fed her ad lib several times a week. I introduced the male and kept feeding her for the duration of the breeding period, and happily she has big follicles and hopefully is close to ovulation. Stay tuned-first we need her to ovulate, then we need good eggs, then they need to hatch! Tracy