04/30/08

Well, it is about time we shifted to Blood pythons!! I realize I have been focused on the boas these past months, but I'm going to take a little break and focus on Blood pythons, which is a mainstay of our collection.

The symposium topic this year at the Daytona Expo in August is going to be on these snakes and Dave will be giving a talk and I will be giving a slide show on the various morphs and be on the panel that answers questions regarding their husbandry, breeding, etc.

It seems like I often discuss projects that I have been working on that take long periods of time! Sometimes the snakes aren't easy to breed, sometimes raising them just takes that extra bit of time. The fact is I have long been one of those people who raise animals on the slow track. I realize this is against the norm, but several things contribute to my approach.

Because we have many animals, it does take me longer to raise all of our animals. At the same time, I just go with the philosophy that I don't try and breed any animal until at least 3-4 years of age, and by this time they are of size to reproduce.

Many years ago, we got a fabulous pair of hatchling normal red bloods that were the best example of striping I have ever seen. They were from Pro Exotics. Chad Brown and Robyn Markland had been working with an adult group of import, striped red bloods and put a pair together that produced some stunning babies. I was really excited to get the pair to see what they could produce when bred to each other.

Well finally this year, after much distraction, and way beyond the amount of time I should have needed to raise and breed these snakes, I got a chance to put the pair together! I can absolutely say I never saw the male go anywhere near the female. Not even a single time when I gazed into their cage did I see these snakes together! Be that as it may, I realized that the female was going to lay eggs, and I was ready for a nice clutch that would have no veins, and a big disappointment after waiting so long.

Even after accounting for that problem, I also realized that the heat pad I had under the females nest box was not working! So even if the eggs were fertilized, their development might be compromised, because the female was in a cage that had temps ranging from 77F-82F during this important time between prelay shed and egg laying. The female started roaming around and came out of her nest box and just looked confused-that is what tipped me off to take a temp gun and check the temps in her nest! I realized her heat was off and I was just so mad at myself for not having been on the ball and checked that! She probably should have laid her eggs, didn't lay them because it was too cold, and now was egg bound! Three strikes I am out!

The night before last I decided to take her out of her cage after she was roaming constantly from one end to the other. I put her in a CB-70 on some heat tape, where I have the ball pythons lay their eggs. Yesterday morning, still nothing, and I'm feeling pretty stupid and a bit pissed off at myself. Of course the buck always stops here, and now I am going to pay big time, and wait yet another year for these babies!

The crazy thing is that these striped red bloods are very well known from the Pro Exotics website. Even though there were several pairs hatched at the time in the clutch at Pro Exotics, I have never heard of any offspring from any of the other animals or what happened to the other animals. I will try to do some research on this, and ask for info when I post pics on the Blood python forum on Kingsnake today.

Last night when I went down to check the snakes after the Spurs game (yes we beat Phoenix 4-1!), I found the female had laid her eggs! I nervously set them up and then got out my mag light to check for veins. Much to my amazement, the eggs are fertile and they have fine development, at least that I can see at this point. So, it looks like we might have dodged a lot of bullets, and hopefully in 60 days can see what babies this fabulous pair produces! I will update in one week the status of the eggs and hopefully we can pull this off this year and not have to wait another year! Most importantly, and I really mean this, I am so grateful that the female is ok, and nothing happened to her. Now, I look forward to getting her back on feed and back in shape, so this pair can meet each other again!!

Red Blood female with great stripe on 8 eggs 043008Red Blood female with great stripe on 8 eggs 043008

Red Blood stripe-what will this pair produce when bred to each other? Hopefully we will know in 60 days!Red Blood stripe-what will this pair produce when bred to each other? Hopefully we will know in 60 days!