After so many years that I don't even remember how long it has been, we have once again, finally hatched some more patternless Ball pythons!
Thanks to Dave Eldien who took these photos, he convinced me to try "one more time!" and breed possible het to possible het!
I cringed at his suggestion, because I just wasn't up for one more sad clutch with NO patternless! He didn't know the long tortured history of the project-I did and I wasn't that keen on revisiting it!
The project started out like a dream! Only a powerball lottery winner had more dismal odds!
I had a pretty normal male Ball python I raised from a baby
I picked out a pretty normal female Ball python I raised from a baby to breed with the male.
These were little import babies I got, but I got them one year apart from each other-meaning they had no relationship whatsoever to each other. I believe I got the male in 1996 and the female in 1997
The snakes bred, and the female laid only 2 good eggs, this was in 2002.
I put the eggs over in a corner and at some point realized 60 days later one was hatching.
I looked at the baby and it looked really strange!
Both eggs hatched 2 patternless babies! One died right away. That wasn't good, but the surviving one, a female was awesome and has her photo in our book and on our website.
I was so excited I just could not believe the odds of something like this happening-it seemed impossible!
A lot of people didn't believe the story! It was kind of funny because I wasn't too sure why someone would think I would make something up like that!
Some people thought they were just Genetic stripes and I was trying to say they were something different.
But we actually were the first to hatch Genetic stripes and these were not the same thing and were not related in any way to the Genetic stripe project we had.
I bred the pair a second time and got all normal babies-6 of them. That wasn't good!
I then lost the original male. That wasn't good!
I bred one of the "66% poss het" males back to the mom and got all normal babies. That wasn't good!
I bred several poss hets to each other and got all normal babies. That wasn't good!
We got a ton of emails about this patternless snake that survived, she was a beauty!
I offered to sell some poss hets. Only one kid called me and said he always liked that female patternless and was saving up for some poss hets. He worked really hard at 3 different jobs and got 4 female poss hets. They were the only females I ever sold.
The next patternless ball to be seen was one Ralph Davis got out of the wild (meaning hatched in Africa) in 2003. It was a tiny baby. She is a beauty. Now I knew for sure the patternless ball was something different because another one existed.
Then a third patternless ball came out of the wild. It was a baby male hatched on a farm in Africa and we were able to get it. I believe that was in 2004.
I finally got the female baby patternless big enough to breed and bred her to a super pastel male. She was packed with eggs. For the first time I had a female have problem laying eggs. No snake in this project had ever had a problem-why did this one? I blew it big time. This snake was not big enough to breed. That was the first and last time I will ever try and breed a female that is less than 3 1/2 years old and less that 1800 grams. I know plenty of people have done it-but when something like this happens, it shows you it just is not worth it. That wasn't good. Since that single negative experience I always tell breeders to wait. We have many females that are 20 + years old and it is always the number one thing to put the mom first.
So now all I had was the original mom, and the possible het daughters and sons. It started to get to me that I would never be able to hatch patternless ball pythons from this line again.
Though I had the male patternless I just didn't want to breed him to any of these snakes because I didn't want to confuse things if they were different.
Fast forward after all these years, the poss hets are all grown and I still have the female original mom. Dave Eldien says "lets try one pair of poss hets together, and lets breed the other poss het females to morph males." He picked the male and the female and put them together.
Yesterday he came screaming out of the incubator "there are two patternless babies in the clutch!"
I'm a little in shock and very happy! In the mean time we are expecting eggs from the male unrelated patternless x several poss het females-so hopefully we will find out if they are compatible if one of the females is a het! Thanks Dave for reviving the project!
So the moral of the story is don't ever give up-the two babies are a pair!
Now we have a definate 1.2 100% hets with the parents of these babies and the original mom, the patternless pair, and the 6 littermates are all 66% hets! These along with my original poss het females and their offspring will get this project going again!