02/26/11 2011 EARLY SEASON EGGS BEGIN!~
This year I am going to try and have it like you are in the snake room with me and see what I see over the breeding, laying, hatching season.
Here is a female in her nest box. You can see that she doesn't have to move very far, her water is easily in reach at all times. This water is refreshed daily, as clean water is very important to a female as she is going through the gestation period. It is not uncommon for a Blood python to drink a 16 oz cup of water in a single day!
One sign that a female is in the reproductive mode is she hides underneath the nest box! Most times she lays in the box....but sometimes she lays right underneath it! Such was the case this morning when I lifted up her box and saw her wrapped around her clutch of eggs. No harm done, I just take her off the clutch and gently remove the eggs from the bottom of the cage.
We always weigh the female and the eggs to get an idea of the relationship between the two. Our goal is to have the female's post lay weight be 2x the egg mass (meaning the egg clutch is 50% of the female's post lay mass).. This clutch of 12 eggs weighed 1,244 grams and the female weighed 2,947 grams, which is a bit more than 42%. The main goal is to get all good eggs. Keeping the female's weight close to the 50% ratio gives us a better chance of successful reproduction.
A simple set up of eggs in a plastic container. There are a million ways to do it-this has worked for us. We use perlite (5-16 oz cups) water (3-16 oz cups) mix, put plastic grid on top, put eggs in. The important thing is to not put too many eggs in a container unless you are willing to monitor them very closely.
The pair of snakes that produced the eggs we just set-up, produced a clutch in 2009. What we are trying to accomplish with this breeding is to repeat the unexpected results we got last time! This is one of the babies that the pair produced, which we named the "Slackline". We think it might be a "super" (of course we won't know that until we breed it to a normal and produce babies that look like the parents). Our first goal is to repeat our results. These are really strange babies, totally unexpected, and very hypo looking! The striping is off the chart. The strange part is that there may actually be three levels to this mutation! Check back in 60 days and we will see what hatches!