07/03/11:THE STORY OF WHY "POSSIBLE HETS" WILL NEVER BE LOOKED AT THE SAME AGAIN
GRAND SLAM HOME RUN PART 2.
The year before Ralph Davis hatched the first VPI Snow, he was at work on a ?new? albino, one that for some unexplained reason had purple in it and clearly distinguished it from the other albinos that descended from the original Bob Clark animal.
In 2001, Ralph was able to breed two animals he obtained from Africa that he named ?Lavender? Albinos and hatched 4 babies. This link to Ralph?s site tells the Lavender albino story and has some great photos where he shows the comparison between what at the time we thought was just a variation of albino with the more traditional original ?Bob Clark? descended albino.
At some point we also got two zinger looking albino babies from Africa, and Dave and I had never seen animals that were so bright. At about a year of age both of these snakes turned a strange purple color that we had never seen before. It did not occur to us at that time that these were a different form of albino, we just figured they were more colorful ones. I really don?t remember how I connected the dots, but I think I may have been talking to Ralph one day and mentioned the two snakes I had. He told me about the animals he had and we decided since I had two females we would send our largest one to Ralph to breed with his male Lavender albino. This particular snake I really think might be the finest example of a Lavender Albino on the planet! She is featured in the lower right hand corner on page 94 of our Ball Python book alongside of Ralph?s Lavender Albinos. Ralph put the pair together and he saw a little breeding but really not as much as he would like. At some point he decided to put his VPI Axanthic male in with the female, in an attempt to get something, and having the idea in the back of his mind to make the ?Lavender Snow.?
When the snakes hatched it was a big surprise when out crawled 3 normal babies and a single Lavender albino! Clearly both the male Lavender albino and the male VPI Axanthic had fathered offspring with the VPI Lavender Albino female.We split the babies with VPI getting the Lavender Albino (a male) and a female ?Double-het? and Ralph getting two female Double hets. Of course I was thrilled to get a male Lavender and getting a female Double het was icing on the cake! Ralph was on his way doing his projects and returned our female, and we were on our way to making Lavender Albinos and starting the Lavender Albino snow project.
After the snakes had a break and I had raised up the male Lavender, I decided to pair the Lavender male with one of the two females and a VPI Axanthic male with the other female. We were fortunate enough to get one clutch of Lavenders and one clutch of Double het Lavender/VPI axanthics. I hatched 2 male and 5 female Double het for Lavender snows and 4 baby Lavenders.
For some reason I always got this thing in my head about not breeding Double het x Double het because thinking I would be lucky enough to hatch a 1/16 double homozygous snow seemed ridiculous! I decided to try another route that in the end would give me a much better chance to get the Lavender snow. What if I took the Double het male and bred it to a het VPI Axanthic female and got some normals that were 66% het VPI Axanthic and 50% het Lavender Albino AND maybe even hit on an Axanthic 50% het for Lavender Albino. If I hit on those snakes and even one was proven out down the road as a ?Het Lavender Snow? I would be down to 1/8 chance-and with a pair of het Lavender snows it would give me a 1 in 4 chance! The way I figured it, you had to raise the snake whether it was a normal, a het, a double het, or an axanthic. My take was there essentially isn?t a short cut for anyone even if he or she buys the snake that has the genes! So I produced a couple of clutches from our single DH Lavender snow male x Het VPI Axanthic females. I hatched out a whole group of normal babies and a few axanthics, all of which were 66% possible het for VPI Axanthic and 50% het for Lavender Albino.
A year went by and I was raising my snakes which were now the group of 1.5 100% Double het Lavender Snows and a bunch of the aforementioned possible hets and possible double hets. At some point I started talking with Wes Harris from Oklahoma City. We had sold a nice group of Genetic Stripes, Het Caramel Albino Ball pythons, and VPI Axanthics among other things to Wes and somewhere along the line he mentioned he was working with a male Lavender Albino from Ralph.
At that point I was really starting to get into the Boas and was going full into our VPI Caramel Albino Boa project. My new interest in Boas, and of course my number one project Blood pythons really taking off, I agreed to send Wes the adult female Lavender Albino that had been at Ralph?s and some of the now adult Double het for Lavender snow animals to pair up with the male Lavender he had gotten from Ralph. I retained the possible het animals I had hatched at VPI.
Flash forward to 06/23/09 and Wes was posting on the VPI Breeders Bragging Post that he had just hatched the first Lavender snow! http://www.vpi.com/brag/lavender_snow_ball_and_siblings . It was a female and a stunning snake-not what we had expected at all. When it hatched it was obviously different than a VPI snow and quickly gained beautiful lavender color with only a thin trace of yellow. The snake was amazing and could not have possibly been any prettier in our imagination! With the hatching of Double het for Lavender Snow babies at VPI in 2004, it was a scant 5 years to make the Lavender snow, BUT if you count in the first hatching at Ralph Davis Reptiles in 2002 of the Lavender Albino mutation and 1996 for the first hatching of the VPI Axanthic mutation, here we are back to a 13 year shortcut to any projects!
The Lavender Snow is an amazing animal. Anyone can make this snake if he/she has the desire to work through the project of combining the Lavender and VPI Axanthic genes. As a designer snake this morph in my opinion is not only fabulously beautiful, it has combination potential that is hard to match.