The thing I love about this hobby is that I love trying to figure things out, and I guess there is a certain thing added when time is of the essence. I like the pressure, and that "one shot deal" thing, though nerve wracking, hopefully makes for a quick study. The thing about the boas is that when it doesn't work it crushes you, but when it does all is erased. What did I learn about the second year of attempting to breed the motley male and the 3 1/2 year old motley female? My first conclusion was that the female just wasn't ready.


It takes quite a bit of discipline, to be a long term player. We spent a LOT of money on a subadult male motley boa (remember this was in 2004, the first few years of this project!). Year one went by, and I returned the male to his home cage after his introduction to a female yielded not the least interest. I was convinced that though this male was in excess of 5 ft. and more than twice the size of males I have used successfully for breeding, his growth was there, but his maturity was not.


Patience is key with breeding snakes. One of the projects I really wanted to get started on was the motley boa project. Motley boas are a great example of a true codominant. It is neat on its own, and the combination potential is unreal. Of course a super motley is a dream, especially if you like solid black snakes-or solid white, or solid red! The super form of the motley really is a "patternless" snake in every sense of the word. It is one of the dream mutations which an entire endless set of projects can be based.


It's 6:00 am the first of December and it is 65F. Two nice warm rainy days ahead of us this week-end, then a nice little "cold snap" of 40F-60F for next week. Alternating weeks of cool and warm temps really work well during this time of year. I'm not big on continuous cold-in fact since I lived in Panama for two years during my 20's, and spent the better part of my life in a snake house at 80F, I'm not great in the cold!


Well, I just wrote an entire entry and erased it by accident, so I'm making this to the point! I'm already in the midst of breeding the boas, but the fact is we get boa babies born year round! Whereas before we had a set breeding schedule for the snakes, now I've thrown that all out the window. The funny thing is that I have had the same female boa have babies in May one year, and then the next litter she has in born in November!


Well, time flies by, and this year has been a blur! So much has happened and we are already onto breeding season 2008! My resolution is to keep this updated as much as possible and talk about all of the cool things we have going on at VPI- I think it will be easier to highlight by species...we are working with Ball pythons, Blood pythons, and Boas. Today I'm just on the boa track and want to set the stage for future blog entries.


Last night the Spurs won to go ahead 3-0 in the NBA finals!  After the game I decided to go down and check our female pastel-dream / het-Sharp-albino boa, since she was roaming around all day, and according to my calculations her due date was somewhere in the next 24 hours (ok, it is a guess, but I'm getting better at it!). Talk about sensory overload--a Spurs win and then I found out that while I was watching the game my boa was having her babies!


Here she goes again. This big striped blood python female laid a beautiful clutch today. This is her fourth clutch. She is the founder of one of our striped lineages, and her babies include some of the prettiest bloods we have. It's nice to have a snake like this big girl, we can always count on her.


After weeks of pacing and days of worry, this past month has been the countdown to the projected delivery date of my female jungle boa. This big girl is bred to my ghost boa male. I was pacing because this is an important clutch. I've invested five years of effort to see this clutch born. But I've been pacing because my female had seemingly gotten too big and sometimes boas in this condition deliver dead babies or, worse, they die before delivery.



            Yesterday we spent the day at the ranch of friends. Our sons have been friends with the Campbell boys since they were little kids and the Campbell family recently bought a ranch in what is just about the most pristine part of Texas Hill Country. It's a very beautiful spot, and their property is absolutely magical. Dave caught a black-headed snake under a rock, and catching any snake at all just makes the day for him.