Is inbreeding a problem to consider?


Dear VPI,

I've heard that breeding two snakes from the same bloodline doesn't really affect the offspring, except for increasing the possibility of mutations such as albinos. Could you tell me how much truth there is in that?

In the search for the NW Sunbeams, I have grown such an attachment to them that I'd like to try breeding them. Is it true that they reach sexual maturity at 4 years?

Thank you for all your help!



Dear Amber,

In our experience, New World sunbeam snakes, Loxocemus bicolor, take four or five years to sexually mature.

Inbreeding snakes, breeding closely-related snakes together, increases the probability that any recessive traits hidden in the genome will be expressed. Some recessive traits are desirable, such as albinism, and some may be deleterious.

In general, snakes appear to be highly tolerant of inbreeding. There are a few examples where inbreeding has produced snakes with problems, but considering how much inbreeding has been done in the projects to propagate morphs, inbreeding appears to only rarely have any negative consequences.  DGB