Sandboa delivered a clutch with a lot of slugs...

Dear VPI,I have a question I just had a litter of Kenyan sands this morning, 15 babies, 6 of them are anerythristic, 3 preemie, and 21 slugs. Aaaahhhggg!!!  This was her first litter. I have raised them both from babies. I have two questions. 1) I put the babies in some damp paper towel until they shed there umbilical cords, is this a good thing or should I put them right into aspen shavings, I figured until they shed for the first time in around a week or so I would keep them in some damp paper towel? Any other precautions I should be taking with the babies and the mother? 2) My other question is why so many slugs? Is this because the male didn't submit enough sperm to fertilize all the ova?? Thanks for any help you could give me. Sincerely, Joe.   Dear Joe,

1. We keep our sandboas in aspen bedding, even gravid females. When they deliver in the aspen we leave the mother and babies all together and undisturbed for 12-24 hours and then put the babies on damp paper towels for a couple of days. Then they are put on dry paper towels (in high humidity) until they shed--then into shoe boxes with a very shallow layer of aspen on half of the floor space. That's the best setup that we have found to start them feeding.

2. Your female ovulated prematurely. Some of the follicles were mature, but apparently most were not and they became the slugs. Had ovulation occurred a little later, those immature follicles probably would have developed into mature follicles. The reasons behind that are difficult to know with certainty. It might possibly have happened because the female was handled at the wrong time; it might have happened because 39 egg masses is a massive first clutch and things got crowded in there; it could be that her cage was too warm; probably the most common reason for premature ovulation in boas and pythons are that the female is too fat.  DGB.