Breeding manual

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Breeding manual

Postby Dentech » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:24 am

How to breed some of the most commonly kept Colubrids
(Cornsnakes, California Kingsnakes, Pueblan Milksnakes)


This document contains information and methods that produced successful clutches of eggs over a period of many years. Other individuals use different methods and time frames with equally successful results. The dates used herein is related to the seasons in the southern hemisphere.

Age
I prefer a female to be at least three years old and a male two years, as optimum breeding ages. I found that if you breed a female at two years, she will lay less eggs per clutch for the rest of her breeding life. If you wait an extra year, she will lay larger clutches, and in most cases be able to lay two clutches per year. If you count the eggs over her breeding life, you will get more eggs in total from a female which started breeding later.

Breeding cycleThe new breeding cycle starts just after the female laid her last clutch of eggs. In this part of the cycle, the snake’s weight is brought back to optimum by heavily feeding and supplementing with calcium and other vitamins. If a female lost a lot of weight, take special note of her recovery, otherwise she may have to skip a breeding season. Exercise seems to be an important factor in the prevention of egg binding. Provide branches and other elevated structures in the cage, or handle the snakes regularly.

Brumation
A lot of discussion has taken place whether to use the term “brumation” or “hibernation”. I personally prefer to use brumation, as it more accurately describes the process that the snake goes through in captive breeding conditions. It is very important to make sure that the snake’s gut is cleared of all food before starting the brumation cycle. During this cycle, do not handle the snakes, as they have a very slow heart rate at this time. Only change the water each week.

Feed the snake for the last time in the third week of May. Keep the temperature in the cage on the normal 25 - 28oC until the end of the first week in June. While maintaining the temperature, the light cycle can be adjusted, gradually reduce the daylight hours.

At the end of the first week in June, start reducing the temperature in the cage with the aid of a thermostat every second to third day, until you reach ± 15oC. The daylight hours should be reduced as well. After two weeks of reduced daylight hours and at ± 15oC, switch off all sources of heat and light.

During the first week in August, start increasing the daylight hours and temperature gradually over the next week. Start by feeding a small food item as a first meal, and feed normally after that.

A female will always shed before she is ready to be mated. Take that shedding and put it in the male’s cage, it usually prompts him to start roaming his cage in search of the female he smells. After a day or two, introduce the female into the male’s cage. This is important, so that the only change to his familiar environment is the introduction of the female, otherwise, he will start exploring his new environment, instead of focusing on the female. With Cornsnakes and California Kingsnakes, mating will usually take place within 30 minutes, Pueblan milksnakes take a bit longer. After copulation has taken place, remove the female, this is especially important with Kingsnakes and Milksnakes, as they are cannibalistic in nature. Place the female with the male two more times over the next 10 days.

Successful fertilization should have taken place. Heavily feed the female (with calcium supplementation) for as long as she wants to eat, she will stop when she feels the eggs are growing and space for food becomes a problem. After she started refusing food, try small food items every week. The males usually stop feeding after the first copulation, but offer food every week.

A female will always shed before she lays her eggs. The eggs will be laid 10 – 14 days after the pre-lay shed. Provide two nest boxes when the female starts going blue for her pre-lay shed. A nest box can be a plastic container with a hole in the lid, filled halfway with moist vermiculite. I found that if you do not provide a choice of nesting sites, she may lay the eggs in the water bowl, or on the substrate in the cage. By the time of the pre-lay shed, have a container with sterilized vermiculite ready, so that the eggs can be transferred to it immediately after they are laid. Make sure not to rotate the eggs.

Incubate the eggs at a constant 27oC. The incubator should be switched on when the snakes start mating, this is to make sure that it runs at a constant temperature before you place the eggs inside. Temperature fluctuations may result in a poor hatch rate, or deformed hatchlings. Incubation will take between 56 and 61 days.

After the first hatchlings cut the eggs, I cut the rest of that specific clutch open (a long slit down the length of the egg). Use very sharp scalpel blades to prevent too much movement of the egg during cutting. The reason for cutting the eggs, is that the hatchlings cannot always cut through themselves, because the shell may be too hard due to low humidity or the calcium content may be too high. To date, I have not experienced a negative effect due to cutting, but have lost a lot of hatchlings by cutting too late.

After the female laid her eggs, offer a small food item the next day, and heavily feed her after that. If her weight and general condition looks good, place her with the male again after two weeks. I generally prefer to let a female lay only two clutches per season.
Dentech
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby marc bt » Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:57 pm

thats a great article!
i was just wondering how to sex eastern kings and what size are they mature coz i do not know their age?
a wiseman once said:"you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and feed him for the rest of his life.."
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby Dentech » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:34 am

The only way to reliably sex adult or sub-adult snakes is by probing them, if you have never done this before, I would suggest you find someone to properly show you how.
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby mmwc » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:47 pm

I see this manual was created a long time ago. But I would just like to say I think it is one of the best ones I have come across. You explain evreything in good detail. I have been following it, so far so good. Thank you for a great manaul.
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby AS.Legion » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:11 am

Hi guys.

I have come across the following website that calls itself "Professional Herpetoculture for the Pet Trade" .
They have an EXTENSIVE knowledge database regarding cornsnakes, Ball Python Breeding, Rosy Boa Breeding, Sand Boa Breeding and Leopord Gecko.

Also quiet a few care sheets.

The thing that impresses me the most is a detailed (+- 10 page) section about corn morphs and their genetic setup.
I am still reading it and need to look up a lot of the terminology... until now it has been very informative.

http://www.vmsherp.com/LearningCenter.htm

Let me know what you guys think.
0.1.0. Wildtype corn snake
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby JamesG » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:22 pm

Hi,

A really good guide! Can I confirm though, milk snakes cannot be housed together at all?

Thanks
James
1.0.0 Antaresia Childreni (Riptide)
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby Bushviper » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:07 pm

JamesG it is far better to not house them together. They tend to be cannibalistic which is a recipe for disaster.
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Those who are afraid to ask are ashamed of learning.
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby JamesG » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:32 pm

Thanks Bushviper,
Can most Pythons and Boas be housed together?

Thanks :)
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby boaboy » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:59 pm

Its best to house all snakes individually.
Some people have never had a problem keeping pythons or boas together while others have had one eat the other.
Remember that snakes are opportunistic eaters and it only needs to happen once!
1.1 Dwarf Reticulated Python
1.1 Green Tree Python
1.1 Jaguar Carpet Pythons
1.1 Bredli Carpet Pythons
0.1 Jungle Jaguar Carpet Python
0.0.1 Bosc Monitor
0.2 Mexican Red Knee (For Sale)

For something to happen, something must be done!!
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Re: Breeding manual

Postby JamesG » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:39 am

True, thanks boaboy
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