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RE: another Bismarck disaster

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Posted by: willstill at Tue May 25 12:35:09 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by willstill ]  
   

Hi,

I have been hatching python eggs for 20 years and I must agree with Tom's assessment of the eggs likely being too wet. In addition to the excessive pressure put on the baby from too much water in the egg, some herp species' eggs have thin shells and these eggs are also suseptable to damage caused by changes in pressure within the egg container. This problem can be compounded when the internal pressure within the egg is too great from excessive moisture. When an incubation chamber/egg box is sealed, the pressure within is constant and often greater than the air pressure in the outside environment. This can be a problem when a sealed egg box is suddenly opened. The pressure change is dramatic and the shell can be damaged. Symptoms of such shell damage are leaky eggs, specifically, wet appearing, translucent spots on the egg surface with moisture droplets. Now opinions vary, but many folks believe, myself incuded, that the areas of the shell that are damaged no longer have the capacity for air exchange that they once had. As the python gets close to hatching (is fully formed and colored) its metabolic rate increases dramatically (causing the increase in egg temperature at the end of incubation). This development causes an increased need for oxygen. If the shell is damaged and can't support this need, the baby suffocates full term in the egg.

This phenomena is well known to monitor breeders, but is not seen as often in pythons or colubrids (as their eggs seem to be able to handle pressure changes better...usually). It is very common for an entire clutch of monitor eggs to develop moisture droplets at the end of incubation and and die full term. the solution is often very simple. For me, drilling one or two small air holes in the egg box allows internal air pressure to stabilize with exterior air pressure and solve the problem. If you keep the egg box a bit drier, perhaps by switching to perlite as an incubation medium and by poking a few holes in the box, though not enough to encourage humidity loss, your problem might be solved. Good luck.

Will



   

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