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RE: My Corns Wont Breed

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Posted by: tspuckler at Wed Aug 15 17:47:33 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by tspuckler ]  

Not all snakes will breed successfully. Lights have nothing to do with calcium production in Corn Snakes. A wise, retired Corn snake breeder once wrote:

Murphy's Laws of Snake Breeding

All of the snakes you obtain will not be properly sexed.

Everyone makes mistakes. Sexing baby snakes is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Anyone who has told you that they have never made a mistake sexing a snake does not stay in contact with past customers.

When you get your snakes, check the sexes immediately. It's a little embarrassing for both of you to have to call your supplier back two years later to tell them about the error. Plus you have just lost two years needlessly from your breeding plans with those snakes.

All of the snakes you obtain will not reach maturity and breed before some mishap occurs.

Snakes DO escape. If there is one thing they are pros at doing, escaping is it. Sometimes you never see the escapee again and your breeding plans have been seriously impacted.

Snakes DO die. Like all other life forms, they suffer from mortality. This could be from any number of things, such as poor husbandry, internal organ failures, accidents, etc. Keep the cage simple. Step back and take a look at it thinking that the snake is suicidal and will do anything it can to injure itself. Then remove all of the items that it could use to reach that goal.

Every mated pairing you plan for the snakes will not take place.

Snakes do sometimes exhibit mate preference. This is sometimes tough to figure out unless you have a number of specimens to choose from and can play 'musical mates'.

Just because you have a particular match in mind doesn't mean the participants or circumstances will be agreeable. It is quite possible that the female will not be receptive while the male is. Then when the female becomes receptive, the male gets opaque and may not have an interest in mating. Then by the time the male sheds his skin, the female could become opaque. If you are serious about working with a particular species or cultivar, plan on getting at least 2 males and 2 females.

Every mating does not produce eggs.

For whatever reason, a female can mate, sometimes with multiple males, and then not produce any eggs. All can be cycled through with the same conditions that all the rest of the successful matings went through, but something is missing in the equation.

Every egg laid will not be fertile.

This is a tough one to figure out. I have never been able to figure out exactly all of the variables going on to make every female produce 100 percent fertile eggs 100 percent of the time. You can expose the males and females to the same exact environmental conditions each year and sometimes a particular male will be the culprit in unsuccessful matings. The following year, every female he mates with produces all fertile eggs. On the other hand, some years a particular female will produce a majority of infertile eggs, although mated with a male that other females produce all fertile eggs after mating. The next year, with the same male, she will do fine.

Every fertile egg will not hatch successfully.

As I am fond of saying, "Every hatching season has it's surprises. Mostly bad ones." Even discounting obvious errors in the methods someone may use to incubate snake eggs, obviously good eggs will sometimes fail. This can be as early as within a couple of weeks after the egg is laid, up to when the baby snake pokes his head out of the egg, takes a gasp of air, and then dies. This can be very frustrating since you are inclined to blame yourself. But any number of things can go wrong in the development of the embryo at any stage. After you have hatched enough eggs, you will see things hatch out that you will wonder how they ever made it that far without dying.

Every hatched baby will not survive.

Nothing is more frustrating than having a baby snake just refuse to eat. After you have raised up the parents for a few years, done all of the voodoo necessary to get them to breed, and taken meticulous care at incubating the eggs to get a successful hatching, one of your 'pride and joys' is trying to starve himself to death. And, yes, a snake will starve itself to death. This is when you discover the joy of splitting the heads of pinky mice with a razor, or cutting off tails and legs of mice to shove down a snake's unwilling throat, or capturing lizards to rub things YOU want the snake to eat against them to scent it. This is the true test of your patience.

As a general rule of thumb, plan on the prettiest animal in the clutch to be the biggest pain to get feeding.

Every hatched snake will not be of the sex you want it to be.

It is not unusual to get a clutch of snakes that is either very heavily weighted with one sex or even 100 percent one sex. There is nothing you can do about it, so yell and cuss all your want for 10 or 15 minutes and then get on with your life.
Every snake you sex will not be done correctly.

Your pencils DO have erasers on them, don't they? Remember how mad you got when you found out that your supplier had mis-sexed the snakes you got? My word of advice: Don't sex more than 25 snakes at a sitting. Trust me on this.

The snakes that were so much in demand when you bought yours may not stay in demand.

Remember all of those people at the reptile shows? They all had the same idea you did. Buy a few snakes, raise them up, breed them, then sell the babies. Well, guess what? If they were all successful, there are now a LOT of those snakes out there for sale. And there is probably someone else with the same ones you have that is willing to sell them much cheaper than you want to.

The fertility of your animals will be inversely proportional to the value of the offspring.

The more those babies will be worth directly controls how fertile the parents are that your are breeding. A direct reversal of the usual cause and effect phenomenon we normally see, and a direct contradiction of the physical universe. It sometimes helps if you don't KNOW they are valuable, so ignorance can be somewhat of a shield.

I've been breeding snakes for over 20 years and find a lot of truth in the "laws" above.



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