Friday, October 30, 2009

Santa Barbara trip

So we went to Santa Barbara for my birthday.

We drove past some stuff, took the Fuzz.

So we got there in a few hours, and I saw this cool building. I have no idea what it is, but I liked it, so I took a picture.

We went to a place called Zaytoon. It was Middle Eastern food, and it was really good! The ambiance was fantastic, and we got to eat around a fire pit. I want one now. Here was a rose, that was on the outside.

And there was a really pretty fountain! I liked how dark this photo came out..

And our fire pit. Mmmmm Hummus.

And us the next day, on the beach!

I really liked this photo of under the board walk.

I loved the beach... Really. It was so serene!

And this thing was interesting. It rotated and went "bing" every few seconds. It rotates with the wind, so it was really nice. The tone was very pretty, and as annoying as it sounds, it was actually very nice.

And yes, we did bring the Fuzz, and he really enjoyed the ocean. He is actually getting better at ocean, as before, he used to be very scared of it. Now, he attacks the waves! I'm a proud Fuzz Mom.

Yes, I am a proud Fuzz Mom.

And we went wine tasting. I took some pictures of the process. Here are the oak casks that the wine ages in.

And some grapes that are getting ready to be pressed...

and bottling!

We had a great time.

And I didn't get around to pairing up yet, so I am going to clean up some snake tubs, and get that done!

I promise snake stuff in the next few days in great details, including who is pairing with whom to begin with.

Have a great weekend, and a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Heather Day

As I agonized over whether or not to blog this morning, I decided to do so since there is Wi-fi in the hotel. I have yet to miss one during the week (unless absolutely impossible for me to do).

Happy Heather's Birthday Day.

I will be enjoying it today, and I hope you do too.

Maybe you will even be pairing up snakes today?

Have a fantastic day, my friends.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa. Love you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Checking out again

Well, I am preparing for breeding and pairing tomorrow, but its kind of interesting how that will work. I won't be here tomorrow. I'm checking out.


What is so important about tomorrow?


It may not be important to some, but it is my Birthday.

October 29th.

And, for my birthday, I am leaving for Santa Barbara for a day to enjoy it.

What does that mean for snakes and for the blog?

Well, snakes will be paired up when I get home tommorow, and the blog may or may not be done. I'm not sure if the place we are staying at will have Wi-Fi (I will be that checked out!), so I cannot promise anything anyway.

So we are leaving tonight to enjoy the coast, and of course I will be taking plenty of photos.

But until then, you may need to bear with the lack of Blog for a day. Think of it as a Heather's Day vacation of sorts.

Maybe this will be the time that I need to get those males in check?

But today is cleaning and feeding day, so right now is not a vacation yet. Maybe for missing tommorow I will have a double feature today?

Or is that a tad bit overzealous?

Also, this may give me ideas for blog topics again.

Have a fantastic day, my friends!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Plans need to be adjusted

Well, last night, I checked my animals that are getting ready to be involved with each other, females and males.

Females, I checked for weight.

Males, I checked for sperm plugs.

Here comes the problem...

Some of my most planned for males this year are yet to produce sperm plugs. They are a year old, but are not ready. This puts a major cog in my clock of planning, people!

Which males am I having a problem with?

Well... My Pastel het Ivory, and my Bumblebee. I was very very excited to be able to use them, but they are NOT ready.

Well, what to do, friends? What to do???

I plan to do what I can, which includes feeding them, and still putting them into rotation. But what if they don't come around???

I am not sure...

I always have a backup male, but I was really hoping to be able to do KillerBees with Spotty McGillicutty this year.

So, what to back up Spotty and the PYB with???

I have the Pastel Lesser, the Sterling, and the LemonBlast that are all proven.

I have the recessive males as well, but I never mix recessives and co-doms in breeding one female.

So here I am, stuck in a rut...

No matter what you plan, it never goes the way you would hope!


My breeding pairings will begin on Thursday.

Lets see what happens.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mites, the enemy of Herpers


I have gotten them into the collection a few times, and every time it is a complete ordeal.

Let us begin from the beginning.

Reptile Mites, in terms of what you would find in Ball Pythons, are only going to show up on your animal if:

a) You had them before and you didn't notice
b) You have a new animal that has them
c) You touched a reptile that had them, then touched your own animals.
d) You are purposely bringing them into the collection

And, to make things more complicated, there are more than one type of mite that you may see in your collection, but... only one you need to be concerned about.

The ones you need to be worried about are Black. The immature form of them is Red.

They are the size of a ball point pen tip and black, and will be found more than likely under the chin of your ball python, under scales, and in heat pits, eyes, and cloaca. They can and will crawl around, and can crawl for a while, which is why having a few mites in a collection with lots of animals can result in a huge infestation in a short period of time.

Why are mites so bad?

They drink your snakes blood! They are little vampires, and enough of them can cause serious health problems in your animals, including the possibility of death.

They will not, however, bite you, a human, as they are specific to snakes. You can have them crawling all over you and you would still be safe.

This is not to say you should keep them around. I would not suggest it at all!

But, there are a other mites that aren't so bad.

If you see little white or cream bugs, that may be wood mites (if you have wood as a substrate). There is a type of mite called the Hypoaspis Mite (which is a type of wood mite) that actually will eat the other parasitic mites, and it may be a good way to keep your collection Parasite mite free. Then again, you will have little bugs crawling around, and most people dislike that idea.

I do not have any photos of either, as my camera is very limited in scope, and I haven't had an outbreak in years!

How do I prevent mites in my collection?

Lets go over my steps.

QUARANTINE: This is HUGE! 3 months of quarantine in a separate area of the house away from the rest of the main collection. (You can do it for longer, and I know people who do!)

Pretreating animals: I treat all new animals that come into the collection preventatively with Provent-A-Mite.

Fresh EVERYTHING: New animals come in, everything is NEW and Fresh. Fresh bedding, fresh bowl that has been sanitized with bleach, fresh water, fresh tub! I tend to use paper towels for new animals to see if there is anything they are "leaving behind".

But... like life, things happen.

What to do if you get mites???

1) Get a Mite Spray. Provent-A-Mite is a great product that I recommend. There are lots of products on the market that do not work. (ZooMed and ExoTerra have a few, and I have heard that they are not the best) I have used Provent-A-Mite as well as Frontline spray, as directed by my vet, with no ill effects.

2) Clean out the whole entire rack/tub/tank. Clean it WELL. Every crevice. Those suckers hide in the most odd corners. I found a little copse of them in the top corner of one of my racks once. It was gross. Clean with Chlorhexidine or bleach, but make sure to keep it safe (1:10 ratio or less!) and let it dry. If you can't see them, use a flash light to look for them. They will be hiding. Disinfect and clean all of your bowls, hides, and throw away all of the bedding.

You can spray the hides and tub with your mite spray as well. Just make sure to follow the directions, and make sure that they are DRY before reintroducing your animal.


3) After the tub/rack/tank is clean and dry, replace the stuff, but use paper towels as substrate. Why? So that you can monitor the dead mites falling off of your snake. Once you stop seeing black dots on your white papers, you can be more sure that the mites are gone.

4) Treat your snake. READ THE DIRECTIONS. Treat carefully, and treat minutely. Do not go overboard. Wear rubber gloves.


I cannot stress this enough.

If you choose not to use the chemicals, here are a few other treatments I have used that work, but do not eradicate as well as the sprays:

a) Mineral oil- This will suffocate the mites if done correctly. I usually only used this while getting mites out of heat pits. Use a cotton swab and rub gently around the areas where mites are. You can more than likely dislodge them with this method, but you will have to find them ALL, or you will get an infestation again.
b) Bath- This will wash off some of the mites, but more than likely not all. You can use a mild soap and wash them off. Make sure to rinse the animal off carefully.

I'm sure there are other options out there, but these are the two I work with when I have issues that I have had work.

If you are not comfortable doing any of this, or if you are failing in your attempt, take your snake to a Vet. That is always a good alternative!

It will take time to get rid of the mites, and patience and vigilance is key. You can and will get rid of them!

I hope this helps you in your quest, and as always, feel free to shoot me more questions!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Travelling around, seeing people

In the time that I have been in the business, I have to say, when I travel, there is at least a few people that I could and have stopped by to visit from the industry. People are EVERYWHERE!!!

When I went to New York, I was supposed to meet up with more than 10 people, but could only manage a few.

When I was in Tinley, I obviously met a LOT of people, some of which I had prearranged to meet.

When I travel to Las Vegas to relax, I see more snake people.

I'm sure if I go to Arizona, I'll be meeting up with plenty of friends.

It is an epidemic.

Its rather amusing to think that the exotic pet trade is small. Not in my mind! Even just in Ball Pythons, there are a LOT of people out there in internet land that are located in some amazing part of the country.

There are Ball Pythonists everywhere!!!

Not even in just the United States, but in China, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Italy, France, England and more. I have spoken to plenty of people from these countries, and some I am proud to call friends.

Why does this come up on Friday before a weekend?

Why because I am travelling, and I will be stopping by a good friends house, one that I made in the Ball Python circle.

I have to say, I never would have thought that being into snakes would make it so easy to be connected to so many states and countries.

The love of animals keeps us all connected. I love it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Adventures of Marty Cohen

Oh, let us discuss the Adventures of Marty Cohen...

Marty Cohen is a naughty cat. He has been travelling around the house, looking for things to get involved with.

So of course, one day I find him in the snake room. How did he get there? Well, I know he and Regal have been collaborating, so I'm sure Regal put him there.

He seemed to like crawling up the racks, so the first time I caught him in the room, he was hanging off a rack!

What a bad cat.

He appeared to be discussing life with a few of the Spider ladies I have. They seemed to like him.

And of course, like any cat worth his salt, he then went to go visit the rats. He and Bobo the rat (the white dumbo) seemed to be in a trance with each other, but the other rats gave him the butt.

When I turned around the final time, I caught him hanging out with Lucky! I'm surprised Lucky didn't seem to care that a huge rainbow cat was hanging out in his tub, but... He didn't seem to care! Lucky was happy and full of rodent, so apparently, Marty Cohen was welcome to share in the water in his bowl.

I'm so glad Lucky is doing so well and is so polite regarding strangers in his tub.

So after all of that, I kicked Marty Cohen out of the room. I cleaned up a little, and then realized that maybe someone would want to see how Marty Cohen gets involved with the snakes here.

I hope you enjoyed it! I'm sure this will not be the last time we see Marty Cohen...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Feeding day stories

So yesterday was feeding day, and I am always pleased when most of the Balls eat.

As some of you know, BPs can be notoriously picky eaters.

I have several.

Some eat only mice, some eat only rats, some eat prekilled, some will kill the rodent and leave it.

Let me share with you a story about a female I have...

Once upon a time, I received a Ball Python morph that I was absolutely thrilled to have. She was a year old, great size, and I was stoked to get her in the breeding program. I asked what she was eating.

I was told Mice.

No problem, I thought. I can switch her over to rats.

Boy was I wrong.


Prescenting a rat pup with mouse smell (yes, that means rolling it in soiled mouse bedding)
Prekilled mice, then prekilled rats right after
Giving her time to "think" about being interested in rats
Frozen thawed rats packed in with mice
Moving around the animal into a new tub, with hides or no hides
and more...

But to no avail.

Her willpower was too strong, and although she wasn't eating, she was the same size. I was concerned, but not worried for her health.

So I gave in.

Mice are a tough feeder option due to the fact that for an adult Ball Python, you need to provide upwards of 10 mice.

I greatly dislike using them as feeder items, because on top of the size, they smell worse than rats.

Maybe my skills as a switcher are just not in tune enough, as I have at least three dedicated mouse eaters in my collection of a couple hundred.

Am I missing some magical trick out there? Maybe... I'd be willing to try again, as I have mentioned before, I dislike Mice. I think they are cute, no question, and the colors they come in make breeding them fun, but.. I'd love to not need them.

I actually don't even use mice as starter feeders for babies unless they are hard starters. This way, they cannot imprint on mice, so my customers and I can happily offer rats and not have any issues. YAY!

But back to the original point, most of the animals are chowing down due to the season. I may put off pairing due to the eating trends, but I do technically start pairing on my Birthday, which is in 8 days.

Again, I am conflicted. I may just start pairing a few pairs that I know are ready, and not start the full swing of things until after Thanksgiving.

I was going to take photos of some new things and shedded things and so forth, but since everyone ate, the bulges in the bellies would take away from the beauty of the photos. Maybe in a few days, eh?

Have a great day, my friends. Stay warm!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Very Special Blog

Well, here we go, my friends.

I have a feeling this will be a blog that a lot of people will refer to, so I will try and do the Specials the justice they deserve, as I know everyone wants to know what makes a Special so special, right?

And maybe, just maybe, you have one sitting in your dinker group over there.

Well, here it is.

Let us begin with just a Normal and a Special. Its pretty obvious there is a significant difference. As I explained before, the Special has a very light overtone, with lots of blushing and flames. They also have slight granitey pattern, not unlike the Het Reds.

Unshed Special, Shed Special, and Normal. They are very different from normals, but not unlike some of the morphs out there that are hard to identify.

They have been mistaken for Vanillas, Het Russos, and sometimes even a Fire... I can see why, if you don't have something to compare it to. They are a "lightening up morph", by that I mean it lightens up any morph you put with it, especially the Leucistic makers.

So, I took a photo with a Fire next to it. Can you tell the difference? Fires are actually TOO bright to be Specials, but are very similar in tone.

I wish I had a Vanilla or a Het Russo to put next to the Special to take photos for you all, but I don't. But I think the point has been made that they are distinguishable, but only slightly. I hope those of you that are trying to find your own specials now feel better about what you are looking for.

As for my adult female, I do not plan on posting photos of her at this time, so please don't ask.

I hope you learned something, and I hope this helps you in the quest for your own Crystals.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkins and Fuzz

This weekend was meant to be a relaxing time for me to get my head on straight and get things going back here at home.

I didn't get my head completely on straight, but I had a lot of fun out with the boys at the local pumpkin patch, and so I want to share some photos!

Here is my fuzzchild, Regal, the best friend of Marty Cohen.. He got a lot of photos taken of him this weekend.

It's actually much more difficult to take photos of the Dog than of snakes.

But he tried to comply with my wishes...

And some photos of us. I had fun!

It was a beautiful day, and I really did think it was a great time. Plus, I got to pick up some pumpkins, which will subsequently be used in photo sessions with some of the scarier morphs in terms of the season.

Now the real question is, just because they are called "Ghost" and "Spider", do they really need to be overly used for Halloween?

Sure!!! It gives me a great reason to take more photos of them.

Granted, I have other animals to show in the next few days, which I will.. Some of you have been waiting patiently. Maybe I will do a "special" blog tomorrow?


I really love Autumn. It will be a lot of fun. Are you ready for the ride???

Friday, October 16, 2009


Its Friday, and I have no idea what I am focusing on today as a result of blogging.

I need to get my head back into the game, but since going off to Tinley, a lot of things are now new and different.

Who would have thought that meeting so many other breeders would result in a complete change in plans?

Cause it has...

Well, not complete, but things are changing, and I am re-evaluating things as we speak.

You see an awesome morph that you would never have thought of, and now you have to change your plans to adjust for it.

Now I can't say that I know what exactly I want to do for sure.. That Caramel Clown blew me away, but I don't have a Clown to work with. Part of it is "Dang, I wish I could manage to do that" and the subsequent want and need factor that usually doesn't end up with much. Maybe next year, or the year after...

And the people themselves. How do you really know a person?? Years of speaking to them on the internet, or meeting them for the first time for a few hours?

Lots of things happen in a weekend, people talk, people argue, animals exchange hands. It's a glorious wonderment that most people don't see.. Especially those on the internet.

I have to say, I am a little taken aback. I've been doing this long enough to know that things are not what they seem, but in person? Even more fascinating!

But now I need to go sit in the snake room again and see who should be with whom, to the betterment of the projects I intend to work in.

Tinley has changed my focus, and now I need to focus on my focus.

I need all the luck I can get.. ARGH.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Professor Heather Wong, at your service

I had a LOT of fun last night teaching about Ball Pythons at my local community college.

A few weeks ago, I was called by a Professor from the local college to ask me to present my self and my business to an Animal Management class.

Apparently, she found me by way of the Anahiem show. (WOOHOO!)

So she asked me to come into class and teach them about what I do and the what, how and why.

So I agreed!

And yesterday night was the night.

I was a little nervous, but I think it went very well.

I spent the day getting ready, readjusting a powerpoint I had made a few years ago for work...

There I am, working working working.

And then, with Lewie and Jasmin at my side, we went to the college.

It was a big class of about 40 students.

I used my powerpoint, overviewing the general care and husbandry requirements of Ball Pythons.

I went over the general genetics of Ball Pythons, and I actually was able to draw out Punnet Squares! I was so excited (a gentleman in the class asked about it, so that was even a plus, as I didn't intend to get that involved into that portion of Balls)!

We went over the basic morphs, co-dominanant and recessive, and I brought a few animals to share with the class. The Blue Eyed Leucistic was a HUGE hit.

A lot of the class really enjoyed seeing the new and cool morphs out there.

Apparently the blonde haired girl holding the Genetic Stripe was deathly afraid of snakes, but was willing to touch some of the Balls that I brought into class.

This is what its all about!!

I went around showing them the physical differences of snakes. I did make a crude joke, but hey, that's how I roll. Apparently, a few men in the class were jealous of only having one. LOL!

Gee is a stud no matter what, and people really liked him in terms of just holding him. I'm such a proud momma!

And here I am with a random Ball Python, teaching stuff. Like I said, I had a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed getting in front of a class and teaching about what I love! It was really great to teach these things to the class that they actually seemed interested in, and I was honored to do it.

So to my "students" if you are reading, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be in front of the class, and being such attentive listeners. I hope you learned something!

I didn't touch much on the economics of the Ball Python world, other than answering questions about the worth of each animal at the time. I didn't particularly feel it was necessary, as I was only asked to teach about the general aspects of the business.

I did mention, however, the basic overview of the market in relation to co-dom versus recessive. Recessive takes longer, therefore it retains its value better. Co-doms, not so much.

So there you have it. Maybe I'll get to do it again soon! We shall see.

Have a great week, my friends.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tinley #3

California doesn't have many leaves changing. So yes, I took a picture. I am lame. ENJOY IT!

Here are the last few photos I took from Tinley of the cool stuff we don't normally see.

This was at BHB's table, and I really love everything he brings by.

Here is a Pastel Lesser and a Pastel Camo. The Camo is something I don't particularly like on its own, but you have to appreciate the pattern and the color. The Pastel Camo is a Chocolate Pinstripe Pastel. Can you tell?

And this is just a kick ass tower area from BHB with everything on it.

And the Caramel Clown again. I love this thing.

I am not the hugest fan of Champagnes, but I have to say, they are pretty cool!

And here is a pair of morphs I would love to work with. Here is a Specter and a Super Stripe. I love Stripes, and I especially love the bright colors on this stripe.

And the Black Pastel Yellowbelly and a Super Fire (my favorite Leucistic). I really like the Black Pastel Yellowbelly, its so cryptic!

And another morph I would love to get.. The Mystic Potion.

And because I love them so much, an Albino Blood Python! I hope to have one of these as a pet soon. We shall see...

Anyway, tonight I will be teaching a class regarding the reptile business, and I am now off to do my powerpoint and photos for it. Tommorows blog will be what happened!

Should be fun, my friends. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tinley #2

Well, I am much more refreshed and awake than yesterday writing the blog, so I will be hopefully more interesting while commenting on my crappy pics.

I have to say, for travelling to see some friends, I had a hell of a time! It was great meeting people I have been talking to for years online, and now I can put faces to names.

But it is nice to get back and see my little collection in comparison to all the awesome animals and think about what I can do next...

So on the first night, I went to White Castle. Why does this matter? Well, here in California, they don't exist. So... We went to try it. I have had it before, but a long time ago, and I have to say, I wasn't impressed. Maybe it was just that particular restaurant? I would not go back to it, that's for sure.

Maybe I'll give it another try next year...

Anyway, went to go hang out with friends, blah blah blah.

Saturday comes along, and YEAH! The real stuff happens.

I really like Black Heads.. I wish I could have one, but they are on the bigger side. I may eventually cave, but for now, I'll just take pictures.

And a project I have been wondering about, so I found it and took some major pics. I LOVE this thing, and I have to thank the man, the myth, the legend, Big Gunns, for producing it. It was fun, Neil.

Anyway, here it is. It doesn't look like much now, but when it gets older, it will get darker and darker in the white areas.

And right next to the Candy is the Lavendar and the Pastel Lavendar. Yes, they all look similar, but give them time to grow into themselves, and you will absolutely be able to tell them apart. I'm ashamed of my crappy pics while trying to explain this to you all, but.. such is life.

Pete let me take these out for photos. This is the Pastel Lavendar next to a Candy. The Pastel Lavendar is on the left, and the Candy on the right. Can you see the color differences already? I was going to do Lavendar next to Candy, but the Lavendar on the table was in shed.

And here is one of my other new favorites from the show. This is the Tiger. The Tiger is a Desert Enchi. It is smoking hot, and I am now going to hoard all of my Enchis to produce one of these gems.

This picture is for Becky at WFreptiles. She and I have talked about the Lesser Pied being a solid white snake... Well, apparently, it doesn't always happen like that! I didn't know, but they do get spots some places, but the head and body is normally solid white. The spots are the same deep golden shade as what the White Gold (Mojave Pied) happens to make. It was very interesting to see!

This is the Super Pastel Puzzle Ball. Exotics by Nature produced it. I really like it, but Sean and I didn't get a chance to talk about it much, so I didn't get much information on the genetics of it. I'll have to dig around and see what I can find.

And another one of my favorites.. The Coral Glow Spinner. Brad Boa better watch his back, cause I'm coming to get this one! WOW is all I can say...

And what most people seemed to be talking about.. Here is the Caramel Clown. Brian Sharp had it on his table, and it was really very nice. Once I get my Clown project solid, I think I may have to take a whack at this one.

There is still more to come, and I think tomorrow will be the last of the segment. I hope you all enjoyed the pics, and have a great week!