Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I apologize for my abrupt absence over the last few days.

I have had family in town, and helped a friend move.

I needed a break from things, which including imbibing many glasses of red wine and tea in my Snuggie, and induging in a few too many See's Candies, as well as watching the last two seasons of True Blood.

So with that, I will return to our regular scheduled program in the New Year.

I have many things to share and show you all.

Have a fantastic day, my friends, and stay safe out there.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Well, I have the week off of work, which means the blogs are going to be late cause I can actually do them during the day!

Also, it means that I have WAYYYYY more time to do snake stuff, which I am excited about.

BUT, that has yet to happen.

So I am determined to make more time, to spend more time with the snakes.

And since today is the second day of Kwanzaa, which I do not practice, but do follow the principles, I think it is appropriate.

Today is Kugichagulia...

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

I need to create for myself more time, as well as a few other things. But as this is about the snakes, that is my intention, as well as my new years resolution.

I also need to find more time for the blog, and more interesting topics. Today being one of those that is lacking.

I'm working on it.

So until tomorrow, my friends.

Have a fantastic self-determined day!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Have a fantastic Holiday, my friends.

Merry Christmas, and have a great weekend with your loved ones and snakey friends.

From the Heather's Herps family to yours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twins and Pieds to boot!

So all of the Pieds are out, and they are all BOYS. Of course....

The bottom two are the twins, and the top guy hatched out the day after. 

Here are the two twins close up and personal. They detached and are doing well. Should do well after their first sheds. Food is coming, you guys! 

I am intrigued by these guys, and wonder if twins throw more twins? Would be interesting to find out, wouldn't it?

So of course as well as paying attention to the hatchlings, there are the breedings to focus on as well. 

I only caught one last night, and it is the TSK Axanthic het Albino to a Pastel poss het Axanthic. I'm really hoping to get some Pastel Axanthics this time around. Fingers crossed!


Have a fantastic day, my friends!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wait, What???

You know how I mentioned there were Pieds in one of the clutches that is hatching out right now?

Well, I was right... But I didn't expect this!

Two out of the five eggs that were still good out of the clutch had pieds in them. One of them that has a Pied in it has yet to pip, but the other egg had been ready to pip out for a while. 

This egg had been the first one I cut, and I left it alone. Saw white, moved on...

But now that this one pipped, something was different. 

There was one yolk, but two babies!

This is my second clutch with twins EVER, and the second clutch with twins that are genetically Pied.

Here are the two het pied gals from last year that hatched out.

How WIERD!?!?! Same father and everything, but different mothers.

I thought this was really interesting because when I pulled these guys out, one was still in the egg, and the other was out. So I removed both of them, and this is what I saw...

They were still connected!!!

Obviously, this is how they developed, sharing a yolk and not an umbilicus. I have never seen this before, and I am so intrigued!!! I am glad I got a chance to take a picture before they disconnected from each other.

These guys are both boys, and they are small... runts obviously, but they will be great males when they get bigger and more established. I'm excited to work with them!

So there is one more (I think) Pied in the clutch that is due to hatch out, and three more het Pieds. 

So far we have 2.0 Pieds, 3.2 Het Pieds.


Have a great day, my friends.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Breeding and hatching

 Well, a few of the babies hatched out of the two clutches that were left for the season. Since they are hatching at the same time, I put them all together. 

So far, we have 1.2 100% het Pieds, with 2 Pieds in the egg, and the rest (5 or 6 more off the top of my head) are 100% het Pieds.

One of the Pieds looks like a screamer, so lets hope its a girl!

And while waiting for the eggs to hatch, and while the rains are pouring down here in the southland, breedings are afoot. 

I caught these two locks while with the camera, so here we are. 

Here is my scarred up Female Pastel. I call her "Baby" just cause I feel so bad for her scars. They are a few years old now, but they still are scars... They will always be scars. 

But she got one of the babies too. She is being bred by my "I thought he may not be interested since he is so small" Spotnose het VPI Axanthic male. 

I look forward to having a few Pastel Spotnoses in the collection. Poss het VPI Axanthic doesn't hurt either!

And this guy is no stranger to pairing up. You all remember "Pee-Oh-Gee", right? Well, he is getting it on with one of his poss het girls (This gal is het for Albino, but yet to be proven het for Ghost. Fingers crossed!) She had been put with him before a few years back, but I don't believe he produced with her. Lets hope to see some Ghost babies in this clutch.. That way I can make the Sunglow Ball Python!

The rain isn't going to let up any time soon, so hopefully tomorrow I can get some photos of some other locks to share with you all. 

Until then, have a fantastic day, my friends!

Monday, December 20, 2010


I absolutely loved the feedback I got over the weekend in regards to the post about the Industry.

I really do appreciate all e-mails and messages I get in regards to the blog...

So I will try and get more hot topics on the blog. Everyone has their opinions, and I want to hear what you think about things too!

And to top it all off, my friends, the last two clutches of the 2010 season are hatching as we speak!

This clutch is Pied to poss het, and she did not prove. Two out of the five are pipping, as well as when I cut them earlier, I knew they were all hets, and no pieds... That's alright!

 Aren't they just too cute??

This clutch is the other Pied to poss het clutch, which DID prove out, as you cannot see in this photo, but let me let you in on a little secret... That one egg that is cut was the only one I cut in that clutch. In there, in that one cut egg, is a Pied. So I didn't cut any others...

Why not? Well, you can clearly see that there are a few bad eggs in the clutch, so I didn't want to expose any other embryos to contamination, although it is more than likely fine, I just didn't feel the need to do it.

So lets wait for another few days, and see what we have popping out of 2010, shall we?

I can't wait!

Have a fantastic day, my friends!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Industry

I didn't have time to take pictures, and it's actually pretty late (I am doing this at 11PM PST right now), so I wanted to touch on something that has always been on the forefront of my mind, but I don't think I've ever really discussed it with all of you, my fellow ball python enthusiasts and blog readers.

Let me talk to you about the Ball Python Industry.

There are three levels.

The BIG NAMES. I'm sure you can think of at least two or three that deserve the title... Those that have been around forever, have come up with names for too many morphs than they can count, the people who started when Albinos were $10k a piece.

The Middle Ground... Those breeders that have established themselves as breeders, as long time industrialists, the ones that you know have been around for a while, but still are not "famous". They may have come up with a new morph combination over the years, but have not been the ultimate breeder in many peoples eyes.

The Beginners... These breeders have done their first to second season, maybe even third. You have not really known them from anyone else, but the name seems familiar from the forums or maybe an add here or there for something you were intrigued about. You are aware of their existence, but they have not been around for long enough to really garner your trust.

Now, I bring this up because I see a lot of beginners. Every year there are more and more of them, and that is great!! The more breeders there are, the more there is interest in the industry. The middle ground, however, watch the beginners for their prices and their interest in specific morphs. Either they are good, or they are bad. They may have hatched out 20 of Morph A, but then again, Middle Ground Breeder has 30 of those as well, so then, there may be a problem. Maybe, maybe not, but there are enough hobbyists to be interested to sell Morph A to everyone...

The problem seems to be in the price of Morph A, and the availability of it.
QUALITY Morph A will sell, no problem, but when everyone and their mother are producing them, there are plenty more to choose from.
Morph A becomes devalued because of people that are not interested in holding on to the lives that they helped bring into this world...

I get it, I really do. There are plenty of mouths to feed, plenty of things in this life that may take precedence over a group of baby Morph A's.

My problem really is in the beginning breeders that think that in one week they can sell everything. Yeah, you can do that, to a Wholesaler. They would love to take Morph A off of your hands, no problem. They didn't do any of the hard work... They just need to hand over a bit of cash.

But did the beginning breeder think about the possibility of holding on to the animals? Did they prepare themselves to have twice as many animals as they began with because putting one male with one female tends to replicate itself? Maybe, and if you did, I applaud you, beginning breeder!! I admire your preparation and your zeal for bringing life into this world..

If not, however, there will be a price to pay, either with the animals who are not being cared for, or for the people who are looking for the perfect Morph A, just to see a bunch of B grade animals on the market.

And of course, all the while, BIG Breeders are laughing, as they have worked out their lines and are already working on the biggest and greatest..

So think of it this way, my friends... Know that you need to breed for the best. Make it happen, make it work for the best looking animals that YOU think are going to help the gene pool. It doesn't help anyone by making a bunch of Boo-Boo looking animals and putting them to market, because all that does is let Joe-Shmoe start breeding Boo-Boo to Boo-Boo, and making double Boo Squared animals. Who wants that???

This is not to say that you, my beloved blog readers are doing this... Just keep in mind that we are doing this not only for ourselves, but for the animals. They want to be pretty, they want to be valued and loved... Help them help themselves.

And thus spaketh the Heather, who is tired and done with her rant.

I look forward to your comments on this one, as I'm sure this is a hot topic to be sure.

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Yesterday was really a day of busy busy busy, so I didn't get to the blog like I normally do.

So consider this a day off....

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pairings I didn't plan, but just did

Other than the fact that I have been planning this season and have not gotten half of what I have planned out, I just decided to throw some males around and see what I can figure out. And I did a few pairings that I didn't really think about until I had the male in my hand.

This is one of them.

This is my Mojave Spider (with stuck shed) on one of my Black Pastel females. 
At first, I was hesitant to do this pairing because of the Black Pastel Spider. Not my favorite combination by any means due to all of the dots on a darker spider... but I LOVE the Mojave Black Pastel, so I wanted to see what I can manage. 

And I can imagine that I would love the Mojave Black Pastel Spider. 

I have to say, I'm not sure I've ever seen it.. but it sounds cool. 

It sounds really cool. 

So I put them in, and HEY LOOK! They are locking...

There are a few other pairings I'm not sure what to do with, with females I'm not sure what to do with. The season is coming up, and I have to say, I'm still unsure. Gotta love that.

 Anyway, this was a pairing I knew I wanted to do.

Spider het TSK Axanthic ph Albino with my TSK Axanthic ph Albino (that didn't prove out last year)

The male is going to go with an Albino as well to prove out that part of his genes, but so far, he is only interested in this gal right now. Plus she's in shed, so that may help the situation.

So there you go.

I really need to sit down and figure the rest of the season out. 

I think I'll try again later.

Have a fantastic day, my friends.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Het Red Axanthics and what they do.

Het Red Axanthics are a very subtle morph. I get questions all the time about if they are what they are. 

Here are a few clues as to what they look like. 
They were specifically bred as Black Backs. They are genetically inclined to be Black Backs, but there are a few out there that are not. 

Look for the strange patterned alien heads (just a circle or a joined dark center). Look for black squiggles on the sides of the inner pattern. Floaty circles are also an indication. The two I have up for you here are the less obvious versions of Het Reds, but as you can see, they are darker in general, with the floaty pattern and overall black backs. There is some squiggle sides inside the alien heads, but they are not prevalent.

These guys here are my Pastel het Reds, and they are a bit more obvious, somewhat. 
 The one on the left is a brighter female, and the one on the right is the male. The female shows more pattern issues, with floating circles, and off alien heads. The male shows more of the black back and the odd pattern as well. 


 Here again we see the male, with the odd pattern and dots within his alien heads.

And of course, the super form, the Red Axanthic. Completely different and not at all what you expect from the morph to turn into this, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. Pretty cool, huh?
Again, look at the pattern. Floating circles, weird pattern, speckles and squiggles in the alien heads.

 So I hope that helps. I wish I was more photo savvy so that I could highlight and circle things. I may have to do that one of these days. But for now, my superior descriptive powers will have to do. 

 As I was taking photos of the Het Reds, I had to check in on the breedings so far. 

Here we have them!

Pied to Het Pied

POG to Het Ghost

This one was funny... This is the Ghost poss het Pied to the Pied poss het Ghost. He is protecting his property! I couldn't get a good shot of the lockup because he was so curled over the female, actually clamping her down, that I couldn't move him to get a tail shot. 

 Enchi to Mojave. No confirmed lock, but he was trying hard!

 TSK Axanthic het Albino to a Pastel poss het Axanthic (in shed) 
I would love for her to prove out.. Would be super sweet to see some Axanthic combos this year!

 So there you go, my friends. Have a fantastic day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Things are happening

It is always refreshing to see that your hard work and planning does pan out, especially when breeding season comes about.

Pairings have been happening, but not so many locks as of yet.

But I have to say, I don't check every five minutes, so I may be missing things.

Here are two that I did catch yesterday.

Above is my Pastel het Pied with a Het Pied. I would LOVE to hatch out a few more Pastel Pieds, including some females. I'd like to bulk up my Pastel Pied group...

We shall see how that goes. The Pastel Het Pied has a date with a few other Het Pied females at this point, so we shall see... COME ON, ODDS!

And below, my beloved Albino male, the first recessive visual I owned, attempting a breeding with one of his Het girlfriends. I never get tired of hatching out Albinos, and my guy throws some awesome babies, so I can't complain!

Hopefully things will start picking up here, although this weekend we had summer temperatures, the likes of 85 degrees during the day. I hope my boys don't think it's time for a summer vacation... It needs to be winter again here soon.

Oh well.

Until tomorrow, my friends, have a fantastic day!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photo fun time!

Photo fun time, because I'm not sure what to touch on today.

Here are a few pictures I have taken over this week. 
This is my holdback Pastel Het Red Axanthic. I really like the pattern on these guys, and although they darken up the Pastel with the Het Red characteristics, I really think this combination is pretty awesome in its own less impressive way. 

The yellows turn a nice deep gold, darker than the bright lemons that you would see typically in Pastels.

 Speaking of bright yellows, this is my Pastel Mojave, with lots of bright yellows and side blushing. I also love the pattern typical to Mojaves, the floating circles and weird alien heads... and those curly-cues on the spine? Yeah, this one is a hottie.

And again, bright yellows.. but this time, deep oranges and purple tinges. Caramels are absolutely GORGEOUS, and I love this one too.  They only get better with age as well, so this guy is going to be stunning. They also have red pupils, which is super cool.

 And one of my Axanthics, those in which I am very proud. Axanthics are very hard to get correct colors in photos, and this one I didn't get perfect, but it is close enough, I suppose.

And this one is my Pastel Orange Ghost, and I love this morph! So much to be done with it, and so cool looking to boot! Hypos are awesome, and I have finally gotten a decent group of them together. I'm pretty happy with that, but to have them all ready to breed would be fantastic. 
Until then, I can plan and play around like I do every year. 

And of course, I'm sure you do too with your own collections. 

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Regurge.. What to do?

So, you got a new baby, and it seems healthy and spritely.
You enjoy it for a few days as it settles in, and then you feed it.
Maybe you feed it a mouse hopper, maybe a rat pup.

No surprise, it takes it, wraps it up, wham-bam-thank you ma'am.
You go on your merry way, happy that your new baby is eating well for you.

A few days go by, and you go and check on your baby... Something is not right.
Something smells like old rotting cheese barf...
OH NO!!!

You rush to the tub, checking frantically to make sure none of your snakes are dead...
To your relief, none are...

But there is a disgustingly misshapen semi-furry wad of BLECH sitting on the bottom of your new babies tub.

What is it?
Well, its not fecal matter... that would be browner and less furry.
It must be snake puke.
Regurgitation, my friends.
NOT a pretty sight, nor smell.

What causes regurge and how do you prevent it, and what do you DO???

1) Regurge is caused by stress, the inability to digest the prey item, or illness.

2) To prevent it from happening, make sure your critter is happy and safe and sound in its new surroundings. Give it a few days to relax in its tub, and then feed a SMALL prey item. If it normally eats large mice, offer it a hopper. And only one... Do not overfeed your critter, as this is another reason (IE inability to digest) for regurge.

3) If your critter does regurge, do not be dismayed... it happens. Give it at least 5 days off. A full feeding cycle or two. Make sure it has water, and a safe place to hide should it need one. When in doubt, give it more time off.

Then, offer ONE SMALL prey item. If it eats it, rejoice!!! AND DO NOT GIVE IT ANOTHER ONE. Let your critter digest the prey item. If there is no additional regurge after the smaller prey item, and no other issues come up, give it a normal prey item the next go around. There should be no problems after this, and the feeding cycle should be continued as normal.

IF THERE IS ANOTHER REGURGE, give the animal another at least 5-7 days , if not two weeks off. Water, clean tub, etc... NO FOOD. NO STRESS. Try and give it some time off.

And begin again at the beginning of Number 3.

I hope that helps, and know that occasionally, this happens. If it happens often enough, I would take your animal to a veterinarian.

Know that it happens, but frequent regurge is a bad sign.

So with that, live, learn and have a fantastic day, my friends.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some of the newbies

I have always wanted these morphs, and over the past few months, I actually managed to get them into the collection. I am pretty proud of myself!

This is my Pastel Calico female. She has a bit more pattern than I am used to a Calico (I prefer the Flora and Fauna line without any spots in the pattern) but I really like her! I hope to put her in with something with a reduced pattern thing, so that her spots are not an issue in the future. We have a few years to decide, however. What a joyous thing to be bothered with!

And of course, I have always loved the Powerball, so I had to get me some Spotnoses. 
They don't look like much, and its just interesting to see that my Spotnoses do in fact have spots, but more than anything, I really love the possibilities with these guys.

This gal here is also het for VPI Axanthic, which is the second line of Axanthics I am working with. I don't have any visuals at this point with the VPI line, but I have full intentions of getting a few females over the next few years. This gal has a boyfriend that is also a Spotnose het VPI Axanthic, so I hope to hit on the VPI Axanthic Powerball eventually. We shall see! 

Until then, I'll be playing with Spotnose combos possible het VPI Axanthics. 
Keep an eye out for them in the next season or so!

So there you go. I hope to be able to share a few more new morphs to the collection over the next few weeks (quarantine and all), as well as some of the baby holdbacks that are getting big. 

Until then, have a fantastic day, my friends.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Introducing the Rhino Ball!

 Well, not really. 

I wanted to touch on the fact that Krystal brought up about nose rubbing and "pacing" in males.

This is something that you really can't avoid if you have no intentions of breeding the male.

The best you can do is keep the males away from each other, or away from other females. But in all honesty, I have not seen anything really work persay... 

It's just a fact of the breeding season. You can try and move things around in the tub, change it up a bit, clean up the room and such, but overall, boys will be boys, and they are out to get some. 

But I wanted to say, it's not just the boys. "Pacing" happens for both genders, mostly when excited, stressed out, or hungry. 

This female is my girl Rhino. 

Do you see why?

 Yes, she has a bad nose bump. She was housed in a Vision rack, and the holes that are on the tops of the tub setup, this female decided to force her face thru.

She didn't get far at all, but managed to create a keloid scar of sorts, wherein her nose has a full bump of tissue that although disfiguring, is not harmful, nor causes pain when touched. 

It's not pretty, and to be honest, she looks a bit ugly, but in a endearing sort of way. She is a part of the colony, and she is very much a stand out kinda animal. You will not forget which Albino she is... 

I have not taken her to a vet, as this issue is a cosmetic one to say the least, but I'm sure she can be "fixed" so to speak. 

But why should I? I think its kinda cute. 

For the record, she has stopped trying to push out of the tub for a while now... but the evidence still remains.

So there you go. You can change things up, you can see if you can calm them down if you think it is a husbandry issue, but bottom line is, there is no real "fix" to "pacing".

Have a fantastic day, my friends.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

We purchased and set up the tree, and so far, this is going to be our first Christmas that we are spending at home. 

It has been a lot of fun, and I really enjoy putting up the decorations around the house. 

Joel and I have purchased a few ornaments together, and this part of the tree is my favorite.

Awwwwww..... How cute.

Anyway, I digress. 

Among the setting up for the holidays, I have also done a lot of cleaning and soul searching in terms of the projects next year.

There has been a storm system coming thru the area, and I am loving the rain... too bad the boys are on break day. Tomorrow will be pairing up day for sure.

I've been debating a few things, and I have to say that I am still not 100% set on the season, and it is already time to get serious.

Why so serious??? Cause time is ticking by, my friends. Not that it is super late in the season,  but it is time to have a plan for sure.

Anyway, I am not palpating my females as of yet either, which is something I know I should do. So this leads us back to the questions on palpating that I didn't touch.

If you can feel follicles, you have around a month or two to breed her before she ovulates. It really depends on the size of the follicles, but if you can feel them, BREED HER.

That's always a good rule of thumb. There is a schedule of follicular development, and I know its around somewhere in my archives, but I'll have to track it down for you all.

As I do that, I plan on touching on a few other questions/answers that I have been shirking, as well as photos of animals. I realize I have not done that in a few weeks with everything going on. Heck, there aren't any photos of animals other than Joel and myself on this blog!

I will get back into gear, I promise.

Until then, stew in your questions, and let me know what you wanna see!

Have a fantastic week, my friends.

Friday, December 3, 2010


This is a tricky blog to do, because to be honest, you really have to see it being done a few times before it really makes sense, no matter how many times you read about it.

But I'm going to try...

Palpating is a tough thing to do if you don't know what you are looking for.

You are trying to feel for the follicular development of your females, and the follicles are different sizes at different stages of development.

I have been able to feel follicles as small as 3mm, and as big as regular egg size (about 45-50mm), but all of this comes with practice and knowing that they are there.

It is easiest to feel the follicles when they are around pearl sized and above, which is usually around 5mm.

You would begin around midway of the body of the FEMALE.
I stress female, because obviously if you are palpating a male, you will only feel fecal matter and urates.

Again, begin midway around the body of a developing female.

Take your thumb and place it on the stomach, and take your pointer finger and place it on the spine.

Press firmly but gently. Hard enough to smoosh the belly into the spine, but not hard enough to hurt any vital organs.

Let the snake crawl thru your vice grip. This may be tough to do, so I let the animal crawl back into her tub, with only one option of crawling forward (head in tub, no more space to back out). This works like a charm.

You should feel pebbles sequentially around the second third of the lower half of the body. They will be close together, and they should all be the same size, depending on development.

If they are squishy, if they are random sizes, if they are anything but rounded pebble bumps with very little space in between, you may have something else.... i.e. fecal matter or urates.

It should feel like this:

"nothing, gurgle, nothing, nothing, squishy stuff maybe, nothing, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, nothing, nothing, nothing, vent"

Maybe more bumps, maybe less... and again, if you are trying to feel for pearls in your huge 3000 gram female, you need to exert enough pressure to feel them. If you are working a 1200 gram girl, the same amount of pressure would not be needed.

If you don't feel anything, give it a week and try again.

Practicing is really all it takes to get it right... and the right amount of pressure.

Just remember the vice grip technique, and you should be able to work it out.

I am going to see if I can make something up in terms of a video of sorts, but I'm not sure when.

So there you go.

I hope that was helpful, and remember, be careful...

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Please leave a message

It's been a long day, and I still need another to recover.

Please leave a message (hopefully with a topic that you'd like me to touch on in the future) after the beep....


Have a fantastic day, my friends.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back to the Grind

Well, we are back in California, and I had a blast on vacation, but it is time to get back to work.

I am not really quite back into it, as I got in late and had work early, but tonight is a snake revisiting night.

I need to get the babies back in order, the pairings checked on, the eggs checked on as well, and just have some snake appreciation time.

The thing that I love most about taking a trip away from my snakes is that I can come back to my own animals with a greater appreciation for what they can do, and what they are.

I got to see new creations, other people's snakes, and now I can focus on my own!

So yeah, lots of photos and plans are in the works.

Until tomorrow, my friends.

Have a fantastic day!