Friday, April 29, 2011

TODAY IS THE DAY!

I have been putting this off for way too long, and I really need to get my act together, people.

TODAY IS THE DAY I TAKE NEW COLLECTION PHOTOS!!!

And by this upcoming Monday, I hope to have the new site up and running.

THAT, my friends, is the plan.

Will I get to it? Will I finish what I started?

I damn near have to. Procrastination on this has gone on way too long.

This is the problem with being a Ball Python Breeder/Full-time Other things person. My time has to be spread out accordingly, and unfortunately for the website, some things get put to the way side for a bit.

But I have spoken, and it shall be done.

I also went over to a friend's house last night, had a great time talking snakes, guns, fishing and the like. And of course, saw a chart on her wall...

I snagged a copy, and wanted to share with you all as well. I know it has made the rounds before, but I've never had a physical copy.

NOTE: I have removed it since posting because I didn't realize it had a copyright on it. I will develop something that is similar to post up for you all to see.

Print it, love it, learn from it. This is what I try and explain to you often in my frustrations with the females I deal with.

So now, it's in chart form.

Hope this helps, I'm off to go take some photos!

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oh weather...


The weather here in Southern California is known to be somewhat odd, but it is getting a bit ridiculous already this year. The rains and the heat keep coming and going. Yesterday there was a heat wave, with highs in the 90s, while the week before, it was raining.

This concerns me more because of the females that are still developing or getting thrown off by the weather. I know I am. I dislike the extreme heat of Southern California, but this is where I live.

So I believe the heat will pass in the next few days, and we will get cooler weather again, and then it will get hot again. AWESOME! This may be the reason why the females I am watching to lay are "hinky" so to speak, as in off their timing.

It puts me in such a bad mood when it gets too hot out here. I don't like being too hot. Sweat is not my friend. And add working in a heated snake room to the mix? Not a good combination. Summers in Southern California are great near the ocean... Not too great inland.

But such is life, and we continue on with it, as we must.

Oh, by the way.... No eggs still.

Scar is now on my boo-boo list. I'm hoping for the eggs to come before the weekend, but I will give it until Monday. That is an almost sure bet. Am I putting any money on it? Not on your life.. Not the way things are going.

So of course, to go with my random ramblings, I have included random photos of animals. I hope you enjoy them!

I have been sharing a lot of the 2010s because they are just easier to photograph. I need to get in there and get some better pictures of some older stuff. Maybe tomorrow... I've been moving critters around and am not sure who to pick first.

Have a great day, my friends!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Contortions and Ultrasound


There are days where I look at my females and think... 

Wow. I'm glad I don't have to pass a bunch of eggs from my rear end. (Don't you?)

Today was one of those days. These gals are next on EGG WATCH 2011, and they look horribly uncomfortable.


 I'm hoping to get some eggs soon, as Scar has STILL yet to drop hers. At this point, she is taunting me. She is making fun of my anxiety.


And of course, most of this would be avoided if I had an ultrasound.

And I intend to invest in one at some point to prevent seasons like this from occurring again. The problem lies in which one, and how much. As you may well know, technology is awesome, but also expensive. The cheapest ultrasound I have been able to locate is still around $4000.

So will it be worth it? Absolutely! 

Will I get one tomorrow? No way in hell!

Ultrasounds can be used to determine the actual diameter of follicles that are developing in the females themselves without the need for palpation. 

That would be SWEEEEET! I know several larger breeders that actually use them, and use them well. It would cut down on the guesswork involved in breeding and the amount of time that males are in with females. 

So can I use one? SURE!!!

And I will have to wait until next season to see if I can use it for real. 

Have a great day, my friends.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ARGH! And Jack

Seriously, this season is already messing with my head.

I gotta tell yah, I spent many many minutes in the snake room yesterday looking into that female's tub for eggs. 


And as of 9:15PM Monday evening, this is what I saw. She passed some urates (as you can kind of see in the top left corner), but NO EGGS.

ARRRRGH!!!!

Now, I know these eggs are coming. They have to. She is absolutely bloated. But they are taking WAAAAYYYYY longer than I thought they would. Which of course is what I get for thinking. No matter what you expect in snakes, something else throws you a curve ball.

Thanks, Scar. I love you, but you are totally making me crazy.

So to get me away from my crazy, I decided to step away from the snake room all together.

And then, the suggestion to see Jack popped in my head! PERFECT! A snake that I am not expecting anything from will get my mind off of my crazy.


And of course, he goes and acts crazy.

Let me tell you about Jack, the Black Mexican Kingsnake. He likes his hidey-holes. And Joel likes to provide them. Apparently a paper towel roll makes a perfect Jack hiding spot.

Jack does not like leaving his roll. He checked me out a few times while I was taking pictures, waiting for food possibly.

Being the photographer I am, I hoped to get him out of his hole to get some pictures, but thought that some of them with him in it was pretty funny. And yes, he can fit his entire self inside of it, given enough contortionary time.



Eventually, I was tired of him hiding, and pulled him out. Here he is in all of his glory. Not too much bigger now, but bigger than before. That coconut husk hide used to be his go-to hide, but now he doesn't fit in it.


I have to say that he is a handsome snake, but he wiggles too fast for my liking. He spazzes out!
Of course, this coming from someone who deals with "Slugs" all day... HAHAHAHAH!

Anyway, I FULLY EXPECT to have eggs today or tomorrow. I ALSO EXPECT to be wrong, which seems to be the trend so far.

Have a fantastic non crazy day, my friends!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What you should look for

Since Friday, I have been watching often in the snake room to see if there are other females that are ready to blow. I have palpated many to get myself up to snuff in terms of who is what where. I am AWARE AND READY FOR ACTION!

And this is the next girl to blow.

I expected her to lay her eggs on Easter Sunday, but as I type this, she has yet to lay anything.


And here is what I have been looking for and what you should see when a female is about to lay. This is Scar, my female Pastel that was attacked by a rat.

As you can see, her spine is well defined, as we call it, the flat tire look. Spine prominent, but bloated on the sides. Also the sucked tail, where you can see the definition of the bulge (eggs) versus the rest of the body. The photo above was taken around 11AM Sunday. The photo below was taken around 5PM the same day. Notice the difference in bulge location?


 This photo was taken around 10PM on Sunday, and I honestly was expecting something SOON!


Maybe this morning when I get into the room I will find some big pearls!

Until then, I am going to be looking into an Ultrasound. (Thanks for the reminder, Rex!) I've considered it for several years, but this year is one that would have been very nice to have. Blog to come about those soon!

Have a great day, my friends!

Friday, April 22, 2011

VIGILANCE

So I was cleaning yesterday night, checking up on animals and just in general opening up tubs. I had moved a few males around, and had put the Pastel Lesser male in with a Pastel female that I didn't think was ready yet a few days ago.

OH BOY WAS I WRONG.

I opened up the tub yesterday to see the male, the female, and some eggs. The eggs were not coiled up on at all, they were actually on top of her, but I think she had laid them recently (within the last few hours), as there were veins and albeit they were colder than I like, they were safe.

So here we have clutch #1 of the 2011 season here at Heather's Herps.

And damnit all if it could have been a bad bad thing had I not checked up on this tub. I am expecting them to be fine, so lets cross all crossables.

Pastel Lesser male to Pastel female, five good eggs!


And thru it all, the female was a good sport. No biting, no nothing really.. She seemed just confused. I failed her. And of course, it made me feel that much worse when I pull everything out and she looks like this.

Post egg laying females are the sorriest sight in the world..


But the tub was cleaned up, she was washed off, the incubator was turned on (I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE It ON YET!), and things are rolling right along.

I deserve a face palm for the way this season has started out, people.

Really.

Oh well. I am glad it has begun, however it did.


Anyway, I also wanted to take a bit of time and help out a friend that has requested it.

My friend Brandi is helping run a fundraiser for MNSNAP, the Minnesota Spay and Neuter Assistance Program, which is a 501c3 that "fixes" strays, rescues, as well as low income family pets.

The fundraiser is called "Pins for Pets"..  (called so because at the end there is a big Bowling grand finale)

www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/brandihockaday/pinsforpets


If you are in the area of Minnesota, if you just want to help those less fortunate animals that need it, or if you just feel the need to give for tax purposes, this is a good place to do it.

Give freely, my friends, if you can.

And have a fantastic day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

RUDY!

 Some of you may or may not know this, but I have more than just Ball Pythons.

I have several other critters, including two dogs (Regal and Kona), Jack the Black Mexican Kingsnake (which is actually Joel's snake, so I don't handle him much), as well as a little harem of Crested Geckos that I have had for several years now.

Why is it then, Heather, that we don't hear much about them??

Cause they are pets. 
 I don't do much with them other than enjoy their company.

With the Cresteds, I did consider breeding them on the side, but was met with a firm HELL NO by Joel.

Why?

Well, as you can tell, there is a lot to be done with the snakes already, and to add to that another group of breeding animals which reproduce at the rate of rabbits is not a smart move for my sanity. 

So I do not.

And this guy, my special little rescue guy, is my only male Crested we have. He was given to us at a show, and he was already in bad shape. He is missing a few toes, has a bit of a crooked back, but otherwise is a fantastic animal.


May I introduce to you, Rudy. (applause)


This is my Rudy-patootie, and he knows it. Cresteds are such interesting creatures, they have the most fascinating faces and colors, as well as the way they climb on things!

He jumps EVERYWHERE, including onto my face, and has hands and feet that can grip on almost everything. It's so fun to watch him shimmy up a glass panel after crickets.


He is a solitary guy, mostly because he is the only boy out of our group, which means he can't be with the gals (of which we have three).  So of our Cresteds, we have 1.3. 

They are really great pets. They eat fruit baby food and crickets (there is specialized formulas that are powder based that are better for them than baby food, but is similar). They don't need specialized heat sources or lights, other than being in ambient room temp and an occasional spray of water. 
They are just easy!


 I really love this little guy for everything he has gone thru before he came to us, and for what he is for us now. He is my jumping bean, and the critter I love to play with (other than the dogs).

So go out and hug your non-ball python critters! They are awesome too.

Have a great day, my friends!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What is your goal?

I have been going in my snake room much more often these last few days, and I realize that I have some morphs in the collection that are there and I have no goal for them. I have no idea what I want to do with them, and I am really somewhat taken aback by it.

Of course, I rationalize getting an animal by saying all the things I CAN do with it breeding and genetics wise, but my goals to achieve are sometimes not there.

Pastel Calico
Perfect example... My Pastel Calico.

I got her pretty recently, within the last six to eight months. She is very cool looking, and I've always wanted a Calico in the collection. The problem is, I have NO IDEA what the heck I am going to put her to.

Sure, there are plenty of things I COULD do, but I don't have a "I gotta do this or else" kind of mentality with this gal. Which to be quite frank is the case with many of my females, but the time that I have before I have to decide is a factor that I greatly appreciate. In three years, I'm pretty sure I can figure something out...

I gotta get cracking on checking more on the forums and websites for more ideas... I had a few, and I still have a few, but not enough.

I still have my goal of the TSK Snows that have eluded my grasp for the past two years... And Snow Spiders, which are on the way (I hope). I am considering things with the Special stuff that I can do, a Pastel Crystal Pied sounds pretty good, don't it?

But other than those lofty aspirations, I have no idea.

Time for some inspiration!!!

Share with me what you guys plan on doing (I promise I won't steal your ideas if it's a brand new morph) so that I can use you all as my muse!

Have a fantastic day, my friends!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Being Lazy


I need some help here guys, I am being extremely lazy. Not that I don't feel like I deserve it right now, mind you, but also because I feel like a slug, and have been for a while.

I am getting chubby and I need some suggestions as to what to do to slim down and get myself active again!

Of course, this has nothing really to do with snakes, although I can tie it in by saying, they can get fat while I get skinny! I've also been told that Genetic Stripes tend to look like slugs... I don't agree, but there you go, that's why I put this gal up on this particular blog. Also cause she's smoking, but that has always been the case.

HAH! I did it. There is your integration into snakehood, my friends.


I need some suggestions, and I am reaching out to the blog reading community to get some.

I don't tend to have an enormous amount of free time on my hands, although this week I do, but I do want to see what you out there do to keep fit and active, especially in the post-winter early spring months.

Of course, to top it all off, I want to slim down for my wedding, which is not for another year yet, but still.. better now than starving a few months before, eh?

So while I go off snake poop cleaning and dealing with the rodents, I'd love to hear your suggestions as to what you do in your life to get yourself fit.

And not like a slug.

Another integration: My friend (who dislikes the popularity of Ball Pythons) says that Ball Pythons are the slugs of the Python World. "They just sit there and do nothing... They are boring!" Well, I am akin to the Ball Python, so therefore I am too.

HELP ME!

Have a great fantastic not boring day, my friends!

Monday, April 18, 2011

SPRING BREAK!!!!


It's Spring Break for me right now, and although that means I only get respite from three out of the five classes I'm taking, (enrolled in two schools) it means more time to PLAY!

My goal this week is to get a video of SOMETHING done, now that I have more time to play around with it. Not sure what yet, but have a few ideas brewing.

So other than that, what does this mean?

This means more interesting blogs, I hope. With more cool pictures and interactions and junk.

And also more Word Feud, Angry Birds and other games.. (If you wanna play me, I am LadyOhh on Word Feud)

And more time to take questions and requests for blog topics, while I get used to having even less to do than I do now. I'm not good with that..

I even had time to clean off the poop marks on my Pastel Super Mojave before I took photos of her.
(I would have done it anyway, but it did take a bit of time.. This gal loves to rub it in)

So I am going to go off and enjoy my day, and I hope you do too. I will get back to you soon with stories to regale you! Have a fantastic day, my friends!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm on a Boat!



I went out on a boat yesterday.

I saw some cool things.

It was a gorgeous California sunny day. 

Here are some of the cool things I saw.

Enjoy!

Harbor Seals and Blonde Human Heads

Sea Lion male waiting for fish

Common Dolphins

The same pod of Common Dolphins

video

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Heart My Readers

Pastel Het Red
There are days where I wonder how many people out there read this  and actually absorb what I say... 
There are days where I wonder why I am even typing up anything, when I have nothing really important to say (so I throw in a few pictures to break up the monotony).

But I have been doing this every week day for the past three years now, and I feel like I can't let you guys down.

And I have been trying my damndest.

Ups or downs, things being what they are and things being what they aren't, I come here every day and type up something for you all.

And I hope you enjoy it.

And of course, sometimes there are things that I say that make people go out of their way and help me out, by e-mail, comment or what have you.

Yesterday was one of those days.

You remember when I was so proud of myself for finding the colored China Markers? I think it was last week or so... 

Chris R, you are absolutely fantastic for sending me a bajillion black China Markers in the mail. 
Now I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever run out. 

Ever.

And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. 
You didn't need to do that, but I appreciate it very much that you read my blog, and went out of your way for me. 

Now, this is just one instance, and I know you all out there are also super awesome as well.

So this season, I am going to make the blog more interesting. 

I am planning on doing a few contests/interactive things and giving away a few animals in the process.

So lets all hope/wish/pray for eggs soon, so that these babies can be hatched to be involved in these games!!!

Lemonblast

Have a fantastic day, my friends.
You especially, Chris R. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pattern or color?

Pastel Orange Ghost

I have been thinking about this since I started taking photos recently...

Which is more appealing?

Patterns or colors?

Of course the answer for me would be both, since I have a fondness for everything... but in general, I'm rather curious. 

Back in the day, when I first started, the big thing was Pastels. That, of course, was color... 

And then, it became all about Spiders... And that would be pattern. 

And then it was all about the Bumblebees.
i.e. both!

So let us review some of the base morphs and where I categorize them:

Colors = Pastel, Ghost, Fire, Sable, Mojave, Albino, Axanthic, Caramel Albino

Pattern = Spider, Woma, Pinstripe, Calico, Clown, Genetic Stripe, Het Red Axanthic

Spinner

Now of course you don't have to agree 100% with my categories, and as you can see, I didn't go into all of the possible morphs, but that is what I came up with. Did I miss some you guys can think of? 

I was not trying to come up with all of the combination ones, ala Lesser or Butter, which in my opinion is both a pattern and a color morph, but more a color morph than a pattern... so I left it out.

Anyway, back to the story at hand. Which of those groups is more appealing to you?

I'm intrigued and would love some feedback. 

So chew on that, and get back to me, my friends.

And have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What to do....

Pied Female




I have been trying to figure out what to really talk about this week with the down time between breeding and no eggs, although I still have males plugged in with females.

Other than taking lots of pretty pictures, which I need to do anyway for the revamped website, I am at a loss in some ways as to what to talk about. 
I will be plugging in the incubator this week, I think, and when that happens, I will be going thru a "how to do it" module of sorts, but right now?

I'm relaxing. 

This week is a kick back week from most things, so there is more fun to be had and maybe a video to be made? 

I'm not sure. I'm not even sure what kind of video I would want to make anyway... 

Photos and videos and studying. YAY! 

Of course I could plan and think about what I could do with new things, but honestly, I am not in the market for new things right now. Most people aren't... They are waiting for the newest models of combination morphs to hatch out this year to help them decide what to do with thier own collections.

I am one of them. 

Granted, I know what I'd like to add if I could... a Desert something, a Calico something male and a Pastel Genetic Stripe something male, but again, right now, I'm waiting. 

I'm not in a rush... This is the time of year where I can say that. 

Now come baby hatching time? That is a different story.

I guess I should enjoy it, eh? 
I think I will. 

Have a fantastic day, my friends. 

Pewter het Red Male

Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting warmer

So this weekend, I spent a significant amount of time cleaning and prepping and feeding and cleaning some more.

And you know what, you guys?


I actually noticed some ovulations.

This is fantastic news, and makes me feel that much better about things starting to heat up.

Why, Heather, are you freaking out so much?

Well, my friends, last year I would have already had a clutch on the ground at least. This year it is looking like it will be another two weeks before I see any eggs.

This of course, is nesting, usually after ovulation. I think she is in her pre-lay shed.
This is only a problem because of the snake shows I intend to vend at. If the snakelings don't hatch in time, I won't have much on my tables.

No big deal, really, but it would be nice to have a good spread of things when the time comes.

This is where the pressure/time crunch comes from.

Of course, when eggs do come, is when things start to get more calm.

But now is the storm before the calm.

KABOOOOMM!!!

Which of course means I still have until next month to be inundated with eggs, but that is fine by me. Just bring on the eggs... EGGS!!!!

Have a fantastic day, my friends.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Reptile Living Room

A month or two ago, I got interviewed by a very cool guy named John Taylor. He is the author of the Reptile Living Room, which is a website that does radio spots for reptile enthusiasts to enjoy.

It is a program that is broad and well rounded, as a few of my friends in the industry in other genres of animals have been interviewed. Leopard Geckos, Tortoises, general cage making and Carpet Pythons to name a few animals of topics of recent interviews....

I was approached during the January Pomona Reptile Show, and I agreed to do it back then, but due to scheduling conflicts and a few other things, it got postponed until a couple months ago. BUT IT IS DONE and it is READY TO BE SHARED, my friends!

So please, instead of me typing something up today, take a listen to my interview.

http://reptilelivingroom.com/

Enjoy it, and of course, if you have any questions about it or anything else, the comment box is frequented by my eyes and I do see them and try to answer all the questions I can.

By the way, Chris, I use Goo-Gone gel spray to get the China Marker off plastic tubs. It works WONDERS, and smells like oranges! Just be sparse with it, as you don't need much to get it off the tubs, and it is rather greasy. Spray a bit on a paper towel and watch the marker disappear! It works well with stuck on adhesives as well, like stickers and tags.


Have a fantastic weekend, my friends! I have another test on Saturday, but hey... it's alllllll good!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Palpating revisited

Well, I just did a bunch of palpating of some of my females, and I'm going to be honest with you all out there.

I'm concerned.

Palpating is basically feeling for follicles in the lower abdomen area of the female.

I tried.

And in some females I expected to feel a bunch, I felt nothing.

And some females I expected to feel big follicles or eggs already, I'm feeling squishy spaces and hard smaller than egg things that feel suspiciously like slugs.

Now, am I okay with this?

No, not at all.

This is one of those times I wish I had an Ultrasound machine to allay my fears.

But not the case...

So I sit.
And wait.
And keep pairing.

I've been missing all the signs that I like to see with my females, and now I'm even more concerned.

Because honestly, I'm just hoping its a late season this year now.

Better than slugs.....

Send me positive thoughts, my friends. I need it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Streamlining

I need a better process.

I was talking to a friend about this yesterday, and I have several things I wish I could incorporate into my snake breeding situation.


  1. I wish I had a better water source. Right now, I am filling up gallon bottles and going thru the room and filling up water dishes this way. It's great for those few you need to do, but when you do a complete change, it gets to be a complete pain in the ass.  If only I had a sink in the room, or maybe a hose...
  2. I wish I had more space. I don't have enough room in some places to even turn around. It makes life that much more difficult. Tubs don't come out easily because of the lack of space, so maneuvering in the room has become another skill I have acquired.
  3. I would LOVE help. I can't see the possibility of hiring help, but it would be nice to have some on hand when times get complicated. I do have friends that help when they can, but on days when I am swamped and alone, it is what it is...
Now of course, these things can all be solved with a few changes in life. The problem is, that can't happen yet.

So I continue to fill up gallon water jugs (I think I have 8 on hand during a round, and that usually isn't enough), squeeze thru rows, and do a lot of twisting and turning in the snake room on my own.

In times like this, when it is 80+ degrees outside, and seemingly hotter in the snake room, I think of things like this, and trudge on.

One of these days, I will get all that I need.

But for now, this is what I got.

And I am grateful for that, and for the friends that help me out when they can.

Have a blessed day, my friends.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gross... but good!


 There are instances where I take a photo and I think to myself, Eeeewwwww...

And then I get over it. 

I want to share these pictures with you, and with breeding season in full swing, yes, the tubs can and will be dirty. 

I am somewhat shamed by it, but really, it is to be expected a bit. 

For those of you who notice, remember that breeding is a delicate time, and moving animals around just to clean is not the best idea.

This is not to say that right after I took these photos, I waited until the males unlocked and immediately cleaned afterwards... Cause that is exactly what I did. 

Paper is notoriously hard to keep clean. 

Anyway, I digress.

Dirty tubs aside, apparently I have to wait until night time to take some photos and see some locks. 

Above, you see the Firefly with a Black Pastel female. He is doing work!

Below, we see the Pastel Super Mojave with a Black Pastel female. He is also doing work!


And my Pied male with a Het female.. they were rough, as you can see the paper was pushed to the side. But I managed to catch more locks in this week surprisingly than other weeks combined. 
YAY!


It does seem, however, that my season will begin rather later than before... I have yet to get any eggs, and a few ovulations, but nothing solid to say, HEY LOOK, 2011 has BEGUN!

In a week or so, we shall see that, I expect.

And for those of you who e-mailed and called about my quitting, thank you for your concern! I am here for the long haul, my friends. Can't get rid of me that easy. 

Now I have to come up with something else clever for next years April Fools... 
Hmmmmmmmmm..... 

Have a fantastic week, my friends!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I QUIT!!!

I can't take it anymore...

It's just too much to handle.

Too many animals, not enough time, not enough help.

Sorry people.

Can't do this anymore. 

All of my animals will be going on my inventory page.

Clearance prices.

E-mail me if you are interested.









April Fools!!!

Have a great day, my friends!