Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I get a kick out of being able to teach.

At one point, I considered being a teacher.

Let me continue by saying I don't know anything about how to be a teacher, I just like teaching.

I like people (most of the time), I like talking, and I like seeing people understand and learn.

So when I was called in to do another talk at the local community college about the pet industry and how it works, I jumped on the chance.

This was an opportunity to talk to up and coming pet industry professionals, be it dog walking, cat boutiques, bird farming, etc about how to be a part of the pet industry.

I was accompanied on the panel by Lori who works at a Bird Farm, and Freddie, a local animal shelter officer.

All of us had the opportunity to share our views on the pet industry, what makes it good, what makes it not so good, and what to do to succeed in the industry.

It was a lot of fun, and a lot of engaging people and questions to answer.

Lori was great fun, and really seemed to love her birds and her facilities. She also owns two iguanas that are up there in age that have the fun of being able to roam around the aviaries on her grounds. How cool is THAT? 

It was also interesting to hear from the animal control officer, who sees the down and dirty side of the pet industry, rather than the kittens and rainbows aspect of selling a baby pet to a new owner. 

Joel was in the background taking these pictures, as you can see.

I'm there rocking the mustard cardigan. Yeah, baby... Fall colors for the win!

To summarize the experience, it was gratifying to know that other people out there care enough about animals to go out and start a business with regards to them. I look forward to seeing all of these students with awesome new businesses once they complete their courses, and prepare for the real world.

Thank you, Professor Crane, for letting me come back. 

It's a rough one out there, but shoot for the stars and all that other cliche stuff.

Have a great educational day, my friends.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Holy Crap!

So things in life have been much more dramatic than that of the snake world.

Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy on the East Coast....
Niners winning...
Giants sweeping the World Series...

Heather getting older... (HAH, just kidding)

It has been very hard to focus on the snakes when I am worried about my friends and family over on the other coast. I know several families that do not have power, and those in Manhattan are not doing so well either.

On top of it all, I am going to go teach at the local community college again about the reptile industry. That should be fun, and I am looking forward to it.

That is somewhat snake related, but more about the industry than that animals themselves.

It's getting close to the holidays and that adds another tweak to the world.

Weather is getting colder, and things are getting tighter for a lot of people.

It will be an interesting next few months, but it should be fun, as long as days start to extend to around 36 hours.

I need my sleep!

Anyway, I will be addressing some requests, and taking some photos soon of new things and fun things and things that I have been playing around with.

Have a great day, my friends.

Stay safe.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Guess What???

It's my birthday!

So... I'm going to do birthday things... Snake stuff tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Time got away from me and I've missed two whole days!

I'm so sorry, my friends!

I've been working pretty hard at my 9 to 5, which is turning out to be 8 to like... 6. So of course, I don't get home in time to have the leisure of typing out my thoughts on the blog those nights.

Some things have got to give.

Yesterday was kinda the same deal, but with having less chores to do when I got home, I actually managed to (gasp!) get the available page updated!


It is not complete, but I did put up animals that some people were asking about, and took some photos of animals that I hadn't done yet.

Hopefully tomorrow I can finish it up, barring any other craziness in the working world.

It's a tough line to toe when you have so many responsibilities...

And today is feeding day, which means feeding and not so much playing around with camera or website.

And of course, I haven't had any time to enjoy the fact that the Giants won yesterday, the 49ers are doing well again, and that Fall is coming.

I haven't even gotten over the fact that it should be breeding season.

Yeah, still not ready.

Gotta get this in gear.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Decisions to be made

I have a lot to think about, and I'm sure you do too. 

This stuff is not for the weak of heart, and not for those who don't care enough about the animals.

But when it comes to making decisions that affect your collection, your successes, your future in Ball Pythons and maybe even your life, you need to stand firm and establish what you REALLY want to do. 

And stick with it. 

Waffling is for politicians. 

Giving up is not the best option, and neither is giving in. 

How is this relevant?

Well, in my case, there are several plans that I have had since the beginning of my collections that I intend to complete and fulfill. 

Now the question isn't if I'm going to do it or not. I am for sure going to do it, but the real issue is... HOW?

With only so many breeder animals and so many opportunities to pair so and so with another animal, there are different ways to approach breeding. 

You can put a Pastel to a Spider to make Bumblebees... or have a Bumblebee male to a Normal and do the same. 

Which works better for you?

You gotta make that decision and follow thru. 


Make it happen. 

Am I going to sell this animal to get other animals, or am I just going to sell this other animal and reduce my project group?

What works best?

For me, that is the hardest part.. 

But making a decision and feeling confident in it is important. 

Go thru all the What-Ifs and stand tall in your choices.

Because it changes things, it makes the collection different, and it can make or break projects. 

And we all have our limits... Once you reach them, how do you get to your goals without overreaching and compromising the things you've achieved?

Say you consider selling your Pastel breeder female...

What will happen if your replacement doesn't breed for you this next year? Or the year after that? Or she passes away? Will you be able to make your goal snake of Bumblebees without her?

All of these things are important to consider if you are looking to move towards a specific goal.

So what am I really saying?

Eyes on the prize.

You know what you came to do.

Make it happen.

Have a great day, my friends.

Friday, October 19, 2012

This season, recap

As this season comes to a close in my mind, I have to say, I'm not completely impressed with it.

I managed to mess up royally some how with incubation, allowing several clutches to kink up.

I managed to lose track of clutches due to real life happenings.

I lost several important animals in the collection due to varying issues.

I am not upset with everything that I have achieved, but I have to say, it could have been MUCH better.

But such is life, right?

I promised myself that I would do better, get better, learn from my experiences and move on to better things.

This doesn't mean that the failures don't sting, and that I feel overly confident in myself. I admit, this is one of the lower seasons of my career, and I am not happy with it.

But this is, like I always say, something to learn from. If I can share with you (and myself) what I learned, and you learn from it, it was all worth while.

I have been blessed in my life with awesome events, a loving new husband, a great new dog, and lots of fantastic friends.

I have been able to produce firsts for myself this season, and firsts for the industry.

I am not too bad off!

But I'm still disappointed in myself because I could have done better.

Aim for the stars, right? I'm aiming for the next galaxy...

I lost my focus, and I am here to get it back.

So here's to a better season in 2013, and more awesomeness to follow.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Last clutch of the season

Even as I was hoping for more eggs, I am calling this the last clutch of the season. I may be wrong, but I've turned off the incubator for now.

This is my Firefly to Mojave clutch, and it turned out alright.

I was hoping for more combos, but I ended up with one, so I'm happy.

0.1 Normal, 2.0 Fires, 0.2 Pastel Mojaves, 0.1 Pastel Mojave Fire.

The Pastel Mojaves and Fires both out of this clutch are AWESOME. I'm really pleased with the way
they turned out.

And here we have an illustration of the Fire and the Pastel Mojave to equal the Pastel Mojave Fire. 

And here she is in all her glory.

I'm pretty stoked on her, to be honest. She's hot!

After she sheds, it should be really cool to put the Pastel Mojaves and her next to each other.

So that's it so far this year.. I'm not even ready for next season, so it will be a lot of random photos and tips if you guys request them.

Here's to a new season!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I prefer

I know that what I do isn't the be-all-end-all of Ball Python breeding.

I know I don't know everything, and neither does anyone else out there.

(If they say they do, well... keep walking)

But I do know for certain what I prefer.

I prefer to feed live, although there can be issues with that. Animals eat easier, but problems can and will arise with live prey if left alone for too long.

I prefer sani-chips, although there can be issues with that as well. Sani-chips can be swallowed, and although can also be passed... it can cause problems in the bowels and also in the reproductive areas. I use paper towels, but they are hard to keep clean for long, and need changing often.

I prefer to use closed rack systems, with sides that are enclosed. I use both, but I do notice that many animals do prefer the magic of darkness and enclosed spaces.

I prefer rats over mice. Mice smell and are small, wherein rats smell and are big. Big is easier to feed (if they are feeding) to a Ball Python than many smalls at one time.

I prefer to artificially incubate at 89F. I know people who do it lower, and those that do it higher. In general, this temp works for me.

I prefer to use substrate when incubating. I use vermiculite. It works. It's messy, but it works.

I prefer Coke to Pepsi.

I prefer Chocolate to Vanilla.

I prefer Dogs to Cats.

I prefer the 49ers over all other NFL Football teams.

I digress...

I hope this helps.

What do you prefer?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Assist Feeding

Sorry, I was out for the day yesterday.. Weekend trip!! YAY!

This one is a tough one, as I have to admit that I am not the best at it. I have lost animals even after assist feeding for months, just because the animals just aren't responsive.

Start out knowing that assisting feeding means that this little one has special needs. And those with special needs can be just because of a failure to thrive.

Assist feeding is putting the food item down the throat far enough to stimulate the response to swallow. Usually this means the food item up until its shoulders into the throat, if not a bit farther. The animal does have a regurgitation response, and it will attempt to throw it back up if not done correctly, or if the animal is just not interested. This can be tough, and can cause a lot of stress for the animal and yourself. It requires finesse and a bit of tough love. If you can't handle that, DON'T DO IT.

If you have already done the work and gotten the animal to eat, give it plenty of time to adjust to having food. I would say for a baby, a good 5-7 days. It is imperative that you don't over-feed.

If you have successfully managed to get the animal to eat several times ASSIST feeding (not force feeding), after the third time, just put the food item in its mouth (without pushing the item in too far) and see what happens.

If it requires more effort and time, then the animal isn't ready, and you need to give it more time.

If putting food in the mouth works, slowly move towards leaving a prey item in the tub. It will take time, and if it doesn't work, take a step back and just put food in the mouth.

As you can see, this requires an infinite amount of patience.

You can do it!

But again, remember...

SMALL items, every 5-7 days. Don't push it, or you may cause problems.

Good luck, and know I'm rooting for you. This is one of the stressors of being a Ball Python breeder. You can do it!

Friday, October 12, 2012


This weekend is Tinley Park NARBC, and it has become one of the largest Reptile Shows in the nation!

And I have to miss it....

I'm jealous.

I have to say, I was there back in 2009 and it was a bunch of fun.

So of course, when I see all the forums a twitter and Facebook statuses reporting being in Chicago, I have to say my little green monster comes out to play.

Envy is not the best thing to show, but sometimes, it just happens that way.

Anyway, I am here in California, cleaning snake poop, while other people get to play at a Reptile Show on the East Coast.


Oh well.

There is always next year :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How I do it

Breeding season...


Still freaking out about it, honestly.

But here is what I do.

Since I live in Southern California, we don't have seasons, per say.

We have temperature changes.

I begin by just opening up the window in the Snake Room, and letting the barometric pressure do its thing.

Rain is a good thing when breeding Ball Pythons, and that is usually the best time to plan to pair.

I don't cool anyone, but I keep the temps a balmy 86-88F in the racks at all times. Not super hot, but not too bad either.

Random Snake Picture

From there, I pair up three days on, three days off. Males get offered food every time they get put away back in their own tubs.

Males go into Female tubs, things happen (or not), and three days later, they go back home. 

I begin pairing on my Birthday, which is October 29th. This year, I may push it back, since I am sorely unprepared. 

Females are allowed to be in rotation if they are 1500 grams or larger and older than two years, males when they are producing sperm plugs and are 500 grams or larger and older than one year. 

Breeding until I see ovulation, or palpate for follicles, and then it is break time for everyone. 

Artificial incubation, eggs incubate for two months. Heads pop out.


There you have it.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask more questions and I will be happy to address them!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Breeding Season ALREADY?

Holy crapballs, my friends.

People are already discussing and planning their new seasons, where as I am not even finished thinking about this last one!

I have been caught completely unprepared for this next season, as I am usually very well on my way of planning who is ready, who goes where, what to do with which morph, etc..

I am stunned at how fast this next breeding season has come upon us.

And I am unprepared.


Did I mention that already?

So of course, now I am scrambling to think of the possibilities and what I should do where with what. I need to go into the room and tag ready females (weigh them and put stickers on the tubs), check on males for sperm plugs, etc.

Of course, I have just been feeding things.

Now, it begins.

This Black Pastel Pied male I was hoping would be ready this upcoming season. Maybe he will be... I'll have to check.

After admiring him for a while, I was planning on what I COULD do with him, now I need to plan to see if I CAN.

Crapballs, I say.

So without further ado, I will be checking and introducing new breeder males to the blog. Should be interesting...

Have a great day, my friends.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updating the Collection Page

As you all well know, I've been doing this for a while now.

But, it always surprises me when I get down and dirty and actually look at what I have accomplished over the years.

Starting from a Pastel male and some Normal females to what I have today is absolutely astonishing. Had I known what I was going to achieve back when I started, I would have been shocked.

Back in the day, there were no Lavendar Albinos, Tri-Stripes or Ultramels. There were no Quad morphs to even look at to shoot for. Bumblebees were all the rage, and Spiders were what everyone wanted... Caramels were beautiful and with no issues.

Pieds and Albinos were tens of thousands of dollars, and Hets were expensive.

Pastels were four digits, and recessives were hard to find and admire.


Bumblebees are common place. Spiders are not interesting anymore due to the revelation of the wobble. Caramels are being replaced by Ultramels due to the kinking issue that is now common knowledge.

Pastels are at pet stores for pet prices.

Everyone is after the Quad or Quint morph, and new "morphs" keep popping up out of already established morphs.

It is fascinating how quickly the tides have turned...

And why do I go on this trip down memory lane?

Because I was updating the Collection Page, and I am really pleasantly surprised at how many morphs I have created over the years, and how awesome they are!

I get to go into the Snake Room at some point this week and take more shots of some of the more rare combinations that I have hit on, and put them up on the Collection Page. I've already updated the titles, but I need PICTURES.

So keep an eye out.

And know that with hard work and dedication, you can produce whatever you put your mind to.

Have a great day, my friends!

Monday, October 8, 2012

They grow up so fast... Pastel Crystals

Since I had the opportunity to play with the Pastel Crystal male, I wanted to bring out my Pastel Crystal hold back and have a comparison for you all out there.

As I have mentioned several times before, the Crystal stuff grows into its colors (or lack thereof), and this is a perfect example.

As you can see here, the 2012 Pastel Crystal is much more purple, with a pink tone to him.

The older Pastel Crystal has grown out of those colors, and has established a nice bright yellow, as well as much deeper contrast between the yellows and the whites.

The head coloration is not easily seen here, as the adult was being a brat, but the head coloration is still washed out, but with a purple tone. It is the only purple area of the adult animal.
Here we have it much more visible, and obvious. The babies, dare I say it, are not as attractive as the adults.

The adults GLOW...

Wherein the baby has a bit of growing to do before he can establish that type of color. It usually takes around six months to a year for the colors to really shine thru, so he has some time as well.

I hope this was helpful to those of you that were wondering about the Crystals and how they develop.

Have a great day, my friends!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hypo Spider stuff

I have been sorely lacking in Hypo male stuff over the last few years, so when the opportunity to get a Hypo Spider combo male was on the table, I jumped on the chance!

And of course, from a generous friend, I managed to finagle two!

First, I have to introduce the Hypo Black Bee, which is, by definition, a Hypo Black Pastel Spider.

I didn't think I would like them as much as I do, but they have a very interesting tone, much more gold and purple than a Honeybee.

I wish I had something to compare him with, but the Honeybee has been long gone since I hatched him two years ago.

And another??

Why yes, please!

This here is the Hypo Butterbee, which by definition is, (you guessed it) a Hypo Butter Spider.

This guy just GLOWS.

He glows so much that the flash didn't work in his favor. I am going to have to figure something else out for him and get some better photos.

So there you go, my friends. I have to update the collection page, as it has been sorely lacking over the last season or so.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on the flip side!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pastel Clowns

Let me tell you a story about a long time ago... 

Once upon a time, back when Heather was just starting out, she had a friend that gave her an awesome Birthday present. 

Back in 2007, she was given a 100% Het Clown male, which back in those days was still worth several hundred dollars.


Happy Birthday to me!

So of course, having that kind of male meant breeding it to stuff.

Back then, Heather didn't have a lot of stuff.

But she did have a Pastel female, which she put with the Het Clown male and got 1.2 Pastels 50% het Clown, and 1.1 50% Het Clowns

So of course, all the females were kept.


Fast forward to 2012, when the females were ready, and when Heather finally had a visual male to put in with them, it was time.

And then of course, the Clown male turned out to be rather inclined not to breed.
So then, a Pastel het Clown was purchased to hedge any bets for the season.

Pastel het Clown and Clown were rotated thru the 0.2 Pastel 50% possible het Clowns and the 0.1 50% possible het Clown.

Thru out the season, things were hatching.


Unfortunately, one clutch went mostly bad, and a Clown was dead in the egg.

The first Pastel clutch had the tiny Killer Clown and the Pastel Clown,
the second Pastel had the dead in the egg Clown,
and the third from the possible het...

gave me these:

These Clowns are amazing.. I am really excited about how they look! They should mute a bit when the shed, but they are already CRAZY bright. 

This one I'm holding back.. I may do the other as well, but we shall see. I'm debating.

I'm getting a bit Clown hoarding crazy due to the fact that it took since 2007 to hatch out my own Clowns. 

There is one more Clown in the egg, and another possible Het that has yet to emerge.

This is the second to last clutch in the incubator right now. After this, there is a huge lull and we will have to determine what we are going to do here on the blog during that time.

Have a great day, my friends!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yeah, I got that...

Problem is, I forgot what the heck it is..

Well... Not completely.

I know it's awesome, and I know it is growing into an awesome animal.

I also know that these photos suck a bit, because they don't do him justice.

He is bright yellow, with an awesome grey/purple spine. He has cool blushing/flames, and his pattern is completely odd.

What do you think he is?

And yes, I actually do know what he is... But I kinda want to see people guess.

Have fun!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stingerbees and Comparison

I have hatched out Stingers for several years now, and I realize that a lot of people may not really see what the big deal is about them.

So what? An Enchi Spider? Who cares? It looks just like a Spider to me..

Well, let me edjumacate you all about the awesomeness that is the Stinger morph.

Enchi + Spider = Stinger or Stingerbee. (Same thing, just people being confusing)

They hatch out GOLD. Just like the Enchis, but with more GOLD and less brown.

With Spider combos, I have noticed that the color is ALL or nothing.
Like Pastels, even the worst pastels will make an obvious Bumblebee..

This is the case with the Stingers, but it is hard to capture the color when people are only looking at obvious changes. Without a comparison, people can overlook the awesomeness that is the Enchi colors.

With Stingers, they also have a melted pattern from the Enchi that softens up the Spider lines and takes away any spots (if they are good Stingers).

Here we have two Spiders of different tones (just spiders, however) that are compared with this Stinger of the same age.

It is OBVIOUS once you see them side by side.

And as they age, like most morphs, they do tend to speckle up, get some contrast get a bit more pronounced. Especially with the Enchi morph, that turns the blacks into browns and mauves, and the gold into MORE gold...

Here we have the same sub adult male..
More golden yellow scales, more brown chocolate tones on the spider lines...

And of course, you can't forget the head pattern. 

Stingers are, for what they are worth, excellent combination morphs to have. Brighten it up with a Pastel and make a Wannabee, or do something even more crazy!

They are great, if not hard to capture on camera.

Hopefully this has convinced you of that.

Have a great day, my friends!

Monday, October 1, 2012

I have returned!!!

So yeah, I am a fail. I took the camera, but didn't get a chance to walk around and take any photos. I didn't even bring the camera into the show.


Maybe I can get some post-show photos from my father, who did stop by for his only ever Reptile Show so far since my involvement in the industry. He finally got to see in person what I do, and as I understand it, he had a great time.

He even won a few books and a hat at the USARK auction on Saturday night!

So of course, this day of blogging will be a bunch of fluff to cover up for the fact that I didn't do what I promised I would do for you all.

I apologize for that.

But it was a great show, and I had a great time doing it.

I got to meet some awesome people, moved some great animals to some great people, and I really did enjoy it.

The drive up and back, however, was not as fun.

I am still recovering, so please forgive me.

I have some things to share over the next few days that are somewhat exciting and worth waiting for, so please bear with me.

Have a great Monday, my friends.