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Old 04-04-2016, 12:18 AM   #1
MCMB Reptiles
Infertile Eggs -.-

This is my second set of infertile eggs from Texas indigos this season, I didn't get to work with them until the last couple months and didn't have time to properly cycle the males. It's a good sign for next year but still disappointing. I have one more female who's in her pre-lay shed, I'm also certain hers are going to be duds as well.

There's always next year!
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:08 AM   #2
Shame, but better luck next time!
Old 04-06-2016, 06:00 PM   #3
MCMB Reptiles
I think infertile eggs are the most disappointing thing a snake owner can find. You open the tub and see white and get super excited, only to find out they're just duds lol.

At least I know I have the female temperature cycles down, once I get the males into the mix I should be good to go.
Old 07-10-2016, 03:44 PM   #4
Hi Nick,
I'm not sure why I missed this until now. I take it that you've ascribed the infertility to temperature cycling. I've got 5 Easterns (cuoperi) who didn't breed last year, though I tried to provide proper light and temp cycles.

I've tried to compile information from John Michels and Robert Bruce and others, but I'd greatly appreciate hearing your wisdom....there's another winter coming up, and I've got some very impressive snakes that deserve to make babies......

Did you appropriately change light cycles, as well as temps? I understand that the males go mostly by light cycles, the females mostly by temps.

Many thanks!
Old 07-11-2016, 03:09 AM   #5
MCMB Reptiles
So I'm going to tell you what I did and what my thoughts are, but keep in mind that I am by no means an expert on breeding these guys. My first attempt was this winter and I got 3 out of 4 females to lay eggs, but every single one of them was a slug.

My first problem was that I didn't start cycling until December because I wasn't working with them until that point. I think it's important to start the temperature and light cycling earlier (Sept-Oct). I had my lights set to a timer so that they were automatically turning off and on, and during feeding at night I always used a red light to avoid disturbing them. The light cycling wasn't ever a problem, which I why I think the temperatures were my main issue.

I started lowering the temps at night as soon as I was ready to start breeding. I completely turned off the heat on the rack and had an A/C unit running to try to get the ambient temps to about 65. Every morning I would turn the heat back on and get the ambient temperature back to ~75.

I'm pretty sure that part of my problem was that my ambients weren't getting as low as they needed to. They were only hitting maybe 70 degrees, and I think it's important for them to go lower. I was also fighting with the guy whose collection these were in initially, as he thought they should be at higher temps and kept turning the A/C off on me and leaving them at 85 ambient. He kept trying to put his colubrids at 85 ambient and 95 hot as well, which was a constant struggle to have him not kill them.

I'm extremely confident that my next attempt with these guys is going to be successful. Starting the cycling earlier, getting the temps low at night and back up during the day, and then making sure to keep them at normal temps starting in February is the way to go.

Again, I am absolutely not an expert, this is just based on my thoughts from my first attempt and what I've read from people who have been successful with it. You'll have to let me know if you have any luck with yours this season and if you notice anything in particular that works or doesn't work.
Old 07-11-2016, 07:35 PM   #6
Wow! Yeah, the temps are way different from what I've been advised by Jon M. at Black Pearl. He has his snakes going down to the low fifties in winter! (That's pretty much impossible for me to achieve in my small house).

Decades ago, when I lived in the Orlando area, I'd go out hiking on ~55-60 degree winter days, and see Easterns fully active!
Old 07-11-2016, 08:51 PM   #7
Seems to me that when I was breeding indigos while I lived in Maryland, giving the female a heating pad with a timer made all the difference. She needs to get heated up during the daylight cycle, and ambient air temperature just wasn't enough from what I saw. I was getting 100% fertility after I started doing that. Indigos are not your typical colubrid when it comes to breeding. Not at all.

Breed them in the Fall (Connie called them the "football season" breeders). Give the female some way to warm herself up so that the embryos will develop properly. Direct heat contact through the abdomen appeared to be pretty important. Otherwise you just get slugs because the embryos just don't develop properly without enough heat. Had nothing to do with fertility at all.

Actually from what I have seen, it really didn't make any difference with temps the male was kept at, as long as you didn't go overboard with the temps. Bear in mind the males were out sunning themselves whenever they could out in the wild, and those big black snakes will get pretty warm in the sun.

Eggs were laid in April to May, and hatched out late in July for me. Somewhere I have a pic of a clutch of baby indigos in my hands that hatched out on my birthday (July 21).

Anyway, that is what worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

Good luck next time.
Old 07-11-2016, 10:25 PM   #8
MCMB Reptiles
Originally Posted by bmwdirtracer View Post
Wow! Yeah, the temps are way different from what I've been advised by Jon M. at Black Pearl. He has his snakes going down to the low fifties in winter! (That's pretty much impossible for me to achieve in my small house).

Decades ago, when I lived in the Orlando area, I'd go out hiking on ~55-60 degree winter days, and see Easterns fully active!

I think it's probably better if you can get them down to 55 at night, but I was having trouble even hitting 65 with the way I had things set up. I think Rich is right and that was my impression as my main problem, the temperatures are the biggest thing to get right.

Another issue I had is that when I first arrived, before I did any research, I treated them more similarly to colubrids and was "brumating" them with no heat. I didn't start turning the belly heat back on until February which I'm sure was a big part of the problem.

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