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Old 03-21-2006, 01:24 PM   #1
Junkyard
Eggs..In the Oven or Under the Snake

Who uses an incubator and who allows the female to incubate the eggs herself? Why?

I have a children's python that is (hopefully) gravid. I have a lay box that set with the proper temperatures and humidity for her and the eggs. I am going to let her incubate them herself. I read far more information about incubating the eggs in an incubator, but very little about letting the female, whom laid the eggs, sit on them. Are females not naturally wired to take care of the eggs themselves?

Your thoughts please.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 01:33 PM   #2
Art Klass
I have recently purchased a male dwarf retic and am currently in the market for a female. I have never had to deal with a clutch of eggs, however I am greatly looking forward to the challenge. I have put a fair amount of thought as to whether I will use an incubator or allow the female to incubate naturally and I think I sway toward letting mom handle it. She, of course, needs to be provided the proper environment. I haven't fully decided which direction I will go, but I also have plenty of time to decide. I don't even have a pair yet!
 
Old 03-21-2006, 02:05 PM   #3
hhmoore
Personally, I don't let the mothers incubate...though I have been curious about observing the process. Basically, I don't like the thought of letting them stay off feed that long - many females will not eat while incubating babies (according to some that have done it). Also, I'm just more confident of the conditions in the incubator than the cage (I have an awful time maintaining 55-60% humidity this time of year).
FYI, at 89 degrees, my Cape York spotted pythons hatched in 52 and 49 days last year.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 11:46 PM   #4
Clay Davenport
I also never let the female keep the eggs, for the same reasons Harald mentioned.
I don't want my girls off feed the extra two months or so, and my incubator can provide a very stable environment, which is much more difficult than it seems in a cage.

I have allowed a python to keep her eggs for a couple of days, just to observe the thermoregulation behavior. I also discovered that interestingly beauty snakes will remain with their eggs although no special behavior is seen. I let a female taiwan keep her clutch for two weeks once just to see if she would leave them. Despite my best efforts the eggs were still beginning to collapse at that point so I had to take them.
 
Old 03-22-2006, 01:04 AM   #5
Junkyard
I copied part of an article from the 2006 March issue of the Reptiles Magazine. This article was written by Bob Clark, I found it very informative and worth sharing and it is about females incubating the eggs:

Quote:
Maternal Incubation

Should the eggs be incubated artificially or maternally? Most keepers incubate eggs in an incubator, but only, I think, because they are unfamiliar with the female snake's capability for incubation.

If the eggs are left with the female, the temperature in the cage should be maintained in the low 80s, with around 80-percent humidity.

Those unfamiliar with maternal incubation are often reluctant to completely turn over the responsibility for the eggs to the female. There is a temptation to turn the entire cage into a big incubator by raising the temperature and humidity above the proper levels in order to "cover their bets."

The female, however, only has the ability to raise the temperature of the eggs. She can't lower it. If the ambient temperature is already set at 90 degrees, then she no longer has any control over temperature. The female can either conserve or release the moisture generated by egg incubation. Likewise, if the ambient humidity is already at 100 percent, then the female python has no influence over that either.

If a female snake is to incubate her own eggs, give her an environment in which she has some control. Remember that female pythons are perfectly suited to incubate their own eggs!

For species that do not generate their own heat during incubation (e.g., spotteds, balls and carpets) I provide basking areas. In most cases the heat source for the enclosure will be warmer than the average cage temperature, and this can serve as a place for the female to warm herself.

As ambient temperatures approach ideal incubation temperatures, females leave their eggs less often to bask and in some cases won't leave them at all. Females can be very shy when basking and often return immediately to their eggs if they sense any activity near their enclosures.

In the last few days of incubation females loosen their coils and expose the eggs. As this happens, the temperature of the eggs drops to almost the ambient temperature. It's important to monitor the humidity in the cage during this time.

The female remains loosely coiled around her clutch as the baby snakes begin to poke their heads through the slits they've cut in their eggs. In the wild, the newly hatched snakes would disperse quickly from the nest. In a captive situation this is not possible, of course. I have lost some babies at this point, as they can be accidentally crushed by the female. It's a good idea to remove the hatchling as they appear, if possible.

Remember, wild snakes do not incubate their eggs in a controlled environment. It's warmer during the day than it is at night. Sunny days are warmer than cloudy ones. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it rains at night. The extra bedroom where you keep your snakes is stable by comparison. Monitor the temperature and the humidity, try not to interfere too much, and your female will be successful.
This article peaked my curiosity about others thoughts and practices concerning egg incubation.
 
Old 03-22-2006, 01:24 AM   #6
markface
i've never had to deal with eggs before , but i'd like to get a male to with the female i already have . i'm hoping funds permit me to try breeding them next season so i am interested in this as well . if you do let the mother incubate the eggs should some type of special substrate be provided ? it does seem like if you provide the mother with proper conditions that they should have no problem with watching their own eggs . i mean they been doing on their own for how many hundreds of thousands of years ?
 
Old 03-22-2006, 12:13 PM   #7
Junkyard
With my children's python I have set up a lay box. This box have a dirt floor with moist sphagnum moss. The lay box is just a shoe box inside a sweater box, with the lay box half way on the heat. The female quickly went inside and arranged things to her liking and has yet to emerge. With the moss moist and half the box on heat she can decide which is the best spot for her eggs.
 

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