by Terrell Zeigler
Man has this season been a confusing one. With the drastic weather changes and fluctuations, I am pretty sure it has thrown the two females I planned to breed this year for a loop. I started my introductions back in November, which was a little later than the year prior, and everything seemed to be on track till last month. There could be numerous other contributing factors other than the weather, but it seems likely that has played a major role this season.
For this season, I decided to do a repeat pairing of our Irian Jaya, Sydney, and our Irian Jaya Jaguar, Omega. These two produced for us last year, but the resulting clutch wasn't so good. This was mainly due to incubation complications and weak offspring not surviving. We only ended up with one Irian Jaya Jaguar that did not survive, so we were hoping for better luck this season. Introductions went great and there were locks almost instantaneously. I pretty much kept him in for the whole two months they were showing interest till there was none at all. I did remove him a few times to feed and give him a break. Sydney currently looks solid and thick, but not swollen like she did the year before. There have been no witnessed inversions and she is currently still eating, which is the complete opposite of her behavior last year. I have placed Omega in a couple more times just to see what their interaction was like and they're clearly done with each other for this breeding season.
I also did a pairing that I have been excited to do since April and I decided we would be breeding Carpets full time. That pairing is our Albino Darwin cross female Cleopatra to our Albino Jaguar Ra. Both animals were born in 2012 and we have been watching them grow up and anticipating this since we got them in early 2014. It took some stimulation via combat to get the male, Ra in the mood, but as soon as I put him in with Cleo, they locked within a few minutes. (In older blog posts, you can see video of Ra and Omega during combat as well as Ra courting Cleopatra). I observed many locks, the longest lasting over a day. Like Omega, I only removed Ra to feed and rest him and once there was absolutely no more interest in copulation. Since then, Cleo has also filled out like Sydney. Difference being she was looking very swollen for a few days and had refused to eat which was uncommon for her. I haven't witnessed any inversions, bowl wrapping, or other behavior to make me think she is gravid beyond looking swollen.
Like I said before there are numerous reasons why these females may not go for us this year, but the weather spikes and drops in Southern California have been so drastic and sudden that I think it may be confusing to the animals. During November and December I cooled them like I would do any year, and everything was fine. Then January hit and we were getting heat waves, then cold snaps, then rain, then heat waves back to back. Everything happened all of a sudden within days of each other which I wouldn't think would be natural in their native environment. At least how drastic it happened here. Since then the weather has leveled off somewhat, but it has left me a little confused as to if these girls are going to produce or not. I have not given up on the idea and am still preparing for eggs if they do come, but this is just what happens sometimes as a snake breeder. As someone somewhat new to snake breeding, it is a reminder that not everything goes as planned each season. Nature will do what nature is going to do no matter how bad you want something to happen or not.