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Breeding/Egg Production & Care Any topics concerning breeding of the cornsnake, brumation, egg laying, or issues concerning problems in any step along the way.

I can't "feel" eggs, is she gravid?
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Old 06-03-2002, 02:56 PM   #1
I can't "feel" eggs, is she gravid?

How can you tell if a cornsnake is gravid? The amel I posted in the photo section recently seems very large in the hind end. She has a little of a round to her belly rather that the squared off look. I really don't feel eggs, but she is strong in the rear section. If I go to touch her belly, she kind of toughens up. Not sure if what I feel are eggs or what and I don't feel much when she runs over my fingers. Maybe I just don't know what I'm feeling for. It's an unsexed snake and to my inexperienced eyes, looks like a male, but she has been in the cage with another male, and because of the large weight gain, I'm beginning to think it's a female. What do yuo think? Pregnant female? How can I be sure? When should I add the egg box for this snake? With my other snake who recently had eggs, I never knew she was gravid.
Old 06-04-2002, 03:50 AM   #2
Doctor Mike
From my limited experience in such matters so far, I've noticed that younger, shorter corns don't always have individually palpable eggs. You didn't say how old your female corn was.

I think this lack of individually palpable eggs in smaller, younger corns may be related to 2 things: [1] the possibility of fewer, say 6 or 7 eggs, all lined up neatly end-to-end lengthwise in the belly, and not staggered, and [2] the eggs having flexible shells which allows them to "pack" closely together--something like sausages being forced together inside a flexible plastic tube such that it's hard to feel the limited spaces between them.

Thus, it may only be obvious that such a young female corn is gravid from having [a] noted when mating occurred, and [b] keeping weekly body weight records so that a rapid weight gain over several weeks can be easily noticed. I weigh my snakes just before I feed them again, well after they have had their last likely bowel movement, each week. Not being consistent on the timing of weighing could throw you off by the weight of a recent meal.

Older, larger corns may literally become a "sack of eggs", making it easy to see and feel the eggs as individual shapes.

If you think your corn is gravid, it is probably better to be safe than sorry and place an egg laying box with damp sphagnum moss inside your tank NOW. If you're corn isn't gravid, it'll just be an extra humidity chamber for awhile. If she is, she will choose to lay her eggs on her schedule, not yours, and you don't want to take the chance that the eggs are laid in the substrate or in the water bowl. Make sure to check it frequently, and to keep the moss damp.

As I am at the beginning of my own learning curve on such issues, I'd like to get some feedback from the experts here on my theories, since they are unproven by sufficient experience on my part or by anything that I've read.

Not eggsxactly sure but wondering,
Doctor Mike
Old 06-04-2002, 06:52 AM   #3
Thank you for your advice. Yes, she is a younger corn. A large '00 born. Would any other "experts" like to voice an opinion, Please!!! BTW, I added the laying box with sphagnum moss (dampened) and she burrows to the bottom to sleep. Do they always go to the bottom in yours?
Old 06-04-2002, 02:07 PM   #4
Doctor Mike
She's burrowing to get a snug harbor within a snug harbor. I think it's completely normal. Her attraction to the damp moss in the box may be some indication of egg laying to come, although it is not proof.

Be sure to check the temperatures within the box. Eggs are safe between about 70F to 85F, with around 78-80F being optimum for incubation.

Since your corn is so young ['00], you should read The Corn Snake Manual about the risks and symptoms of being egg bound, and have a herp vet in mind should this happen. I don't want to alarm you unnecessarily, but younger, smaller corns are more prone to having this happen. Every snake owner should know of a herp vet before they need one. It would appear that corns that have strong muscles from regular exercise, by playing with you or climbing on branches, etc., have fewer problems with egg laying.

Looking forward to hearing more from others about all of this from other *egg-xperts*, and from you on your corn's progress.

Thinking *inside the box*,
Doctor Mike
Old 06-18-2002, 06:00 AM   #5
I have a question...

Older, larger corns may literally become a "sack of eggs", making it easy to see and feel the eggs as individual shapes.
I am curious as to how long it takes before one can see and feel the eggs in an older snake.

Old 06-19-2002, 01:35 AM   #6
Question I'm a total novice.......

but I thought that it wasn't age but size and wieght that determine when a female is able to breed? Is there an age minimum also?

confused as always!!!LOL

Old 06-19-2002, 05:55 AM   #7
I don't think so...older corns are just typically larger and heavier. One of my female corns is 4 1/2 feet long and weighs almost 600 grams. I'm not sure how old she is, but I'm guessing at least 4-5 years old.


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