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Nanci 05-08-2012 01:20 PM

Care of the Breeding Female
I'm going to describe the chain of events for a normal female, and how I manage their care. I feed a female that I am going to breed about every 7-10 days, depending if I want her to gain weight, or if she is at an acceptable pre-breeding weight. I weigh the female at every feeding so I have a good idea about how much weight she is gaining or losing. (It is also a good idea to exercise your female from now until she goes blue before laying. You just need to do 10-15 minutes of gentle exercise daily to make a difference in how toned she is for egg laying).

I begin pairing the snakes after the female's first shed of the new year. I have found that some males will mate even while in deep blue so I record the male's shed events, but don't alter the breeding schedule around them. I put the potential pair together every Sunday night, until the female agrees to mate. The pair are introduced in a bare 66 quart Sterilite bin. I leave them together for 30 minutes, but if they haven't locked within the first 10-15 minutes, they most likely aren't going to on that evening.

To enhance the breeding atmosphere, I save the female's shed and keep it in the breeding bin. Before placing the couple in the bin, I lightly mist it with warm water. Snakes seem to breed more readily if it is raining, so I will break the every Sunday night schedule if there is a nice thunderstorm.

As soon as she starts breeding, I will be feeding an adult mouse in the 22-26 gram range about every 5-7 days, again depending on how fast I want her to gain, and to coincide with her breeding schedule. I pair the snakes every three days, so the female generally eats every six days. I feed after mating, allowing the female to rest in the breeding bin for a couple hours, if possible, before feeding her. I feed the male on the same schedule as the female, only every 12 days.

When the pairing is done, after five successful matings, or the pair quits, I feed every 5 days until the female goes blue for her pre-lay shed. After the matings are complete, I also remove the female's large water bowl and replace it with a very small one, and provide a lay box. The female often takes up residence in the lay box immediately. Once the female is blue, I do not feed again until the clutch is laid.

When the clutch is laid, I feed that evening or the next day, a smaller meal like a couple hoppers, and then return the female to a 5 day schedule on adult mice. The female will go blue almost immediately, and I will continue to feed while she is blue, for this time only. (I normally avoid feeding snakes while in blue). Once the female sheds, I again watch her weight and keep her at a 5-7 day schedule as she regains her weight. I have heard, but have not really experimented with, that the heavier you feed the female during the post-lay period, the more likely she is to double clutch. So you _may_ be able to use feeding amounts to either promote or discourage double-clutching, depending on what you want.

If the female is going to double clutch, she will generally lay the second clutch at about the time the first clutch pips. When she goes blue, I switch out the water bowl again and provide a lay box again.

After the second clutch is laid, I feed every 5-7 days, and then gradually move from 7 to 10 to 14 days, and keep the female on a 14 day schedule through the winter. You definitely don't want a fat female going into breeding season; lean and muscular is better than fat and flabby.


5 Star Serpents 02-24-2013 11:06 AM

Since it's the beginning of breeding time for most, let's bring this to the top. Great guideline Nanci, thanks for sharing!

keagan8davis 04-22-2015 08:00 AM

After the female has her pre lay shed how many days before she lays

Nanci 04-22-2015 08:26 AM

My females average Day 12, but it can vary widely from that. Some will even lay without a pre-lay shed- which is why I have the lay box ready to go as soon as I stop breeding her. It's usual for the female to spend her blue period in the lay box, then come out when she sheds. She will then be in and out to some extent in the following days. If she's in the lay box, peeking her head out, she isn't ready to lay. If she's in the lay box, motionless, with a distant stare, having cleared a bare spot on the bottom- laying is imminent.

keagan8davis 04-22-2015 08:44 AM

She shed yesterday outside of the lay box then yesterday and today she goes searching eound the whole viv and then has a drink and goes back into the lay box

keagan8davis 04-22-2015 08:47 AM

Also she hasnt eaten since going blue last week should i feed her a large mice or something smaller? Or not feed at all

Nanci 04-22-2015 09:21 AM

I don't feed the female after she goes blue for the prelay shed. You want all her energy going toward laying, and if she should have complications, a clear bowel is always preferable. I _will_ feed her when she is blue after she lays, though; this is an exception to me never feeding when blue.

It's a long wait from now to eggs- I know! Remember, when she does start laying, try to refrain from checking on her constantly. You can upset her enough that she will stop laying. I _try_ to limit myself to checking about every 8 hours. If I see she's laying before I leave for work, I'll check when I get home, then before I go to bed, then in the morning.

keagan8davis 04-22-2015 09:55 AM

Alright cheers thanks im only 15 and first time breeding snakes so your threads have really helped with info

Nanci 04-22-2015 11:52 AM

Glad to help! We all have to start somewhere! It's really nerve wracking the first time. Just wait till you have eggs; then the real torture begins!

keagan8davis 04-22-2015 01:09 PM

I know breeding my fish is torture and there is not as long as snakes

keagan8davis 04-26-2015 08:34 AM

Can they breed sooner than 10-12 days after their pre lay shed

Rawren 03-25-2019 05:34 AM

First timer here! 😊

I have 2 females and 1 male - the male and 1 females agreed the same day so I immediately put them together. He was very interested but she wasn't having it. Every time he touched her she would whip away quickly. I supervised then for a couple hours and nothing. Then the next morning they were laying together in a pile.

Then my other girl after a couple days after I separated issue #1. Same thing.

What should I do now? Is breeding these guys not going to happen this season?


Nanci 03-25-2019 01:48 PM

What has worked every time for me is this: put the snakes together once a week, say Sunday evening. If they haven't mated, or at least looked VERY promising- like the female is cooperative, but the male just can't get it together- in 15-30 minutes, separate and try again in a week. If you have good breeding weather on an off day during the week- there's a nice thunderstorm for example- try that day, too. I do not put them together when the female is blue, but I do if the male is blue. I save her shed, and put it in the breeding bin, and then lightly mist everything. Then put the snakes in. If the females are running away, they just aren't ready yet.

Rawren 03-25-2019 03:51 PM

Thanks Nanci. So if they're running away, just keep putting them together and hopefully they'll be ready at some point? As in, my breeding chances are not over this season?

Nanci 03-25-2019 05:02 PM

You have months left! Don't stress yourself or them out by trying constantly. Once a week is enough. Using a bare bin to mate them in will give you visual evidence in the event you miss it. Also, there is a smell to the yellow goo that leaks out after they are done that once you smell it, you will never forget. Not a bad smell, just distinctive. The smell of success! Once the female says yes, then what I do is put them together every two or three days until she refuses, then try one more time at whatever interval you are doing. If the other female becomes receptive during the breeding period for the first female, I would probably do Female A, Female B, day off, Female A, Female B, day off, and so on until both females refuse twice. Other people might tell you a different sequence like mate every day, or let the male try with both females on the same day. (If you're still waiting for the female to agree, and the first one does not, it's okay to try the male with the second female on the same evening. I never let the male keep trying after 30 minutes- if the female hasn't agreed almost right away, chances are very, very slim that she is going to change her mind that day. But they may need a few minutes to work it out, if them male hasn't mated before.) You really only need one successful lock for her to impregnate. So if you only get one lock- it will most likely be enough. I know it's so easy to get anxious your first season. Wait till you have eggs- then you can experience real stress! :-)

Nanci 03-25-2019 05:04 PM

Also, sometimes you'll see blood in the "evidence." Again, not common, but nothing to freak out about. The male will be good to go on the very next time. Even knowing that, that it's no big deal, it's still stressful for you. Just be prepared, knowing it's a thing that could happen. If you search on here, you can probably find some pics.

Rawren 03-29-2019 10:42 AM

Hey Nanci!!
Just wanted to let you know that I'm seeing progress!! I did as you suggested. I waited about a week and tried putting my babies back together (thinking that maybe the girls weren't ready originally) - I also put in one of the females' sheds from after brumation and misted it and the empty cage. The girls did not run away this time!! Instead they were also twitchy. Both girls were interested in the male and twitching. He twitched as well. Did not have a lock this time but huge progress I think. Going to try in a few days again. Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement!

mrgrtt123 05-22-2019 09:57 PM

I would like to see some of the photos regarding the breeding progress of your snake.

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