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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.

Eggs laid on Days 428 & 429; sperm retention
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:23 PM   #1
Eggs laid on Days 428 & 429; sperm retention

Those who have noted my hopes for more babies from Artephius, my handsome Diffused Caramel male from Serpenco, may remember me saying that I hadn't bred him in years. I really had my fingers crossed that he was still fertile, and was delighted to get viable eggs from his pairings this year. Turns out I needn't have worried. Also turns out I had forgotten a single lock from last year.

Sceptre, a 2008 Caramel female het Amel, Anery, Hypo, Stripe, was theoretically retired. She's a sweetheart who has been an important matriarch for us. She's also been a classroom pet as well as having attended many educational/outreach events. She was not paired with anybody this year.

Several times before Sceptre had laid infertile eggs when she wasn't bred. I didn't think too much about it when her belly developed that "string of pearls" feeling. When she shed and refused a meal on 24 May, I gave her a nest box and touched base with the vet. Good thing I did.

Late on May 31, I found Sceptre with two slugs and one seemingly fertile egg. She didn't feel done. The next day she laid four more eggs, two of them apparently good. That was a shock. I didn't remember breeding her in 2021, but when I checked my records I rediscovered that she was paired with Artephius for two days and I'd seen a single lock.

Sceptre has had a rough time. I could tell she wasn't feeling well. I could still feel two bumps but they were very high. The first was almost mid-body. When she wouldn't settle after laying and seemed to feel worse, I took her to the vet. She prolapsed. The vet was able to work the tissue back in, and I left with meds and hoped she wouldn't prolapse again.

She did, more than once, then stabilized. She took a small meal and when that worked its way out, she had a bulge near her vent. A swim plus gentle massage and time and she passed a slug on 15 June. The midbody bulge moved down and out, too; another slug.

Tonight she prolapsed again. I was able to reduce it quickly. I really had hoped she was done with prolapse. I'll contact the vet about it tomorrow.

I put the three good eggs into incubation. They've developed veins, though not all evenly. At this point two are in track for hatching. I'm not sure about the other. I've been amazed at this whole thing. I will consider it to be be quite a miracle if I get healthy babies this season from last year's pairing!

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Old 06-22-2022, 11:25 PM   #2
Sceptre and her Day 429 eggs.

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Old 06-22-2022, 11:32 PM   #3
What a gorgeous girl. How old is she? I hope she's ok and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with the eggs.

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Old 06-22-2022, 11:33 PM   #4
The eggs; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Old 06-22-2022, 11:36 PM   #5
Thanks! Sceptre is 14 years old. She did seem to be feeling pretty good after laying the two duds last week. I hope the prolapse stay out of sight. I'm thinking she may need to get a purse-string suture. We'll see, I guess.

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Old 06-22-2022, 11:40 PM   #6
Continuing incubation. I'm really keeping an eye on these since they're unusual

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Old 06-22-2022, 11:42 PM   #7
The "bump" after her meal. This was the next-to-last slug (at least, I fervently hope so) Two weeks after the first eggs.

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Old 06-22-2022, 11:57 PM   #8
The exterior of #1 is developing spots, something like windows. Still has what like good veins. The veins in #2 are fading. #3 looks great.

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Old 06-23-2022, 12:40 AM   #9
And, for the record, here's Artephius. I'm happy to say that his babies with Esperanza are currently hatching. His clutch with Princess Irene is due about the end of June or early July. Then there is this unusual trio with Sceptre.

I have known intellectually that females can store sperm and use it to fertilize eggs in a subsequent year. Like most things in life, comprehending it and living through it are different. It's been three weeks since these eggs appeared and I'm still shaking my head in wonder.

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Old 06-23-2022, 11:58 AM   #10
Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your experience in such detail. It's a perfect summation of what newbies may experience for the first time and longtime breeders may have seen may times over. I'm also glad to hear you have a vet on standby. Too many people breed snakes without the awareness of the MANY complications that can/do occur. It is best to always be prepared for the worst.
I hope Septre requires no further medical attention and can live out her retirement in good health. I'm looking forward to hearing the conclusion of this breeding event.

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