Snake Articles (mostly Cadmium Morph news)

The articles on this page will cover my Cadmium Morph breeding project as well as other snake related experiences I have.

2018 babies

Well, my 2018 breeding didn't turn out the way I had I hoped but that may be a blessing in disguise.

My original 2006 het male & het female resulted in a bunch of non-morph babies which has me a bit perplexed. I expected 1/4 but my new metric of "broken eye stripe" is now the defining trait I'm looking for so maybe there's more I need to learn.

My 2010 and 2013 visual morph pairs didn't lay any eggs despite observed multiple copulations and being all proven breeders.

So only my 2012 visual morphs actually produced anything worth talking about but, boy howdy, did they produce. 100% morphs! 90% eating right out of the egg. No spinal kinks or weird crap.

Just look at that killer!

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So the next thing to sort out is how to tell which babies will turn into which colors. To get an idea about that let's look at last years babies 1 year on.

So there are two morph babies in this pic (one is buried under the bunch on the right).

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and look at how red they are now!

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this is another group with loads of morphs but......

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one year on the pattern is cool but the colors don't impress me.

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so.. how do I tell which colors will be which?

well.....I don't know this morph is highly variable.

And that leads to this little factoid. 

In nature cadmium ore is bluish white but the dyes made from it are yellow, orange, red, and green. It was widely used in the renaissance but it turns out that the yellow/orange changes over time which colors how we view 400 year old paintings and frescoes. I was staring at some ores in a museum display in San Francisco when it hit me that this perfectly explains my morph. So....cadmium Texas ratsnake.

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Now, these are all 2017 babies but if you look back through the other posts it's obvious that I've got a pretty serious variable morph on my hands. Oh well. Nothing is ever as cut & dried as we want it to be. Until next time.

 

Oh wait! The title of this entry was "2018 babies" you should at least get one pic of a 2018 baby so here you go:

 

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All work and no play...

My job has been a real nightmare lately but at least I get to go home and clean up snake poo.

That being said, I've learned a few things lately. 

For example: My plan to wait 1 year to list baby snakes has been proven based on how the colors are kicking in. That's the peachiest Texas Ratsnake I've ever seen.

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The other stuff I've learned has mostly been about social media.

1) Most people on facebook want to stay on facebook and don't really care to read your website.

2) If you want to list snakes for sale on facebook you need to turn on public messaging.

3) The email address you use for paypal is the one you should use for all your business contacts, otherwise you look kind of shady.

Live and learn, my friends.

Next in the local news we have a herp show in my area now

I went yesterday and had a really good time. I met up with an old friend, saw some cool animals/products, and my faith in humanity was, generally, restored. I was proud of how many people showed up and (not to sound judgey) how many of them were "normal". let's be honest people who keep cold blooded animals typically more tattoo-ey and alternative-lifestyle-y. I'm not judging people by their piercings but most herp shows are bad places to turn on a large electro magnet....says the guy whose never been called "normal" in his life.

the point is, I saw lots of middle aged, working class people with their kids looking at and purchasing animals no one would have dared do suring daylight hours when I was an 11 year old who would have LOVED to got o a herp show. Thank you, society.

That being said, here's couple more cool snake pics form today.

My lovely mosaic 2016 female.

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And this other 2016 male sure looks like he has a vertebral stripe. What will come of this?

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Working on color updates (May 6, 2018)

My 2017's are starting to show their colors and we're going to find out if my "broken eye stripe" theory about how to identify this morph is correct.

First things first: The state of camera technology is awesome in 2018 but you still have to know a few things to get good pics! I learned quite a bit last year about my phone/camera's settings that made a huge difference in showing you on this web page what these snakes actually look like.

My primary problem was my indoor fluorescent lighting. It's not always practical to take the snakes outside in bright day light set up a nice contrasting backdrop and do a freaking photo-shoot. So I had to learn to adjust some setting in my samsung's pro-mode. (Basically I asked my kid and then adjusted what she told me until the pictures looked about right)

The two pics below are an example of the problem I was having.The first pic is my camera's default setting. The snake looks really yellow even though he's not and the blue surface he's on looks really pale and washed out too.

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When I switch to pro mode and adjust the white balance for my lighting I get something much more accurate (but still not quite right now he's not yellow at all).

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So while I was working on getting better pics I noticed something I hadn't before about my snakes. These animals are all basically hypo-melanistic. A black pigment creates the dark spots and ground color on what would other wise be a white snake. EXCEPT!!!! Black isn't the only pigment in these snakes. They also have red and yellow and what I noticed (now that I have a large enough population of these animals from 1-5 years old) is that some favor the hypo-melanistic "silver/grey" phase, others favor the "red" phase and a few get very "yellow".

Now, it's nothing as dramatic as their cousins, the corn snakes, who display an awesome variety of color & patterns but it looks like the Texas rat snake is hiding more color possibilities than I thought.

So here we go:

OH! I almost forgot! Here's a pic of a really good looking local Texas rat snake from a couple weeks ago for comparison.

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Silver: 16-02-02 Male

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Red: 16-05-03 Male

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Yellow: 15-01-02 Female

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Also worth noting is this gal (16-04-01 Female). I don't know what's weird about this snake but something caught my eye when she hatched out. The margins of the dorsal markings seem way too crisp and contrast with the ground color is too intense. There's something I don't know about what's going on here.

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So how does this affect my 2017 babies who are just now showing some color?

Well, the silvers & reds are starting to pop but the yellows are still weak. Here's a couple good examples of what is showing up.

Silver: (17-06-05)

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Silver: (17-06-02)

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Red: (17-04-02)

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Red (17-04-01)

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I will be selling some of these babies but I guess I need to figure out when and how much.

Until then I'll close with a pic of this 2016 female (16-03-02) who has developed a crazy mosaic pattern. A few other snakes from her clutch have a little of this but she has enough to be

impressive. She's also a pussy cat to handle which is important because I am trying to figure out how to gauge aggression in these snakes so I can see if I'm getting calmer babies from calmer adults.

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On a final note:

I trimmed my adults down last year to just 4 pairs. The 2006 & 2010's bred with no problems and both gravid females will lay any day now. My 2012 & 2013's don't seem to have bred so I'll be pairing them back up to try again. Judging by their behavior I'd say the younger females weren't ovulating when they older ones were.

I will continue to try to get some good pics and, hopefully, post more soon.

All about the "about my morph" page

I'm still trying to sell some hets and, unfortunately facebook is still the place to go.

However, I have learned that expecting people to scroll through pages of this blog to see where this morph came from is just plain stupid.

So, I've set up an "about this morph" page

I hope this helps out but, seriously, take the time to look at my past posts. I have learned quite a bit about what I'm doing and you might get a giggle at how dumb I was when I started.

It's funny because I know a lot about my local snakes, I know alot about raising and breeding these ratsnakes and I know a lot about running a business (from my real job) however I know crap about selling people my own product. In fact, it's weird how bad I am at this.

Why and when to sell

Once again I fly in the face of convention by trying to sell a bunch of hets before I sell the visual morphs. I've heard the arguments about what constitutes a popular snake, how to maximize your profits before other breeders flood the market. etc. These are all good points made by people who want to earn some $$ in their chosen hobby. Passion + profit = modern success

I get it. But, once I tried to sell an old riding lawn mower that ran fine but by the nature of it's age would require maintenance and a sound mechanical hand. People kept showing up to buy it and asking what was wrong with it. I explained "it's a $100 lawn mower if you can't keep it running you shouldn't buy it." I finally gave up and starting running people off until a guy showed up, asked no questions and said he'd make it work. Good for him.

Back to my snakes, these are adult, captive bred, well documented rat snakes from a species with only a couple of morphs. It's been a passion project of mine for over a decade. If you aren't willing to risk a couple hundred bucks on weird looking, notoriously nippy snakes and handle the feeding/breeding of what you get; then you should stick to ball pythons and corn snakes. I really just want to look around in 20 years and see people with my rat snake morph (or it's subsequent results) saying "check out this cool snake". That's my goal.

One more point: There's the sticky wicket of the fact that these are a white list species in the state of Texas. If it's a "wild-caught, typical" or an animal that can't be told from a "wild-caught, typical" then I'm supposed to have a commercial non-game license and can only sell to another commercial non-game license holders. (FYI: I have been a non-game license holder for almost 15 years at the time of this post) Hence I went through all the trouble of photo documenting these animals for years and specifically tracing their lineage. I am happy to talk with anyone interested in what I've done. I'm happy to get feed back from anyone who knows about these animals and can show me things I have not seen.

That being said, I'm still deeply, disappointed that I have to go to facebook to find people who want to buy these snakes. Oh well. 2018 will be crazy with visual morphs for sale and my next project which is intense documentation about temperament.

Good luck, killer.