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.

Didn't see that coming

Back in 2017 my 2013 male developed milky eyes. This happens sometimes if snakes donm’t properly shed their eye-caps. In young snakes it can be a big problem because there’s a gap for bacteria to grow and cause infections and it’s aporblem that can compound itself with each additional shed. trust me, I’ve peeled a bunch of eye caps in my day. A towel soaked in warm water and a pair of tweezers will fix them up real quick. This guy didn’t seem to have retained eye caps. So, I let it go for 1 shed cycle to see what happened. One eye cleared up a lot but the other stayed about the same.

At this point I started to re-evaluate this snake. He has some bad ribs on one side (hey! I ain’t raising race horses) I chose him originally because

A) he had great colors

B) I had a female from the same year with the same dad

C) he was SUPER calm. Like, kitty-cat-wants-a-saucer-of-milk calm. He damn near purrs…

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His half sister was the same way and I was interested in calm babies, so it made sense to add this par to the breeding pool.

But the other day I was cleaning his cage and noticed something.

He never strikes. He never jumps. He never recoils. He never makes a jerky motion (without being touched) AT ALL. I thought about this for a minute and then did some tests with waving things at him and making quick gestures around him. he never reacted. I tried shining light on hm and blocking it out. very little pupil activity and no snake reaction.

I tried these same motions and gestures with other snakes. All of them flinch or react at some point except him ….and his half sister…..

They do not follow fingers or food without their tounges guiding them.

....I have a pair of blind snakes…..and it may have a genetic component……

so now I face the ethical question: Do I breed them?

I tried last year but got nothing. Maybe they are infertile as well.

There are a lot of “maybes” to this one but I thought about it and decided to give them one more go.

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So, what happens if……

A) they have beautiful, healthy babies that make me glad I spend the money I should be investing for my retirement to feed snakes? (easy answer)

B) they have blind babies each requiring a specially trained dogs to help them navigate public spaces? (I guess I’ll need to get a bunch of handicap placards and install an ADA toilet)

C) They don’t have any babies again?

Well, my faithful fans, I was raised on a farm and you don’t feed what you can’t eat or doesn’t work. I know it’s heartless and cold blooded of me but this may be where this branch of the family tree ends.

We shall see.

The family tree has more branches than I thought.

I sold some more snakes recently to a very nice lady who, at one point, asked me how related all these animals are. Despite having put together a comprehensive conspiracy-theroy-esque wall to track lineages I realized I couldn’t work backwards from current animals more than one generation so……..

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I started working it out for specific animals and found out I had missed something…...another male had gotten his snake goo into my perfectly in-bred line of weirdos.

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Specifically, as I was going back through old spreadsheets I discovered I was wrong about where my 2007 animals came from.

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My whole Texas rat snake breeding program kicked off because some white trash kid quit his job and moved out of the trailer park in the middle of the night, His boss called me the next day to say something like “The kid left a mess and I have to clean it up but the landlord won’t go near the trailer because it’s full of snakes.” (I might be mis-remembering this but it’s close enough) The point is, one of these snakes was a skinny, ugly Texas rat snake with a weird white spot on his back. I never could determine whether he was piebald or it was just some sort of injury. I bred him a few times but had no real interesting babies so I forgot about this…until I went back through old spread sheets and realized that some of his progeny are in my in my breeding program.

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In previous posts I did a breeding family tree that mislabeled at least one 2007 female as being the offspring of my original 2002 male when, in fact there are two 2007 females who came from this guy that are part of the current bloodline. What follows are the updated breeding family trees.

Worth mentioning, I have confirmed that all the offspring have the same maternal origin. One Eve and two Adams. (Insert joke about my divorce here later)

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So, in 2013 the family tree looks more like this:

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In the last couple years I’ve been focused on the 2010 & 2012 bloodlines since they are throwing pretty constant traits. The 2010’s are yielding lots of broken patterns (including something kind of mosaic)

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The 2012s have lots of reddish/lavender colors (which I kind of like)

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but I now I have to look back on years of unimaginative, poorly managed snake breeding and wonder what could have been?

Or not.

It’s pointless to wonder “what if I hadn’t been so stupid in the past” once you realize that future you already knows all the dumb stuff you’re doing right now. Let’s try not to disappoint our future selves by being smarter today!

So, what is the state of my breeding program?

Well, I have four pairs of breeding adults:

1) The 2006 male & female who gave me all the 2010’s and 2012’s (grandma & grandpa to my hopes & dreams)

2) A 2010 male & female (predictable and comfortable like an old pair of shoes you can’t buy any more)

3) A 2012 male & female (still young enough to party but old enough to go to bed at a reasonable hour)

4) And a 2013 male & female!!!! The hope of the future….{cue up record scratch}

uh oh…..The 2013s I chose to keep for breeding are both from the 2010 & 2006 lines with no link back to my missing-link snake.

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So what am I going to do?

Well, as it turns out I do have two 2016s that are from the alternate blood line. They both have the same 2012 father but their mothers are sisters so let’s consider them genetic brothers with different great-grandfathers. That’s the best I can do.

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cleaning cooling cages

So I haven’t been posting this winter while the snakes are cooling but a few people are actually reading this stuff and I suppose they deserve some content.

Comment #1 I bought a new phone that takes much better pics. I know that seems counter intuitive. For the last century if you wanted better pics you bought a better camera or lenses…...welcome to the future

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comment #2 red phase snakes! Last year I noticed that I had some babies that looked very red indeed (scroll back through past posts for examples of this) but it wasn’t until people started buying them that I realized that they all came from my 2012 snakes…..this made me go back and look. my 2002 snakes gave me my 2006 snakes that gave me the awesome looking hypo melanistic very yellow 2010 snakes.

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Those same 2002/2006 snakes gave me a bunch of 2012 snakes

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These 2012 snakes are yielding a bunch of very red/lavender snakes. Should I call this another morph? I wish I had great pics of them but in lieu of that…how the hell do I know? FYI: all of the best baby snakes from last year are from 2012 pairings so we’ll know more by July. In the mean time here’s the last of my 2015 snakes who is also the offspring of a pair of 2012 snakes.

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This brings us to the last interesting snake of this post. I’ve seen hundreds of baby Texas rat snakes and they all pretty much look the same. But this gal looked weird when she hatched. The margins of her markings were unusually clean and for some reason I kept her.

Now she is an amazing lemon yellow with orange popping up at the head. I have no idea what she’ll yield when I breed her but she’s basically just like her grandfather who started all this.

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I wish I had more technical info to give you about which genes cause what in these snakes but I’m basically a post-paleolithic sheep herder keeping the sheep I like and hoping the lambs are like their parents. I guess the unknown is half the fun.

Long December

All my snakes are cooling and only a few people, in warmer climates, are still interested in buying them. So, in the mean time I’ve found myself n the position to do something I didn’t want to have to do again: I’ve let a dog into my home.

Some human piece of feces threw this little puppy out on a country road in the middle of December and my chump-ass took pity on him. As a rule, I don’t make much room for warm blooded things in my life but its been pointed out to me that I’m sort of a hypocrite for feeding my mammalian brothers to cold-blooded reptiles without pause. Also, I have a hard time making friends and dogs are really good friends. We, honestly, don’t deserve them. So, I have a dog.

I say all this to point out that if I sell you a snake it’s not like a carnival barker giving away a goldfish to some rube who pops a balloon at the fair. It f*&king bothers me when some kid with no experience wants to buy one of my snakes and I KNOW he’ll get bored and let it die. I avoid those sales. It’s why I’m not hawking ball pythons or corn snakes. I really want my animals to go on to have a purpose and add to the value of more lives than their own. I genuinely hope that everyone who buys a snake from me has a plan and the ability to take care of that animal.

That being said here’s some pics of the results of generations of hasty, unplanned dog sex.

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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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