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.

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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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.