Breeding season is always an exciting time for me. I guess it’s that way for all ball python breeders. Breeding/Copulation leads to ovulation which leads to egg laying (oviposition) which leads to egg hatching!!! I keep meticulous records on my animal pairings. I write everything in a notebook and also use 3×5 index cards on each cage to record who is with who and what I observed when they were together (e.g. did I observe copulation?). I reconcile what’s on the 3×5 cards with the log book I keep and then transfer all of it to a database for long-term record keeping and analysis.
When my animals are paired I ususally look in to see what’s going on. Do I see courtship behavior? How about a good lock (e.g. breeding)? In order to make sure I don’t disturb anything going on I always open my cages slowly and peek in just enough to see what I need to see. To make sure I know that two animals are together I always put a white stone in front of the drawer. This keeps me from accidentally pulling a drawer open too fast, causing coitus interruptus. Over the years it has turned into something of a superstition for me, too. The rocks have to be very white and very smooth. There can’t be any roughness to them. In my mind I want the breeding to go smooth so I thing I subconsciously decided that the rocks needed to be smooth, too. A bit odd perhaps, but it’s how I do it.
Coming into my facility and seeing rocks all over the place makes me happy. It’s a season: breeding season!