The Silver Streak Ball Python. Less often known by its real name; the Super Pastel Black Pastel Ball Python.
Like many breeders I have male Silver Streaks in my collection. These days you almost have to. It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the big breeders so having males with some genetic firepower is a non-negotiable essential.
But for the past few years I have also been working to add female Silver Streaks to my collection. I’ve manage to add several to my breeding arsenal but this girl
Is the biggest one I’ve got. She’s a hefty 2700 grams at last weigh in and this is her second year in breeding rotation. I’ve been breeding her with a Pastel Lesser Ball Python so I’m hoping to get some really cool stuff from her eggs.
- Pastels (Please, Lord. Please! No. Could I be soooooo unlucky?)
- Super Pastels
- Pastel Lessers
- Super Pastel Lessers
- Black Pewters (Meh. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad to produce em’, just not excited about getting them from this particular pairing)
- Black Pewter Lessers
- Silver Streaks
- Silver Streak Lessers (Booyah!!! Since I don’t have any of these I’ll be hard-pressed to actually let it go if I should be blessed enough to have one poke its head out of the egg. If I produce a male, it isn’t even a discussion. I’ll keep it. I’ll actually keep the first 2-3 males I produce. Females will be a different story.)
If she would hurry up and ovulate I’d be a much happier guy.
One of the things I like so much about the reptile business is that there is no uninteresting time of year (ball python breeding in particular). You’re always doing something with your animals. Feeding, cleaning, cycling temperature, adjusting humidity, feeding, cleaning, varying light cycles, breeding, incubating, feeding, cleaning, hatching, selling, trading, buying …and feeding and cleaning. There is no down time, no off season. It’s not too unlike professional sports, actually. Football players start the season focused on making the playoffs. Once in the playoffs they focus on getting to the championship game. Once they win the championship game they focus on the Super Bowl. After that little event they focus on training for the following season so they can do it all over again. It’s a cycle and it never ends. Reptile breeding is just like this. You fatten up your females as best you can and start breeding in the fall. You start getting eggs in late winter/early spring. Hatching starts in early spring through late summer. As soon as eggs drop you start fattening up again. At the same time you are working to sell or trade the years production. The animals you keep or the one’s you acquire have a little sub-routine that runs in parallel; you feed them to get them up to breeding size in a timely fashion. Baby snakes have a much more basic cycle: feed, clean, feed, clean, clean, feed, clean, feed, clean, clean, feed, clean. It is not lost on me how many incredibly intelligent people who are in the reptile business who have somehow chosen to clean snake poop as a career/favorite pastime. It’s a testimony to the general awesomeness of reptiles that we’re willing to endure such dirty work to have the magical moments that successful husbandry provides.
Right now I’m at the stage where I’m wondering if I’m going to make the playoffs. I do it to myself every year at this time. I’m at that stage where females are ovulating and going into pre-lay sheds. And it’s at this time of year when you start to wonder if you’ve done everything right. If you’re anything like me you can easily talk yourself into a panic. You start to think that you aren’t going to have any clutches at all, or maybe only a tiny fraction of what you are expecting. Year after year I drive myself crazy with worry and year after year it turns out to be unfounded. Everything works out fine. Worrying is part of the cycle for me.
Now the genetic odds on what pokes out of the egg in about 2 months is a completely different story. And that’s actually next up in my cycle of things to drive myself insane over.
I always get a greater sense of satisfaction from my breeding efforts when the animals who are taking care of business have been with me since they themselves were follicles in their momma’s belly. Hatching a snake, raising it, and seeing it produce babies of it’s own is one of the biggest personal rewards of the reptile husbandry business. I don’t keep hundreds of animals because it’s personally rewarding, though. A small and sentimental collection accomplishes that with much less effort. In the final analysis I always acknowledge that my primary reward is financial. That’s too much honesty, though. It’s not very PC of me to write such things. Don’t worry, though. I’ll fight through it.
That being said I still get all happy inside when I see one of my boys become a man. That first time you open the cage and see those two little ball pythons tails wrapped around each other is oh, so cool! That satisfaction increases ten-fold when it happens inside the first year (that’s the financial reward lover in me coming out). The male Ivory ball python in the photo was born in June 2008. Today, at the end of February 2009, he is working his magic with the ladies like he’s been doing it for years. He weighs about 700 grams, is producing sperm and already has carnal knowledge of three female yellow belly ball pythons.
Good work, little man! Good work! Godfather is proud of you.
I love white snakes. Beauty through simplicity.
Whether we’re talking about Ivories, Black-Eyed Leucistics or Blue-Eyed Leucistics I just don’t see how you can go wrong. Shame on me but I don’t have any Super Fire’s (black-eyed lucy’s) in my bag of tricks but I do keep blue-eyed lucy’s and ivory’s. They’re awesome.
Every now and then I catch wind of someone talking about how Ivory’s aren’t very attractive because as babies they look kind of dirty. What I ususally tell those people is that they need to see an adult Ivory. With age comes some impressive changes. Adult Ivory’s tend to be white as a fresh snow with a faint yellow line running down the back. Jet black eyes, red irises. R – I – D – I – C – U – L – O – U – S ! ! ! ! Wanna’ see it get cooler? Peep this: Pastel Ivory. Imagine a white snake dipped in a vat of soft yellow glow; like the stain of a buttercup on your skin. Sick! I haven’t seen a super pastel ivory ball python yet but I certainly do look forward to the day.
The key to the Ivory ball is the Yellow Belly, of course. Yellow Belly’s make Ivory Ball Pythons!!! This makes Yellow Belly females the single most under-valued snake in the reptile business these days. Like many other breeders I know, I have pretty much resolved myself to the fact that I’ll never sell another one. Besides making Ivory’s the Yellow Belly gene is like a scrub brush for every other morph; it just makes it better. I kept every female Yellow Belly I produced this year and will probably do the same again in 2009. I may let a few go, but not many. I’ll actually pick them up from others who are willing to let them go. I’m not alone in my thoughts. I did sell all of the Ivory’s I produced, though. Gotta’ pay the bills, I guess. If money wasn’t a factor I think I’d end up keeping 95% of what I produced. If you’re a breeder reading this you’ll probably agree with me. We’re our own best customer.
Anything Ghost just does it for me. Take any morph out there and add ghost to it: Boom! Better! Bada-bing Bada-boom! I’m always amazed to see what the ghost gene does to a morph. I absolutely love Ghost Mojaves (I can’t get enough of them). Ghost Black Pastels, a morph that you might think would be not too different from a normal ghost, are actually exceptional looking animals. Easily a favorite in my book. I’m so anxious to produce a ghost super black pastel that I can hardly stand waiting for the eggs. I’ll be a wreck on day 53 of that clutch. I haven’t seen a ghost clown yet and I both yearn for and fear the day I do. It’s going to wreck my bank account. I’m not close to producing them on my own this year or next year so I’ll have to drop some quan in the lap of someone parting with a male. Clown anything is a winner in my book.
One of my favorite ghost morphs right now is the cleverly named Humble Bee (aka the Ghost Bumble Bee, aka Ghost Pastel Spider). I guess we could also be calling this guy a Pastel Honey Bee. But I think I like Humble Bee best. It pleases me. Not sure who named it but they did a good job. One of the things I like so much about ghosts is watching the way they change colors throughout their lives. Every phase they go through is cool to see.
I suppose it’s possible that in a few years I may look back at the Humble Bee and wonder why I was so excited about them. Today I can’t see how that’s going to happen, though. They’re stunning. But with Ghost Spinner Blasts and Ghost Killer Blasts so close to being produced (may have been produced already, I’m not 100% sure) I can only dream of how the Humble Bee may pale in comparison. But then again, maybe not. I still don’t get tired of looking at my Honey Bees. I’d like to build an army of Honey Bee females. Aw heck, who am I kidding? I want to build an army of ball pythons.
I made a quick trip through my building with a camera earlier this season. Here are a few photos of who happened to be locked up at the time. It’s kind of like looking at a precursor to Christmas (Christmas being the day eggs hatch, of course). I continue to love the whole cycle. It’s filled with milestone all along the way. You’ve got breeding followed by ovulation followed by pre-lay shed followed by egg laying followed by hatching. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year through.”
Click on each thumbnail for a full-size view.[nggallery id=6]
Albino X Albino Het
Albino X Spider Het Albino
Super Pastel X Black Pastel
Bumble Bee Het Ghost X Orange Ghost
Clown X Pastel Het Clown
Ivory X Yellow Belly
Pastel Lesser X Black Pastel
Pinstripe X Pastel
Pinstripe X Spider