Labor Day Weekend Albino Nelson’s

Way back on June 25 of this year, one of my Albino Nelson’s Milk Snakes had a clutch of six eggs. Here she is with five eggs out and one more to go.

On Saturday some of the babies started breaking through their eggshells. Baby snakes tend to stay in their eggs for a couple of days after cutting through their shells.

Yesterday the first one came out.

Then one of its siblings decided to do the same.

And today the scene looked something like this.

Not a bad way to celebrate the holiday weekend!

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Baby Reverse Okeetee Corn Snakes

In 1953 a wild albino Corn Snake was discovered. Hobbyists call snakes lacking black pigment “albino,” which is different from the all-white albino lab mice and other all-white animals most people associate with the word albino.

Dr. H. Bernard Bechtel was studying genetics and found that the albino gene was a simple recessive genetic trait and was easy to reproduce. The orange coloration made for an especially attractive looking snake. Years later other color and pattern morphs were put in the mix. Here is one of my Corn Snakes laying her eggs in mid-May.

An albino Corn Snake with wide white borders around its blotches is referred to as a “Reverse Okeetee.” Okeetee Corns occur in South Carolina and are known for their wide, black borders. In the printing industry a “reverse” is to print something black in white and vice versa.

Corn Snake eggs generally take 60-70 days to hatch, depending on the temperature. When a snake uses its eggtooth to break through its shell its called “pipping.” Young snakes stay in their eggs for 1 to 3 days after pipping.

Often after hatching snakes are of a dull hue, this is because they go through a shed cycle and there is a layer of filmy liquid between the snake’s new skin and the one its about to cast off. Corn Snake clutches typically have around 16 eggs.

This is what they look like around a week later, after their first shed. Baby Corn Snakes eat newborn mice, small frogs and lizards. Corn Snakes are the world’s most popular pet snakes. Their range of colors and patterns, gentle disposition, convenient adult size and low maintenance attributes make them an ideal pet.

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Santa Cruz Garter Snake Giving Birth Today

Santa Cruz Garter Snakes only live in California from the San Francisco Bay Area to Santa Barbara County. There are no native water snakes that live in the Golden State, so this reptile fills that ecological niche, eating fish and frogs and using waterways as an escape route – it dives well and can stay submerged for quite some time.

I became fascinated with this species after seeing the one-striped morph on the cover of a book. I have been breeding them for four years now, though I’ve never seen one give birth until today.

Babies are born in a clear membrane that they break out of. Birth occurs typically 90 to 100 days after mating. This species usually has about a dozen offspring.

Young Santa Cruz Garter Snakes are miniature replicas of their parents. Shortly after breaking through their membranes, they shed their skin.

These snakes are completely independent of their parents and ready to start hunting for food. I feed mine small fish that I catch in the creek in my backyard.

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Baby Northern Pine Snakes

Remember the post of my female Northern Pine Snake laying eggs at the beginning of June? Well her eggs started hatching a couple of days ago. This one was the first one out.

Pine Snake eggs usually take about 65 days to hatch, depending on the temperature.

Young pines are completely independent of their parents and can hiss, strike, catch food and constrict right after hatching.

They can be surprisingly big babies, often around 18 inches in length.

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Corn Snake Clutches for 2012

Now that vacation is over, it’s time to get “back to business” and tend to my snakes. I’ve had several Corn Snakes lay eggs during the past few weeks. Their docile nature, moderate adult size, attractive colors and patterns, and comparatively simple care make Corn Snakes popular pet reptiles.

Over the past few decades many “morphs” (color and pattern variations) have been developed. Though there are well over 100 morphs (and more new ones each year). I just work with a few that I find appealing. These are the types I hope to produce later this Summer.

First clutch: Reverse Okeetee – my favorite morph (bred to a male Reverse Okeetee).

Vanishing Pattern Ghost (bred to Vanishing Pattern male).

Aberrant Reverse Okeetee (bred to male Reverse Okeetee).

Creamsicle (bred to Reverse Okeetee).

Vanishing Pattern Ghost (bred to Vanishing Pattern male).

Butter Motley (bred to Striped Butter), I got a few bad eggs in this clutch.

Striped (bred to Vanishing Pattern Ghost).

It should be a fun season!

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Northern Pine Snake Laying Eggs

Ever since I was a kid and read about an elusive seven-foot white snake with a bold, black pattern which lives underground, I’ve been fascinated with Northern Pine Snakes. I’ve been keeping them for a number of years. Here is one of my females laying eggs today. She lined the first half-dozen up neatly in a row.

The secretive nature of pine snakes makes them difficult to find in the wild. They spend much of their time in the subterranean tunnels of pocket gophers, their favorite food item. Occasionally a Northern Pine will enter an animal burrow, consume the inhabitants, and then take possession of the burrow.

Not only do wild Northern Pine Snakes dig nests for egg-laying purposes, but they also practice communal nesting. Multiple pine snakes return to the same site year after year to deposit eggs. A pine snake burrow is truly an impressive sight, with the sand pile excavated by the female sometimes being 2 or 3 feet across.

Northern Pine Snakes prefer to inhabit pine barrens and sand-hill regions throughout their scattered range.

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Russian Rat Snake Eggs

It can be difficult adjusting to being back in the Greater Cleveland Area after 10 days of vacation in California. Especially with the two days of snow we had earlier this week. A nice “consolation prize” was my first clutch of snake eggs this year. This clutch was from a Russian Ratsnake.

These are active and personable pets that are among my favorites. They typically have a dozen eggs. If you’d like to learn more about Russian Rat Snakes, check out my article in “Reptiles” magazine titled Black Russians.

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Baird’s Rat Snakes

The Baird’s Rat Snake is only native to Texas and further south, less than five small disjointed ranges in Mexico. It is its own species (bairdi) separate from common rat snakes. It is difficult to find in the wild, as it is uncommon, has a spotty distribution and generally lives in relatively inaccessible areas. They tend to favor canyon habitats. Like other rat snakes, they are constrictors, feeding mostly on small mammals and birds. They average 3-4 feet in length. Baird’s Rat Snakes usually have small clutches of eggs (less than 10) late in the year compared to common rat snakes.

Once rare in captivity and therefore commanding a high price, the Baird’s Rat Snake has become more and more popular in recent years as snake keepers have discovered its beauty and docile nature. These snakes require the exact same care as a Corn Snake.

The most intriguing characteristic about this snake is it’s coloring. They start out as “ugly ducklings,” being primarily grey. Over time they dull grey coloration becomes a metallic silver. Between the scales a complex background coloration often features shades of red, orange, yellow and even purple.

This snake is named for Spencer Fullerton Baird, a zoologist and administrator of the Smithsonian Institution during the 19th century. Baird (who also has a sparrow and sandpiper named after him) fueled much of the zoological discovery that accompanied the opening of the West.

I’ve been working with Vivid Line Baird’s for a few years. This winter has been quite mild and today seemed like a good day to take some snake photos. I dig the way these Baird’s Rat Snakes always seem to be changing color, depending on their age and what kind of light you’re looking at them under.

Adult male:

Adult female:

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