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  1. #1
    Registered User timeakinga's Avatar
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    1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Here to seek (kind) advice this is my first time trying for breeding some healthy noodles!
    First.. hereís an X-ray progression of my Enchi(lada) who has been a mom of multiple clutches. I work at a veterinary office so I would take more but I donít want to over expose the poss. noodles in progress. So fun to see though!

    As for my questions:
    ive read many, many, many, and also very other many varied opinions of egg incubation strategies. I posted part of what I have going currently in the second photo (since lack of detail has gotten me in trouble on here before....)

    I am choosing to go the route of Vermiculite. I used an egg crate in the light diffuser section and used a soldering iron to melt a chunk of the crate to fit the size of the egg tub.

    1. Iíve seen the egg crate both hover above the vermiculite and set on it. Which is recommended?
    2. Iíve also read the same set up but with the egg crate set in that tub substrateless but above water.
    3. I am having a hard time maintaining the 90-100% humidity range for the eggs (correct me if this not actually the ideal range) granted I have not yet received my digital humidity gauge yet for more accuracy and I have not yet made the 1:1 ratio of the vermiculite for under the egg box nor the water since Iím wondering which is better. So how do you guys best maintain consistent humidity even if it fluctuates despite daily misting? Iíve tried to set wet paper towels as well and didnít make a whole lot of a difference for me......
    4. Around mid/late January she went in to what I thought was pre-lay shed. Pink belly, much more gray appearance. She went back to normal and now itís been longer than normally my others would have shed by now. Iíve read not all go into a pre-lay shed. If they skip over this part is there another tell tale sign for when to roughly expect eggs?

    I unfortunately do not trust myself to make a self incubator that I can count on so this is the incubator Iíve got going. Iím just hoping to have the eggs hatch healthy so I would love kind input. Iím here to learn how to better myself! Thank you lots!





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  3. #2
    Registered User Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    So: My two cents.

    If your incubator is maintaining an internal temperature of 88 degrees and you are using moist substrate/or water only: and the container is well sealed: humidity will = 100% and thus either method works.

    I don't bother my eggs except for checking them on a weekly/biweekly basis to discard 'bad' eggs or every 2-3 days near hatch date to do an air exchange. Misting or any other activity on a daily basis to disturb the eggs would be bad due to the related temperature fluctuations.

    X-Rays are cool, but, don't expect them to forecast lay date. Females can and do withhold eggs until they are 'ready' and even large follicles are no guarantee that they turn into eggs or do not get reabsorbed and/or slug out on lay. Females will lay when they are prepared. Do continue to mate the female to the male until the eggs are physically in-hand.

    That Exo-Terra incubator in the picture is notorious for having unstable temperatures due to poor electronics. People say that some stop working randomly and others say they heat/cool incorrectly after a period of time. I would never use one of those incubators. Building an incubator around a reliable proportional thermostat with a heat source is still your best bet. There are many posts in the forums regarding great builds. But, if you are feeling lucky...maybe your unit will be the one that works properly.

    Best of luck!
    *.* TNTC

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    e_nigma (02-02-2019),paulh (02-04-2019),timeakinga (02-02-2019)

  5. #3
    Registered User Treeman's Avatar
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Just gotta say I love how snakes look on x-ray.

    Let me first say that I have not yet bred snakes, but because I really want to sometime in the near future, I have done a lot of research on it. That being said, since I have no experience breeding, I definitely suggest that you don't take my advice as the only ideas. Definitely get some advice from some experienced breeders first before following what I'm saying, and this site is a great place for that.

    That being said, from what I have learned through a lot of research is that people suspend the eggs above their vermiculite or perlite medium on egg crate because if they are sat right on damp medium, they can absorb water and drown the snake in the egg. I have seen people do both substrate-less (just water under the suspended eggs) as well as a dampened vermiculite or perlite substrate, and I think its just two different methods of incubating. Not sure if one is better than the other necessarily, just a different way to do it. For the humidity issue, I'd definitely wait to see about that until you have a quality digital hydrometer. If you are using the analog ones, let me just tell you I have had horrible ones that did not read accurately in the slightest. No way I'd trust them in an incubator.

    Thats really all I have for now. I obviously don't hold a candle to any of the breeders on here, some who have been doing it for many years. One suggestion I might make is to try to find a breeder in your area that will allow you to go to their place, check out their methods and equipment and what has worked well for them, and ask questions. Again, I definitely don't suggest you run with my advice, just wanted to share what I have learned. Nothing beats experience, so take what the experienced guys and girls on here tell you over what I have said any day.

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  7. #4
    Registered User timeakinga's Avatar
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Sorril View Post
    So: My two cents.

    If your incubator is maintaining an internal temperature of 88 degrees and you are using moist substrate/or water only: and the container is well sealed: humidity will = 100% and thus either method works.

    I don't bother my eggs except for checking them on a weekly/biweekly basis to discard 'bad' eggs or every 2-3 days near hatch date to do an air exchange. Misting or any other activity on a daily basis to disturb the eggs would be bad due to the related temperature fluctuations.

    X-Rays are cool, but, don't expect them to forecast lay date. Females can and do withhold eggs until they are 'ready' and even large follicles are no guarantee that they turn into eggs or do not get reabsorbed and/or slug out on lay. Females will lay when they are prepared. Do continue to mate the female to the male until the eggs are physically in-hand.

    That Exo-Terra incubator in the picture is notorious for having unstable temperatures due to poor electronics. People say that some stop working randomly and others say they heat/cool incorrectly after a period of time. I would never use one of those incubators. Building an incubator around a reliable proportional thermostat with a heat source is still your best bet. There are many posts in the forums regarding great builds. But, if you are feeling lucky...maybe your unit will be the one that works properly.

    Best of luck!

    I wonder if itís maybe the machineís heating system/airflow that is making it not sealed and as you said allowing the humidity to drop. Do you seal the egg boxes too or just the incubator itself?

    Perfect Iíve definitely read that daily checks where you open the containers are a no-no!

    One of the vets I work with confirmed that she is gravid and I can expect eggs but just as you said that ultimately means little and thereís always so much room for error especially with something as sensitive as eggs. Sheís been seemingly more uncomfortable and in different positions the past two weeks like ones Iíve seen online and sheís gained weight tho I really refrain from touching her at all. So im still crossing my fingers! Do you by chance have any weight comparisons from snakes that went from normal to having large follicles but didnít lay to ones that were normal to right before they did lay? I just wanna be prepped with all this prior and to be honest Iím not feeling so confident that I am! And I would hate to ďproduceĒ snakes that are unhealthy.

    Hahaha doesnít sound like a very bright future with this machine! I figured due to not the highest of ratings and the amount of people that use self built incubators that it maaaaaay not be the most ideal but wanted to see for myself and keep the receipt nearby I figured I would take a chance to try to make it easier and so far with the thermometer (again waiting for my digital and more accurate one) it has been steady heat wise. Whether itís the correct degrees of steady will be TBD by the other thermometer 🙃

    any chance you have link to a cost effective and very well explained / simple self made incubator? Iím so nervous to mess up!

    Thank you for your reply!

  8. #5
    Registered User timeakinga's Avatar
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Treeman View Post
    Just gotta say I love how snakes look on x-ray.

    Let me first say that I have not yet bred snakes, but because I really want to sometime in the near future, I have done a lot of research on it. That being said, since I have no experience breeding, I definitely suggest that you don't take my advice as the only ideas. Definitely get some advice from some experienced breeders first before following what I'm saying, and this site is a great place for that.

    That being said, from what I have learned through a lot of research is that people suspend the eggs above their vermiculite or perlite medium on egg crate because if they are sat right on damp medium, they can absorb water and drown the snake in the egg. I have seen people do both substrate-less (just water under the suspended eggs) as well as a dampened vermiculite or perlite substrate, and I think its just two different methods of incubating. Not sure if one is better than the other necessarily, just a different way to do it. For the humidity issue, I'd definitely wait to see about that until you have a quality digital hydrometer. If you are using the analog ones, let me just tell you I have had horrible ones that did not read accurately in the slightest. No way I'd trust them in an incubator.

    Thats really all I have for now. I obviously don't hold a candle to any of the breeders on here, some who have been doing it for many years. One suggestion I might make is to try to find a breeder in your area that will allow you to go to their place, check out their methods and equipment and what has worked well for them, and ask questions. Again, I definitely don't suggest you run with my advice, just wanted to share what I have learned. Nothing beats experience, so take what the experienced guys and girls on here tell you over what I have said any day.
    Right I love the details of their spines. Thank you for your response! Just because you havenít yet done it doesnít mean youíre super knowledgeable! Of course itís different once you actually have to do it but as Iím in the process I still can take info from this. So thanks you. Iíll definitely stick to letting it hover above rather than setting the crate directly on it. I appreciate you input!

  9. #6
    Registered User Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Quote Originally Posted by timeakinga View Post
    Do you by chance have any weight comparisons from snakes that went from normal to having large follicles but didnít lay to ones that were normal to right before they did lay?
    I don't really weigh my snakes on a regular basis unless I'm tracking a potential health issue...I have a lot...
    any chance you have link to a cost effective and very well explained / simple self made incubator? Iím so nervous to mess up!
    Sure, the site won't let me post the link at the moment: But, User: WmHrbst made a 'DIY incubator build' post on January 29th with a video. It is a good basic design.
    Thank you for your reply!
    You are welcome. Hopefully this helps.
    *.* TNTC

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  11. #7
    Registered User timeakinga's Avatar
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Sorril View Post
    I don't really weigh my snakes on a regular basis unless I'm tracking a potential health issue...I have a lot...

    Sure, the site won't let me post the link at the moment: But, User: WmHrbst made a 'DIY incubator build' post on January 29th with a video. It is a good basic design.
    You are welcome. Hopefully this helps.
    Youíre awesome Iíll definitely view it in a bit thanks again!!

  12. #8
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Quote Originally Posted by timeakinga View Post
    I wonder if itís maybe the machineís heating system/airflow that is making it not sealed and as you said allowing the humidity to drop. Do you seal the egg boxes too or just the incubator itself?

    ....
    I've never had ball python eggs, but I have incubated corn snake, bull snake, and Burmese python eggs. IMO, Lord Sorril's answers are excellent.

    I took Lord Sorril's "container" to mean the egg box. Then you do not need to seal the incubator. For what it's worth, I have always get an adequate seal by just putting the top on the egg box. I open the box once a week for air exchange (twice per week for relatively small egg boxes) until the last week or two. Then twice a week. Sometimes I have put an open box with the incubation medium inside a larger plastic box with a top that can be sealed. That may be possible if the incubator has enough vertical room. If the egg box is open, who knows what could suck up the humidity.

    By the way, if the incubation boxes are the ones pictured in the original post and the egg crate squares are one inch square, then the boxes are only 6 inches by 9 inches. I've never used anything smaller than a shoe box (14x6x4 inches).

    The 1:1 ratio of water to vermiculite only applies if the eggs are sitting on the vermiculite. If the eggs are on the egg crate, just saturate the vermiculite. By the way, many of the plastic shoe and sweater boxes that I've used had pinhole leaks in the corners. I've either plugged them with silicone or used a tray to catch any leaks.

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  14. #9
    Registered User timeakinga's Avatar
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    Re: 1st time hobby breeding Qs+ x-ray progress photo :)

    Quote Originally Posted by paulh View Post
    I've never had ball python eggs, but I have incubated corn snake, bull snake, and Burmese python eggs. IMO, Lord Sorril's answers are excellent.

    I took Lord Sorril's "container" to mean the egg box. Then you do not need to seal the incubator. For what it's worth, I have always get an adequate seal by just putting the top on the egg box. I open the box once a week for air exchange (twice per week for relatively small egg boxes) until the last week or two. Then twice a week. Sometimes I have put an open box with the incubation medium inside a larger plastic box with a top that can be sealed. That may be possible if the incubator has enough vertical room. If the egg box is open, who knows what could suck up the humidity.

    By the way, if the incubation boxes are the ones pictured in the original post and the egg crate squares are one inch square, then the boxes are only 6 inches by 9 inches. I've never used anything smaller than a shoe box (14x6x4 inches).

    The 1:1 ratio of water to vermiculite only applies if the eggs are sitting on the vermiculite. If the eggs are on the egg crate, just saturate the vermiculite. By the way, many of the plastic shoe and sweater boxes that I've used had pinhole leaks in the corners. I've either plugged them with silicone or used a tray to catch any leaks.
    Thank you for your response I just saw it. And you actually answered questions I didnít even know to be asking. So if that incubator is technically ďsealedĒ then the egg box top can be off or vice versa if the incubator isnít sealed then put egg box top on? Or did I misunderstand?
    Mommy of 7


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