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  1. #1
    John1982's Avatar
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    Color Change BHP

    My black-headed python(Aspidites melanocephalus) underwent a major color change during her most recent shed cycle. I think it's pretty interesting stuff so figured I'd share. This phenomenon seems to be more prevalent in some of the "Swiss" line critters so there is a genetic factor involved though mode of inheritance and exact cause of the thing are still unknowns.

    This first picture is what she looked like just a month or so prior. A beautiful(if I say so myself) black-headed python:



    Here she is after shedding. It's neat and all but I personally prefer her original look. We'll see what I think after another shed or two:



    and a couple bonus pics because I'm pretty darn excited to be incubating these 8 massive eggs:


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  3. #2
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    That IS a big change, but since she has recently laid all those huge eggs, I personally suspect that her color change is due to some sort of nutritional deficiency-
    it takes a lot out of a snake to reproduce. Have you tried giving her a good reptile vitamin/mineral supplement (maybe added to her f/t prey)-? I would...
    Many friends in low places...

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  5. #3
    John1982's Avatar
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    Re: Color Change BHP

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    That IS a big change, but since she has recently laid all those huge eggs, I personally suspect that her color change is due to some sort of nutritional deficiency-
    it takes a lot out of a snake to reproduce. Have you tried giving her a good reptile vitamin/mineral supplement (maybe added to her f/t prey)-? I would...
    That's one of the theories and I've heard of at least one person where the snake colored back up again after calcium supplements. The fact that this cropped up on my girl during egg production lends further weight to the deficiency/imbalance arguments. It could also be a coincidence and I'm hesitant to add supplements as I've always been very cautious about what I feed these critters, keeping the menu lean and diverse. I prefer to let my animals regain what they've lost through breeding at a more natural pace as opposed to pumping them back up quickly. Color changing also isn't limited to egg producing females, nonbreeding females and males alike can be affected. It seems to most often occur gradually over time with animals changing back, once started, being the less common scenario. The fellow who I bought this girl from has had multiple customers contact him about their animals changing color years later. Neither of the parents are color changers but they have been traced back to the "Swiss" line so it definitely feels like there's a genetic component involved. The fact that it can hit males too leads me away from the sudden deficiency line of thinking but doesn't altogether negate some sort of imbalance. As you probably know, a lot of captive BHP are overweight and since these color changes don't seem to occur until animals have some years of growth, it could very well be an imbalance issue. There's also the theory that it's an autoimmune related condition, something similar to vitiligo.

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  7. #4
    John1982's Avatar
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    Well, with 50+ days of incubation and hardly a hiccup, I was kind of ready for a bit of heartache as this is my first time incubating BHPs and was basically experimenting with the eggs. Yesterday was day 56 and I noticed I had some pippers! I also noticed the smell was slightly off in one of my tubs(I setup several egg tubs for this clutch so I could mess around with medium/humidity). Sure enough, 2 of the snakes in this tub had expired. They even made it so far as to cut some slits with their egg tooth but I guess not enough to poke out. Due to the amount of bubbles I found when manually opening these eggs, I'm assuming they drowned. It's sad but when I feed those beautiful bodies off to some other snakes, it takes a fair bit of the sting away seeing it go to a good cause. Today I had 3 that exited fully from their eggs with 3 still remaining in the eggs and looking solid - alert and tongues flicking. To say I'm excited is an understatement with one in particular blowing my mind. I can't wait to see these things after they shed out!







    Interesting chin mark on this little one. The sire has a little tan spec on his chin but not nearly to this degree.



    Last edited by John1982; 08-07-2019 at 08:29 PM.

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  9. #5
    BPnet Veteran EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Color Change BHP

    Congratulations John! Well done sir. BHPs are one of the most beautiful snakes around.
    2.2 Carpet Pythons, 1.1 Bullsnakes
    1.0 Bredl's Python, 1.0 Olive Python 1.0 Scrub Python,
    1.0 BI, 0.1 BO,

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  11. #6
    BPnet Senior Member Reinz's Avatar
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    Images: 9
    Congrats John! I love hearing about more BHPs.
    The one thing I found that you can count on about Balls is that they are consistent about their inconsistentcy.

    1.2 Coastal Carpet Pythons
    Mack The Knife, 2013
    Lizzy, 2010
    Etta, 2013
    1.1 Jungle Carpet Pythons
    Esmarelda , 2014
    Sundance, 2012
    2.0 Common BI Boas, Punch, 2005; Butch, age?
    0.1 Normal Ball Python, Elvira, 2001
    0.1 Olive (Aussie) Python, Olivia, 2017

    Please excuse the spelling in my posts. Auto-Correct is my worst enema.

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  13. #7
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    Re: Color Change BHP

    Congratulations there so cool, love the glossy heads

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk

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  15. #8
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    They look amazing, you must be over the moon.
    Many friends in low places...

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  17. #9
    in evinco persecutus dr del's Avatar
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    Re: Color Change BHP

    They look adorable.

    Sorry you lost a couple though - is there any info on cutting BHP eggs and the results?

    It's a species I know very little about but the little I have read makes them sound facinating.
    Derek

    7 adult Royals (2.5), 1.0 COS Pastel, 1.0 Enchi, 1.1 Lesser platty Royal python, 1.1 Black pastel Royal python, 0.1 Blue eyed leucistic ( Super lesser), 0.1 Piebald Royal python, 1.0 Sinaloan milk snake 1.0 crested gecko and 1 bad case of ETS. no wife, no surprise.

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  19. #10
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Wow my dream snake, wonder if my husband would notice one that big
    Deborah Stewart

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