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  1. #1
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    Cali King Breeding questions?

    Hi so me and mines we have 25 ball pythons and have done extensive research on their behaves but we also have 2 Cali King snakes one male and one female, the female being much bigger and older than the male, the male is still a baby, roughly only 35gs while the female is about 12 months old and close to 100gs, we have 2 incubators already, one is home Made and can only hold a single clutch box and we were thinking about using it for the king snakes eventually as our other incubator holds 6 clutch boxes. So my questions are this, how big do they need to be, what's the incubation specifications and duration? I under there needs to be a brumate period of 2-3 months at temperatures of 45-55 degrees and then they need fed a couple times and then introduced, but if someone could direct me to a more indepth manual or timeframe or describe it for me here I would be forever grateful, thank you all so much ahead of time.

  2. #2
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    First off, I wouldn't try to breed king snakes that young. Waiting until they're at least 3 years old (I prefer 4, actually) makes it far less likely they'll have trouble with egg-binding. Their bodies need time to mature- a yearling king snake is NOT ready to breed. Not saying it never happens (or is attempted) in the wild, that can't be helped, but I'd never allow it with my animals.

    Also, remember these snakes will sometimes eat each other, so they must be well-fed & it's a good idea to get them acquainted with each other's scent BEFORE you try to put them together- to judge their readiness, but also their reactions (mating vs. hunger). I also think that getting them some exposure to each other's scent tends to facilitate the breeding when it does occur. This can be accomplished in several ways: (1) Put them separately in each other's cage for a while. Then put them back in their own. (2) Handle them one at a time, so their scent transfers to you & your clothing- trust me, they'll notice the scent you're wearing. Talk about "playing match-maker" LOL! But this is what I did, & when I put my kings together they mated, no trouble. I think this is likely equivalent to what transpires in nature- only outside, they become aware of each other by their scent left in the area- so it's not a sudden "blind date".

    When it comes time for them to actually mate, stay ready to separate them if needed- it doesn't take long for one to kill the other by "mistake". I wouldn't leave them together unobserved- I gave mine some time together -several hours at a time on subsequent days- with separations in between. Had plenty of success too, btw. But PLEASE wait for them to mature physically.

    Brumation- you don't need to get them that cold- 55* is low enough. Do make SURE they have no undigested meals in them when brumated- so stop feeding 3 weeks before you gradually lower their temps. & turn off their heat. They can die from food rotting in their digestive tract during brumation- I hope you fully understand that. During brumation, their immune system is also 'on hold', so it's not without risks, & if you suspect ANY health issues, don't brumate snakes. Every now & then snakes may not wake up from brumation, or they wake up sick. Just be prepared for that, if these are primarily your pets.

    One more thing I'll mention: once you breed some colubrids, you may "plan" to give them next year "off" but their bodies have a different idea. Whether or not they mate again, some snakes will continue to churn out eggs, fertile or not. So breeding a female snake that's not fully grown is very likely to stunt her growth, because from that time on, she'll be churning out eggs. This is another reason it's best to wait until they're 3-4 years old & their full adult size has been attained. There's usually no going back.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 07-26-2021 at 03:23 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    DCR (07-26-2021)

  4. #3
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    Re: Cali King Breeding questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    First off, I wouldn't try to breed king snakes that young. Waiting until they're at least 3 years old (I prefer 4, actually) makes it far less likely they'll have trouble with egg-binding. Their bodies need time to mature- a yearling king snake is NOT ready to breed. Not saying it never happens (or is attempted) in the wild, that can't be helped, but I'd never allow it with my animals.

    Also, remember these snakes will sometimes eat each other, so they must be well-fed & it's a good idea to get them acquainted with each other's scent BEFORE you try to put them together- to judge their readiness, but also their reactions (mating vs. hunger). I also think that getting them some exposure to each other's scent tends to facilitate the breeding when it does occur. This can be accomplished in several ways: (1) Put them separately in each other's cage for a while. Then put them back in their own. (2) Handle them one at a time, so their scent transfers to you & your clothing- trust me, they'll notice the scent you're wearing. Talk about "playing match-maker" LOL! But this is what I did, & when I put my kings together they mated, no trouble. I think this is likely equivalent to what transpires in nature- only outside, they become aware of each other by their scent left in the area- so it's not a sudden "blind date".

    When it comes time for them to actually mate, stay ready to separate them if needed- it doesn't take long for one to kill the other by "mistake". I wouldn't leave them together unobserved- I gave mine some time together -several hours at a time on subsequent days- with separations in between. Had plenty of success too, btw. But PLEASE wait for them to mature physically.

    Brumation- you don't need to get them that cold- 55* is low enough. Do make SURE they have no undigested meals in them when brumated- so stop feeding 3 weeks before you gradually lower their temps. & turn off their heat. They can die from food rotting in their digestive tract during brumation- I hope you fully understand that. During brumation, their immune system is also 'on hold', so it's not without risks, & if you suspect ANY health issues, don't brumate snakes. Every now & then snakes may not wake up from brumation, or they wake up sick. Just be prepared for that, if these are primarily your pets.

    One more thing I'll mention: once you breed some colubrids, you may "plan" to give them next year "off" but their bodies have a different idea. Whether or not they mate again, some snakes will continue to churn out eggs, fertile or not. So breeding a female snake that's not fully grown is very likely to stunt her growth, because from that time on, she'll be churning out eggs. This is another reason it's best to wait until they're 3-4 years old & their full adult size has been attained. There's usually no going back.
    Very useful information. It's greatly appreciated, I had absolutely 0 intentions of breeding them this young lol but I understand your concern for just stating in incase I happened to be THAT guy lmao. But like I said that is very useful information you stated, I guess one question I have for sure is not necessarily age parameters involved because it does seem quite common in my opinion that the average age for sexual maturity in snakes tends to be in the 3 years ball park. But aside from age what kind of weight and/or length parameters do you think are involved with the adult fully grown and sexually mature Cali king snakes, both male and female separately if that makes any sense at all?

  5. #4
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    Re: Cali King Breeding questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by DCR View Post
    Very useful information. It's greatly appreciated, I had absolutely 0 intentions of breeding them this young lol but I understand your concern for just stating in incase I happened to be THAT guy lmao. But like I said that is very useful information you stated, I guess one question I have for sure is not necessarily age parameters involved because it does seem quite common in my opinion that the average age for sexual maturity in snakes tends to be in the 3 years ball park. But aside from age what kind of weight and/or length parameters do you think are involved with the adult fully grown and sexually mature Cali king snakes, both male and female separately if that makes any sense at all?
    Well you went right from talking about their sizes to "incubators" so I wanted to be clear about that. You had me a little worried, lol. (& you wouldn't be the "first", trying to power-feed etc).

    I don't spend time weighing my snakes, but the typical adult breedable king snake (female) should be a good 4'+ long with proportionate body weight, so they have plenty of room for eggs.

    Bigger (overall & longer length) is better- you want well-fed & solid but not overweight/"fat". I hesitate to specify any exact length, because just like humans, their growth will depend on their individual genes even with equal care given. One might reach 4', another 4.5' with the same care, for example.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    DCR (07-26-2021)

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    Re: Cali King Breeding questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Well you went right from talking about their sizes to "incubators" so I wanted to be clear about that. You had me a little worried, lol. (& you wouldn't be the "first", trying to power-feed etc).

    I don't spend time weighing my snakes, but the typical adult breedable king snake (female) should be a good 4'+ long with proportionate body weight, so they have plenty of room for eggs.

    Bigger (overall & longer length) is better- you want well-fed & solid but not overweight/"fat". I hesitate to specify any exact length, because just like humans, their growth will depend on their individual genes even with equal care given. One might reach 4', another 4.5' with the same care, for example.
    Very understandable and apologies for jumping around quite alot in my original post, we have the incubators prepared for our ball pythons, we have several already at breeding size and have been trying to actively pair one and eventually we plan on trying to breed our 2 king snakes but obviously we have a long while to go, which is fine, I was mainly curious as we haven't done a whole lot of research into the actual reproduction of the king snakes, we've researched quite alot on the ball pythons and was basically looking for a jumping off point on the Cali kings, I wasn't trying to be confusing and if I was then I really am sorry about that lol. Power feeding is definitely frowned upon in our collection, I definitely understand the whole concept of; just because they'll eat another it doesn't mean they should. Do you have any actual references for this topic? I'm genuinely curious, or would you say that your knowledge is all from your actual personal experiences? You seem to be very knowledgeable on the subject I just didn't know if there was any more information else where(aside from Googling) where possibly reputable breeders might have posted their knowledge or potentially described their process in the art of colubrid breeding, and possibly specifically Cali kings? We were buying some more asf colonies the other night and was trying to bring the subject up to the guy we bought them from and he just didn't seem to be very knowledgeable on the subject, as he claimed he tried it once and it went horribly, sooo I'm not trying to downplay what information you've already given me because you've already educated me more on a subject I once knew nothing about.

    Just trying to stress that I mean no disrespect at all 😇

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    Bogertophis (07-27-2021)

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