The Incubator - Temperature

Breeding Ball Pythons for Dummies

My Version (different things work for different breeders)

The process of breeding ball pythons is a year around schedule.

  1. Beginning October 1 I slowly begin cooling all my breeders. I lower my room temperature by 1° per day until it is set to the low 70's or high 60's. I use 68° as my setpoint. This will allow the temperature overnight to lower from daytime highs to low 70's at night. At night I will also turn off my belly heat (heat tape, or under tank heat) I turn it back on in the morning when I turn on the lights. I attempt during this period to adjust the number of hours that the lights in my snake room are left on from 12 - 14 hrs to 10 hrs. Many breeders don't believe that lighting effects their breeders, but I am of the opinion that anything I can do to simulate winter I will try.
  2. I begin pairing males and females usually the second week of cooling. These pairings may or may not achieve gravidity, but I believe that it makes the females and males more prone to copulation, so that when the time is right they are both in the mood. I put the male with the female for 2 - 3 days depending on seeing visual lock-ups. If I see a lock up I will remove the male once they seperate.
  3. I cool for one full month. Then I slowly begin to raise the temperature 1 degree per day until my normal room temperature is reached. My normal room temperature is kept all year except October at 79°. This allows the fluctuation from 78° - 80° in the room. I also will begin to leave the under tank or heat tape on 24/7.
  4. I continue to pair breeders watching carefully to make sure that the males eat enough to maintain their health. Many will not eat at all without an extended length of time between pairings. Remember that they can go for months without food without major health issues, but one snake is different from another so use good judgment. Usually if a male has not eaten for a month, I will stop pairing until he eats something, then I will resume pairing.
  5. Ovulation will occur sometime within the next 3-4 months. I have had ovulations as much as 6 - 8 months after cooling. This really depends on the individual snake. Usually once ovulation occurs you can stop pairing the snakes, but if you are not sure, you can continue to pair them until she lays.

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