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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Huge clutch of Mexican Black Kingsnake eggs

This is my second year breeding Nigrita aka the Mexican Black Kingsnake. I wanted to show everyone this monster clutch, but first why I breed this species and my goals

Firstly, I love kingsnakes, but the amount of people who purchase kingsnakes and become dissatisfied with their personalities is very high. California kingsnakes are the worst in this respect, but all kingsnakes can be flighty, bitey and shit all over you.

I noticed early on that cornsnakes with horrible temperaments had bitey, crappy personality babies. Even when handling is accounted for. This is long documented in mammals as well, fear and arrousal (not the sexual kind) has a genetic component.

It is very easy to tease nature apart from nuture in reptiles because, by and large, they are raised identically, and its not like a dog that had a bad experience at the dog park and is now biting out of fear. Captive bred snakes, aside from perhaps a bad rodent bite (which can not happen to babies as the prey has no teeth at that age) do not get many, if any, opportunities to learn defensive behavior.

So three years ago I began aquiring adult black kings from the pet market for the would be colony. I also aquired one juvenile, aprox a year old.

Adult, aggressive pet snakes aren't common, as bitey animals rarely make it to maturity, several reasons but the most striking one is that aggressive animals have a very very high rehome rate.

Each rehome dramatically increases its chances of death as the animal is passed around to increasingly ignorant homes. Aggressive animals also tend to be rehomed for "free". Being given away vs a small fee being charged,  also increases the chances of an ignorant home. This has been proven true in rescue circles of all sorts of animals. From personal experience I know never to put an animal up for "free". It attracts people who just want it for free, not who actually want it.

Anyway! As a responsible breeder, its not only my job to screen homes and set up realistic expectations from the get go. Its also my job to provide healthy animals that eat properly.

I also believe in breeding animals with personality in mind and I do not breed any animals I deem to be overly shy, aggressive, or with over the top feeding responses.

So I assembled this colony with that in mind. All the adults are tame, and while they do look for food, know the difference between hands and mice. None of the adults musk, tail rattle or empty their bowels in fear.

Several did not make the cut. Nervous animals that did not calm down with gentle handling. Animals that continued to bite and bite and bite, even after being picked up in an obvious "you are NOT being fed" situation.  These were sold off to knowlegable people who understood what they were getting into.

I am very proud of the results. Aside from ONE anomalous rogue baby, they were all tame, easy to handle and NO returns and NO complaints after purchase (this never happens with other kingsnakes). There were 30+ babies in all.  If they get rehomed, it will likely have nothing to do with their behavior.

My holdbacks are growing up and will be reproductive NEXT season (2016) and hopefully I'll find suitable mates to outcross them to and continue to breed towards docility.

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