July 13, 2009
I never would have thought the Anery Jungle Boa would have turned out so awesome. Bill Kirby just posted these babies up on Kingsnake.com. I pulled one pic for you all here, but you should check them all out by clicking here. I would just link from the post, but kingsnake has a bad reputation full pulling great content down for absolutely no reason at all.
June 25, 2009
Guy Scavone II @ BoaGallery.com has had one of the coolest litters of the season. He produced the first Motleybesque sunglow. I believe the Motleybesque sunglow is a first in two categories. The first is the fact that it’s a four gene combination (Motley, Arabesque, Hypo and Albino). If this is not the case please add a comment to this post and I’ll update this. The second is the simple fact that this morph combination had not been done before now.
More great pics over on KingSnake boa forum posted by Guy himself.
I think it’s great that this combination was done, but I must admit that I don’t think I would do it, and frankly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think the Motley and Arabesque patterns look amazing by themselves and do not get better with mixing. I’m not a purist by any means, I just think they look better by themselves.
This pairing has been done before without the sunglow factor and I thought the same thing then. Why make two incredible patterns crash into each other? It reminds me a bit of the triple het for moonglow boa (Hypo, het albino, het anery). It’s great to have for breeding/gene purposes, but the snake looks like a mutt. The Motleybesque does not look like a mutt as much as the triple het moonglow, but I still think the motley and arabesque detract from each other. This of course is only my opinion and I’m sure there are folks that would give their right pinkie to have one of these Motleybesques.
Either way you look at it, this is a killer boa morph that is sure to get a lot of attention.
What do you think of mixing the Motley and Arabesque patterns? Please let me know in the comments below.
June 11, 2009
When I first thought to make a post about the Scoria Boa I thought I was exaggerating when I called it “The Scoria Boa Mystery”, but that is exactly what it is, at least to me. A mystery is “anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown”. Someone obviously knows exactly what is going on with the Scoria Boa, but it’s not general knowledge.
We will dig into what we do know and try to take a WAG (Wild A$$ Guess) at what I think is going on. First, here is a pic of the incredible Scoria Boa (credit to Rich Isle).
The short and probably most accurate story is on the scoriaboa.com website. You could head over there and give them the credit they deserve, but then you’ll miss our version of the story. To make a short story even shorter, he purchased the male from his fish delivery driver for $75 and picked up the female from a young lady leaving for collage. These first two boas did not look like the scoria boa pictured above. Supposedly they looked like average boas.
The first 03 breeding was said to produce exotic boas, but does not specifically mention a scoria. It turns out that there was one scoria boa in the bunch and it was a male. The second breeding in 2004 produced 25 babies and only one is mentioned to have been a scoria, a female.
In 2005 the first male scoria was bred to the matriarch, and besides about half normals, there were 2 male and 5 female scoria boas (other stories say 1.7?). That is where the scoria boa website leaves off.
The best info I have found on the scoria boa is related by Jeff Ronne (AKA the Boaphile). You will find his story here: RedtailBoas.com Scoria Boa This Jeff Ronne not to be confused with the owner of the Scoria reffered to later as “Jeff ND”.
In 05 the first male scoria was bred to mom and produced 8 scorias. This proved the scoria genetic, but it’s not clear wether it’s dominate, codom or recessive?
After that the original owner, (Jeff ND) put some of the babies up for sale at $20,000 each! One male sold right away and then another female later on. I’m not sure if this female is the one sold to Rich Isle at salmonboa.com, but I think it is. Rumor has it that two guys both put $10K together and bought the first male for $20K. Unfortunatley the male regurged about a year later and died the next day. OUCH!! I really feel for those guys.
As far as we know, as of right now, Rich is the only person other than the original owner Jeff ND, that has a shot at making the scoria boa. As of this writing in mid-09 I have not heard of Rich producing any.
I have read rumors in other places that some het’s (or supposed het’s) were sold from the first batch. If this gene is co-dom like a motley or jungle then the supposed het’s would have no scoria gene’s at all. IF the scoria turns out to be recessive then perhaps he has a snowballs chance in Hades of producing the scoria.
The Boaphile points out that out of the first 42 babies only 2 of them were scoria. Even with bad odds you should have produced a higher number if the trait was recessive. Jeff has a theory that the scoria is a kind of dominant trait, but I’ll let him explain that here.
It’s also interesting to know that the scoria boas mentioned in this post are not the only scoria ever seen. According to Jeff … “Now nearly ten years ago, a mutant Boa was being offered for sale by Cal Zoological for a very large sum. I believe it too was for sale for $20,000. This is a picture of her below:”.
Russ Lockenwitz purchased this boa and unfortunately she died and never produced.
Why isnt the Scoria boa available?
This is the part where I take my WAG at why the scoria boa is not available. Jeff ND has great pics of a bunch of scorias on his site. And I believe those are from before the 07 season. My theory (JUST MY THEORY!) is that Jeff ND is holding all the scorias back so that he can sell the first litters at top price and in volume. Stay with me here….
Most new projects barely get off the ground before the people you sold the first babies to, are competing with you, and driving down the price. In 05 1.7 scoria were produced (some say 2.5). Now in the 09 season they should all be breedable age. If you take the first male and second female born you end up with 2.8 breeding scorias.
Let’s say you get those two males to breed 4 females (not at all out of the question) and you end up with a low average litter of 18 each. That’s 72 Scoria Boas and NO competition! Let’s say you get half that 36. And you put them up for $10K, since you have multiple scoria, no respectable breeder is going to pay $20K knowing there are more. Let’s say you only sell half of them for a total of $180,000. If you only sell the neonates you just produced, you still have at least a full 2 years before you get any competition. In those two years you can sell at least a dozen more for $5K – $7K bringing in another $78,000. By this time many breeders will be producing them and the price will likely come down to $2,500 – $3,000. Jeff ND will likely have another 40 plus scoria by then to sell in that price range. If he sells 2 dozen more (not an exaggeration) he would bring in about another $66,000. So before the third price drop Jeff ND could conceivably bring in an estimated total of $324,000 dollars. Over a quarter of a million from a couple snakes, that cost him less than $100 bucks. Not bad.
Remember, this is just my wild guess and Jeff ND could have completely different reasons for holding back one of the most magnificent boa finds in the last 25 years. I’m certainly not judging him, if this is his plan then I will be the first to call him a genius.
Original post from original owner Jeff ND: http://www.ssnakess.com/forums/boa-constrictor/63551-pink-patternless-babys.html
Wow, that’s the longest blog post ever! At least for me. I guess that’s what happens when you try to unravel a mystery, proliferate rumors, and take a WAG all in the same post.
June 4, 2009
Late Latin paradīgma, from Ancient Greek ράδειγμα (paradeigma), “‘pattern’”).
1. An example serving as a model or pattern.
2. A system of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality.
The first Paradigm Boa was produced by Mike Weitzman of basicallyboas.com, in 2004. The paradigm boa was created by breeding a “homozygous Boawoman Tyrosinase-Positive Carmel” (simple recessive gene) with a homozygous Sharp strain albino (simple recessive gene). The result was double het’s known as the Paradigm.
The paradigm boa even though it’s a double het still looks different than a typical het for sharp or het for call albino. Something seems to block the melanin (black pigment) and creates a very unique looking double het paradigm boa.
In 2005/06 Mike bred the double het paradigms to a Sharp Albino and produced 75% Sharp Albino’s and 25% Paradigms.
To get the full story from Mike himself, see how the Paradigm Boa turned out as an adult and see if Mike has any for sale visit basicallyboas.com. Be sure to read the paradigm boa #1 and paradigm boa #2 pages.
June 2, 2009
Here is my favorite quote from the post “It is cool to see a tub of VPI and Paradigms side by side to compare“. Man what a thrill that would be. My next post will probably explain the Paradigm Boa, so keep your eye’s peeled. (that phrase always gives me the creeps).
April 1, 2009
I see this question in forums all the time. How do you find the sex of a boa?There are three ways to determine the sex of a boa constrictor.
- Palpating (or speed bump method)
Probing is basically taking a metal probe and inserting it into the cloaca, pointing it back towards the tip of the tail and insert it towards the left or right side. Males will probe 9-11 caudal scales deep (inverted hemipene) while females will probe 3-4 caudal scales deep. When you probe 9-11 caudals deep, you are obviously probing down into the inverted hemipene. Probing takes a little bit of experience and should only be attempted after you get training from someone with experience. Probes can be purchased at herp shows, some online herp stores, and if you have a good pet store you may find a set there. It’s important to use the correct size probe for the boa. If too small a probe is used on a large snake the hemipine can be perforated or a female can be perforated and get an infection. If it’s too large you may bruise the snake and a male may “probe” as a female because it won’t fit down the hemipene.
Popping a boa is done by putting your thumb below the cloaca on the “tail” pointing towards the head of the boa. Put your forefinger underneath the boa and roll the tip of your thumb toward the cloaca. If it’s a male the hemipenes should pop out. If it’s a female they will not push out. Popping a boa can only be done safely when the boa is very small. As a boa matures the muscles that hold the hemipene in, get stronger and can be damaged if forced out. This method may be the biggest reason some people end up with the wrong gender of boa. If enough pressure is not used a male can sex as a female. If too much pressure is used you can damage the boa.
3. Palpating (speed bump method)
This is the second best method of sexing in my opinion. Probing is the best and most full proof way of sexing a boa. If you don’t have probes or the experience to use them then the palpation method can work great with a little experience. I have to give the credit for this description and image to Dave Colling of Rainbows-R-Us-Reptiles.com.
“Holding baby in left hand, I place my right thumb along it’s spine starting at the vent down. Then with light pressure, slide the tip of a finger from vent towards tip of tail. When you’ve found a male you will know it. Feels like two little bb’s slipping away under the skin. Remember, if you think you’ve gone far enough – go further. Many people are surprised how far down the hemipenal tips are.”
Here is a great example of what Dave is talking about.
March 24, 2009
(n) angst (an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom)
angst–noun, plural Pronunciation [engk-stuh] a feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish.
We are (hopefully) three and a half weeks away from our very first boa litter. This may be the perfect time to talk about boa breeding angst. This post is not a complaint by any means, just the outlet to the anxiety built up in the desire to succeed in breeding boas, or breeding anything for that matter. If you have had a successful litter before, or hatched out your Nth leopard gecko or ball python egg, then you may have to take your mind back to your first litter or clutch.
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night to go check the temperature in the boa room. For some reason my brain thought the thermostat had malfunctioned, or the whole rack had been unplugged somehow. When I flung open the cage, one touch with my bare hand confirmed (in my incoherent mind) that it was way too cool and now I was at risk of loosing this litter. Then I heard a click. It was the thermostat turning on the heat. I grabbed the temp gun to check for sure. 89 degrees. Big sigh of relief and a realization that this “hobby” has been stressful for the last few weeks. This is not the first time I have bolted out of bed in the middle of the night, worried that I left her cage open, or that the thermostat malfunctioned and figured my boa is now medium rare. I purchased a fetal doppler to try to put my mind at ease. If I can hear the little babies then I won’t worry right? Wrong. I heard heartbeats, but I’m worried it was the mother I was hearing. So I sold the doppler and have a nicer (more expensive of course) one on the way. What if she’s not even gravid? What if she had the ovulation (which you got public feedback on) and then reabsorbed the ova? What if she has been sitting at 88 degrees and in the HCP (heat conservation position) just to mess with me. What if she’s full of slugs? What if she passes her due date and nothing happens? She doesn’t look big enough to me. She’s not sitting in the “cinnibon” position, or is she?
All this may make me look like a stress case, and have you wondering why I’m in this hobby to begin with. The truth is, if I didn’t care enough to worry like this, I WOULD get out of this hobby. It sounds masochistic to say, but this is the fun of it. Not to say that I don’t need to sit back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that this IS a hobby, and there is always next year.
But in the back of your mind you really want to see that first litter. Or the first live leopard geckos hatching out of the egg.
There is also financial anticipation. I’m not expecting to pay my mortgage with a litter (or 10) of boas, but I would like to recoup some of my costs. Maybe pay for my rats this coming year? If someone tells you that financial gain has nothing to do with their breeding projects, then they are either not being completely honest, or they are purist’s that are way too cool for me to hangout with. The truth is, I would love to slowly grow this into a full time endeavor. If I didn’t love the boas then I wouldn’t do it for the money alone, but who says they love something so much, they wouldn’t want to make a living from it? Check the classifieds or their websites and you will likely find these purists’ boas up for sale at 10% off (if you buy today!).
I may be more high-strung than most, but this first season has been a mixture of excitement, joy, and angst. I’m psyched to be where we are right now, and can’t wait till April 18th either way. We also have a dozen leopard gecko eggs, and a few of them should start popping in a few weeks.
At the end of the day, you need to pull out your favorite (non-gravid) boa and just enjoy it. Breeding boas is a lot like life, full of planning, hope, frustration, excitement, friendship, and most of all learning. Take it a day at a time and enjoy the anticipation. If you can, then your a better person than I.
March 11, 2009
Here is our latest acquisition at superiormorphs.com. This is a clean Hypo possible Jungle boa constrictor from JungleStruck. Both of his parents were jungle and one a hypo jungle. He was named Narcissus before he came to us, and we think the name is fitting.
January 23, 2009
Well it’s the middle of the breeding season and there is not a lot of reptile news going on out there. So I thought I would take a little time to introduce a new member of the superiormorphs family. I call him Harley because he reminds me of a Harlequin boa. As far as we know he’s just a hot normal boa constrictor. I purchased him from a local that had him as a “pet”. I don’ t have any history on him, but if his offspring are as clean as he is I will be happy. If half of them look just like him I will be doing back-flips. He is headed to VA next week to meet his first girlfriend for a breeding loan. I really hope it works out this season. It’s a late start, but it could still happen. Comment below and let us know what you think.
December 16, 2008
It’s boa breeding season (Oct – Feb) so I thought I would post a basic boa breeding reference guide. There are a few different variations on breeding boas, but I like the boaphile way (or what I see as the boaphile way). The main differences between the boaphile way, and the others is whether or not to cool your boas and the practice of “cycling” or using “the window of opportunity”. First I’d like to give the credit to Jeff Ronne the Boaphile for years of work and observation. Then I recommend you go read his guide instead of the short, singularly perceived version I’m about to lay down. DISCLAIMER: I have very little experience breeding boas. Jeff Ronne has been doing it since I was in diapers. If you don’t read his full article, buy and watch one of his movies, or read his portion of the care guide over on redtailboas.com, you will miss some very important info. This blog post is just a short version for reference.
I figure if I’m going to think this through all the way I may as well document it for my own good. I think you will find a lot of value in it too, so you may want to bookmark this page.
Here we go:
1. Make sure your boas are of age and in prime health. Females should be over 2 years old and males at least 18 months old. Age isn’t always full-proof and the boas should be appropriate size.
2. Enclosure temps should be 82 ambient temp and a hot spot about 90 degrees. Jeff says he never adjusts the temps for a “cooling period”. There are a few things that tell a boa it’s breeding time (at least this is my guess). Most snake rooms cool a bit in the winter naturally. Pressures change as storms roll through as well as a change in humidity. Days get shorter, and as long as you have a window, the boas will get the drift. NOTE: Temps too high or low may be one of the biggest reasons for breeding failures.
3. Stop feeding females at the end of September. Females will eat again after ovulation, after all breeding attempts are over, or between cycling (coming up).
4. Stop feeding males about mid-August. Males feed again after female ovulation or after all breeding attempts are over.
5. Introduce the male into the females enclosure one week after the females last meal.
6. Leave the male in for 2-3 days. If the female is receptive then you should see courting. The male will zig-zag over the female and squeeze her in intervals. You may also see the male spurring the female.
7. If you don’t see courting or interest during this time, take the male out and give the female a small meal. Wait three weeks and try it all over again.
8. Courtship will last aprox 3 to 8 weeks. If successful, you may see a mid-body thickening in the female. This is referred to as the “pre-ovulation swell”. This is the follicles growing and should not be confused with an ovulation. Taking the male out at this point may leave you with slugs, or the female may reabsorb the follicles. This swelling can be seen 3 months prior to ovulation, but usually happens 2-3 weeks prior. TIP: Jeremy Stone recommends misting the pair liberally two to three times a day with warm water to emulate natural breeding conditions.
9. During courtship males may take 2-3 days to rest in between courting. Don’t pull your male out early thinking he is done. When in doubt, don’t pull him out! (can’t remember who said that, but I like it.)
10. The male may loose interest in the female about a week before ovulation. He may also continue breeding after an ovulation, so again. Don’t pull him out if your not sure. Don’t worry, she won’t eat him.
11. Ovulation may be big, like a football stuck in the boa, or it could be more subtle. More subtle ovulation may be due to a small litter, and/or the ovaries ovulating separately. I don’t pretend to know, but it’s possible for you to miss a visual ovulation and still end-up with a nice litter. Read Jeff’s guide for info about the “Slow Motion Ovulation“, it’s fascinating.
12. After final ovulation, raise the cage to about 84 degrees ambient temp.
13. Gravid boas should have a post ovulation shed (or POS) about 16-20 days after ovulation. Your due date should be about 105 days after this shed, give or take 5 days.
14. After the POS start feeding the female every two weeks on a small to large rat (depending on the size of the boa). DO NOT feed at all in the last 4 weeks of gestation. This can cause premature birth.
15. Don’t panic if your female shed’s during gestation. They don’t always, but it does happen.
16. The female will appear largest about two months into gestation.
17. A female carrying a good viable litter will usually loose weight in the front half of her body.
18. Do not handle the female in the last six weeks of gestation, unless absolutely necessary.
19. One or two days before birth the female should have a “pre-birth waxy stool”.
20. The female may be seen cruising around the enclosure looking for a place to give birth 1-7 days before parturition.
21. Birth or parturition, can take from 10 minutes, to as long as 6 hours.
22. The female will defend her young even if she looks tired, so be careful.
23. After birth the female should be put into a clean enclosure and given a half sized meal about a day later. If the female will not eat, there may be a problem and you may want to get her to a vet.
If you want to know the proper way to take care of brand new baby boas, and learn about successful ways to treat solidified yolk syndrome, check out the full care guide.
If you are going to breed boas, you might consider buying a few specimins from Jeff. They are unbelievable boas and he is great to work with. He also has some killer cages (Boaphile Plastics) that have seen thousands of successful babies born in them. I use them and they save me a lot of time and worry.
Good luck with your boa breeding projects! If I missed anything or you have a successful litter to announce, please comment on this post.