Reptil TV Folge 48 - Python regius, Vom Ei bis zu den Eiern - Teil 1

Uploaded by ReptilTV on 30.11.2012

Hello and welcome dear Reptil.TV viewers.
Today we choose a very unusual topic. You won't guess.
Today's topic is about Ball Pythons.
Despite the fact that we talk about this topic regularly, it's our no. 1 topic.
Our working title is: from the egg to the eggs.
What we want to say with this is that we want to show you how a Ball Python hatches and how it lays its eggs as an adult.
We want to describe a circle of life and tell you how we do it. Enjoy!
Now it's time to ask the stupid question. Who was first? The chicken or the egg? In our case, the snake or the egg?
We don't have to answer that one. We always begin with the incubator. Let's have a look inside and see if we can find something.
It's always thrilling to look inside and see what we'll find.
Here we have some eggs that we already slit slightly. Here we have a little baby.
It hatched during the night. And at the moment it is in a typical Ball position.
Now we want to explain how we raise such an animal in order that it becomes big and strong.
Here we have our handsome snake.
As we saw, it hatched on its own. We don't peel open the egg or something.
The so-called windowing – that’s where you peek what's inside the egg - we also do that and it is common in the business.
You can have a peek, but you have to be careful. It is important that the snake hatches on its own.
It takes about 2 days until they come out of the opened egg.
Then you have the animal. The first thing we do is to check its gender.
It's not because we are in a hurry, but after they just hatched, it is quite easy to determine the gender. You can just check.
In this case we have a female.
We check the gender, we write it on the box and then we know for eternity.
And you don't have to check all the time.
Writing on the box is a good keyword.
We always write what kind of animal we have. In this case an animal with a normal color, a female and from the batch of 2012.
And we also note down who the parents where. That is just for us so we can keep track of them.
After that, we can place the animal in its housing.
Housing is a general term. We use these boxes.
I think the dimensions are something like 35x30x50 cm.
It's a very practical terrarium to begin with. Of course you can also use a terrarium made out of glass.
Many herpers use racks. For us these boxes have proven their value.
Let's talk about accommodation. We keep the interior rather simple.
Here we have a water bowl. We always use these boxes that the snakes can use as a hiding cave.
It's a box you would use in your household, just like a tupper ware box box. Of course, there are also boxes that look more natural.
For us it is important that it is functional. In it is some damp moss. That's really important because Ball Pythons want to hide in a damp hiding place.
As litter, we use our Reptile-Wood Fine. It's a softwood litter. And it has been tested and proved with our Ball Pythons.
It's the only product we use. It doesn't start to mold if it gets wet. In Addition, it absorbs the scat and urine.
That's already all there is to say about the accommodation, at least to start with. It's a functional setup.
Of course, you can arrange a nicer setup in a glass terrarium. There you can use twigs and branches, use plants and plastic plants. In addition, you can use roots.
If you want to have something special in your room or you have a showcase terrarium, then you can do that.
We breeders like to keep it simple. But all the important things the animals need are in there.
That was the basic accommodation - the way we do it.
The most important thing about keeping snakes or Ball Pythons is the climate. It's the alpha and the omega!
You have to ensure a really good climate. You have to heat the terrarium. We can put it in a heated room. But most of you will have to heat the terrarium ...
... using a heat radiator or a heating mat.
You have to get the climate right. 30°C at day and 25-26°C at night.
And of course you have to measure the temperature with a thermometer. And measure your air humidity with a hygrometer.
Your air humidity should be as high as possible. It's difficult to achieve in a typical flat climate that is rather dry.
But you really have to try to keep it about 50 - 60%. Maybe even 70%.
You can spray water or use moss. And as I said before, you have to check with a thermometer and hygrometer.
By the way, snakes don't really care about lighting. We have an automatic day and night rhythm, due to the light that comes from the outside.
You needn't place a special light into the terrarium and you really don't need an UV light.
If you have a glass terrarium it looks much nicer if you have a light inside. If you arranged everything nicely then you want to show it and lighting makes sense.
But if you have your animals in racks, or keep them in boxes like we do. Even in a terrarium where the focus is not on the beauty of the terrarium.
There you can omit the light. The snake doesn't care. The snakes don't need a bright light.
Now our snake has the all-around carefree package. It's got the correct climate in the terrarium and the inevitable accommodation.
Now it is a few hours or days old. We can see that the skin still has this strange glint to it.
This is because after the animals have hatched they have to shed their skin for the first time. This will happen about 7 - 10 days after hatching.
They shed and peel of their first skin. Only after this we are going to feed our snake for the first time.
Before that, they don't want and will not eat. Therefore, we don't offer them anything because it would be pointless. We wait for the first casting of the skin and then we offer some food.
14 days have passed, at least in theory.
Here we have a baby Python that has recently cast its skin and now is ready for its first feeding.
Some information about the size of the prey. I often have customers or even herpers that want to feed baby mice.
That's a big mistake! Even in nature, or the animals in general, they can cope with big prey.
Big prey in quotation, at least in relation to our snakes’ body size.
Mice as these are perfect. You should feed something that is about this size. [Note: In German they are called "Springermaus" or "Absetzer". They are mice that have just opened their eyes and jump around. Hence the name]
Some brief facts about the utensils that I use. I use a metallic tweezers to handle the mice.
That's because it's more hygienic. Nor should it smell like my hands do. Therefore I use them.
You just take out the mouse and put it inside the terrarium.
I prefer live feeding. That's species-appropriate. In nature they also feed on living animals and don't eat frozen or dead food.
Fortunately, this is allowed by law in Germany. In Switzerland it is only allowed in certain exceptional cases.
Here in Germany it is allowed.
The snakes kill the mice quickly and species-appropriate. We discussed this in an other episode. Therefore, I don't want to explain it again.
Apart from that, we feed the snake inside the terrarium. At least if we have just one snake, we can feed inside the terrarium.
This is better for the snake. You put it through much less stress, then if you would put it in an other box for the feeding process.
It's comfortable inside the terrarium and it's where its home is. It's where it prefers to eat and where it will feed in the best way.
Of course, if you have 2 or 3 animals in one terrarium, you will have to feed them individually. However, if, as in our case, you only have on animal, you can feed it there.
In the past people used to tell old wives' tales that, the snakes become more aggressive, if you feed them in the terrarium. Because they always think that they receive food when something enters it.
That tale is pointless. Of course, snakes can distinguish if prey is put inside or a hand reaches in, because we want to handle the snake.
My snake is making a point that it isn't hungry today.
At the beginning, this isn't severe.
Especially the first time that you feed your snake, after it has shed its first skin, 2 - 3 days after that event. It is often the case that they don't want to eat.
We'll try the same process 5 - 7 days later. Then the same thing can happen again.
Then we can try it the week after that. Only afterwards we have to start and worry what is wrong.
I'll just take out the mouse again.
But only if I'm able to catch it.
There we go, I've got it!
Take it out. And the snake is put back in.
As I said, now we have to wait a few days and try it again.
The worst case scenario has happened. Even after 2 or 3 additional attempts, my Python still doesn't want to feed on its own.
I would estimate that 1 out of 10 animals, 10%, maybe even only 5% of the animals then need some assistance.
Even if the climate is perfect, they don't start eating on their own. This is where they need our support.
After the 4 - 5 weeks that have passed, the snake starts to loose some body mass and becomes slimmer.
We can't wait and watch anymore. You can't just hope, wait and believe that it will start to eat for some reason. Or look up some strange hints on the internet.
Now it's time for us to support our animal.
For this reason we use a method where you place the prey inside your animals mouth.
You need a baby mouse that already has some fluff.
We'll place this baby mouse in the snakes’ mouth, with the hope that it will continue to eat it own its own.
Here I've got my baby mouse, my snake and my tweezers.
First, I have to gently open the snakes’ mouth.
We talked about it on a previous episode. You can also use the shaft of a popsicle.
On the other hand, you can very carefully use your tweezers.
Or you can use the mousses’ head and try to open your snakes mouth.
If I trouble the snake a bit, then it will open its mouth on its own.
Then I can place the mouse. Of course you have to place it head first!
Applying only minimal pressure, place the prey a bit deeper inside.
Then I gently keep the mouth closed with my fingers and just put the snake to the side.
This is because the snake has the mouse in its mouth. At the beginning it tries to resist. But normally there is a moment when I can fee that the resistance eases.
That's when I put the snake aside.
Normally, the snakes then start to devour the mouse autonomously.
You can see that it is pausing for a brief moment.
It's almost as if it's thinking: 'What should I do?'
In most cases, they will start to devour the mice.
Of course it is also important that you don't jump about or shock and startle the snake. In that case it would let go of it's prey.
You have to more or less keep calm.
In this case, we didn't have success. It let go of its prey, probably because I'm moving too much.
In that case, we just have to repeat the whole procedure.
The method we just showed and explained should only be an exceptional case.
Only 1 out of 10, or 1 out of 20 animals will need our help.
If you are a first-time reptile owner, I would recommend that buy an animal that has been fed 2-3 times without any problems.
That way you don't have to deal with this case.
And I won't recommend that a first-time owner should try this method.
Afterwards we feed our snake on a weekly basis. I recommend to feed your animal once a week.
Your snake will start to grow nicely, just as it would in nature.
It is important that you choose your prey corresponding to your snakes’ size.
You begin with small mice, like we just showed you. Then you need medium or big mice.
In some circumstances, you can feed them two mice or a small rat.
You keep up your weekly interval and always feed an appropriate sized prey animal.
If everything works out, your snake will have reached the size of the animal that I've got in my hand.
It weighs 600 grams and is an animal from the batch of 2011.
Its size corresponds to an animal that you would find in nature and that is one year old.
In the end, after your animal has fed, it has to look fat or globated.
If you remember, how it looked like when it was a baby, it was round as a ball.
That's exactly the way it has to look later. You fed it in the right way if your adolescent or adult animal has a round belly afterwards.
An other important fact about feeding your Ball Python. People often say that their Ball doesn't eat or hasn't eaten for weeks.
Ball Pythons are animals that have periods where they don't eat, even out in the wild.
In nature, there are periods of extreme dryness or flash floods. I would say that these are periods where - even in nature - Ball Pythons don't eat and back down.
These periods can last 4 - 8 weeks. Before and afterwards they eat even more.
I can imagine that in nature they then eat every 3 - 5 days. Or every time something passes along.
Take that into consideration. If you have an animal, your climate is right and it is healthy and it goes into a period where it doesn't eat for 4 - 8 weeks...
... don't go crazy. Accept it as a fact. Your animal just isn't hungry. And afterwards it will probably eat even more and on a regular basis again.
To make it clear, your parameters have to be correct. The climate has to be all right in your terrarium, in that case the behavior would have a different cause.
This animal is almost two years old.
It's weighs about 1 kg.
It's a good example and you can clearly see it - this animal has milky blue eyes. Insiders know what this means, but first-time owners have to know.
This tells us that it will shortly shed its skin. You can also see it on the snake itself. The markings are fading.
The belly has a creamy color.
However, the striking indicators are the blue eyes. This animal will molt soon.
During the final molting phase, where the eyes are extremely hazy and respectively turn clear about two days before the molt...
... during this period, we don't feed our animal.
You could feed your animal. You could try to feed it, but in general they won't accept your prey.
The rule used to be that you should under no circumstances feed your animal, because something could happen.
That's a fairy tale. Nothing will happen. There are even some animals that eat while they are in this phase.
In general, they aren't hungry. In your position, I wouldn't even bother trying.
Ideally, your snake leaves behind a skin that looks like this. It's also called snake slough.
If your climate and humidity are accurate, then they shed their skin in one piece. That's the ideal case.
It's a bit furled. If you want, you can unwind it a bit.
If you want, you can check if everything went without issues. Especially with the eyes. Check if that skin shed appropriately. Sometimes the old skin remains on the snakes eyes.
If you want you can check, because in some cases the eyes can become infected.
What you also should know is, that before they molt, they often retain their scat.
A snake that is about to enter this phase will retain its scat, until this process is completed. Only until it has finished molting it is going to defecate again.
You often have the case that they shed their skin over night. And after it has shed of its skin, it will defecate.
For this reason, don't be surprised if you don't see any scat for one or two weeks. One reason can be the molt.
That is another good keyword. Don't worry about the defecation. Don't wait to see it defecate, before you feed it, or what have you.
Ball Pythons defecate when they have an urge. Don't worry, in all my time, I have never experienced an obstruction of the bowels.
Therefore, don't worry. Let it defecate when it has to.
We described how to raise your animals. We started with the box, which we showed you.
It's self-explanatory that you have to comply with the rules for keeping the animals. Not only the rules in your country, like here in Germany. But also certain ethic rules.
Don't keep your Ball Python in a box for two years or more, until it weighs 1 kg. You have to choose the right terrarium size for your animal.
The floor space has to be sufficient, these animals need a certain amount of floor space. Ball Pythons are no tree dwellers. You don't have to build a very high terrarium.
But for the animal to feel comfortable, you need to provide enough floor space.
I promised that the topic is from the egg to the eggs. We're half way through the topic.
We accompanied the animal from the egg to it's adult age.
We are going to talk about everything else in the next episode. How do you get your animal to lay eggs and so on.
Egg is a good keyword for the ‘I’ in my iPhone. [Egg and the letter 'i' are pronounced identically in German]
We've got a brand new M&S Reptile app for the iPhone, and Android phones as well.
If you want to have the app on your device, scan these QR codes or get in your AppStore.
Because we're talking about new and exciting things. Here is the first print of my new book on Ball Pythons.
It'll arrive in December. I suppose that you can buy at the time this episode goes live.
It's more than 300 pages thick. There are over 1,000 color photos of extremely gorgeous Ball Pythons.
With all the color variations you could imagine.
Take a look at it. It's a real treat for a Ball Python enthusiast.
Don't forget! Check my Balls!
We're half way through. We stared with ...
What was that? There was something at the window. Let's do it again.
Ohm, I was distracted.
Stefan: Todays' topic: Ball Pythons.
Cameraman: Ok, can you hold that even longer?
That was nice, wasn't it?
Cameraman: Camera is rolling.
Stefan: How should I start? Director: Smile at the camera!
It has been tested and proven. Cut!
The snake will probably rather prefer if ... well ...
Once again.
The worst-case scenario has occurred!
Is my head in your camera, or the snakes' head? My head?! Ok.
Here we have the Matrix code. I meant, QR code. Crap, why did I....??
Here we have an iPhone.
It's a new piece of our distribution. We joined Apple and I took over 60% of their stock.
That's why I would like to ask you, that from now on, please only buy iPhones.
We'll start to breed iPhones. The first batch has been laid!
That was good, wasn't it? I really nailed it.
Shut it down!