Gearing up for Breeding Season

Tracking your female’s follicular development is key in order for a successful breeding to occur. But first, let’s back up a little and understand what happens during the year with a female Ball Python.

IMG_NEW

As you can see from this picture, Ball Pythons go through a yearly reproductive cycle when they reach breeding maturity. It is believed that in nature, a drop in temperature, which occurs in the second half of the year, triggers follicular growth. In captivity however, mimicking the temperature drop seems not to be necessary to trigger follicular development; and independently of the temperature, female ball pythons will at some point of the year start developing follicles.

Knowing when your female is developing follicles is not only important because it shows breeding maturity but also because it’s when you should start introducing males. The two most commonly used techniques to track follicular development are via palpating and via ultra-sounding.

Here at Breeder’s Circle we choose to use ultra-sounding. Simply due to the fact that I’m a big fan of objective data. I prefer seeing with my own eyes exactly how big each follicle is and every month track its growth. And to be honest, I was never able to master the palpation technique and before we acquired an ultrasound machine, I often caught myself doubting my results when palpating.

We usually ultra-sound our females once a month October through August and start introducing males when follicles are around 8-12mm and repeat the breeding 2 or 3 more times. So ideally, each female is bred at 8-12mm, 17-22mm, and 27-32mm. This technique has proven to be quite effective in guaranteeing fertilization and it’s definitely in part due to the ultrasound. This is just a brief overview of how we breed and it’s definitely not the only way. I know many breeders that have never touched an ultrasound machine and have no problems with breeding.

I find that the best way to successfully breed Ball Pythons is to do your homework, learn as much as you can, find a mentor, and apply your knowledge towards what work best for you. Either through Ultra-sounding, palpating, or guessing, you have to find what work best for you and your animals.

Attached are some sample pictures of follicles at different sizes:

  • Follicle at 10mm

10mm

  • Follicle at 20mm:

20mm

  • Follicle at 30mm:

30mm

I hope you enjoyed the read and if you have any questions about breeding please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

Breeder’s Circle

Ricardo Martins.

Paint Ball: The Forgotten Gene

It was back in 2010 when Breeder’s Circle first got into the Paint project. We purchased 3 pairs of paints from Charles Glaspie and Ted Williams which at the time was big investment. Back then, it was uncertain whether the Paint gene was Co-dominant or recessive. However, as more breedings were done, it’s pretty clear to me that the Paint gene is in fact a co-dominant gene with an incredible Super form. We ended up selling one of the pairs and raised the other two in the attempt to produce the Super form.

Paint Male

Paint Male

Then, in 2011 I purchased two more Paint females and a Paint Yellowbelly Male in order to continue working on the project and increase my chances to make Super Paints and Paint Yellowbelly combos. After raising those animals for a couple years, we were finally able to produce our first Super Paint male back in 2012. That first Super Paint male is still here in our facility and has been used to produce many Paint and Paint combos.

Super Paint Poss Yellowbelly Female

Super Paint Poss Yellowbelly Female

Paint Pastel Yellowbelly Male

Paint Pastel Yellowbelly Male

Over the years, the original paint founder has produced some of the most incredible Paint combos, including one that has been on my bucket list of snakes I want to produce, the Graffiti Ball (Super Paint Calico). When I first saw that snake back in 2012 I knew I had gotten into an AMAZING project with untapped potential.

Graffiti Ball by Charles Glaspie

Graffiti Ball by Charles Glaspie

Unfortunately, over the years the project has been forgotten and very few Paint and Super Paint Combos have been made. Sadly, even Charles and Ted haven’t continued to work with the Paint gene, making Breeder’s Circle one of the few well-known breeders that still works with the gene. Due to some bad luck in the odds, this past year was the first year that we have been able to procude Super Paints for the public and they are just incredible. We were also able to produce a very nice Paint Pastel Yellowbelly that we will most likely hold back in order to further explore this amazing gene.

As you can see, the potential of this gene is incredible and it saddens us that there aren’t more breeders and hobbyist working to incorporate Super Paint into other genes. Can you imagine Super Paints incorporated into GHI, Leopard, Spotnose, and YB-Complex combos?? We here at Breeder’s Circle feel truly lucky to be working with this gene and we cannot wait to see where it takes us.
If you are serious into getting into this project or have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thank you,
-Ricardo Martins.

The Sahara Ball Python Explained

 

The “Sahara” Ball Python

There has been a lot of talk about the Sahara gene in Europe but is hardly recognized in the USA as of yet.

I will be shedding a bit of light from what I know of the gene.

We picked up this project directly from Noah in Ghana, Africa.

After hearing and seeing what the adults and babies looked like, we did a bit of research but could not find much.

Here are a few things that we did find through the grapevine and the couple people in this project:

A couple years ago it was thought that the Sahara Super Form was a colorful Ivory looking snake. This was after breeding a couple visual Saharas together.
So… some people were not impressed when they knew it was just “another” Ivory complex snake.
Others were extremely excited that a Desert Ghost “like” snake was created…
But a few people, were a little lost that this snake actually makes an Ivory?
I know, I was a little confused myself.

After talking with Noah and a couple other breeders we are thinking it may just have been luck of the draw that the breeding parents may have had Yellowbelly on both sides.
Could be possible but we are still not 100% certain.
I am guessing Yellowbelly played a role.

The next part that had me wondering…
The Sahara has similarities to Desert Ghost (not to be confused with regular Deserts).

I had to dig deeper into this one if I was going to spend the money to get into this project.
So after seeing a few pictures, including the adult pictures of Sahara and Pastel Sahara. (both pictured below – Pictures taken by Crystal Palace Reptiles at Noah’s African Facility)

 PastelSaharaAdultPastel Sahara Adult

SaharaAdultSahara Adult

I realize, I really liked the impact yellow color that the Pastel Saharas kept.
They are similar to Desert Ghost but it has a different feel as they grow. (Still, with the understanding that even within each gene, there are wide variances in quality and distinctions)

With the similarities of Desert Ghost on my mind I still decided to get into this project despite many critics.

The same EXACT thing happened when I got into the Bamboo project in its prime.

With the Bamboo project, I paid more money than I ever had before on a single snake.
It was definitely scary spending considerable amount with a snake that may not breed for me or even make it alive from Africa.

I would say about 90% of the people I knew, told me I was crazy and I should NOT invest in the Bamboo project because it was just a “Lesser”.
Boy… were they wrong. I still chuckle about it today.

Fast forward a bit and the Bamboo project has been my grand slam project.
We were the first to hatch them out in the USA and people went Bananas (Pun intended 😛 ) over them.

Sometimes listening to what most people think is not the way to go… and going against the grain can sometimes prove to have amazing results.

A couple breeders in Europe have Bred visual Saharas to combos and getting no visual Saharas.
Visual Saharas to Visual Saharas have given the results of more Saharas, letting us know “mot likely” that this is a recessive project.

Now, may this project prove to be compatible with Desert Ghost?
Possibly.
Can it prove to not be compatible with Desert Ghost?
Also possible.
Remember that Mojaves, Lessers, Bamboos and Phantoms can look slightly similar and can be in the same Alleleic pool BUT they are definitely not the same.

Below are the different variations of the Pastel Saharas that we have.

PastelSahara1Pastel Sahara

PastelSahara2Pastel Sahara

PastelSaharaPastel Sahara (we believe there is an extra gene as well)

SaharaSahara (base morph)

Hard to tell so far; since there have not been many combos made and the 2 lines have NOT been crossed.

There are only few people working on this project so far and we are looking forward to see what we can create from it.

We are Evolving!

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”. Charles Darwin

How many of our customers use their mobile devices to visit our website? That was the initial question that inspired us to make a change. Through our marketing research and data, we realized that over 80% of the people that visited our website were doing it through their mobile devices and tablets. At that moment we realized we had to make a change.

We decided to completely redo our website from the ground up. Using a platform that would provide our loyal customers a much more pleasant experience while browsing and shopping on our website.

Our new website was completely designed to function not only on a laptop/pc but also on your mobile device. Not only that, we are implementing sections solely dedicated to education and learning. One of our main goals has always been to share the knowledge we have and allow the ones that follow us to become more educated and grow inside the reptile industry.

To celebrate the launch of our new website, we couldn’t think of a better way than to give back to the community in the form of the biggest giveaway we have ever done. To show how much we appreciate all the support we get from all our customers, friends, and even other breeders, we will be choosing one lucky winner to receive a 2015 Bamboo Female that we just hatched here at Breeder’s Circle.

We ask everybody to join us as we turn this new page of our history and don’t forget to always have fun with what you’re doing!

Thank you and welcome to our new website!