THE BREEDING AND DEVELOPMENT CYCLE


Breeding

Living in the tropics has certain advantages. The temperatures, humidity, photoperiod and annual seasonality are the same as at Iron Range – the home to Australian green python population. My snakes are exposed to natural conditions all year round with the exception of extra dry periods when I turn the overhead sprinkler system on as needed.

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The outdoor enclosures are spacious and landscaped, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. They are made of aluminium frame and wire mesh, including the base of cages. Having the enclosures elevated well off the ground, it not only facilitates better airflow but it also gives the snakes a sense of being in the lower canopy. Needless to say, the cleaning of the enclosures is very easy.
Mating takes place in May – June when the night temperatures drop but in some years, mating is triggered by a low atmospheric pressure and / or rain.
After mating, the females are moved into individual enclosures in a heated room for the gestation period and egg laying. For easy maintenance, these cages are fitted with a single perch, water bowl, a clean polystyrene box and newspaper for substrate.
eggs Depending on the time of the day or night when females lay, the eggs are removed one by one or in a cluster, then separated and placed into a plastic container with (previously) a mixture of vermiculite and (lately) on a plastic grid over water. I prefer to spread the eggs out so they’re not touching each other. In the event of one or two eggs dying or growing mould, they can be removed without any fuss or disturbance to the other eggs.
The containers are then placed into home made incubators where the temperature is controlled by high quality thermostats and the eggs are checked every day.
Once the first hatchling pops its head out, the remainder of the eggs are pipped and placed onto a bed of damp sphagnum moss inside a hatching container with a perforated lid. This container goes back into the incubator until all or most of the neonates come out of their shells. The young snakes are then weighed and separately accommodated in 2 litre containers marked with each snake’s individual code.