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Accidental Breeding Lead to 12 Eggs! I Need Advice and Second Opinions!

Discussion in 'Corn Snakes' started by Makawee, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Makawee

    Makawee Member

    Starting from the beginning:

    I adopted two corn snakes from Petco in august, I had never owned a corn snake before but I had done extensive research on and off for years before hand, and finally opportunity met possibility. They were a breeding pair that had been together sense they were young, I didn't want to breed them, so I had planned on separating them, but I was told they wouldn't breed until they were at least two years/fully grown. I didn't and still don't have room in my one bedroom for two large snake enclosures, so I took my time finding a new family for one of them, I waited too long and started noticing mating behavior, I found some one the very next day to take the male, (I didn't want to give someone a possibly pregnant snake) then I started looking into reproduction and into incubators, thinking I had plenty of time, three months or so.. but loin behold, one week later she popped out twelve large eggs! It blew my mind! She had been eating happily, had gained no weight, and wasn't cranky in the least! There were no warning signs! So I'm not sure if she was pregnant when I got her and just took a while, or if they were sneaky the first time they decided to do the dance or if they just weren't shy the second time and that's why I caught them.. In any case now I have twelve eggs and no established incubator, It will be days before I can make one or even buy one.. shipping.. I'm not buying locally, they want an arm and a leg for one...

    What I have done so far:

    Everyone that has snakes that I ask keep telling me to just leave them with her, and to not even bother with an incubator at this point, just keep the temp as close to 82 in the nest as possible and humidity up to 80/keep the moss that I stuck in the nest damp. I have not moved the eggs, or touched them, the mama is wrapped around them, and they aren't connected like most pictures show egg clutches to be, I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, I have a digital thermometer probe in the nest next to the eggs to monitor the temp but I can only guess for the most part on humidity, I just keep the moss damp but not dripping and I spray the tank twice a day with room temp water to keep the whole tanks humidity up. She had them under the water dish so I put out a new one that I can change the water on regularly with out messing with her... Does this sound all right so far?

    For more background information:

    I have the female in a 40GB with a 150W heat light and a 100 night light, I have been trying different amounts of light from each bulb to see which gives off the right amount of heat to keep the eggs at the right temp, they have been at 72.7 at night and 78.5 during the day when switching lights, so I've decided to leave the day light on and just soak the tank when I spray so the humidity wont get too low while I'm away at work, or sleeping, I also have a heating pad under the tank but when I move it close to the nest the temp spikes and so I have decided that's not a good idea, from what I've read, it's better to have them low 70's then high 80's because if they go above 90 they will cook and die. She has Aspen wood shaving bedding on one half of her tank and coconut mulch on the other side. The nest is right on the border of the coconut mulch, I think it's because the mulch stays really wet. I put moss on top of the nest and put the water dish back on top of it because I assume she new what she was doing when she picked the location. I have two sets of temp and humid gauges on both far ends of the tank so that I can see the hot and warm side temps and humidity of the tank, and as I said before, I got a digital thermometer for the nest so I can be as accurate as possible. For food, Squanto, my female snake, seemed to enjoy hopper mice, and the occasional full grown mouse, she's pretty small so its a struggle to eat the full grown mice so I've only ever fed her full grown ones twice, the first time was to see if she would eat it, and the second was because she had missed a week of eating after escaping into my apartment, but that is whole other story for another time. Other wise when I first got her I only fed her pinkies, then fuzzies, she had to have doubled in size sense I got her, considering she struggled with pinkies and now easily eats hoppers.. I don't know if its normal for them to grow that fast ether.. but any way I'm mostly concerned with the egg thing right now, I will attach as many photo's as possible to give everyone an idea of what I'm dealing with.

    What I'm asking:

    PLEASE I would love some opinions, facts, thoughts, anything, I feel so lost right now... and keep in mind I'm a poor collage kid working two part time jobs just to survive.. and I live in a one bedroom apartment with a friend so converting the fridge to an incubator is a no go.. THANK YOU!
  2. OrchidPal

    OrchidPal Elite Member

    My first incubator was a 5gal. fish tank with a submersible aquarium heater with an adjustable thermostat dial. (A 10gal. is probably easier to find.) I covered the "reptile" wire top with plastic wrap. Inside the aquarium I had about 4" of water with the heater laying on the bottom. To either side of the heater, I used juice glasses, because they are shorter, or you could use brick. You want the egg container to be suspended over the water, not in the water.

    For the eggs, I got a plastic container with a cover. I pushed about 9 holes, on each side, just below the top for air circulation. Inside the plastic container, I used vermiculite. Wet the vermiculite till it holds together in a clump when you squeeze it. It shouldn't be drippy! Vermiculite can be found at a wal mart or hardware store. Be sure to get the bag with no fertilizer in the mix. It usually costs about $4 & you will have way more than you need.

    Before moving the eggs, Mark with a pencil, a small x to show the top of each egg AS IT LAYS IN Your current tank. There are two sets of veins in an incubating reptile egg. One set, at the top, is where the neonate respires. If this side is turned downward, the neonate could drown.

    Once the temps are regulated in your aquarium incubator, place the eggs in the vermiculite. Be sure your hands are clean to help ward off mold. Don't be afraid to gently push the eggs into the mix. They can easily & safely be covered to about 3/4 depth.
    Over that, I put wrung out sphagnum, a thin covering. Cover the container & set it in the incubator on the brick or glasses.

    79 - 82 are generally safe for incubating temps. Above 82 you can risk damage to the neonates. The cover with the plastic wrap will keep the humidity up. Leave the cover on loosely for air circulation. If all goes well, in about 63 -70 days you will have hatchlings.

    Best wishes!
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Maybe this will help
    Fishtank Incubator Design
    However since you have no room and funds are tight, have you considered what you are going to do with any hatchlings? How will you house them and feed them?
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Is there any particular reason why Maternal Incubation is a bad idea in this instance?

    As long as you can maintain adequate environment, I see no reason the mother cannot incubate the eggs (unless she was not in good health, and needs to be eating again.)

    Barring health of the mother, I say, let her do it. Start looking now for homes for the babies, and you might be able to make arrangements for them to go to new homes as soon as after their first shed and meal.
  5. Makawee

    Makawee Member

    So far I have one "for sure" parent who wants to adopt one, and two more in the wing, I'm actively searching and spreading the word that I have some baby's looking for a home, with how many reptile people I meet on a regular bases it should be too hard... Knock on wood!

    Thank you! I knew you weren't supposed to move them, but I didn't know why, so that helps a lot! and do you happen to have any pictures from when you had the incubator? that would really help a lot to :)

    I actually looked into possibly moving out of my one bedroom, into my own studio in may, I stress the not having a lot of space, or money, simply because I honest don't have an extra $200 right this very moment to buy the incubator that they're selling locally here, I also have a room mate, and I've had people suggest me turning my fridge into an incubator.. which is a no go.. I know that new born baby's don't like to have huge tanks so I was thinking if all of them survive that I would get a 20L for them until they were able to go to new families... but again where I would put that.. I have no idea.. I might just simply have to sell my chair and have my room mate put all of the book shelves she has into the bed room so I can set it on the floor/get a desk or something to set it on.. I'm kind of working on it as I go at this point, like I said in the first post, I thought I would have a lot more time to figure all this stuff out :( thankfully I have a great support system where I live thanks to my job, and this awesome site to help with the details and experience!

    That's what I've been getting a lot of here, People keep telling me just to leave them with her and to watch the temp and humidity, so far the temp.. after some experimenting, has stayed at a steady 78.4 and the humidity in the nest is fairly high sense she had them under the water dish and the moss on top of them helps quite a bit as well, she seems happy and healthy.. rather noisy if I may say so when I poke and prod her, she hasn't bit me yet.. KNOCK ON WOOD! and as I said, she had eaten right up until the week before she had them, in fact I found them when I went to take her out to try to feed her for the fifth time.. I know it says not to push food on snakes but I was trying different sizes and types of mice, simply because she would start to eat them and then spit them out like she couldn't get them down... likely because of all the humongous eggs.. in any case, I don't think she would be keen on the idea of me trying to take her out right now, do snakes leave the nest? or do they stay with them the whole time? I have two water dishes to make sure she can get to it if she needs it, I know snakes can live a year with out eating.. but not very long with out drinking, should I take her out and put her in the water dish like when they shed? or would that stress her out and get my fingers bloody?
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    As far as purchasing incubators, go to a farm supply. You can get hovabators used for chicken eggs for about 50 bucks.
  7. Makawee

    Makawee Member

    I was thinking of purchasing this one: Hova Bator Still/Thermal Air Incubator 1602N: Patio, Lawn & Garden
    Would that be all right? I called the tractor supply store in my town, along with manards, lowes, home depo, our pet expo, and even ace hardware, the tractor supply had one but the only one with thermal air flow was 145 :/

    Edit: I read some more about the product, it doesn't include the fan, the one that does is $86, which is still better I guess but it's still a "next pay check" cost :( the reviews were good though, does any one know if a fan can be supplemented for cheaper? or if anyone knows of a cheaper place to find one?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  8. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    Don't get the one with the fan, I use the simple basic hovobator you posted for my corn eggs. The only eggs that didn't hatch for me where the ones that I flipped over when I bumped the incubator.

    As for hatchlings I put them in the rectangle shaped gladware containers with holes melted into the sides with a sodering gun. Each one fits 1/2 a piece of paper towel and I use the small Dixie cups that you put ketchup in(ask a local restaurant, I bought mine from the restaurant my hubby works at.) for water. TP rolls make good baby hides.
  9. Makawee

    Makawee Member

    All of her eggs look good so far, but she has started going into the blue phase, could this be because she's in too high of humidity? and I have no way of knowing if she has left the nest, I also cant seem to find any information on wild snake incubation other then the mother has them in rotting material to keep them warm, it looks like it's saying that the mother doesn't stay with them.. But obviously they do, unless my snake is just kind of a weird-o? Has any one ever heard of letting the mother incubate her eggs in captivity? I'm not seeing anything and its making me nervous :( I want to get an incubator, but I also don't want to get one, have it ship, and have the eggs be no good by then.. i know that they turn green or blue when they go bad, but are there any other signs?
  10. Makawee

    Makawee Member

    Update: I let the humidity drop a little bit and She is looking A LOT better, she's even acting more peppy :) I was worried about the eggs, but they are still looking great, and she keeps moving them around, I figure it's to keep them cool/hot... again I'm trusting her to do what she wants to sense she knows best :p
  11. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    Corns don't incubate eggs like a ball python does. They usually abandon them and move on. Her moving them around is going to kill the embryo. Once the eggs are laid an air bubble forms on the top of the egg, if turned, bumped or knocked over the embryo can drown and die. I recommend pulling them out asap. The reason she is staying with them is because she likes the hide they are in.

    Going into blue is normal, I give my girls rat pinkies after they lay, they usually don't want a huge meal right away. Once she has shed she should go back to her normal feeding pattern.
  12. Makawee

    Makawee Member

    Thankfully she hasn't flipped any, just moved them to the warmer edges of the nest, I'l attach a few photos, (all of the brown spots are on the top as far as I can tell) I got super paranoid that the humidity was harming mama, I have an incubator on its way, its supposed to come on the sixth but we'll see if it doesn't come sooner or later, but I figure, instead of trying to rig a whole new contraption for the next few days, I'll leave the eggs where they're at and move mama out. Shes in a tiny hospital terrarium now, Hopefully the drop in humidity will solve any health issues that I've been seeing, but if not I've got a vet in the wing I can take her to. I wanna give her at least 24 hours in the sterile tank to see if it helps with her sneezey hisses, she doesn't have any mucus yet thank goodness. I also wanted to ask, I noticed she twitched and acted aggressive when I pulled her from the nest, but relaxed as soon as she was out, is that normal? She didn't attempt to bite me as far as I could tell and even curled around my fingers like she usually likes to do, I guess I assumed she would be crazy mean and try to bite my fingers off and then be cranky and try to get way from me, but she handled it crazy well.. Is that normal? has anyone else had that happen? I'm only asking because I wonder if the weird behavior can be contributed to illness?
  13. Makawee

    Makawee Member

  14. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    I would wait until she sheds to see if the sounds your hearing are an respiratory or just loose shed in her nostrils. If she sheds and is still weezing she will need to see a vet for a RI.
    The eggs look good, as soon as you set them up in the incubator with stable temps and humidity they should hatch for you in 55-65 days.
    Side note those round dials you have in the temp tank and useless, they are often off as much as 10-20 degrees. Wal-mart, home depot ect sell digital thermometers and hydrometers in the thermostat isle for around $10-20 each. Knowing the proper temps is key to healthy animals. Also eggs should incubate at 80-85f anything higher can be fatal to the eggs.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I need a new mouse it keeps double clicking lol!
  15. Makawee

    Makawee Member

    I have a digital probe thermometer for the eggs that I got from petco, Ill attach a photo. That's good to know about the hydrometer! I've been wondering where I could find a probe one, that can accurately rate it, I found a lot of out door digital probe ones but they were rated as inaccurate :/ I hadn't thought to look at home depot xP and good to know about the shedding, She makes a sneeze like sound when she lets out a lot of air, like when she's irritated or spooked, but she doesn't have any mucus, she even ate a fuzzy mouse today no problem, I only fed her one though cuz I worried too much food could stress her out xP She opened her mouth to adjust her jaw and I got to see pretty far back into her mouth and everything looked really good... Except I don't know if I saw any teeth? are they hiding behind the stuff that looked like gums? I've seen her yawn and open her mouth before, but I never LOOKED for teeth, this time she held her mouth open and SO WIDE for so long that I just kinda gave her a real good look around... and I didn't see any.. but back to the good news, her mouth looks really good :) So I'm hoping for a quick recovery on her part even if she is a little under the weather.. if not, like I said I've found a vet whose reptile certified so I'm feeling pretty confident I can help her quick enough if it does turn into something :) finally I can start going back to feeling like I'm a good pet snake owner xP
  16. Makawee

    Makawee Member
    The one in this picture is black... mine is yellow, I'm not sure why the color difference but I know they're the same... temp gudge.jpg
    The temp is 81.9 right now.. SO CLOSE! but when my apartment heats up from cooking it spikes to 83.5 so i move the light further away :p but then as it cools I have to move it back.. its not a perfect science, but I haven't let it get above 84, and again hopefully the incubator will get here soon xp

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