Monday, October 19, 2009

The Reptile Show

This weekend, a few of us went to the reptile show. It was Ryan, me, Chris and little Ryan (we have two Ryan's in our group now). Ryan was hoping that some good rainbow boa breeders would be there, and to his delight, there were!
Bryan Hummel, of and Bob Clark both had booths. Rainbows aren't Bob's specialty, he focuses more on pythons, but Ryan bought two baby rainbows from him at the show last year. Bob was sold out, so we spent most of our time with BH.
He had a few on display that weren't for sale. I wouldn't sell these either! Of course I didn't have my camera because I wasn't planning on going on Saturday so I took these pics from his website.


I don't know if he actually had this snake at the show, he had four on display, but he had a high red snake there. The colors are so phenomenal, I didn't think it was real at first. I love the red ones. Ryan doesn't have any reds yet, they are all orange hued.

Check out those eyes. Crazy. The orange on this one is insane.

So pretty. The crescents on the side I think are my favorite marking on these snakes. This ones are perfect.

It was a lot of fun. BH was very helpful too since he has been breeding these snakes since the mid-nineties. We must have talked with him for at least 45 minutes. He had some tips on what to look for in terms of markings and coloring, also on timing when it comes to actually breeding them. Ryan wants to try his hand with Johnny and June this year. She has been feeding really well, so she has bulked up and is ready for such an endeavor. I bet mom and any of the girls reading this have the million dollar question running through their head right now, " Did Ryan get another snake?"
Ready? Yes he did. He got one more male. He really doesn't need any more males, but that was all BH had left, plus this one he got really good looking and has a special genetic trait.
I'll explain....
So you've seen in the above pictures that the color can vary alot. There are the oranges, reds, browns, and I have seen pictures of some that look mauvey. But there is a recessive gene that causes hypomelanism - basically black pigments are reduced. It's kind of like albinoism (is that a word? spell check is not catching it, so I'll assume so), just not complete absence of these pigments. See the following pics of BH's snakes for example:

hypos on the right

hypo yearling. He is pretty red. The hypo he had at the show was more apricot colored like the ones above. But see how his lines are not as pronounced? The black dots get lighter moving towards the belly... BH called this "blushing"

Anyways, Ryan did not get an actual hypo, they are too pricey for him right now (female babies are $2200), but his male is 100% heterozygous for this trait. This means that if he were to breed this male with another female that is heterzygous (still to be aquired) then statistically, half of the clutch/ litter should be hypomelanistic - which he can keep the best for his own stock and then sell the rest for a huge amount of money. There are many other breeding scenarios requiring a good knowledge of genetics, and it makes me wish I had paid more attention in my undergrad class, but it's pretty fascinating! Either way, Ryan and I both think that even though he needs more females for a breeding collection (right now for the rainbows he is 3.2 : male.female), this male is a great addition to his group.
He recently named the babies he aquired from Bob last year, the boy Jem and the girl Scout, after characters in his favorite book: To Kill A Mockingbird. But I think he is contemplating selling Scout. She hasn't colored up very well (their color increases over time with each shed) and she is still pretty brown. In addition, her crescent markings aren't very nice. She is pretty tame though so she'll make a great pet snake. We thought Jem was coloring nicely until we put him next to the newby. Wow. The new snake whoops him. I didn't have my camera to demonstrate, but I will take pics soon. Jem however has very nice crescents, so I think Ryan is leaning towards keeping him. And boy is that one mean. I've been bitten three times by him (on separate occasions) and Ryan as well. When we took him out to look at the babies together he was not having it, he went strike crazy and got Ryan. He wasn't like that before, it must be some sort of phase.
BH is based in San Antonio, so he told Ryan that he could come down when his next litters are born in the summer and take his pick of a few females. He can't wait for that! It will be pretty cool too if he will let us see his setup...another educational experience.
For right now, he needs to figure out his caging setup. I think he wants to build some racks with his dad at Thanksgiving. Then he will be ready to get a couple more babies in the summer. He also needs to practice just getting them to breed, which Johnny and June are perfect for. And while they aren't outrageously colored, they are still good looking snakes. Their previous owner had no trouble selling their babies when he bred them.
It will take a while to get snakes the quality BH has, he'll just have to take his time. I know he'll have a blast every step of the way. I already am!

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