Advice for first time (unproven) breeder male

For the past month I have been trying to pair a totally unproven male who has just matured enough (230g, 42 inches, 2.5 years old). I have never used an unproven male before

The first minute I put him in with a lady, he was all over her. They were racing around for 30 mins. I could see his tail going for the lock multiple times. I saw his hemipenes pop out at one point, also

So clearly, he wanted to breed

However, the female seemed to want nothing to do with it, and the racing never stopped… I decided after 30 mins, i didnt want to stress her so i removed him.

I gave him a week, another meal, her as well, and tried once more with the same pair
Now, he doesnt race at all! He has not tried anything
Shes completely calm and has even twitched like a hognose a few times, and yet he is now not even trying to lock. I took him out after 2 days of them just kind of quietly cohabbing

I have other girls I hope to pair with him, so I gave him some time and then tried with another girl. Same thing.
Raced a little bit the first hour, and this girl was much more calm, yet, no sign of a lock. And then, after that initial period, he seemed to shy away, slept far away from her in a different area of the tank, and when she slithers around, he tries to get away, even though she is not displaying anything like aggression/food response, and is just curiously slithering around to greet me and look around (she’s very curious and always does this, great personality)!

I’m wondering if he just has some jitters being around these big females, or maybe i put him with too many too fast, despite the breaks. I’ve not had any issues with pairing until now. But I know I still have lots to learn, as a breeder whos just begun! I’d love any and all advice from folks more experienced than I am.

Is it just because hes new, and my females are huge? Is there anything I can do to make things go smoother, or should I just give him more time?

Breeding setup:
Roughly 3 foot long by 20 inches wide bin setup, with thermostat controlled underbelly heat on one end and a large water bowl on the other end.

Paper towel under to check for evidence of locking.

First female is 700 grams, Second is 450 grams. Both are proven females.


He might’ve gotten the job done had you left him in with the first girl. Unless you’re seeing violent behavior, I wouldn’t worry so much about the female being stressed, sometimes it takes a little bit for the male to convince her, especially if there’s a size difference.

Did you only start pairing in May? Were your snakes brumated? Do you only have the one male? It’s possible you missed the females’ ovulations and they’re just no longer interested in breeding. It’s also possible your boy just isn’t what the girls are interested in. I had to swap out a planned male this year because the female wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. Within five minutes of switching out the male for another with similar genes, I had a lock.

As much as we want everything to go perfectly, sometimes the animals themselves have other ideas!


It’s a tad late in the season, as @noodlehaus indicates, but there are a ton of factors which influence the timing of ovulation and breeding behavior. There’s length of daylight, temps, feeding schedule, and brumation to name a few. Some females are willing pretty much all summer. Others are only interested for a brief window.

Sounds to me like your young male is just trying to figure out his job. They’re nothing wrong with leaving a pair together to race around for a while a long as they’re just racing. No biting, no super hard shoving with coils (“get the heck away from me NOW” body language), no worries. This can be a normal part of courtship behavior for some individuals or pairs. As long as he’s trying, it’s fine to leave them together.

As it happens this year, all three males whom I paired were virgins. For one, there was a big difference in size between the 18-month-old male and the 700 g older female. It took several times of putting them together over the course of a month before he figured it out and they had a successful lock. Once he’d discovered how to actually succeed, the next time I put them together took, oh, perhaps a minute to succeed.

Mate preference is a thing, and it can be a hard one to overcome. I tend to think that what you’re describing isn’t mate preferences, though. It sounds like inexperience. Patience is probably the key. Leaving the pair together to cohab for a bit can be successful. Just be sure nobody is hungry and nobody has a smell of food on them. A few other options you can try include introducing your pairs at different times of day, moving the breeding bin to a different location, misting the bin, putting a recent shed from a prospective mate or another adult in with the pair (male or female shed; they work differently but both can help), or pairing when there’s a low pressure sysyem. Hopefully something will work. Some animals really need a bit more time to mature before they’re ready to breed. I’ve had 2YO males who were ready and able to right away, and others who just wouldn’t until the following year, when they were totally gung-ho. But some 2YOs just need to figure out how this works. There are no guarantees, of course, but don’t give up on your boys yet. Good luck!


Thank you!!! Yes I definitely dont have the exp under my belt. You can research all youd like but it doesnt beat experience all on its own. Thank you for all this advice, I will keep trying. I do have another male I can try.

Our winter went pretty late and My girls didnt shed for some time, I wanted to give them a chance to bulk back up. I also got some new gals in recently and some were brumated and others not, so it is definitely more tricky to time things. Next year it should be a lot easier with all of them on the same schedule together!

Thankfully no aggression at all, ill give them another chance after a couple days, just fed everyone (seperately) again!


Thank you so much!
I didnt see any evidence of a lock but, it is possible! I did pair them a few times and not see them really spend any time near each other the rest, though

I planned to start sooner, but i waited for my girls to shed and some took quite some time. I also wanted to make sure they were all eating well and a couple were quite picky, esp those who were late to shedding, and their weight dropped more than id like. Everyone is back on track now!

I do have a backup plan, but I will try another week!


Sure thing. Hopefully they’ll figure it all out and give you some babies.

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