Bad clutch shark mouth

Hi, this is my first clutch produced by me and this is the scenario. Albino x albino laid 6 eggs.
1 slug
2 infertile good looking eggs
1 almost fully developed but started losing veins around day 50 (shark mouth once cut the egg)
2 when cutting the eggs on day 55 we’re alive but deformed and shark mouth. Also died.

My incubator shows temps from 83-95 F even though these were just for a little while in the day . But most of the day remained set at 88,89 degrees.
There’s a local breeder here in South Florida that keeps them in a garage and has been doing this his whole life. Over 40 years. And he says his garage goes through the same temps I mentioned above and he has no issues.
So my question is , can this be a genetic thing?
I have a clutch of 9 eggs due next week so I guess I can compare them. Also this is this female first clutch. She was about 1600 when laid eggs.
Also I did mess with the eggs a few times. I liked candling them during the process to see how they developed but I didn’t turn the eggs , just gently picked up candled with my cellphone light and put back .

Gradual increase in temperature has a chance of causing problems but not as much as sharp spikes in temperature. The spiking is really concerning. Many people incubate baby corn snake eggs just outside in their house. Even though the temperature of our homes fluctuate it’s not spiking and then falling and then repeating that process. I personally believe that it’s an issue because of the incubator having heat spikes.

Ps, I know the thread is about ball pythons, it is just corn snakes are a good example.


Lumpy’s got it right, it’s the high temperatures that did it to you. Ninety degrees F is the HIGHEST a developing embryo can tolerate safely. People who incubate at this temperature are taking a major risk because any kurtosis (variability of the thermostat) can exceed the thermal tolerance of the developing embryo and lead to uneven growth in whatever tissues were developing that day, or accelerated growth that day when other days tissues grow more slowly.

I personally incubate at 88.5F to play it safe. You can incubate as low as 84, honestly, it just takes an extra 7-10 days to hatch.

What kind of incubator do you use? If it’s one of the minifridge incubators, toss it, they’re trash.

Yes it’s one of those wine cooler fridge ones made into an incubator. What are good incubators you recommend?

A lot of breeders have success converting large coolers into incubators. Albey of Albey’s “Too Cool” Reptiles has a great how-to on his website: Cooler Incubator

If you’re not super handy, there are several premade incubators that I recommend:

Nature’s Spirit Incubator (my staple for a decade now, TN Aquarium and the Jekyll Island Sea Turtle Center uses these too):

CSerpents incubator:

Those are the only two I personally have experience with and can recommend, but I’m sure others can shoot you some recommendations for other brands.

I realize the appeal of minifridge incubators is their cheap price, for $100 you have something that resembles an incubator. However, as you found out not only are they worthless, but they undo years of work. A good, quality, professionally made incubator will run $500 or more, but it’s the only incubator you will need. When you factor in the YEARS it takes to get your first clutch, raising babies to maturity, investing in a quality incubator just makes sense. You’re investing in future generations of reptiles, you won’t feel the sticker shock at all once you start hatching out healthy babies.

Keep in mind that these incubators must also be paired with a REAL thermostat. The two main brands are VE (Vivarium Electronics) and Herpstats. I’ve used both. In my experience, the Herpstats are better. I’ve never had a Herpstat fail, but VEs have let me down a few times (they tend to blow fuses). There are other brands as well but those two are the most widely available.

You will never regret buying a real incubator, or making one yourself if you’re handy. Your own psychological well being in knowing you can trust a vital piece of hardware is worth something too. Infrastructure (housing, racks, thermostats, incubators) is never something that you should go cheap on, you will always regret it in the long run.

This is spot on. Incubating at 90 degrees is super risky imo. I play it safe at 87 takes longer but I’ve had a way higher hatch rate.

This is spot on as well!

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They can be fine if designed well, I’m running a wine fridge incubator paired to a herpstat 1 that hasn’t fluctuated more than 1/10 of a degree (set to 87) during the the entire time. I feel like a high quality thermostat is really the most vital part of the whole operation


My wine cooler converted into an incubator did just fine for 3 of the 4 clutches I hatched out last year. I don’t quite know what happened with the first clutch, all but one died during incubation or shortly after hatching. If they’re designed well, as mentioned previously, then I think they can work just fine.

I also used a reptibator for my hognose eggs last year, and they hatched out just fine. Provided I did have to seal up the holes so they would hold humidity and temps better, but it seems to have worked fine for my one tiny clutch.

Though I did invest in a CSerpents incubator for my future clutches, hoping to put some use to it in 2022. I’ll likely continue to use the wine cooler for brumating my colubrids and possibly incubating eggs if I run out of room in the main incubator.


Absolutely! Mini fridge can work if put together well. That’s all most of the high dollar incubators are anyway just a fancier version. They key is properly heating it, testing it, and as pointed out a quality thermostat. A decent mini fridge incubator isn’t what I would consider “cheap” equipment

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The outside temperature is also important. My first clutch of woma python eggs almost all completely died and the only survivor was hatched with a bit of shark mouth and even now she has a bit of trouble completely flicking her tongue. We were moving at the time and I wasnt aware that a freak heat wave would affect the indoor temperature so harshly, so I didnt have the AC running, and it’s my theory that the temperature spiked and that’s what caused issues. Next year we had 5/6 eggs make it full term with no issues, same incubator same temps.

If you actually get a good thermostat, this isn’t true at all. You just recommend converting a cooler into an incubator, so by your logic those are also trash and worthless too. You don’t need to shell out $500+ for what is just a glorified wine cooler/mini fridge. What you do need to shell out money for is a high quality thermostat. Given just how many people I see using incubators they made without issues, and professionals recommending builds for them, they definitely aren’t worthless trash. Forgive me if I sound a bit annoyed, but you sound like you are gate keeping incubators. As well as trashing anyone that dares to use one that isn’t fancy that breaks the bank for those of use that don’t have all the money in the world to throw at hobbies.

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Yes, I agree, a good thermostat can fix the minifridge incubators. My main beef is that those minifridge incubators are advertised as effective incubators on their own when the reality is that the built-in thermostat is complete rubbish and misleads newbies into thinking their incubator will work. I was one of those newbies, and I lost my first ever clutch because of this misleading advertising. Frankly, they should be pulled off the market unless they either upgrade or remove the existing thermostat. When a stand-alone thermostat is the same price as an entire minifridge “incubator” you can see why just using the built-in thermostat has appeal to many newbies who think they can save a few bucks by using something that is advertised as a reptile incubator.

I stand by my original statement. The minifridge incubators by themselves are utter rubbish that mislead newbies because of bad advertising, and they should either be sold with a proper thermostat or pulled from the market altogether.

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I think that’s what happened to me. I wasn’t running my ac where I have them and it got really hot outside. And since the thermostat can’t cool down the temp, if it’s 95 outside it’ll be hotter in the incubator

Thanks to everyone for your help. I will update you next week on the my second clutch that is due to hatch. I hope they do ok. :pensive:

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