Ball pythons with missing eyes

So I have been noticing more and more ball pythons with missing eyes. Why do you think this is?

Inbreeding depression/poor genetic management and selection would be my guess. We have a tight gene pool to begin with and the majority of breeders are using “it’s pretty, and it lived” as selection criteria…


Not to mention basically everyone cuts their eggs, so it doesn’t allow for the weaker snakes to die off in the eggs as they would in nature.


One eye or no eyes doesn’t mean they will die in egg!

I believe its conditions or genetics.


She meant that if a snake is already deformed with not having an egg tooth it’s more likely to be deformed without an eye/eyes.

We aren’t allowing natural selection to take place and instead we’re forcing most snakes to breed for money and weakening the gene pool.


I understand what you are saying, but I’m not sure I could leave a cute lil snake to die. I think I’d want to help the lil one out.

I wouldn’t do it just because I wanted to know what’s inside though.

I think care is a big factor also


All of the instances I’ve seen are most likely conditional, my guess being incubation issues. I hatched a Sugar YB Spider with no eyes several years ago. She has produced a clutch every year for the last 5 years without a single defect. The gene pool we are working with as an industry is massive. These snakes are outcrossed as much or more than they are inbred.


I agree, however with oversaturated species it’s a risk to allow them to get too bad genetics wise. If I bred and one egg was taking longer I might cut it but I would never sell it where it could even potentially be bred, I’d likely keep it as a pet.

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I think most of these issues are from too much disturbance to the eggs. If you continuously open your incubator to check eggs its going to cause massive temp fluctuations. I see this quite often from new keepers…even some veteran keepers can’t help themselves. I guess it pays to have a walk-in or glass door incubator.


I agree. Although the snakes are technically my husband babies, so he gets to decide if we cut the eggs or not.

I just have a lot of influence :grin:

We put a window on our incubator as I am terrible at waiting and I knew I’d have to peek in now and then, okay several times a day. But I wouldn’t open the incubator unless I needed to adjust the humidity.

My incubators have glass doors so I don’t have to open the door and I don’t cut i let them pip and haven’t had issues from that. Other issues but not from checking to much or cutting.


This is spot on and why I don’t open egg boxes until day 50. Zero checking besides what I can see through a glass door. Hands off approach has greatly increased my success with eggs.


It’s good to know all this.

I know we aren’t meant to disturb the eggs etc, but I never really knew why till now

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It’s probably one of the things I would really stress to an inexperienced breeder. It can seriously wreck an entire season.


It’s definitely good to get out there.

This year is our first season. I’m one for research and spent about a year reading right from wrong and along lots of questions.

I knew not to need with the eggs once in the incubator (unless needed) but I was only told they might not hatch… Nothing about deformities too. Not that it makes a difference, it’s just good to know


Something else that is good to know, especially if you have raised chickens which is the opposite, is that you do NOT rotate/spin them.

Once a few hours has passed since being laid, you will want to keep them in that same position until they hatch. Which is why most people mark the up-facing side of the egg before putting them in the incubator.


Which if you just don’t open them until close to hatch time you don’t have to worry about them moving or even mark them for that matter.


Scott Eiper in Australia did an experiment with an entire clutch of carpet python eggs, where he turned them 1/4 turn several times a day through the entire incubation period. They hatched normally. He talks about it on an episode of morelia python radio. Not suggesting eggs should be turned or even bothered that much, but maybe we don’t know everything we like to think we do about incubation.

Inbreeding depression across the entire hobby doesn’t necessarily correlate with the inbreeding depression within a single collection.


I still marked ours up, just incase.

I’m not sure I would want to rotate the eggs :flushed: I’d be too scared of injuring them

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i never thought of that. They are pretty much taking away natural selection by the weaker ones living, then being ok because they are in captivity and no predators, and then people breed the weaker ones causing even weaker off spring