Birth Deformity

Over the Mother’s Day weekend, we had our second clutch start pipping. It wasn’t a spectacular, genetic soup of a pairing - just a pastel clown x kingpin. Eight good eggs were laid and incubated in a Nature’s Spirit incubator with thermostat. So far, seven of the neonates seem fine and are responsive, but number eight was hatched eyeless and with a mouth deformity.

This one is responsive, but once fully emerged, we will likely take it to our exotics vet for further discussion - providing it makes it. If this little one is viable, we’ll keep it safe and healthy as possible.

It happens eventually to all of us.

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I have heard that temperature fluctuations can produce the no eye deformity. Have seen a whole clutch of blood pythons come out with 0 to 1 eye because of this. But the mouth deformity also leads me to believe just as you stated @lincourt that it’s probably just a birth defect which can happen to any clutch. Too bad, but you seem to have a good plan for it at least. Wish you luck!

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Well, took another look and it appears there is one more without eyes - normal mouth, just eyeless. Thermostat supposedly kept the temp at 89°F, give or take acceptable fluctuations. I’m hoping my pastel clown doesn’t just have genetic “issues.” The kingpin has produced for me before and those clutches all were fine. This was the first year for the pastel clown.
Regardless, I won’t be pairing these two again.

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I’d lean towards incubator or thermostat causing more of a temp variance than the pairing.

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I’m in agreement here. I think both issues were caused by incubation. I think you end up with way more problems incubating at 89 or 90 I think it’s personally just to hot no wiggle room. I think incubating around 87 really helps cut down on incubation problems. One thing to keep it mind is when a mother maternally incubates it takes quite a bit longer to incubate because she doesn’t keep the eggs as hot as we do.

You said they pipped did you cut the eggs?

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Yes, I cut the last few that didn’t pip out. I know you aren’t a fan of the practice, but it’s how I do things. On a side note, the mouth deformity appears to be a cleft palate.

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To add to this, I incubated stop 89 last year, got a clutch with two babies that had eye problems. One had no eyes one had one eye, and a small spinal kink. Definitely was incubator related, and have had no issues this year incubating at a lower 86 degrees.

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Photo for reference




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How odd. Well, here’s hoping they’re able to eat. If they can feed or at least be fed by tongs pressing a feeder to their mouth, they might make someone a good pet anyway- I know some eyeless snakes can thrive that way. Good luck.

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I’ve heard that (at least some) eyeless snakes can go on to thrive, but I’m unfamiliar with the effects of a cleft palette on health and quality of life in reptiles. I would make the guess that you’d see fewer problems than in many other species because of how snakes eat, but I have zero personal experience. If you’re able to provide an update, it would be a great learning opportunity for us, I think. I’d especially love to hear what your reptile vet concluded, should you take either of the babies in to be seen.

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I will definitely post an update eventually.

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Doesnt Nerd’s snake Snarfles have a cleft pallet? He eats fine. Maybe they could help with your little dude.

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Same thing happened over here… 6 good eggs 4 normal 1 shark mouth and one have no eyes and defect mouth


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It does indeed. I concur that this is most likely incubation related. Although any deformity can result from defective genes, some are well documented results of high incubation temps. Reduced or missing eyes and mouth deformities are high on that list.

I also want to say good for you for being willing to hold onto a viable one. We all need to be able to euthanize something if we choose to breed. Like so many, I’ve done it. It’s always awful. I’ve also chosen not to euthanize a viable baby with only one, reduced eye who survived a high temperature event in incubation that killed most of clutch. Its also got some anomalous ribs in the thoracic region. No kinks, but it’s like the ribcage is enlarged in one area. This little one has always eaten, drunk water, eliminated, shed and behaved like a normal snake.

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What temp did you incubate at?

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On a different note, any idea what is going on here? Is this an Emperor Pin or something weird from the Pastel Clown x Kingpin pairing? I will get better pictures after a few days.


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I love the look of him! You should wait until the eggskin is off, it will make the IDing of the baby easier.

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@lumpy, yeah - I know, but when I saw this one had fully emerged I got excited. It is the only one that looks like this and I just don’t see how Pastel Clown and Kingpin can produce this appearance. Now, admittedly, I am no expert at identifying morphs.

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It’s a pretty little thing, whatever it is!

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Me either, but whatever it is he is beautiful.

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