I have an adult female (yes it is a female - confirmed multiple times), who becomes aggressive with any male I have introduced. She hisses and I can hear slapping/banging of the tub & rack ceiling. I’ve never witnessed her locked to a male. Today the male I tried practically flew out of the tub when I opened it. I’ve never had this issue before with a female. Any ideas on what may be going on here besides the obvious? The obvious is that she doesn’t want to breed. But she seems to never want to breed. Anyone ever run into this before? How did you handle it? And yes, she is a female. She’s also over 5yrs old & 2000+ grams. Thanks in advance.
Has she ovulated yet? She might not be ready to breed until her eggs are ready to be fertilized. I’m assuming you’re adding the males into the females tub? Try introducing both of them at the same time into a well-cleaned tub free of scents. Some females just don’t end up breeding. Some of them will start later in life and others just never breed, it usually depends on the individual.
It could be many things. But Just one possible Idea.
OK controversial. Also, I may be out of date, But…
There are sometimes more than two genders in reptiles. Garter snakes at least have evidence for this. i.e. males that are fake being females with their fermions to distract other males so they can mate with the female.
Current understanding is also that some species of reptile gender is affected by incubation temperature.
As far as i can remember, My Mexican milk snakes incubated too high (or low cant remember but I think too high) were mostly Male, but rarely when a female was in the clutch, it presented as males in their behaviour to other males and indeed in their body type, tail length , size etc appeared Male…
Maybe I am out of date with this but check it out yourselves. But there is still evidence for the multiple gender thing in reptiles.
I expect to be contradicted, but please evidence base if you find this idea too out there
I haven’t seen an ovulation or any building behavior (increased appetite or cool seeking). I was hoping introducing the male would stimulate this. I like the idea of introducing them both into a new tub. Maybe neutral & unscented territory will make a difference. I’ve been afraid that this could be a female who just doesn’t breed and I’m torn about how much do I keep investing into trying before moving on.
This could certainly be worth considering. If something wonky occurred during incubation or fetal development, it could result in behavioral or even structural changes. We often assume that if a snake looks good, eats & grows that everything is as expected. But subtle internal changes can be hidden until moments like this.
There are only two sexes in snakes. The male garter snakes are still fully male and breed perfectly normally. The behaviour you are citing is one of parasitic advantage. The males hibernate longer and save greater metabolic reserves and then use the aggregated warmth of the other males rubbing against them to rapidly warm them so that they can out-breed the other males
Snakes do not have TSD. Incubation temperature does not affect the outcome of the clutch or the behaviour of the animals in the clutch. There are some geckos where this happens (AFTs, leos, knobtails) but the “hot females,” as they are called, are still fully capable of breeding
You are the one that is posting something completely contradictory to the established science so it is your job to provide the evidence of your claims. The evidence of what I have posted is easily accessible for you to read up on, it is not our job to find it for you.
Size is a factor of nutrition, not sex. I have seen more than a few 2000+g males in my days.
You say it has been confirmed this animal is female multiple times, may I ask: Who was it that confirmed it? And when? I do not mean this as an insult but if you were the only one to do this then perhaps you made a mistake. It happens to the best of us, I have mis-sexed my fair share of snakes in the past.
Short of this animal laying eggs, you cannot guarantee the animal is female. The behaviour you are describing does sound very much like dominance assertion/male combat. You might consider putting this animal in with a known female and see if they lock up…
I was not suggesting 2 sexes, so I said genderers for lack of a better word.
I am aware of the behaviour you site, but there still are plenty of references of male garters emitting female pheromones to gain an advantage.
‘‘Males in some species are known to pretend to be females so they avoid being preyed upon by larger males, or to allow them to mate with unsuspecting females.’’
Both behaviours are recorded here.
I did make the comment below about being out of date with my information. So am interested to look at new data
Here is one of my old references.
EDIT: Reference successfully overturned in this thread. so removed to avoid confusion.
And this comment was to encourage sensible discussion rather than being attacked for suggesting more than 2 genders. Its an issue people obviously have strong feelings and prejudices about.
There are hermaphrodite humans. Also hormone levels can affect physical development different to the sex.
This article actually shows that based on the “experiments” they did TEMP SHOWED NO EVIDENCE OF CHANGING SEX IN PINE SNAKES
Maybe start a different post for this discussion, for now if we could just disuss the topic at hand.
I had a female (proven, laid the year prior) that would do this if she was just not feeling sex time. I also have one male that is overly excited about breeding this year and would fly around the tub banging into front sides and back when put in the female at first, then once he settled down he was locking with her no matter if she wanted to or not.
Fully agree with travis here. Many people seem to confuse size with the sex. Males can just as easily be 2000g plus, same as some females never get over 1500g.
Is this a proven female?
Can you define proven? Do you mean by sexing or do you mean that she is laid eggs? Because he said that she has never laid eggs
OK thanks for clarifying for me. I will edit my post to clarify your point so as not to cause confusion for selective readers.
As for the new discussion, I dare not go there.
However, different hormone levels affecting physical development is well known and relevant to this discussion.
By proven i just mean has she laid eggs.
i must have missed that. I see where he never witnessed locks or typical breeding behavior. i am curious if this a female he purchased as an adult or if she was a hatchling he grew up.
That’s what I assumed LOL because I know you’re a breeder
The emission of the pheromone has nothing to do with the gender of the snake, it is a parasitic mimicry behaviour. Had you read the actual scientific publication rather than the pop-sci synopsis you would have learned that the behaviour has:
been shown to be a transitory phase that is restricted to the first day or two after a male first emerges from his eight-month hibernation
The males that perform the behaviour do not “identify” as female. They are simply performing an extremely short-term behaviour to confer a survival advantage
And there are gynandromorph lobsters…
The existence of one of these types of anomalous phenotype in any given species does not dictate their existence across all species. As is plainly evident given there are no gynandromorph humans and no hermaphrodite lobsters.
Neither hermaphrodism nor gynandromorphy have been documented in snakes. Citing them as explanations for things without any kind of documentation is, once again, not fact-based
And as I plainly stated above, in TSD species, those hormone fluctuation can have behavioural repercussions. But there is no evidence of this in snakes, that we have very clearly established are not TSD.
Painting with a rather broad brush there…
The only “strong feelings and prejudices” I have are toward rampant speculation without any form of evidence being put forth as if it were established fact, followed by a demand for evidence-based proof to disprove the speculation.
I am sure he’s busy with work/family/snakes and isn’t online. Please refrain from personal attacks
As with any digital conversation, it’s fairly easy for tone to be misunderstood and disagreements to arise, but we all are responsible for keeping this forum the peaceful and informative place we all can enjoy
I have a big girl that will block a male and slap him around some. She does well at the beginning of the breeding season then tends to get tired of males in her enclosure. She will whip her tail around and push the male where he is away from her. She also urinates in the enclosure everytime a male is introduced. I personally watch closely to make sure she is going to be in the mood for a male in her enclosure before I leave them. When she starts tail whipping I remove the male because she will refuse to lock. If this is a confirmed female I do like the idea someone else mentioned of introducing the pair in a clean tub at the same time to see if you get the same results. I also like the idea of putting the snake in question with another female to see if you get a lock where someone may have misidentified the gender of the snake. Like someone else mentioned some girls just don’t want to breed or want to breed on their schedule.
I feel as though this has gotten a little off topic…
Chris, as others have suggested I would recommend using a clean tub and putting both in at or around the same time. However, I would have another breeder sex your female for you… just in case it isn’t actually female. I’ve sexed snakes wrong multiple times😅 not my best moments but it happens! If you don’t have anyone near you to do that for you, or simply don’t want to go that route, you could pair her with a confirmed female as another user suggested. If she is truly a female and all else fails then it is completely up to you if you want to continue to invest in her in hopes she’ll eventually pair or if you simply want to move on. Unfortunately, some females just don’t want to breed. I do wish you the best of luck and hope everything works out in your favor!
Adding on to the off topic discussion…
I feel as those things got a little heated and out of hand. t_h_wyman while I understand your frustration with information being misinterpreted/ simply not read I feel, as a staff member, you should be a little more polite in how you talk to community members. No one, and I mean no one, likes misinformation being spread…especially not in this community, but you should aim to help and lead in the right direction even when frustrated. This is my second time posting in this community (this being my first discussion post) and I typically don’t like getting involved in heated discussion at all but I was severely caught off guard as to how this was handled. As someone still relatively new to this hobby I want to be assured that I can make mistakes and be nicely corrected/ given helpful information without being treated disrespectfully. This is in no way meant as an attack or disrespectful, but just wanted to give my perspective on this situation. We all make mistakes and we all deserve to be able to learn from them.
The female has been confirmed female by a few other people. She was sexed female by the breeder and then confirmed by a buddy of mine as a hatchling. Then when I started to wonder myself if it was a female, I had her confirmed female again last weekend by an experienced sexer. I only mentioned her age and weight not as an indication of sex, but that she was old enough and big enough to breed. I also have a male that is bigger than some of my females. He is a beast.
She was purchased as a hatching. She was one of my original breeding group and was my most expensive female (ugh…). So she’s been with me most of her life. And no major changes to husbandry or her environment.
Thank you everyone for the advice. I think the next step is to try a clean tub and introduce both into neutral territory. I may even try introducing her to a female and seeing what happens. A few people have confirmed her sex and it’s unlikely they all could be wrong, but stranger things have happen.