His name is Ted Bundy, he’s a Butter Stripe from a reptile store in Blue Ash, OH (A List Animals)
And she’s Queen Mary! She’s an Amel Strawberry from BHB Reptiles
I bought these two snakes to breed together (eventually) but I don’t quite understand how snake genetics work. I’ve watched a few videos from two or three different creators on youtube and one series involving punnet squares, but I’m still pretty confused. Can someone direct me to some good literature?
Also these are my very first reptiles! I’m really excited to take care of these beautiful animals. I want to make their enclosures into live vivariums eventually.
I guess my main question would be: Do these two morphs mix?
Also, do Amels go through the “blue phase”? Ted did his first shed with me and I had no idea he was in shed! It wasn’t in one nice long shed; it was broken up into two main pieces and I had to “soak” him for two 15-minute soaks to help peel off the shed at the end of his tail. It looks like Queenie might be ready to shed soon too, last time I held this spicy girl she seemed to have some raised scales/shed on her face.
Welcome! You’ve got a couple of beauties there. I’ve been working with Stripes for ages and I’m especially fond of Butter Stripes. When expanding my collection again over the last couple years after a break, one focus is Strawberry stuff so you’ve hit a couple of my favorites there!
Snake genetics work like those in any other living thing. There’s a calculator feature here on MorphMarket where you can play with potential crosses and become familiar with results.
Quick explanation, 2 alleles are possible for each trait. Recessive traits take 2 copies to be expressed (homozygous). These are most common in corns so they’re what I’m discussing here. Homozygous animals always pass on 1 copy of the allele to offspring. When an animal has only 1 copy of an allele, it’s heterozygous (het) and the trait won’t appear visually but can be passed on to offspring. Whether or not the offspring express the trait depends upon if they get another copy from the other parent.
Your snakes are:
Butter Stripe: homozygous for Amel, Caramel, Stripe.
Amel Strawberry: homozygous for Amel, Strawberry.
Unless they have some matching hets, which you can’t know unless you got the info from their breeder, their offspring will all be Amel het for Caramel, Strawberry, and Stripe. You could then make all sorts of interesting combos with the next generation.
As to going in blue, yes, all snakes have a blue/shed phase and shed their skins. Growing youngsters usually do this about every month. Amels usually get a more pastel tone instead of their brighter reds. If you’re seeing stuck shed, your girl may need a moist hide depending on how long that’s been on there. Pics will help us help you.
You said Ted had some trouble shedding and you did just the right things to help him. It sounds like your snakes could do with some higher humidity, at least while in shed. Human heating and cooling (thankfully for us, lol) makes for drier air than in most of a corn’s native range. A moist hide is nice, and/or misting their enclosures with a water bottle periodically while they’re blue is also helpful.
That’s a long reply, hope it helps. And welcome again!
Caryl hit on all the points, so I have nothing to add in that regard. Just wanted to compliment you on your pretty babies! Butter stripes are one of my absolute favorite morphs!
Thank you for all the great information! I’m assuming only the colors will cross and show while the other features will be het? Is het always not shown? Would their patterns breed out “normal” then the next-gen would be interesting crosses, assuming I can find matching het partners?
I couldn’t get any good photos she moves a lot, it looks like the small flakes came off. If you squint really hard you see a dull spot between her eyes in the orange/pink. I think the second picture might be the only one that kinda shows what I’m talking about.
Thank you!! I fell in love with the Butter Stripes when I saw them. They all went to a reptile show and I was almost certain my male would have been sold. He came back to town and I bought him that next weekend. Lmao. He has the most solid stripes out of the clutch that was being sold. The stripe is a little broken by the tail but he’s still beautiful
Happy to help. There’s a lot to learn, so many fascinating possibilities with corns. It’s one of the many things about them which I love.
Unless your babies share hets, all the babies they make will be Amels het for Caramel, Strawberry and Stripe. (I might very well want one.) They will have the usual saddle pattern. If you were to breed these babies back to anything with those visual traits or hets, you could produce lots of possibilities depending upon what you choose. I encourage you to play with the MorphMarket Calculator. It’s fun!
Hets for recessive traits aren’t shown. There are a few incompletely dominant traits in corn snakes which are visible when present in one copy, such as Red Factor and Tessera. You can learn about genetic traits and how they are expressed in the Morphpedia. That’s also fun!
I’m not sure if I’m seeing what you’re seeing on your girl’s face. Babies can be very hard to take pictures of, they’re usual quite active. If she had stuck shed, she may have gotten it off. That’s good. Do keep an eye on that spot next time she sheds as they sometimes stick in the same place next time.
It can be tricky to tell with Amels, and even harder to tell with Butter morphs but if you are able to observe them daily or nearly so in natural light, you will likely be able to tell. Their behavior will change when they go into shed, too. They’ll want to spend their time n a hide, usually in a cooler area of their enclosure.
Next time you notice that one of your snakes’ colors are changing, give her/him a moist hide. The easiest thing is to cut a hole in a plastic container about 2-3x the size of your smashes when coiled. Loudly full it some damp sphagnum moss or even damp paper towels. They’ll hang out in there for a number of days while blue, then most likely come out and have a good shed.
During her socialization tonight I went ahead and manhandled her I feel really bad holding her by her little head but I wanted to take as clear of a photo as I could without her squirming all over the place.
I bought more aspen bedding and sifted through her bedding for any signs of shed and there is no visible pieces or flakes that I could find. I looked her up and down while i had her in my hands and it seems like the tip of her tail shed came off bc it’s just the tiniest bright spot on her.
I misted down her enclosure and I might give her a 15 min soak tomorrow? Tuesday is feeding day so I hope a soak doesn’t upset her into not eating.
By the way, I have them both eating every 7 days. While browsing here it seems like a few people feed their hatchlings every 5 days? Should I feed more frequently until they’re bigger?
Also how often should I do a full bedding clean? Ted is in a medium sized tote so I assume once a week on his but Queenie is in a 10g with about 2-3in of aspen (fluffed).
I like to feed hatchlings every 5 days. Pinkies just have so little nutrition and calories and I like to get them past that fragile baby stage sooner rather than later.
A full bedding change, especially when they’re so small, doesn’t need to be done very often. I spot clean while snakes are eating, so it stays quite clean. I do full bedding changes if they spill water, if it’s starting to smell, or about two or three times a year.
Hmm, hard to say about Queenie’s potential shedding issues. I think I see what you are referencing on her face. It does look like there’s maybe a but of old shed there but it’s hard to say for sure. How long have you had them? Has her behavior changed? They usually want to go hide and chill in the days before a shed. Babies generally shed about once per month. At this point, I would mist regularly and just keep an eye on her. It won’t hurt to give her a moist hide if you think she’s in blue. If she’s not, she won’t use it.
Olivia is quite right, spot cleaning is fine. I typically try and do a full clean and change twice yearly. Your nose will tell you if it’s indicated sooner, which can happen if they slosh water around and it gets musty.
Your 5-day feeding interval is fine. I usually feed very tiny babies every 5 days. I generally feed my hatchlings every 6 days when they’re very young. After they’re a bit bigger, I feed every 6-7 days. Once they’re on double pinks, about 17 g, they’re fed weekly.
OK! I fed them a day early and I’m going to start a 5 day feeding cycle until they’re 17g (Ted is working his way up! Before feed he was 13g!) Then once they’re 17g they get fed double pinks?
This is all really exciting.
@caryl I’ve had them both for maybe 3 weeks now? Ted was bought Oct 15th and Queenie finally made it home on the 17th. I haven’t really pinned their behaviors down too much.
Ted seems like a shy boy, almost always hiding when I’m home but when I’m not home and I come home I find him exploring his little tote a little before hiding and observing me from the opening. He likes to borrow sometimes but since I put the cork round he’s been obsessed. Super tame, and doesn’t mind hanging out on your hand.
Queenie is much more active, she doesn’t mind being seen most days. She’s been curling up in the warm spots of the spider root this past week. She’s spicy, she bit me the first day I had her. In her defense, I picked her up again because I forgot to get an initial weight on her. In your hand, she’s a squirmer. She doesn’t want to stay in your hand, she wants to slither up my arm and grab onto things that are near and away from me. Bugger.
I’m going to give her another 15 min soak tomorrow since it doesn’t seem like it helped much. Chain pet store Sphagnum moss is expensive asf, even with my employee discount! Could I get some moss from like Home Depot or something? Would it be safe?
Also I’m having a really hard time keeping the humidity up in the 10g tank, humidity likes to sit at 45/50% I was thinking of putting the water bowl on the side of the heat lamp to encourage evaporation but I don’t think it’s the best idea.
To increase humidy you can do something as simple as saran wrap over half of the screen lid. You can put glass or plexiglass right over it, that will help maintain humidity.
I do this with my forest and tropical scorpions as i have desert scorpions who need very arid i have a room dehumidifier running 24/7 so without me placing plastic wrap or plexiglass glass on the top thectank gets dried out too much. Hooe this helps you.
Do not buy products from home depot as you do not know where the product is sourced. I buy my spaghum from Amazon i make sure i buy animal safe, especially for my inverts they are highly susceptible to pesticides and chemicals.
Sounds like you’re getting to know your babies and they’re getting to know you. I love getting to know their individual personalities. And hey, you’re past that first defensive bite. Much more startling than painful. Don’t worry, Queenie will get past that as she gets bigger and builds confidence that you’re not going to eat her.
@rmleone is right, it’s pretty easy to boost humidity by reducing ventilation. You can spritz their bins every few days when a humidity boost is needed. That said, your current humidity is on target for general health. You don’t want ambient humidity in their bins much higher.
I buy organic moss for orchids to use with moist hides for shedding and nest boxes for breeding females. It is a bit pricey, but a package will last your little ones for ages. You aren’t going to use it as your main substrate. Just a handful soaked in distilled or bottled water for a few hours then squeezed out and put into something like a margarine tub with an entrance hole is all you need. It expands a lot when it absorbs water. Soak too much? No worries. Spread it out on a baking sheet and it will dry again. With these little ones, you could simply use shredded paper towels in a similar way. This will dry faster than moss, but works.
I wouldn’t push them to soak more now. If a snake has part of its shed still retained after a few days, it’s likely to have adhered firmly to the new skin. Don’t try and manually remove it. You’ll need to wait until the next shed cycle for it to come off. Hopefully they’ll lose any retained shed when they shed again (unless your snake has an actual injury, which is another matter; yours didn’t, but I’m mentioning it for thoroughness). The two most likely areas to have repeated trouble are the head and the tail tip. These areas bear special checking until they’re shedding cleanly.
Keep up the good work.
If you just fed them, then make sure to give her 2 days to digest before you do any soaking or handling.
You can buy sphagnum moss from Home Depot, just make sure it doesn’t have any fertilizer or anything in it.
You can switch to double pinkies around 15-16 grams, although I prefer to switch to peach fuzzies at that point (they weigh about 3 to 4 grams). Not everyone has access to mice that size, so if you don’t, double pinkies is fine.
Hey, so I noticed Queenie sneezed? quite a bit when I picked her up tonight. She’s in blue very obviously today so I didn’t handle her for long but the little sneezes are stressing me out. At first, I thought she was hissing at me but she was still making the noise after she settled and i wasn’t putting my other hand near her to make her defensive. It was kinda one after the other maybe 5 - 10 seconds in between? Like I said I didn’t hold her long to really investigate; I assume being in blue is uncomfortable and she wouldn’t want me fussing with her.
Sometimes they can get sneezy while in blue. Not exactly sure what causes it, but it should go away after her shed. If it doesn’t, or if she has any other concerning symptoms, a vet visit would be in order.
As Olivia said, they do sometimes get sneezy when they’re in shed. I’ve had one do it once in many years, had another who’d do it a couple times a year. It’s felt worrisome at first, but it isn’t really a cause for concern. This is the most likely cause for what you heard.
There is another possibility that crossed my mind, though. Your thought that she might have been hissing may have been right. A corn snake’s hiss isn’t the dramatic, “Sssssssss” of scary moments in movie soundtracks. It’s kind of brief, and sounds something like a sneeze. I didn’t recognize the first one I heard, which was directed at a cat. In deep blue, Queenie can’t see well and may feel more scared and defensive, thus more likely to hiss.
Either way, the sound will likely disappear when she sheds.
@caryl @solarserpents Thanks so much for putting my mind at ease the other day! She’s officially shed and looking beautiful~ She hasn’t made a noise today when I handled her
Except that one scale on her head. I soaked her for 30 minutes (two 15 min soaks) and it has really adhered on to her head. Is there anything I can do for her at this point or do I have to call the vet?
Such beautiful snakes! I am so excited for you! You are at the perfect place for expert advice from lots of experienced people!!!
Best of luck to you and your breeding process! I love corns. I have one named Jelly Bean!