It’s not all about the percentage

Many new keepers who look into purchasing Super Dwarf or Dwarf Retics think if they see a high percentage locality animal that it will stay small.

Over the years, those of us involved in the retic community see how that’s not always the case.
When I first started to show interest in SD/D retics, I too thought I wanted a high percentage animal to keep it small. I had the misconception that a 50% female Super Dwarf would not have the potential to grow to giant lengths. I was completely wrong with my assumptions.
The main thing to look at when purchasing a Super Dwarf or Dwarf retic is the size of the mother, not the amount of percentage of any given locality.

This is my 37.5% Kalatoa Tiger het Pied female. She came from a very small mother, 75% Kalatoa Tiger and a Mainland Tiger Pied het Albino Male.
She just turned 6 months old yesterday and she weighs in at 49 grams. I feed her every 5-7 days one hopper mouse. I giver her 2 hoppers every other feeding. So she’s definitely not starved for food and eats very well.

So if any of you are looking into getting Super Dwarf or Dwarf retics in the future, ask about the parents size and proof of such. Because this alone shows that you can still have a small percentage female( she’s technically not considered a Super Dwarf by the industry standards) that will stay manageable as an adult. I expect her to maybe reach 8 feet, and that’s if I try very hard and offer her more food than I’d ever want to.

I hope this shows some of you that you can afford to keep Super Dwarf and Dwarf retics. I know many don’t want a large 16ft snake in their collection, and information like this can help the hobby to show it’s not all about the percentage.


Some really good stuff to think about here :+1:.
This is something that I feel to many people misunderstand when it comes to these types of percentages.

If you breed a 100% Kalatoa Tiger to a 100% mainland tiger, the offspring won’t necessarily be 50% mixes.
It can be 30/70, 10/90, 99/1…

You mix two boxes of different cereals, give it a shake and then pour a bowl.

There are two things you want to look for, a small mother that lays a high number of eggs in a clutch. The more eggs in there, the smaller they are allowed to grow.


That’s exactly right. She came from a 22 egg clutch I believe, and those eggs were smaller than a Ball Pythons eggs.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there pertaining to Super Dwarf/Dwarf retics. I just hope this can show to some that it’s not all about the high percentages that has made so many misconceptions in the past about a snakes potential growth.

I’ll update this again in another 6 months so we can follow her progression. I’m guessing she be just under 100 grams at a year old.


This is all good info! I am by no means an expert on sd retics. But I’m going to agree I feel the biggest impact on there size is the mother. I work with breeder who has a store front and works with a lot of different species. He has female Burmese that is not from a documented dwarf line. But she is fully grown significantly smaller than all the Burmese adult females I’ve seen. Her clutches are always significantly smaller in number and egg size. I have a female from this female bred back to her son. I also own a 50 dwarf Burmese from a documented line. They are both on the same feeding schedule and prey. They are both within a couple of weeks in age. The female from the undocumented line is actually quite a bit smaller than the documented 50% dwarf Burmese male. They are both about 18 months old. I think this holds true to the retics as well. Only thing I’m not so sure off is if the number of eggs has a impact like the actual egg size does. Just my 2 cents lol.


I’m no expert myself. But I’ve talked with many of the well respected breeders in the hobby that work with SD/D and that’s pretty much all I study now. Mostly because I’d like retics to not be viewed as these angry giant monsters a lot of people portray them as.
Surprisingly enough, I’ve found retics to be honestly tamer than ball pythons. Of course that’s with proper hook training and handling methods but overall they are very misunderstood.

That’s interesting on your dwarf Burms. But I can see how that is true too. For instance the 37.5% tiger female this thread is about is more than half the size of my other 2. The Anery female and Purple male I have are about 20% total dwarf blood higher than her but much longer and heavier. Just interesting when technically with more SD blood they should be smaller.

I thinks that’s an accurate opinion on egg size and size of clutch. Like if you have a 8ft female lay 22 eggs, of course the egg will be very small. But then you have a 12ft female lay 22 eggs and they can be almost twice the size. Perfect example are my babies I have. The tiger came from a small mom who laid 22 eggs and my other 2 came from a 11ft mom who laid 26 eggs. Not many more eggs but they were much larger eggs overall.
So I think when you have the connection of a small mom with a large clutch, that assumption is correct. Big mom doesn’t matter really how many eggs because those babies will be big.


I tend not to describe any snake as tame lol. But my retics are very well mannered once out of there enclosure. My male has always been this way but my female took a bit of time before she settled down. And then for sure to me seem to be the most observant and intelligent snakes I have ever worked with.


:joy: that is true. They are wild animals still, just the hobby term I use to describe a well mannered snake.

It’s almost freaky how much they observe their surroundings. I’ve read they have poor eyesight, but mine will pick up the slightest movement even without any heat being present.
Just crazy how smart and freaky inquisitive they are. Can’t get enough of them and I’ll continue to try and show others how awesome they really are.


Excellent post.

Lineage will always trump locality %.

There is no shortage of low % SD Lineages that are smaller than average pure SD’s because the founding Female was very very small.

There are some pure SD’s lineages that will easily exceed 10 feet.

And there are high % snow lineages that are only dwarf sized and still get 12-14+ feet. I believe Garrett Hartle owns a 75% Kalatoa 12.5% Jamp that is 14+ feet.


Also, clutch size is a good indicator of the true size of the lineage and reproductive health.

An 8 Foot female that lays 22 small eggs is an extremely solid lineage.

But an 8 foot female who only layed 8 medium sized eggs is probably from a much larger lineage, she was not fed as much and the offspring will likely be much larger.


@mnroyals Hey I’m going to try pairing my pair soon. I was wondering if you have any pointers and idea of schedule.


Have you ever introduced them before?
Some won’t take kindly to having another snake in their enclosure. So for the first 10-20 mins I would keep a close eye on them and see how they react to each other’s presence.
I had a friend who paired once and the female almost took the head off the male, literally.

They can breed year round, and they usually breed the same time each year. So if you want to line them up with your other snakes for incubator purposes, I would try and pair them now or when you pair your other snakes.
Also they don’t require a drop in temp like many think. If you do drop temp I would only suggest maybe 2 degrees.
Like balls, pairing after or during a storm or drop in barometric pressure will increase the chance for a successful lock.
As long as they get along, you can leave them together for up to 5 days, sometimes a week.
After each pairing feed both snakes, and let the female empty herself before pairing again.
Depending on what cage size you use, I’ve heard 4ft enclosures work really well for locks and covering the cage with a blanket to make it dark sometimes helps.
Those are the things I’ve been told about breeding tics, I’ve helped 2 breeders with pairings and clutches but never produced any myself. I’m still 4 years out at least till I see my frat clutch. If I’m lucky lol.


Very good breakdown! You have done some research and it shows.


No I’ve never paired them before hence why I’m a bit nervous. I have more money in these two than any other 2 snakes I have lol. Don’t want no funny business. My enclosure is 5x2x2. I used to breed bloods and they were fairly feisty (the were mostly wc and ch) but they were fine with each other. I think I’m going to pair them this weekend. Hopefully it goes ok. I’ll leave them in together for 5 days unless I visually see a lock.


I don’t blame you for being nervous, I would be. Like you the 3 I have now I invested in more than any other snake I’ve ever bought. Definitely makes it stressful.
That’s right, you’ve breed bloods so you’re definitely better off than the first time retic breeder. I wouldn’t be to concerned man, bloods are way more feisty than tics, unless you have a ill-tempered tic.
Also if you get her to ovulate, put a egg box in there about 2x2. Having them lay in that opposed to just in the cage will make it a lot easier for you pulling them out. Females defend their clutch pretty hard and you might want help depending on how large your female is. I’ve helped some of my friends and it’s definitely not something to take lightly.
Best time to go in and separate them is when they are in opposite sides of the enclosure. Some will do that after they lock or they will just want their own spot away from the other.
If you go at them when they are together not necessarily locked, they may defend each other. I’ve only seen that happen once and it’s rare but can happen.
Good luck and keep me informed on how things go. Can’t wait to see your progress with this project!


I having flash backs of a blood python latched on my neck lol. Me either I more excited about this any other breeding I’ve ever done. Feel like these two are my kids lol. My son is a teenager with his mom lol. So I’m not quite as cool as I used to be.


:grimacing: latched on your neck…yea you’ll be fine lol.
I with you on that. My trio will keep me busy for the next 15 years, at least that’s probably how long it will take before I hit my goal…Suntiger Purple Snow Pied.
They definitely are different compared to other snakes, I can see how you feel like they are your kids, definitely time consuming like children lol.
Nah man you’re still as cool lol, just a little more mileage under the hood now.


Yeah then you hold one back and do it again lol.

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You may to want lower temps for breeding, especially for superdwarfs.
Most people will tell you that temps don’t matter and they never adjust temps. That work’s for them if they always keep their room cool.

Ask Garrett Hartle, he’ll tell you that his snakes did not reliably reproduce back when he used to attempt to pair snakes up in the warmer months.

Ask Samson Pruitt, he’ll tell you that he was barely successful breeding at 85 degrees, but when he started dropping his temps fertility skyrocketed. Samson Pruitt currently has his retics on a night drop cycle where he keeps them at 83F-84F during the day and 78F-80F at night.

85 Degrees is the maximum temperature you want your breeding retics, but at 85 there will still be a good reduction in fertility.
In the wild, these guys are breeding in the low70’s to mid 80’s


I would say that depends on if you keep your reptile room at the same temp year round. The guys I know have their rooms at ambient temps of 82-85 depending on the time of year. They have no problems breeding at these temps and have had no fertility issues thus far.
But you should not keep your retics above 85 degrees. Even if you’re not trying to breed, 85 is pretty much the highest temperature they need for SD, and that’s still pushing it generally.


I think that’s a really good observation! A lot of people don’t understand they come from island chains and the temps on islands don’t get that high except during the peak of the day. Night time on these islands constantly hit 70-73 degrees, and that’s when they are most active.