Right now, in most parts of reptile keeping, the main thing breeders are after is creating the most amazing combos that they can. The brightest, darkest, cleanest, messiest… And so on.
Is anyone on here working towards other goals?
Are you trying to produce bigger/smaller animals?
Are you working with females that produce large/small clutches?
Ones that are tamer?
Ones that eat more vegetables over meat?
Anything at all, tell us your story so far.
I think a lot of us prize our “tame, high production animals”, but generally morphs are the rarity and you work with what you’ve got - mutations taking precedent. But sure, I have a tendency to keep more snakes from my favorite adults for future breeders, focusing on all their traits as a whole.
Well I personally am not doing anything such as breeding for certain line bred traits but I do know of two people breeding for large ball pythons as well as smaller ball pythons. Nothing crazy but the person breeding for larger ball pythons claims to have a female over 6.5 feet. Whether this is the truth or not I will never know but it does sound like a cool project if you dont care about making morphs all the much. The other breeder that wants smaller adult BP makes me wonder if that is even possible because most females can only really breed at 1300 grams or more. Although I have read on this forum on one of Justin’s blog post that a 700g female popped out two fertile eggs so I guess it may be possible.
Coming from a boa breeding background and switching to ball pythons I found this was an interesting contrast. Ball python breeders have such an array of mutations at their disposal it is primarily a market of combinations. Boa breeders have far less to work with and worked with selectively breeding normals extensively during the 80’s and 90’s.
Did you know the “Pastel” trait in boas is selectively bred polygenic and defined by a certain amount of melanin reduction? In the boa world people were confused for years because “Pastels” were always the ones with the most color. They attributed the color with the “Pastel” label but the color was secondary, an affect of more effective selective breeding for it by first reducing melanin. There is such a huge variation among normals in boas, sometimes there are individuals so full of dark melanin that you can’t see how much color they truly have “underneath” it. This led to numerous pastel bloodlines that were worked into mutations like albino and hypo. It proved extremely valuable because it made a night and day difference not only in the original normals but also when combined with other mutations.
When I first came to the ball python world I went to Justin Kobylka’s house to get my first ball python. Everyone does that right? . One of the first things I asked Chaise was “Do people work with selectively breeding normals to optimize the “base” for stacking on other mutations”? The answer was no, not really. I assume the reason why is that there is less variation among normal ball pythons, and there are so many mutations to work with.
I think something many people in the ball python world fail to value is the selective breeding aspect. I recently posted some of my dreamsicles on facebook and I was criticized for them being from “big breeders” who, according to them, charge all kinds of extra markup because of their name. In actuality I paid very fair market prices but I think the fact that these big breeders have been breeding for so many generations, honing in on certain traits through selective breeding… holding back the best of the best… is an overlooked value. Those polygenics are worth something to me. I’ve experienced how powerful they are in the boa world.
Sorry Thomas, I dont think this directly addresses your question but thought I’d share my perspective regardless.
I will normally try and hold back a better example of a morph even if i already a breeder of that morph just so that way i can try and make the “best example” of the morph possible. I also have a friend that will always hold back at least one from a pair of twins if they pop up. He is constantly making twins so i don’t if there is a corralation there or not.