Maternal Incubation Method

We had 3 clutches this year - only meant to have 2 but we discovered our female on a pile of eggs one day and said alright here we go! Anyway 2 of the 3 were Artificially Incubated (AI) in an Incubator- all pipped out on their own and were healthy babies! Our 3rd clutch came and we let mom Maternally Incubate (MI). Mind that we have a whole snake room that is set at 60% humidity and gets no lower than 70° at night. So for us this method seemed easily attainable. Our mojave - the one Incubating, ate twice on eggs, she took a small rat each time. On day 62 a beautiful black pastel calico mojave popped its head out of the her moms coil. A truly beautiful and humbling sight, after 2 more pips we took mom off, cleaned her, fed her a proper meal and let the rest of the eggs do their thing. I know any other breeder would cut the rest of the eggs but we dont do that here at Haiku Reptiles. The first baby pipped on 9-10-19 and the last one emerged on 9-14-19. Eight beautiful babies, healthy as can be!

I have also seen that Freedom Breeder tried it as well which is awesome as he has a huge following. So my question to the public is what general myth or reason has stopped you as a breeder from trying Maternal Incubation?
Would seeing other success stories drive you to try it?


The reason I don’t MI is to minimize undue stress on the female for an additional 2 months when I could let her get back on food and relax during that same period. Just to answer your question!

That being said, it’s a natural thing and you hatched some beautiful babies! Congrats!


All I do is maternal incubation myself. I love it very much. I’ve done it for years , and just enjoy opening a tub and seeing mom unwrapped cause the babies have pipped.


Yup we totally get it! Your animals safety is #1 and we take extra precautions to prevent any stress for ours. For example we don’t breed females under 1900g, so if they don’t eat while on eggs there isnt any stress on their body. Another example is that our females recieve 18 months off after completing MI for us! If you think about it, breeding back to back is most likely more stressful than doing what nature intended- but thats just my opinion on it!

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It has 100% hooked us, we threw out the incubator and will only be using the MI method


I didn’t know there was a term for letting the snake mom hold onto the eggs. Everything I’ve ever watched from YT has been people incubating and cutting. I’m glad to know that MI still exist and eventually I may give it a go if I ever breed snakes!

Edit: I do have a question though. When MI is happening do you remove mom before all the eggs pip? Would they need an additional heat source or do you keep them where they are at? Do moms eat baby snakes if left with her and they all hatched out? Just some questions I thought about after responding.

Mom does not eat the babies. You do not remove mom once the babies have pipped. She unwraps her coils and makes a nest using her body for them. Once the babies absorb their yolk then she is off , and the babies left to fend for themselves. I provide the same heat all year long to my moms. They lay their eggs on the hot side of the tub usually around the heat source so the eggs can incubate. I do not breed my females every year. Any female that laid for me this year will not get bred again until the following year. I’ve had a few females eat a frozen thawed rat on eggs. I’ve had others snub their noses depends on them. I moisten the substrate around mom to help with humidity. Also remember those coils wrap tight. You don’t need 100% humidity in her enclosure to incubate eggs. I find 70% is just fine for them cause her coils hold the last 30% she makes a nice seal with her body. My eggs using MI usually hatch around day 60 some early some a few days later. Nothing like opening a tub up and seeing faces peeking at you from their eggs in between mom. She knows what she is doing. I’m really good at taking care of mom, and meeting her needs she does the rest. My females also let me check the eggs once every 2 weeks to make sure nothing is going bad. Soon as everything checks out I leave her alone. Only changing waters out and spot cleaning. Every 2 weeks is also my check on substrate make sure it’s still moist around her.


Do you need to use deeper tubs for maternal incubation?


No I use same size tubs as non-incubating females.

I’m so sorry i dont know why I didnt see this!. The mom of this clutch ate a live rate twice WHILE incubating her eggs… I always offer MI moms their first rat at about week 3-4 then every other week I offer food. Some will eat, some won’t thats why I take my worrying away by only breeding female 1900g and up. We wait until all but 1 or 2 pip and take mom out, clean her, feed her etc. I take the babies that are out of their egg and seperate by the first to the last one out (This is personal and is so I can have each actuals birth days). Each individual snake gets their own tub with a damp paper towel, once they shed I put them on spag moss or coco blox. I attempt their first feeding about a week or so after thwir first shed.

I have never heard of a MI mom eating babies but honestly cannot say for sure that they won’t. I will say that its HIGHLY unlikely and un heard of. If you have more questions theres a Facebook group called ‘maternally incubating ball pythons’ that is AMAZING. You can also follow me on Instagram and personally ask me Q’s !


Nope, my breeding females are in FB70 tubs and I keep them in their. Last year we were using 28qts and they also worked just fine


Glad this got bumped this is fascinating I think it’s Definitely something I want to experience.

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I HIGHLY recommend joining that Facebook grouo then! There are alot of OGs in yhere who have been doing MI for years!

I’m so happy for this post, I’m definitely going to do at least one MI, if all goes well I’m going to do only MI.

My last clutch was MI in a room using ambient heating only at 82-84. Mom kept eggs 86 and all babies came out big and healthy on day 66 :slight_smile: