The old school rule of thumb is one egg for each 300 grams of weight, but is there a similar general expectation to be inferred from the dam’s length or girth (ie. long and skinny vs. short and fat)?
Thanks in advance for all the wisdom.
This is an interesting topic! I know on average the overall larger(both in length and weight) tend to produce larger and more eggs. There is obvious exceptions though, such as an overweight female may have problems laying or not do as well, also first timers sometimes lay less or more infertile eggs. I have heard the naturally larger Volta, sub Saharan lay bigger and more eggs per clutch, which makes sense if genetically they tend to be naturally larger not pushed or over fed making an unhealthy female. I personally have a runt I hatched and kept and she is lucky to be 1100g she lays 4-6 egg clutches, but the babies are roughly the same size as my others all in the 50-60s gram range. The largest clutch I had came from a regular size 2600g Mojave at 14 eggs. Interesting to see what other people have noticed, if anything.
This year, I had a smaller first time gal produce 5 great looking eggs.
An older and larger gal laid her second clutch of 5 good eggs and a slug (4 in her 1st clutch) after skipping a year.
I think some of it is just the individual snake themselves. The larger and healthier (not morbidly obese) they are makes sense that they should produce larger clutches, but there are the other variables such as the follicle production that you can’t judge on size alone.
I also think that it can be something that is somewhat line related as well. A mother who produces large clutches might have a good number of daughters with that trait as well.
I have also always been really interested in the idea of linebreeding for egg production or holdback selection for egg production. This has primarily been brought to my attention because I remember when I was looking into importing my desert ghost animals from Europe, I followed a lot more European breeders and I noticed a pretty significant difference in the average clutch size - over there it seems to be pretty common to have 9-12 eggs in a clutch, whereas here in the US I’d consider 10 eggs a large clutch and 6-8 more common as an average.
I’m a very small breeder so I have limited experience, but I have one female who’s relatively small (I’d say normal body thickness and length, just has never grown much beyond 1700-1800g, who gave me a 5 egg clutch and then a 6 egg clutch. I had another female who was longer and leaner and never seemed to really put on the weight like some, but at a healthy weight around 2500g she gave me 7 eggs from retained sperm and 8 eggs when I intentionally bred her. I have a few more girls that I bought as babies finally big enough to breed this year and being paired right now, but none have laid yet. My holdback from the female who gave me 8 eggs is yrs old and being paired currently and her body type is very similar to mom (long and lean) so I’ll be interested to see how many she gives me.