Questions: uninterested males/not witnessing locks?

I feel silly asking these questions bc I did so much research before hand, but things aren’t going as expected so I’m curious.

One pair came out of Brumation with no issues, both are young and have not bred before. The other pair was not brumated and has an inexperienced male but a proven breeder female.

—Here’s how it’s going so far–

Pair 1: This male is not showing as much interest or effort and was not brumated. He’s curious, but hasn’t gone for it and sits away from her, I’m thinking he just isn’t ready. The female for this pair is a proven breeder, I also did not brumate her but she has never been brumated before and bred fine her last time. Not really expecting them to go this year but was hoping none the less.

Pair 2: This pair WAS brumated and did well during it. The male is very interested (he smelled the female on me the other day and got too “excited” even) so he hasn’t lost interest in her yet. They started out with high energy. The twitching was intense when they were introduced the first few times ( I did watch and check on them periodically to make sure they were ok, it was intense movements but no fighting or biting).

They are on break while I observe her, since she refused her meal the last offering (I am going to try something smaller. She’s never refused before so I’m worried). Out of curiosity due to how “aggressive” their twitching was the first few I introductions, is there a chance she got hurt during that and the chase? I did a health check (inside of mouth included) and she seems perfectly fine, but I want to be sure.

First few pairings for them was on Aspen so it was hard to see anything against it if there WAS breeding proof left over. My bad on that front :sweat_smile:.

How many pairing sessions or locks do you observe before you stop pairing. When do you know that they are not interested this year and to discontinue pairing them?

I’m wondering if

  • I messed up somewhere and it’s caused loss of interest
  • I already missed the window
  • If maybe I just missed a copulation with the interested pair an that’s why things have changed with them
  • OR if the excited pair are simply not ready and I’ll need to try again next year and hope for the best.

Thank you to anyone who responds!


First off, did you wait for your female in the unbrumated pair to shed first? You say she’s a proven breeder, for you or a previous owner? If previous, I’d ask what time of year they bred her. There’s also the unproven male possibility. I had a male last year that absolutely refused to breed whatsoever. Sometimes they just don’t understand things the first season you pair.

As for the second pair, I wouldn’t be worrying about a missed meal necessarily, some animals stop eating during pairing. It’s highly unlikely she was hurt, they’re pretty hardy. As for pairing on Aspen, I don’t suggest it. It can stick to the males’ hemipenes and when they retract, get pulled in as well, causing irritation and infection. I usually breed on paper towel for that reason (as well as observing for any signs of copulation).

How often and for how long are you pairing? If you’re only putting them in for short periods, you’re likely not giving them enough time. You will interfere if you’re constantly checking in and/or adding and removing the males. I would say you are pairing a bit later in the season than most, I’d suggest if you’re going to brumate (entirely unnecessary, imo) you warm them up in the beginning of March for better results. I personally don’t brumate and begin pairing my animals around Valentine’s day.

I assume you’re new to breeding? My biggest suggestion is one that will be hard to do, but it’s this: Relax and give them some space. Snakes have been breeding without human interference for a long time. All the research in the world won’t really help here, you just have to let nature do its thing.

Edited to add: Feel free to message me with any questions or anything, I definitely understand where you’re at, been there myself. :slightly_smiling_face:


I will also tag @solarserpents @caryl for you, as they’ve been doing this longer than myself.


Can you please post the shed schedules for each of the snakes, since the beginning of the year for the non-brumated pair and since you pulled out of brumation for the brumated pair. How old and large are each of them?

I very much doubt the female was injured. Females refusing to eat in the springtime could mean she’s about to go blue (or is in blue currently), or could mean she’s developing eggs and doesn’t have room for food.

I like to see at least 3 locks, but I’ll keep pairing them more times if they’re both still interested.


Going to answer these in order

Proven for previous owner, I’ll go ahead and ask them. I did wait, I’m not surprised if it turns out to be the male. Will just have to try again with them next year.

Oh yeah, I switched to paper towel for this after those first couple pairings and will switch them back to regular substrate after. For the feeding I feel I need to ask bc the male HASN’T gone off food, which from what I understand is pretty atypical compared to a female going off food before she’s noticably gravid. (Of course all individuals harbor their own personality and tendencies. I tend to over think and worry :sweat_smile: but I prefer to ask and be safe than risk not asking.)

I am typically putting them together overnight, and separating in the AM before I go to work. On days off I can do shorter times (a few hrs vs overnight).

I am definitely continuing late I think, mostly because the one pair is still showing interest and the other female shed pretty late. Iirc I brought them out of Brumation starting valentine’s week? Started in late Nov/mid Dec (had to wait for it to get cold enough).

Unfortunately I was/am struggling to figure out a Brumation schedule based on our weather and location, so I am mostly still figuring out what works best for us and them. Had to wait until it was cold enough which took surprisingly too long last year.

You are correct! I’m new to breeding and learn best with hands on, but I’ve been researching since a bit before I got my first snake a few years ago (hyperfocused on the research aha). Unfortunately I do have memory problems though so I tend to have to re-research often. Even with this, I know I’ve read a lot and am still doing so currently, but sometimes I think it’s best to just go ahead and ask.

Thank you!! I super appreciate the offer and will keep that in mind! Will try to keep any messages much shorter than this :joy::sweat_smile:.


Leeeeeeet me get back to you on that, Unfortunately I’ve lost the records I was keeping (thank you foster cat at the time) so I only have my memory and messages with friends to put together when everyone has shed the last few months.


Don’t feel silly about questions! I have been at this a while and I’m always discovering new questions, lol. Here are a few thoughts for your current questions.

Your young/inexperienced male may just need time, in terms of growing or in terms of this year. (I haven’t brumated in years, but there’s nothing wrong with brumation if a person wants to do that. ) Corns breed in the springtime, which in nature means increasing warmth but also increasing hours of daylight as well as changing wavelengths of light. Depending upon where you live, your snakes may benefit from additional light in their room.

It can stimulate breeding interest if you toss a recent shed in with the prospective pair. If it’s from an ovulating, receptive female, the male will often find it downright aphrodisiac. If it’s from another male, sometimes a male will try and beat the “competition” and mate.

You can try misting their container, as humidity increases scent somewhat and may help a bit. It can’t hurt, at any rate.

You don’t say where you’re physically putting them. Some advocate putting the male into the female’s bin. Some advocate putting the female into the male’s bin. Some put them both into a separate bin. All of these things can be successful. If one of the partners is a bit shy, sometimes they’re more confident in their home viv and more likely to breed where they’re confident and comfortable. Others seem more likely to try something new in a new place. And yes, some show mate preference and are more or less interested in specific partners.

Your female’s food refusal may or may not be significant. You don’t mention if she’s refused before, but as already mentioned, she may be in shed. It’s common wisdom that males will go on feeding strike during breeding season, but it’s a very individual behavior. Some males never refuse, some females do go on strike, and some do one thing one year and a different thing the next year. I think this is the first season you’ve had her, so I would ask her previous owner about her feeding during breeding season.

This is not early in the season, but it’s certainly not too late. I have pairs actively mating now. I’ve been putting them together since the end of January, but for whatever reason it just wasn’t happening before. I would rather they’d been ready in January, but it’s fine.

The time to stop pairing is when you decide that you don’t want to keep trying this year. As long as your calendar allows time for mating, laying, incubation, and babies, by all means feel free to keep trying, keep putting them together. After all, out in the wild world, it’s barely corn snake mating season anywhere.

Don’t worry that you “messed up and caused a loss of interest.” Don’t give up, if this is something you want to do. There are no guarantees of course, but chances are at least one pair will reward your efforts.


Update: the one I was worried about not eating took a meal today, so I’m less worried now haha.

Non-brumated pair: iirc the female last shed 3 weeks ago, the male is in blue right now, I think he last shed about a 1 ½ months ago.

Male: 156g | 2 years
Female: 358g | 4 years

Brumated pair: Female shed almost exactly 2 weeks after starting to warm up, looks to be starting blue phase again, noticable this morning but only barely. Male is still blue right now and definitely going to shed soon (staring to clear back up) but I can’t recall when his last shed was, before this one.

Below ages are best guesses based on year previous owner remembers buying them as juveniles.

Male: 3½-4 yrs | 383g (including poop weight, he’s most likely gonna go when he sheds
Female: 3½-4 yrs | 435g (this is -the food item’s weight, + she pooped recently)

These two came to me as a pair (unproven as they weren’t up to size and weight yet, but very close) so age is best guess based on the year the previous owner remembers getting them + their weight/condition. Neither one lost weight during Brumation.



Definitely try them again after the males’ sheds. Some males will breed in blue, but some don’t really get into the mood until after their springtime shed. For your non-bru female, is that her first or second shed of the year?


I have a feeling I will also always have questions, even if a good chunk of them are just triple checking something.

I think I’m going to try the shed trick once the older male sheds. Thing with spring here is it doesn’t officially feel like spring until nowish- late April. I may also need to brighten the room more. Then for who’s going where, I’ve been putting the males in the female’s enclosures (mostly because I assume pheromones are at play, but I can switch to see what happens). I HAVE seen the seperate bin which I almost tried, but I didn’t want to do too much in a short time, so I’ve stuck with M→F enclosure. Also been misting :ok_hand: but not too much.

Thankfully the one Female took her meal today, even though she ironically might be starting to go into shed (or I’m blind and she didn’t look a smidgen duller earlier today haha).

Good to know. I was planning to line things up with when it may naturally happen here, but that’s been difficult with the change in expected weather and how long it took to get cold last year.

I definitely want to do this, so I’ll keep trying even if it’s pausing/stopping now and trying again next year. I do have 8 python eggs incubating now and am really hoping the best for them. I just love colubrids and really hope one of these 2 pairs goes for me :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:. If not though, there’s always next year!


I believe her first shed was very late in January (somewhere around the 28th based on the date attached to the last photos I took of her after a shed. Was trying to get a good photo of her color but it didn’t work). I think she might actually be due to shed again, I can’t remember if she did in March now that I see the date on the photos.

Still getting used to her shedding frequency vs my others.


She may need one more shed before she’s ready. I start pairing my corns after their first shed of the year, but most aren’t ready until their second or occasionally third shed.


If she’s going blue, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that she should be receptive after she’s shed. :crossed_fingers:

I didn’t think about it yesterday, but how often are you feeding? If you boost the frequency on breeding females to every 5-6 days rather than weekly (except during shed cycles) it can help promote breeding success. I don’t know if there’s scientific data for colubrids, but there’s plenty of evidence for increased feeding and increased fertility of various mammals.


I’m gonna second what @solarserpents & @caryl have said, great points/tips.


@caryl @solarserpents

The brumated male shed last night I saved it to the side for later, they got paired today w/o it and she was receptive/they locked immediately. :pray::pray: (of course after I made a post haha).

Hurray! (Can delete photo if not allowed)

No updates on the non-brumated pair yet. Male hasn’t shed yet but should be close.


I guess you found the problem with that pair, haha.


Glad they’re getting more cooperative. Congratulations!

By the way, what are the genetics of your pairs?


I suppose so haha, taking notes for the future in the app


Me too, thanks!

Shown in lock photo:
Male: Solstice
Hypo Caramel Amel Tessera

Female: Summer
Hypo Caramel Tessera (most likely het Amel)

Both are poss het Lavender, Charcoal, and Diffused (I am hopeful, but won’t be surprised if they 100% are not)

None-brumated pair is much simpler (but harder to photograph accurately)

RF snow Tessera x RF snow
(Male: Dianthus | Female: needs a new name still)

Really hoping the male isn’t double tessera so I can get some Non-Tess babies from him.

I have 2 others but the adult male is partnerless and the other girly is only a yearling.


Very nice! They ought to make some pretty babies for you. Lots of possible variety with the Caramel paiir, too. Best of luck with them!