When do you start pairing?

This year I had four clutches, it was my first year making more than one clutch. However the females laid a lot further apart than I thought they would. My first clutch was laid in early February, second was laid in may and the last two were laid two days apart in mid July and are hatching any day now. With that said the first clutch was laid by a female clown. She was the smallest of the group and laid 4 eggs and was 900 grams after laying. She is already above 1700 grams which is well above her prelay weight. Question is how does everyone go about starting their pairings the next season since not all the females are back up to weight. Do you start pairing the girl’s in the order that they laid or do you just pair them all in hopes of sparking them to feed heavily. All four females are eating aggressively.

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I generally start pairing 2 months previous to their last years lay date. So for the one that laid in Feb I would start pairing in December.

I personally don’t use a formula. I breed year round and I start pairing when the female shows indications she’s building. But with that said I never breed a female more than two years in a row. If you box yourself into a “season” I feel you miss opportunities and not all females will breed in the “season”


This year was our first year breeding but we had already agreed that if a snake isn’t back up to weight then they won’t be bred the next year as they could lose even more that year and won’t be healthy or good for either mum or eggs. I agree we wouldn’t breed more then 2 years in a row to give a well deserved break.

Our females have gained weight nicely but we are still considering giving them a break next year as it was their first year.

I’d still consider pairing at the end of the year, even if they didn’t lay till July but only if they are back up to weight, if not then I’d start pairing once they are at weight again.

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You also have to keep in mind just because your start pairing them doesn’t mean they will choose to breed. They may decide against breeding back to back years for you.

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I agree, the snakes may decide they have other plans. Took months before our firefly took any interest

I think all females have a “window of opportunity” that varies animal to animal.

I heard Mike Wilibanks tell a story (on youtube) where he had a very large group of fire females. Something like 75. And he kept back a whole bunch of fire males to make lots of fires. I think he said it was a 1:1 ratio. By not spreading out his male to female ratio he was able to keep the females paired up regularly, I think constantly. And he ended up with a 100% success rate, all females in that group produced. That’s a pretty large control group to get a 100% success rate! This also speaks to the effectiveness of having a higher ratio of males to females. If you have 1 male to spread out to 10 females more precision is required. When I get to the point that I’m spreading my males out I’ll want to use an ultrasound to closely monitor follicle development and pair accordingly.

I think if you want a maximum chance at success you would want to avoid limiting your breeding season to a particular window. There’s still benefits to a breeding “season”, especially with higher volume breeders, such as having hatchlings available during the big shows and concentrating higher workloads to a particular period of time.

Right now with my small collection if I have a male and a female up to size I pair them.

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Totally agree with this but I will not continue to pair females if they don’t lay.

And this is on point as well. I have 16 males 28 females find I have more success if I pair my males to 3 or less females. Also waiting until males are at least 700 or 800 gram also has increased my success getting fertile healthy clutches.


Thank everyone for all your replies. It’s nice to get other people’s perspective. I do think one of the main things is obviously making sure they’re at least back to the same weight they were the season before.

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