When to pair, how often? Maternal incubating?

May of been covered, so if so feel free to send me links!
But I’m starting to look into breeding now since my boys ready and I may be getting an adult female, she took this year off. Around 1800g.
Anyway, when it happens, how do I know she’s ready to be paired? Apart from the coiling that is. And do I put my boy in and leave him for a few days and that’s it?, or once you see a lock remove him after he’s finished?.. And do you put them back together again?
Also incubating, maternal incubation or shall i do the incubating? If so tips and tricks!
I was really considering letting mum do it herself, but any thoughts on this is appreciated! I feel like it would be nice for mum to raise her babies and I read a topic on here of a breeder who’s done this aswell as incubating himself and I thought it was amazing she raised them, still ate throughout also. I know depends on the female. I’ve spoken to others on this also.

So any advice? Do and Dont’s!
I’m a Crestie breeder so actually breeding royals is new :sweat_smile:

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My favorite article to refer to for ball python breeding!

I usually try to pair my females once a month, no more than that. Male goes in for 2-3 days, or as soon as I witness a lock and they separate, I’ll pull him out sooner. I just keep pairing until they won’t lock anymore, or if the female ovulates (it’ll be super obvious when she does!)

I have not personally done maternal incubation with my girls, so I wouldn’t have any input about that unfortunately.

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Your first and most important DO is this:

Quarantine the female before you even consider introducing the male. This is especially important if you plane to use the male on multiple females. Three months is a good minimum. In this case, it might work in your favour because it gives you a chance to cycle the female as well.

Markus Jayne’s guide is a good start, I modify mine a little differently but that is personal preference

Typical cycle window is to begin around Thanksgiving. Drop temps a few degrees, if you have lights, put the cycle to something like 10/14. Feeding should be, at most, once a month and a smaller than usual item. Or just cut feeding off entirely. Maintain like this until at least Valentine’s Day, but you can take it to St. Patty’s if you like. Bring temps back up to normal (or, in your case, bring her out of quarantine and into your main snake room/rack) and then after 7-10 days, offer a small food item. If she does not take, give her another few days and try again.

Two to three weeks after you have raised temps back up, introduce the male to the female’s tub. I leave my males in for three days, some times they lock within a couple hours, other times they take a day or two to figure it out. After their time together, separate. I pair up every two to three weeks. I would not do more frequent than that. I know some people that only pair once per shed cycle so it does not need to be as frequent either.

Continue to offer food weekly for the first four to six weeks you start pairing. I will offer my females a medium rat so they have a bit of extra calories assuming they go. This is the only time I feed at this frequency and after that window I drop back to every other week.

I will keep pairing going through September. If she has not gone by that point then I assume she is not going.

If she is going, you will see behaviour changes. She will start spending a lot of time on the cool side of the tub. You may see bowl wrapping.

A month or so before she goes, you will see a hormone-induced change in colour, often referred to as “the glow”. This is a good sign. After the glow she should start building, basically, she will look like she is getting fat even though she has probably stopped feeding at this point. Then she ovulates - looks like she swallowed a football. A few weeks later, she will shed and then a monthish after that she will drop her clutch.

MI is a fine practice and I honestly think every breeder should experience it at least once. You just need to make sure the humidity stays right. Always make sure water is available. You can offer food but most females will refuse. I like to try and candle the eggs when they are laid if I am doing MI just to make sure she is on a viable clutch but after that I leave her alone.

60ish days later, you should get pips. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. I start watching around day 55 and if nothing has happened by day 72 I might candle again to make sure nothing has gone wrong


Perfect Thankyou so much!
She’s been away from any royals since the other woman got her, and she’s kept in a 70l rub, would that be big enough for her if I did to maternal incubation? She was bred last year but not this year as woman’s decided on other projects I think hence selling her. But I’ll quarantine her here also as I am my bel too currently!
My boy will only be going to her since my bel isn’t up to weight and I’m not sure she will be.

I’ve saved all this as the article above too thankyou!
Helps a lot since Isn’t just my first time but Hideyoshis also!
Last year when we had other royals and they started coiling around their bowl he was always out and about searching, so don’t think would take much for him to do his job :sweat_smile:

Yeah I really want to try maternal, and since she’s bred before I think I’ll give a go. With me working during the day I think I’d also worry if I wasn’t home that something would go wrong and I couldn’t sort it out Instantly with me incubating them myself. Atleast with Cresties you know you can’t mess them up!
And yes will check the eggs before putting back if viable. Would you separate them also or just leave them stuck and how she laid? :blush:

If you are letting her MI then leave them as you found them. You do not even have to remove them to check them, just use one hand to displace her enough to gain access to a couple eggs and then set the flashlight on them. If you see veins in the few you checked then call it good and let her reposition.