Cycling tropical animals?

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Mark Brown
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Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Mark Brown » December 10th, 2011, 4:31 am

I'm sure this topic has been addressed but I can't recall seeing it. When breeding tropical species, where the winter isn't cool, do breeders typically cycle snakes like they do with North American species? Or is photoperiod sufficient to stimulate breeding activity? Specifically I'm wondering about Cantils.....anyone here bred them in captivity?

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Tom Lott
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Tom Lott » December 10th, 2011, 9:01 am

Mark,

I've had A. b. bilineatus reproduce without any cooling down period (I wasn't even trying to breed them). On the other hand, I have never had any luck with A. taylori, but considering that most of those available in this country are from the northern portion of their range, a cooling period might help with them.

Cooling them down, however, doesn't do much to improve their nasty dispositions!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Kelly Mc » December 10th, 2011, 3:05 pm

Me too John .
I have no input on cantils . But just as general tropical brum . Often by doing nothing almost , the ambience in temp of some rooms takes care of a little fluc reduction . Most often I have experienced such periods to require less duration then what is sometimes thought . I wonder if others found same .

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Mark Brown
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Mark Brown » December 10th, 2011, 3:17 pm

Tom - thanks for the info. I've had similar luck with corn snakes - just keeping them together and following the photoperiod is enough to get them to breed, year after year.

It's funny - I'd heard all the stories about how nasty bilineatus are, and they certainly are irritable little buggers, but nothing like what I'd been expecting. The tail movement is what intrigues me most. When disturbed, they often whip the tail about erratically - not vibrating it as in many or most snakes, but actually whipping/snapping it around. Quite interesting, and behavior I've never seen in another snake. Do your bilineatus do the same thing?

John - I'm not familiar with the term "hydrocycling" and Google didn't help either - can you elaborate?

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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by BillMcGighan » December 11th, 2011, 6:09 am

Mark:
I've had similar luck with corn snakes - just keeping them together and following the photoperiod is enough to get them to breed, year after year.
Yeah, Mark, in fact, I've had the same with all US "subtropicals".
On the other hand, I've brumated US subtropicals (Deckert's variation of Yellow Rat) for 2 months at 58F, along side of Fox snakes, with the same result.


IMHO keeping the pairs together all the time lets you get away from many commercial breeding paradigms.
IMHO the food supply, especially to the female, is equally important as the photoperiod.

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Tom Lott
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Tom Lott » December 11th, 2011, 10:22 am

Mark,

The tail-lashing behavior you described has been pronounced on all the A. bilineatus I've kept; somewhat less so on the A. taylori, which I also consider a slightly milder-tempered form (that's just my personal opinion, however; your results will vary). A. bilineatus seems to be a very "tail-oriented" species; the neonates would commonly sit around for hours at a time tail-luring, with their yellow tails elevated very high in the air (at least compared to A. contortrix or A. piscivorus), slowly undulating.

I actually kept my male and female together for only a short time, as the male was about 25% larger and a more aggressive feeder, sometimes literally taking a mouse from the female's mouth. There was also a lot of reciprocal biting going on, which was too disturbing to continue housing them together for very long.

I never attempted to control the humidity for any of my cantils, but then the humidity levels in south Texas are pretty close to "tropical" for most of the year anyway. The structure I keep them in is air conditioned when the daily highs begin to exceed 90F and heated with space heaters when necessary to keep the wintertime temps above 50F. Several LTC Davis Mountain C. lepidus share the same regime and appear to thrive just as well as the cantils.

"Hydrocycling" would appear to be as good a term as any for the attempt to simulate the climate that cantils naturally live in and I too have heard successful cantil breeders advocate such measures. I think, however, that these snakes are not nearly as delicate as many other tropical pit vipers and will do well under a wide range of husbandry models. As Bill said, keeping the females well fed is probably more important than any manipulation of photoperiod, humidity, or temperature cycles. Sometimes our good intentions make things more difficult than they need to be.

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Joseph S.
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Joseph S. » December 11th, 2011, 10:39 pm

Wouldn't keeping them together cause them to get use o each other as thus not be as receptive to breed? At least this is what I have heard.

It is funny that we sometimes subject captives to more extreme seasonal variation than they experience in the wild. Seems to work. Lots of people brumate various subtropical species at quite low temperatures(milksnakes would be a good example of this).

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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 12th, 2011, 3:11 am

Joseph S. wrote:Wouldn't keeping them together cause them to get use o each other as thus not be as receptive to breed? At least this is what I have heard.
If you're married, you've probably experienced it first hand! HEY-O! :lol:

Different for every species...I was worried about that with my little banded geckos but it hasn't discouraged them yet. I keep them 1.1, cool them for 6-8 weeks in the winter, then within a couple of weeks of bringing the heat back up, they're back at it.

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Cole Grover
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Cole Grover » December 12th, 2011, 8:25 am

chris_mcmartin wrote: you're married, you've probably experienced it first hand! HEY-O!
Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Aaaah ha ha ha ha ha! THAT is awesome funny.


Firstly, I have no experience with tropical Viperids. That said, I've got quite a bit with sympatric Colubrids. With my tropical Lampropeltis triangulum, I typically cool them slightly (mid- to low-60's Fahrenheit), reduce the photoperiod, and cease feeding. Essentially, it's a milder version of what I do with the temperate, north-of-the-border forms. I also keep Corallus hortulanus, though they're obviously from further south than the Cantils. They are kept basically at the same temperature all year long, but seem to respond to the lower humidity, reduced feeding frequency, and shorter photoperiod of winter.

-Cole

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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Jimi » December 14th, 2011, 10:30 am

I've bred taylori a few times - had 2 pairs I raised up and kept through age 5 or so; had to sell them when I left FL for UT (as happens daily, I'm now asking myself "What was I thinking???"). I just treated them like any other southern-US/northern-Mex crotaline - natural photoperiod, a couple months of no-food cooling to the high 50's - low 60's (night/day), otherwise mid 70's - mid 80's with a basking spot in low 90's. A dry winter - no misting. Weekly heavy misting during active season (they hate it but screw 'em, ha ha). A substrate that retains humidity but is easily scoopable (I like coarse coir).

I kept my pairs together year-round. They "hibernated" in their cages (they stayed very alert and if anything even more huffy than usual in winter).

They did not require aggressive hydroperiod treatment like a truly-tropical, humid-environment animal. No rain chamber or any of that - the stuff you'd do for e.g., Tropidolaemus or many Trimeresurus. As for temps, I don't know if northern cantils would cycle if you didn't cool them down at least to the low 60's; kinda doubt it.

Good luck and have fun ("be careful" goes without saying...almost). I adore cantils. They're fun, easy, and gorgeous captives, easy-start babies, and easy to breed. Look at how available they are, and their price. If I ever move back to an exotics-OK state I'll be getting some bilineatus.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Mark Brown
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Mark Brown » December 16th, 2011, 2:43 am

Thanks for the replies! Definitely some good food for thought there. I've never had any luck cooling snakes in this house, and when I first built it, I put a ton of effort into it. Just too much bleedthrough of heat from interior walls.....even running a big box fan blowing in the room when it was around 20F outside only cooled the room to about 55. I'm not really that much into breeding but whenever I've got pairs of animals, I usually at least give it a shot. Some, like the cornsnakes, need no encouragement at all. I'll put some of these ideas to work and see what happens.

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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Jimi » December 16th, 2011, 10:44 am

I always try to insulate my herp rooms from the rest of the house, as well as the outside. Could you blow in some cellulose or something? Or is that already part of your ton of expended effort?

There are also micro-sphere paint additives to help create a radiant barrier - you could use those on your interior (& exterior?) walls inside and outside the herp room. I haven't tried those myself but they look useful in some circumstances.

cheers,
Jimi

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Mark Brown
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Mark Brown » December 16th, 2011, 11:31 am

Jimi wrote:I always try to insulate my herp rooms from the rest of the house, as well as the outside. Could you blow in some cellulose or something? Or is that already part of your ton of expended effort?

There are also micro-sphere paint additives to help create a radiant barrier - you could use those on your interior (& exterior?) walls inside and outside the herp room. I haven't tried those myself but they look useful in some circumstances.

cheers,
Jimi
No, like I said, I'm just not really into the whole breeding thing anymore so I didn't expend a lot of effort into it. If I have paired animals and they'll breed without my having to jump through a bunch of hoops that's great, but I'm not a "breeder" and just don't have the time or inclination to spend on it. I get 40-50 baby corns every year and swap them for frozen mice, so that works out well.

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Biker Dave
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Biker Dave » December 23rd, 2011, 9:13 am

Not sure about snakes, but my Plumed Basilisks (B. plumifrons) breed every year with no cool down period. The only thing that may be construed as cool down would be the natural temp variation in my house from summer to winter. But then I keep my thermostat at 80F (for AC) in the summer and 79F (for heat) in the winter.

Usually in the spring or early summer I get a clutch of eggs.

Dave

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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 23rd, 2011, 11:36 pm

Mark Brown wrote:I'm just not really into the whole breeding thing anymore
That's what my wife said. HEY-O!

Biker Dave wrote:I keep my thermostat at 80F (for AC) in the summer and 79F (for heat) in the winter.
Is that a typo or do you actually keep your house that hot in the winter? Holy smokes! Depending on what's in vogue for heating equipment in your location, that must cost a fortune! I keep mine at about 68 in the winter; OK in general but results in basement temperatures in the 50s--which actually works out nice to quasi-cool my animals for a couple of months (but they're all North American natives so it works out nicely).

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Mark Brown
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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Mark Brown » December 24th, 2011, 1:58 am

That made me chuckle - I used to do that, too. I didn't keep my winter heat quite so high, but it was usually at 77 or 78. I've gradually lowered it in the winter to 75 with no untoward changes from the snakes. They all still feed fine through the winter. In fact, the corns didn't start to breed and regularly drop large clutches of fertile eggs until I lowered the winter temps, so maybe there's a connection there.

My summer AC settings are too extreme for most people - hell, I work with some people who keep their houses at 70-72 in the summer, which I think is insane. My electric bills are bad enough keeping mine at 79-80. It's perfectly comfortable for me, though.

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Re: Cycling tropical animals?

Post by Biker Dave » December 24th, 2011, 10:32 am

Those temps are NOT a typo. When the outside temp is 100 degrees plus for three months in the summer here in Phoenix 80 degrees feels great. And it keeps my AC bill lower. The 79 degree heat in the winter is to keep my wife happy.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Dave

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