The 8 Ball Project
One egg had gone bad just 3 weeks into incubation. The mould had taken over and no amount of anti-fungal powder was making a difference, so we decided to remove it from the incubator and cut it open...
Believe it or not, there wasn't any smell. The egg was very tough to cut through and almost felt like leather. I was greeted immediately with a large yellow/cream coloured mass, with a green mouldy centre.
On the opposite side of the egg was a tiny little snake embryo. As you can see, the eyes and mouth had begun developing, although it was in the very early stages. I was shocked to see how fast these embryos actually developed. Only 3 weeks in and it was still very apparent that what I was looking at was a snake. I'm yet to discover whether this had anything to do with the Black Pastel and Cinnamon combination... but I'm going to keep trying.
8 of the 9 egg clutch saw it through, but the results we're varied. I got 1 Spider (the female was paired with 2 different males), 1 Normal, 2 Cinnamon Lesser, 3 Eightballs (8 Ball) and 1 Eightball Lesser. This was obviously a dual-fathered clutch.
As it turned out, two of the 8-Balls turned out to have very clear Pied markers. One was perfect, the other had a single kink on the last millimetre of its tail. The 8-Ball Lesser had a single kink too roughly a third of the way down. It wasn't anything debilitating and was barely noticeable... this hatchling was actually the first to feed!
Now, the third 8-Ball seemed very reluctant to leave the egg. I had left it for about 5 days since cutting and had seen some movement, but I was yet to see a head. This is when I began manipulating the position of the snake. Finally, I got the chance to see its little face, but unfortunately, it became apparent that I had a problem...
As you can see, the head was trapped in umbilical cord. I managed to thread the head back through the cord, but unfortunately the damage had already been done. There was a major kink starting at the base of its head. It was stiff and the snake couldn't even straighten itself out. Clearly this snake wasn't even going to be able to move, never mind eat, and came to the conclusion that euthanasia was going to be the kindest option.
I proceeded to remove the snake from the egg, and along with it came the yolk sac...
As you can see, the kink at the base of the head wasn't the only problem. There we're a number of further kinks running along the entirety of the snake. These further kinks we're a trademark defect of the Black Pastel x Cinnamon combo, however I still struggle to decide whether the kink at the base of the head was due to the pairing, the umbilical cord or a combination of the two.
This is why research is so important... understanding the risks of any given project is essential to avoid any unexpected issues!
I'll continue working on this project for sure! Just look at what can be achieved...
The Black Pastel and Cinnamon combos are without doubt my favourite morphs, and when you win, you WIN!
This pairing taught me a heap about breeding, the defects associated with specific genetics and how to manage such situations. I do believe I am now a better breeder having had this experience, and feel far more equipped to move forward with this project.
Thanks for reading guys!
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