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Venomous Species we have bred, by year.

Year Species Common Name Species Scientific Name
2003 Eastern Brown Snake Pseudechis textilis
2005 Eastern Brown Snake                                             Spectacled Cobra  (Sri Lanka) Pseudechis textilis                                                            Naja naja
2006 Equatorial Spitting Cobra  (Yellow)                                     Indochinese Spitting Cobra  (Black & White)            Indochinese Spitting Cobra  (Solid Black) Naja sumatrana                                                                Naja siamensis                                                                 Naja siamensis
2007 Equatorial Spitting Cobra  (Yellow)                                     Indochinese Spitting Cobra  (Black & White) Naja sumatrana                                                                Naja siamensis
2008 Equatorial Spitting Cobra  (Yellow)                                     Indochinese Spitting Cobra  (Black & White)                 Central Asian Cobra Naja sumatrana                                                                Naja siamensis                                                                 Naja oxiana
2009 Equatorial Spitting Cobra  (Yellow)                                     Indochinese Spitting Cobra  (Black & White) Naja sumatrana                                                                Naja siamensis
2010 Equatorial Spitting Cobra  (Yellow)                                         Monocled Cobra  (Het Sunset/Poss. Het Leucistic)    Monocled Cobra  (Suphan)                                            Pygmy Mulga Snake  (King Brown) Naja sumatrana                                                                Naja kaouthia                                                                   Naja kaouthia                                                        Pseudechis rossignolli
2011 Monocled Cobra  (Het Sunset)                                 Equatorial Spitting Cobra  (Yellow)  (5 Breedings) Indochinese Spitting Cobra  (Black & White)  (2 Breedings) Central Asian Cobra  (Naja oxiana) Naja kaouthia                                                                   Naja sumatrana                                                                Naja siamensis                                                                 Naja oxiana
2012 Monocled Cobra  (Normal Het Albino to Normal Het Albino)  Monocled Cobra  (Suphan to Blizzard)                     Equatorial Spitting Cobra  (Yellow)  (2 Breedings) Indochinese Spitting Cobra                                Southeastern Philippine Cobra                                    Central Asian Cobra  (3 Breedings) Naja kaouthia                                                                   Naja kaouthia                                                                   Naja sumatrana                                                                Naja siamensis                                                                 Naja samarensis                                                                 Naja oxiana

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          Below, you can see the time spans that different specimens of the same specie have bred at our facility. Naja samarensis will breed earlier than February 2nd. A keeper at a Zoo here in USA, called me looking for information on breeding Naja oxiana, and during our conversation, I mentioned our Naja samarensis had just bred. He told me they recently had eggs laid, so their Naja samarensis must have bred in December. Also, a friend in the Netherlands just had a clutch of Naja samarensis hatch out the first week of Aug. 2012, showing they probably bred in June. .

     Naja kaouthia - October 20 - January 22

     Naja naja - January 4 - March 18

     Naja oxiana - February 10 - March 21

     Naja samarensis - February 2

     Naja siamensis - January 26 - March 13

     Naja sumatrana - January 10 - March 4

          Most breeders I know, cool their snakes for a period of a month or two, sometimes longer, before breeding them, though this is not always needed with species that are native to warmer climates. We usually start cooling our snakes at the beginning of Oct., and cool them for 1 - 1 1/2 months. We cool our snakes down to 65 - 70 F / 18 - 21 C.  Otherwise, our snake rooms are kept at 80 - 83 F / 26.6 - 28.3 C at all times, day and night.  It is also dark at all times, except when we are working in the rooms of course. Daylight and dark is not needed to successfully keep and breed snakes. We use a garden sprayer to spray water in the cages of the snakes that will be breeding, to simulate rain.  If it happens to be raining outside, opening the doors or windows to the snake rooms will usually get the snakes in the mood for breeding.

          Until we establish when a particular female is ready to breed, when we put them together, we keep an eye on them for several minutes to make sure they do not hurt each other. Our CB'05 male Naja naja will bite and hold onto a females head or body if she is not yet ready to breed. It is obviously not the same as when a male will sometimes "hold" the female by the neck while breeding her. Once you have established the time a female is ready for breeding, things are fairly simple in the years to come. We normally feed our Cobras in late afternoon or night, and put them together the next day. Sometimes males will stop eating when females are ovulating, and maybe even continue not feeding for a month after breeding season.  After putting the female in with the male, if a male does not start twitching and rubbing on the female right away, we will separate them for a few hours or half a day, and try again.  Once the male is acting interested in her, we let them be, and come back later, and usually catch them breeding. We normally leave the pair together all the time, except when feeding, until the female is visually gravid, unless that male will be used to breed other females. We never put 1.2 or 2.1 together in a cage, and leave them to do what they want. We always, know exactly who bred to who.

Photos of some of the breeding we made this year.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

Suphan X Blizzard Naja kaouthia Naja oxiana Naja samarensis Naja siamensis Naja sumatrana

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          Once the female is visually gravid, we put her back in her own cage. We keep accurate records of when we put the pairs together. Tags on the cages, data on the computer and an updated hard copy. Sometimes they breed that first day, right when we put them together, but we check periodically throughout the day, so we can catch them breeding and take photos. Knowing when they bred allows us to better estimate when they will lay their eggs, give or take a couple days depending on temps. Some species take longer to lay than other species, but it is generally around 60 days from breeding to laying. A week before she is ready to lay her eggs, we put a "laying box" in her cage.  The laying box is just a plastic container, that will provide her a moist place to lay her eggs, so she does not lay them in her water bowl, or on the substrate where they may not have enough moisture. I put sphagnum moss in the box and spray it with water so that it is completely soaked, but not sitting in water. That amount of water is enough to keep the moss damp enough until she finally does lay her eggs.

.Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

Medium 2.jpg (73315 bytes)Small Lay Box.jpg (604808 bytes) Large 1.jpg (42190 bytes)Large 2.jpg (122028 bytes)

Small Cobras  (Naja sumatrana pictured)

14 x 10.5 x 4  Inches   (35.5 x 26.7 x 10.2  Centimeters)

Large Cobras  (Naja kaouthia pictured)

22.5 x 16 x 6  Inches   (57 x 40.6 x 15.2  Centimeters)

          When the female lays her eggs, many times they will be stuck together, sometimes in a pile, sometimes side by side. But, sometimes they will not be stuck together at all. If they are stuck together in a pile, and were just laid, they can be carefully pulled apart, and laid side by side in the incubation container. If they have been stuck together for a while before you found them, it is best to just incubate them the way they are. We've had eggs almost completely buried in the vermiculite, and some on top of the pile, not touching the vermiculite at all, and they all hatched, top to bottom. It isn't that important that they are all sitting side by side, half buried in the vermiculite. The humidity level inside the incubation container is more important. I never actually check the humidity. but mixing the vermiculite 50/50 by weight with water, and not allowing too much air circulation in and out of the container keeps the humidity at a good level. More on that later.

          In the case of the eggs not being stuck together, the female may knock them all around when you're removing her from the laying box, or if she has managed to lay her eggs under the laying box or elsewhere in the cage. If they have been sitting a while before you found them, and the female knocks them around, it is hard to know exactly which side was up, as it can be hard to candle the eggs to find the embryo without a very bright light. So we use a Sharpie, held by a pair of 28" long Hemostats, or taped to a wood dowel rod, and we calmly and carefully, put a small dot on each egg to show where the top of the egg is, without disturbing the female. Then we remove the female and put the eggs in the incubation container, with the side with the dot facing up.

          As you can see in the 1st photo below, this female Monocled Cobra laid her eggs under the laying box. If I try to move her, without marking the tops of the eggs, she is going to knock them all over the place. I DID mark them, and she DID knock them all over the place. In the 2nd photo, you can see the Sharpie dots on the eggs of a Suphan Monocled Cobra, in the Incubation container. The 3rd and 4th photos show a Monocled Cobra who just laid her eggs in a pile and we were able to pull them apart before putting them in the incubation container. In the 5th photo, our original female Naja sumatrana has laid her eggs in a pile, and they were incubated just as they were laid, as they were stuck together too long.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

Suphan Eggs.jpg (254457 bytes) KaoN-002-08-F Eggs.JPG (212816 bytes)KaoN-002-08-F Eggs Deli.JPG (590787 bytes)

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  When we first started reading books and researching articles online, about the incubation setup/process, it all seemed a bit overwhelming.  There were containers of eggs suspended over, or floating in, water in an aquarium. There were styrofoam incubators for hatching chicken eggs, and many photos of professional and homemade incubators. Most homemade incubators held only a few eggs, and the professional incubators held many eggs, but were very expensive.  Then we saw some larger homemade incubators, and we figured we could make a large incubator out of an old upright freezer, using a couple small fans, and heat tape.

          But, thankfully, before we got into buying an old freezer and other materials, and building the Incubator, we asked a person that we had purchased many snakes from, how they go about incubating eggs. We could not believe what we were told.  You do NOT need any kind of incubator or fancy setup to successfully incubate snake eggs.  People make it much more difficult than it really is.

All you need is:

1)  A container secure enough to keep the smallest bugs out, and the hatchling snakes in, with a few tiny air holes in the top.

2)  Some type of medium like Vermiculite

3)  Some water.

4)  A shelf to set the container on, where it will remain at the proper temps, plus or minus a couple of degrees.

          The first three times we incubated snake eggs, we used fine Vermiculite, purchased at Lowe's Garden Center, mixed 50/50 by weight with water, and we put it in Sterilite Shoe boxes. Make sure the Vermiculite is pure and does not have fertilizers in it. We incubated Eastern Brown Snake eggs first, and then two years later, we incubated Eastern Brown eggs, and Sri Lankan Spectacled Cobra eggs. We buried the eggs halfway in the Vermiculite, and set the containers on a shelf where it was about 85-86 degrees, as that was the temps in our Hot Room back then. The shoe boxes worked ok. We put some tiny holes in the lid for air, but the lids did not fit tight and some tiny bugs got in, so we needed to check on them often to keep the bugs out.  They also allowed the vermiculite to dry out too fast, so we had to spray water on the vermiculite periodically.  The eggs hatched fine, but we decided to change to a different type of container, to prevent the bugs from getting in and the moisture from getting out.

          The next time we incubated eggs, we used clear plastic Deli Cups, (pictured below), like the ones used for displaying snakes for sale at snake shows. We ordered cups that had no holes in the sides, or if we used deli cups we already had, and they had holes in the sides, we covered them with plastic electrical tape. We took a small sewing needle, heated it, and put 6 or 8 tiny pinholes around the outer edge of the lids of the containers. We used the 6.75" x 3" high Delis for small eggs or small clutches, and use 9.75" x 3" or 3.5" high delis for larger eggs or clutches. We only breed Cobras and a few Corns and Kings, so we have no need for larger containers until we start breeding King Cobras.

          We now incubate the eggs in our "Nursery".  The Nursery is a bedroom in our house, where we keep hatchlings for the first two years of their lives.  Once they reach 2 years, or are of a sufficient size, they are moved to the big Hot Room.

          We still prepare the vermiculite the same way, 50/50 by weight with water, only now we use the large grain Vermiculite, purchased at a farm and feed supply store. We still set the containers on a shelf in our Nursery Hot Room, but now at 80-83 degrees (26.6 - 28.3 cm), as we seem to get more 50/50 or female heavy clutches at these lower temps.  See the above link button "TSD in Snakes?" to see our results.  Below are some photos of how I set up the deli cups.

          Normally, we do not need to add water to the deli cups after the initial mixing, as a little condensation builds on the inside of the cups. If anything, we need to remove the lids periodically, and shake off the excess condensation that has accumulated on the underside of the lids, so it does not drip onto the eggs below. This way of incubating snake eggs seems to work best, as we have very few, if any, eggs that do not hatch.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

6.75" x 3" with Albino Cal King Eggs

 

9.75" x 3" with Equatorial Spitting Cobras eggs

Incubation_Rack.JPG (293582 bytes)

Incubation Rack

Venomous Hatchling Rack 1.jpg (341509 bytes)

Rack with 9.75" deli cup houses for Cobra hatchlings.

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          When the time comes for the eggs to start hatching, you may see the eggs start to collapse. Get dents in them. This is normal, but not always the case. Sometimes, a hatchling or two will pip, (cut the egg shell and poke it's head out), a day or two before the rest of the hatchlings. But once we see the first hatchling pip, we wait 10 - 12 hours, and cut open the eggs that have not started to pip yet. We carefully cut a slit across the top of the egg, with small scissors, and make a smaller cut perpendicular to the first cut. Sometimes a hatchling can not cut the egg for some reason, so cutting the eggs for them can save a hatchlings life. I have cut eggs open and the hatchling did not come out for 3 days, so if the hatchling was meant to live, it will. 

          As the Cobra eggs hatch, we "pop" them to find out if it is a male or female. Then it goes into a 6.50" x 2" deli cup with wet sphagnum moss, and a small water bowl cut from a plastic cup, pictured below, and it is labeled with an ID number, which includes the specie, hatch year, ID #, and sex of the hatchling. The full hatch date and the ID number of the female that produced the hatchling, is also included on the label. The hatchling resides in this deli cup for about 9 - 10 days, until it has it's first shed.

          Once the hatchling has it's first shed, it is moved to a 9.75" x 3" deli cup, with paper towel for substrate, a water bowl, and a hide box. The hatchling will reside in this home until it outgrows it, and is moved to a 2' Standard Neodesha or Rubbermaid container.

          After the first shed, the hatchling should be ready to start eating, and we offer them F/T (Frozen Thawed) mouse pinks first. Some will accept this as a first meal, but many will not. If they do not, we offer a live mouse pink. If that is not accepted, we try a mouse that has a little hair on it, if it is small enough for the hatchling to eat. Sometimes, hatchlings will not accept any of these things options. We have found that small Toads and House Geckos usually work to get them eating something. Even just scenting a F/T mouse pink with Toad or House Gecko will work most times. To scent a food item, you can just rub the scent animals on the head of the mouse pink, or you can thaw a frozen mouse pink with a frozen baby Toad or House Gecko on it's head, wrapped in a piece of paper towel.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

Hatchling Deli.jpg (344413 bytes)

Hatchling Deli large .jpg (296546 bytes)

Scissors for cutting eggs

6.50" x 2" deli cup

9.75" x 3" deli cup

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2012  Breeding Season
......................................Specie...................................... .......ID.#.of.Specimens.Bred....... .Date.Bred. #.Eggs .......Date.Laid....... .Date.Hatched .Sex.Ratio
Naja kaouthia  (Normal Het Albino x Normal Het Albino) KaoN-002-08-F  to  KaoN-001-08-M 11/26/11 18 12 Good on 01/17/12 03/19/12 7 . 5
Naja kaouthia  (Suphan x Blizzard) KaoS-002-07-F  to  KaoB-001-08-M 11/28/11 13 8 Good on 01/21/12 03/23/12 3 . 5
 
Naja oxiana Oxi-002-02-F  to  Oxi-001-02-M 03/08/12 8 4 Good on 04/25/12 .06/22/12 .1 . 2
Naja oxiana Oxi-006-08-F  to  Oxi-001-02-M 03/13/12 9 9 Good on 05/04/12 07/01/12 4 . 5
Naja oxiana Oxi-003-08-F  to  Oxi-001-02-M 03/19/12 9 7 Good on 05/02/12 06/28/12 4 . 3

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Naja samarensis Sam-002-09-F  to  Sam-001-09-M 02/02/12 5 3 Good on 03/25/12 .05/28/12 1 . 2
 
Naja siamensis  (Banded F  x  Spotted M) Sia-003-07-F  to  Sia-004-07-M 02/03/12 19 17 Good on 03/16/12 05/17/12 9 . 8

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Naja sumatrana  (Bright Yellow x Bright Yellow) SumY-006-08-F  to  SumY-003-06-M 01/22/12 10 10 Good on 03/19/12 .05/29/12 .8 . 2
Naja sumatrana  (Bright Yellow x Bright Yellow) SumY-001-AD-F  to  SumY-002-AD-M 02/13/12 9 8 Good on 03/31/12 .06/11/12 .4 . 4

 

Photos of 2012 Egg Laying.

(Click photos to see larger photo in a new window)

 

DSC_1503.JPG (212816 bytes) DSC_1555_800.JPG (277870 bytes)

Naja kaouthia

Normal Het Albino  X  Normal Het Albino

KaoN-002-08-F  X  KaoN-001-08-M

Naja kaouthia

Suphan Female  X  Blizzard Male

KaoS-002-07-F  X  KaoB-001-08-M

Naja oxiana

Oxi-002-02-F  X  Oxi-001-02-M

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
Oxi-006-08-F_5_4_12.jpg (205446 bytes) Sum-002-09-F with Eggs.jpg (213224 bytes)
Naja oxiana

Oxi-006-08-F  X  Oxi-001-02-M

Naja oxiana

Oxi-003-08-F  X  Oxi-001-02-M

Naja samarensis

Sam-002-09-F  to  Sam-001-09-M

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
Sia-003-07-F_Eggs.jpg (203409 bytes) SumY-001-AD-F Eggs.jpg (269338 bytes)
Naja siamensis

Banded F  x  Spotted M

Sia-003-07-F  to  Sia-004-07-M

Naja sumatrana

SumY-006-07-F  to  SumY-003-06-M

Naja sumatrana

SumY-001-AD-F  to  SumY-002-AD-M

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

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