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Posted by Doug T on November 30, 2002 at 17:53:11:
In Reply to: Would a Leu.TX Rat x indigo be possible?? posted by 2garters on November 27, 2002 at 19:04:26:
I don't have any experience breeding any north american colubrids besides the indigos. So I'm making my conclusions based on generalizations about most other N.A. colubrids.
Here's why I don't think it's possible. The breeding strategies are very different. Indigos breed during the coldest time of the year, while the texas rats are sleeping. A male Indigo might be fooled into thinking a texas rat is a nice bunk mate, but the warm female TR most likely isn't going to recognize an aggressive animal that's 3 times the size, wrong color and wrong scent, that's trying to mate with her months before her mating season, as anything other than a threat. Conversely, a male indigo is starting to get really hungry by the time the TR is waking up from brumation and getting ready to breed.
I put my indigos together today and the females refused the advances of the male, probably because when they mated during the last 2 weeks, it "took". However,it may be because I usually don't introduce them unless their cage temperatures are in the mid to upper 50's! That's no typo. Indigos are getting busy at 55 degrees farenheit...at least that's where I've had the most success.
If you use a female indigo and male TR, the temperatures that a female indigo will want for breeding will probably be too cool for a male TR to be interested in breeding at all.
Another thing, incubation temperatures for indigo eggs are very low (low 70's to 80 are ideal). Temperatures that are perfect for the TR eggs(if they are like typical N.A. colubrids) will kill or kink the spines of indigo babies. Indigos develope much slower too... about 200 days from mating to hatching.
That's just the reproductive differences. Hunting styles, body types and metabolism between the two are so different, I just don't think genes could mesh into something that could survive, even if you could overcome the logistic problems between the 2 species during mating.
I do think there are some Drymarchon breeders who would be more qualified to answer your question (I have ZERO experience with ratsnakes).
I do tend to be a purist when it comes to Drymarchon, simply because they are my favorite snake, but I really did try to set that aside and answer the "could I" and ignore the "should I" (You didn't ask that). But hey, if you've read this much of what I have to say, read just a little more. Although there isn't any organized indigo "community", most of my fellow indigo breeders agree that hybridizing drymarchon is still a bad idea. Me, I would prefer to give an indigo to someone that I knew wouldn't hybridize than sell an indigo to someone who would. Captive reproduction of drymarchon is still too uncommon for me to believe it's time to take them to hybridizing stage of the hobby. Whereas all the more common milk/king/corn/rat/pine hybrids don't seem like a big deal to me since the regular old species are commonplace.
Here's a pic of my indigos a week or so ago. Thanks for reading.