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Posted by markg on April 23, 2003 at 13:45:06:
In Reply to: What I've learned and Questions I still Have posted by sasheena on April 23, 2003 at 12:22:48:
Colubrid eggs (temperate species) are actually very easy to incubate and hatch. They are amazingly tolerant of humidity changes as long as the average moisture level is within the acceptable boudaries. They are amazingly tolerant of temperature swings as long as the duration of the highs and lows are not too long.
As far as temp goes, your really super safe zone is the 78-82 deg range you already stated. Stay in that range and you'll not have a problem. I've done 75 deg with no probs. I've had eggs in a classroom that was subject to daytime highs and nightime lows of up to 82 down to 65. They all hatched fine. The time to hatch can vary from person to person. Don't freak if the eggs go 70 days or so. Not all eggs hatch in 60 days for everyone.
Moisture level- don't keep them too wet. I believe drier is better because you can always mist the eggs and incubation medium as needed. I spray the eggs when they start looking a little dry. That is all I do. If the eggs are in a plastic box with little ventilation, then you'll not need to add moisture often if at all. I like to provide air exchange for the eggs daily (lots of air holes in the box.)and this requires mistings quite often. I've seen some people not bother with air holes, and maybe open the box lid briefly once a week.My way works for me, and their way works for them.
I've had badly-dimpled eggs hatch fine; I've had eggs with mold hatch fine. I've had good eggs stuck to a bad egg hatch fine. Bad eggs smell and look bad pretty quick; good eggs - even some that might have a little mold - don't smell bad. After a few weeks you'll know which are bad if any.
I had one egg on one occasion that was growing a fungus or mold on a thin spot on the egg skin where I pulled it apart from the other eggs (I don't do that now.) I applied rubbing alcohol everytime the fungus looked bad in an effort to keep it in check. I thought the egg was doomed because of this. Well, it eventually hatched with a healthy kingsnake.
BE PATIENT!! Don't try to cut open eggs at 65 days because you think something is wrong. Waiting for eggs to hatch is the toughest part of the whole process. Don't bother the baby snakes when the pip; they'll come out of the egg when they're ready.. maybe a day later or so. Good luck!