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Posted by KJUN on April 01, 2003 at 12:58:12:
In Reply to: Re: more posted by RedInTheTail on March 31, 2003 at 23:08:49:
I don't like the chemical properties of vermic (pH varies WAY too much), but I'm not happy with perlite, either, since it can actually have enough water, but be too "dry" for incubation. #3 Grade vermic is nice, but HARD to find. Smaller granules of vermic are MUCH more commonly found, but that holds moisture in "too much" contact with the eggs if you ask me. The other stuff (sphagnum moss, sphagnum peat, wet paper towels, mulch, etc.) will work, but sometimes are hard to keep clean of mold, "fecal" flies thrive with the use of that substate, and the products are usually FAR from being free of "bad things."
Soooo, being as particular as I am, of course I had play around with things. I use 40% vermic (small granules) and 60% perlite. I add enough water so it clumps easily, but you can't get water out of it unless you squeeze it HARD. This is a little less than the 1:1 substrate to water by mass ratio frequently reported by soime breeders. This is what I do for MOST snakes. I've learned that some eggs did better under other regimes that were slightly wetter or drier, but the ratio of substrates stays the same in my experience. I usually keep a small cup of water in one corner of the incubation box to help prevent rapid drying out, too. Ventilation is kept to a minimum (no drilled holes), but there is some air exchange since the lids are NOT air-tight. I open the boxes to cxheck the eggs once per week and no more.
Of course, NEVER use the type that has fertilizer added!