Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fresh Eggs in the Incubator...

...and you know I don't live even anywhere near to a farm, so if you guessed they are some kind of reptile eggs - well, you guessed right. My female corn snake laid a clutch of eggs about 2 days ago. I don't know if they are going to be alright or not, because as things would have it I forgot to assure that the humidity level was high enough for them, and they kind of caved in a bit. Chances are though they are still alive and well, and my having moistened the sphagnum moss / coconut husk fiber blend that they are in should solve the problem. Time will tell if all the eggs are viable; if not they should start discoloring within a few days to a week or so. As for the ones that are good, they should hatch in about 60 days if I keep them at the right humidity level and proper temperature. I incubate them at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and am not sure of the humidity level but it has to be close to 90 to 95 percent in the incubation chamber. The chamber itself consists only of a plastic food container with the lid on, and with the lid drilled through with small holes to allow some air to circulate through it. I always amazes me how fertile and viable eggs manage not to become overridden with mold or fungus in these conditions, but they usually make it all the way to hatching without mold or fungus killing them. As for the bad eggs in the clutch, well they do get attacked by mold and or fungus, and it makes them smell pretty badly quite quickly. Sometimes I leave them in the incubator, that is if attached to other eggs, because I don't like to risk rupturing a good egg by trying to pull them apart. Snake eggs, unlike bird eggs, are leathery to the touch, and remain pliable as opposed to becoming brittle. They also often adhere to one another just after the time they are laid. Also, as opposed to bird eggs, they need to pretty much remain in the same position as they were when they were laid by the mother. The great majority of snakes (except some pythons and cobras) do not tend to their eggs, and snake eggs never need to be rolled over as to bird eggs. In fact rolling them over can reportedly kill the embryos.

For now, I'll just pretty much leave them alone, and check on the incubator's temps now and again. The incubator I use now is basically just a container in which I place the incubation chamber, and in which I place a waterproof heating unit and some water. The heater heats the water to about 80 degrees, which in turn evenly heats up the interior of the container including the incubation chamber along with the eggs inside of it. In about 56 to 65 days, I'll know if I did it right.

All the best,
Glenn B.
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