Friday, May 27, 2011

The Critters Are Thickening - Snake Eggs

When I got home from work this evening, I went into the back room of the basement to do a little bit of maintenance work on the turtle tank and to feed all the water critters in the tanks. I had a decent stock of Mosquito Fish and Ghost Shrimp on hand for their dinner. I thought it would be a normal feeding and a regular weekly to biweekly maintenance of the turtle tank consisting of siphoning out some water through the upright tubes of the under-gravel filter. When I tried to tug off the top section of a tube as usual, it wound up sticking and I tugged harder. It did not come apart as it usually does but brought up the whole bottom section of the filter. In other words, it made a mess inside the tank by releasing all the dirty water from under the filter into the rest of the tank. I decided to take the whole tank down and clean it. I was not happy but was okay with it, it was just a simple mistake. Wow, I must be getting better or something because I was not cursing and screaming and blaming someone else for my misfortune but was fixing it instead.

While I was doing that, the dryer started to screech or at least shrilly whistle its notice that a load was complete. I set it for another 20 minutes and ignored it. I kept at cleaning the turtle tank and then my son came down to see me. I was about half way through cleaning the tank and he says: "Hey - did she lay eggs? Holy shitoot did you see all the eggs". I had not seen anything of the sort and at first wondered if he was talking about the new female African Clawed Frog then suddenly realized he said something about the corn snakes! I simply said "No".

I got Brendan to empty the trash and move some stuff to help make my job easier and I put it into overdrive on getting the turtle tank done. Then I attended to the eggs, which luckily looked none too dehydrated from having been laid in a tank with no egg laying box full of damp peat or other damp substrate. I was surprised she had laid eggs with no notice. The female Corn Snake had not shed, heck she had not even gone into the blue phase and there she was already done laying 11 eggs. They usually shed before laying by at least a week or so. Maybe she had gone through the pre-egg laying shed before I got her a couple of weeks ago, but still, she never showed any swelling at the rear potion of her body as they normally do, at least a few to several days, before egg laying. Oh well, the eggs looked healthy. I made up an incubator for them and got them into it, covered them in some damp long cut sphagnum peat moss and put a heater in the incubator set at 82 degrees. I did that from memory even though I have not incubated snake eggs in at least a few years. Hopefully it is the right temp. I know it is close enough to be okay, though I may have to tweak it a bit. It is better the temp is a bit low than cooking them at a bit too high. I am also hopeful they were not too cool for too long since she laid them. I did not look at her tank since last night. I imagine she laid them throughout the late afternoon today because none looked too dehydrated. Since the tank was pretty dry, with no damp egg laying spot ready for her, chances are they would have looked sunken in by the time Brendan spotted them had the female corn snake laid them last night or early this morning. They look okay and that is good.

As for the female corn snake, she looks pooped. I took the male out and left her alone to recuperate. In a couple to a few days, I will feed her a small mouse. After she gets some strength back, I will feed her larger and larger mice until she is gobbling down 1 or 2 full grown adults once per week. She may yet lay another clutch this year as the male was tending to her just last week.

It was all a bit hectic for a short while there but all seems well now. After getting done with those two unexpected chores, I went upstairs, grabbed the blender and put a cup of OJ, two bananas and three pieces of pineapple the size of bananas into it. Then I added a tray and a half of ice cubes. I gave a glass to my wife, saved a glass for my daughter, and took the other for myself. Brendan had already headed to the gym and was missing out on it. To mine, I added a coup,e to a few shots of rum. About 1/2 light rum and the other half dark rum. Mmmm, it was good and took of the edge. I usually just let the edge keep me edgy until I relax in front of the tube or while blogging but tonight the drink did the trick. Nectar of the gods it was, so to speak! After that, or while I was still at it really, we had dinner - Sushi. I am not a big fan of that stuff, just too expensive and overrated at that but it was okay especially since i was graced with the company of my two favorite gals, my wife and my daughter!

Well, that's it for now, I am going to go plop down on the couch and watch a show or three or maybe a movie if I can find a dent sci-fi movie.

All the best,
Glenn B
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