When To Expect: Ovulation, Prelay Shed & Eggs

Posted: May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

By this point in the season, many of us have already had several clutches of eggs, but I know that some first time breeders are still waiting and wondering if it is too late in the season to get their female to ovulate.

And I know how hard that wait can be. If the female has not ovulated yet, you should palpate her to see if you feel any follicles. Palpating basically means that you run your finger down the underside of the female’s stomach. You should feel what is best described as “marbles” towards to the lower third of her body. I normally start a little more than a third from the tip of her tail and let her slide through my hands. Just because you don’t feel anything, doesn’t mean they are not there. They are there. As I write this, I still have 2 pairs locked up. My Spider het albino and albino as well as my Pastave and Mojave het albino are still breeding. Both females are close to ovulating and in my experience, it is good to keep a male with her. The female albino is always the last female to have eggs in my collection. She has been last for the past 4 years!

For those of you whose female has ovulated, and are still waiting for eggs, this is what I have found to be the time table from ovulation to egg laying. But remember, once a female ovulates she will have eggs. That is just the way it works. You just have to wait now. Here is a time frame you can expect after you witness ovulation:

Hypothetically, let’s say that ovulation has occurred on May 4, 2014. Anywhere from 14-21 days later the female is going to have her prelay shed. After this very important shed, it is usually a month to sometimes 6 weeks until the female has eggs! So in the above scenario, I would expect the female to have eggs somewhere around June 25, give or take a few days.

In any case, make sure to have your incubator ready or have learned, as well as mentally prepared yourself,  to let the female maternally incubate the eggs! The pic to the left was taken in 2013 and notice that the female is about to shed.

Last year I noticed that female ball pythons who had been maternally incubating eggs will shed about 1-4 weeks prior to their eggs hatching. Just like eating while incubating, the female will leave the eggs to shed and then will return to their eggs afterwards. Fast forward to this breeding season and I am seeing it happen with my first two females whose eggs are due to hatch in about a month.

Has anyone else who has done maternal incubation ever noticed that before? If so, I am interested to find out. Last year I knew was able to gauge when the eggs would hatch by the female’s pre-hatch shed.

  1. john deitz says:

    when maternally incubating the eggs what do you keep your thermostat temp at

    • Hey John. I do not use heat tape and do not heat any of my racks. I heat the building. The temperature stays between 80 and 90 all year long. The thermostat in the room is set to 82.

  2. reptileman1 says:

    I have actually had females shed the day BEFORE they lay! Only twice in 20+ years but it happens! Mother Nature, right?

    My records indicate , almost without exception, that a pre lay shed is follwoed by laying at 42-45 days, most EXACTLY 45 days later. Amazingly precise. I suspect the variation is more a matter of my observing the shed or the lay inaccurately as I do not view every snake ebery minute of every day. Who does?

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