Q: Is it okay to brumate younger male kings and corns?

Q: So I took my adult colubrids off their heat and they will be ready to be put in their cold room in a couple of days. I am excited to have three months of less work and to save a bit of money on feeders and electric bills.

I was considering putting my younger male kings and corns in brumation as well to save more on money, time and work.  I plan to keep heating and feeding my babies and yearlings, but brumating my two year old males. I don't plan to breed them because I feel that their female counterparts are not big enough to breed this season.

Is there any reason I should not put my 2 year old colubrid males in brumation? Will it cause any problems?

It would be mainly to save money on feeders, electricity and work, not to cycle them for breeding.

Let me know what you think.


A: This is a great discussion.  And as with all great questions, there's probably not just one correct answer.  To address your specific question though about safety and potential problems, Nate is right that it's pretty safe but it does come with risks.  And as Shannon said, they most certainly do it in the wild (although "overwintering mortality" is much higher in nature than in captivity).  Some snakes that won't feed post-hatching will often brumate and "wake up" feisty and ready to feed; the seasonal cycle almost seems necessary to stimulate their appetite.  Fun fact...

Anyway, yes you can overwinter them pretty safely, but occasionally you'll have an animal that won't wake up.  This can happen when brumating adults too.  Causes could include inadequate body weight, suboptimal brumation temperatures, chronic dehydration, inadequate hibernacula, other underlying stressors and disease, or some combination of all these (among probably other causes too).

If you choose to brumate, I always recommend that you install an electronic space heater that will kick on and off at pre-programable temperatures (totally worth the $40 investment!).  Be sure that your animals are of an appropriate body condition prior to brumation.  And, perhaps most importantly, be sure you fast your animals for two weeks or so -- wait to see those poops! -- before slowly bringing them to winter temperatures.

This probably is a more "natural" way to maintain our animals and you can usually brumate young animals without a problem. But Mother Nature can be a real wench sometimes so take every precaution you can! - BJW


Q: Female genes passed on?

Q: I have read on several sites that the female does not pass on het genes, that they have to be visual's to pass on any genes. Can any one clear this up for me???

A: Not sure what you read, but as you've written it that statement doesn't hold any water.  There are certain traits which are said to be "sex-linked," that is they're inherently related to the sex of the organism because of the trait's location on a sex chromosome... but that doesn't sound like what's being discussed here. - BJW


Q: Calling all kingsnake breeders!

Q: So, im trying to breed my cali king pair. The first night i put them together, they were together for an hour and they had a successful copulation. Last night they were together for the same amount of time and he certainly did try, but to no avail. Tonight when i put them together, they ignored each other completely. My question is, is it possible that he got her on the first try and now they dont have any interest to do it again? Or should i not be putting them together every night? Should i wait a couple days in between each attempt? Thanks for your help in advance.

A: It's unlikely that their apparently waning interest is due to the male "knowing that he got her" (though it's likely that he did).  You wouldn't call a girl the day after meeting her at a bar, would you?  You wait a few days so you don't seem too eager, and you recharge your game, right?  He's doing the same thing, albeit in a less anthropomorphic way.  Good sex is tiring for both parties, and chances are they just need some time.  Too much forced interaction can be stressful and inhibit your success. Space out the pairings by a few days and just keep trying.  Try pairing at night too, if you aren't already.  And be watching for that tell-tale bulge!  Good luck. - BJW