I am very pleased to welcome you to the “NEW” Waffa House Reptiles! Yes, I realize it looks a lot like the old one. Maybe you didn’t even notice it had changed. What you might not see or appreciate though is that it has been completely rebuilt from scratch using entirely new software. My amateur coding trials/tribulations may not mean much to you as a reptile enthusiast, but what you will appreciate is the site editing flexibility I now have, which will allow me to do a lot of neat things I couldn’t easily do before. Things like maintain a more current and visible list of available animals, answer email questions and discuss current events and other herp topics directly on the site, even accept PayPal payments and share content fairly seamlessly with our Facebook page! While site layout and maintenance is an ongoing endeavor that never truly “finishes,” I think we’ve arrived at something we can proudly display and work with for the time being. I sincerely appreciate any constructive feedback as I work to make this site continuously more informative, intuitive, and useful for my customers and visitors. Thanks for coming by, and check back often!

So what is this "LA hypo" you keep hearing about anyway?

So what is this "LA hypo" you keep hearing about anyway?

Up until a few years ago, there wasn't much interest in hypomelanistic pueblans. They were hot and unusual for awhile, and then sort of lost their luster. When I got my first pair on a whim in 2008 -- the same year I officially founded WHR -- I couldn't understand why people weren't more enamored. The shockingly muted tones reminded me of
tropical skittles, the same base colors as the "normal" ones, but very obviously different, intriguing, delicious... The red bands become a frosty orange in the hypo phase. The jet black bands become an almost chocolatey brown. I was quickly smitten and began seeking additional stock, and as I began shopping around, it didn't take long before I realized my hypos were MUCH more reduced in pigment than the other hypos on the market. I began sending emails to people I knew selling pueblan milks, but was largely dismissed. "It's the flash," I was told on more than one occasion. I finally had my comeuppance in 2011 when this blog appeared on Kingsnake, all but proving not only the phenotypic difference, but the allelic incompatibility between what ARE in fact two different strains of hypomelanism in the pueblan milk snake. To my knowledge the two strains have not yet been crossed so it remains unknown whether the strains will mask or augment each other, but thanks to this author the double-hets now exist so it's only a short matter of time!

My founder stock comes from a veterinarian in Alabama who purchased his animals from the same source as Bayou Reptiles in Louisiana. I have since added to my collection, taking animals from Dennis Mountain, whose stock also originated from Bayou Reptiles in New Orleans. This is the origin of the term "LA" or "Louisiana" hypo. Check out the 2012 hatchlings freshly listed on the
available page!

Photo: Jimmy Tintle

Q: Midget Lampropeltis pyromelana hates food - ideas?

Q: I’ve always been a lizard person, but grew to love snakes and have a bunch of my own that are super healthy, super happy, and always hungry. 

Except this one.

I've never had a snake this tiny before (she's a bitty little thing), and she has zero interest in food whatsoever. She was sold to me as "feeding", and silly me, I took their word for it. She's an Arizona Mountain king, about 12" long, and has the girth of a ballpoint pen. I got the smallest pinkies I could find, and she is seriously not interested, and looks at me with disdain then burrows back under her water bowl.

I've only had her for around a week, so perhaps I'm being overly impatient and paranoid (again, I'm lucky, I've never had a snake with a feeding problem, and I have 12 snakes, all different species) - but I have never had a snake, let alone a COLUBRID that was completely disinterested in food. I was told she was eating frozen/thawed day-old pinkies, and I've tried several times to no avail. She escaped for a few days last week and turned up under the paw of my cat in my bedroom doorway, so I suppose it's completely plausible that she's still settling in and stressed beyond belief.

My big question is (sorry for all of the back story) - how long is *too* long for a baby snake to go without eating? I haven't been handling her, I've left her alone in her tub to heat up on the rack, but again, I've never seen a kingsnake SO disinterested in eating. 

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Feel free to tell me I'm being paranoid and crazy and to STFU and leave her alone for a while and try again next week, that's fine too.

...I want to avoid live at all possible costs, I don't have any snakes (save one crappy ball python) that eat live, and I would really like to keep it that way. I suppose I'm just nervous because she's so tiny - - - she didn't look that tiny in the deli cup -_- 

A: I've found ground skinks more readily available where I am, and often of adequate size for feeding whole to small snakes even as adults. But in any case, if you've exhausted all the usual tricks, Joe and Sonja have the right idea. As an additional side note, I had one young pyro that took to F/T mice right away, but only on one condition: they had to be completely bloodied and mutilated. Not just "brained," but brained, cut, gutted, smashed, and verbally insulted. It was the weirdest thing, but it worked! She took mice exclusively this way for her first few years. As vulnerable young snakes in the wild I suspect they probably take carrion opportunistically. Maybe this simulated such a food item? - BJW

Source: http://www.iherp.com/Answers/ReptileProblem.aspx?Id=31426

Be on the lookout!

I really do spend a lot of time writing about reptiles (to say nothing of the amount of time I spend thinking about them).  Since I frequently answer questions or comment fervently on other sites, I’ve decided to begin archiving some of my more memorable or important contributions and re-posting them here.  If you see something here that looks remarkably like something you’ve seen written somewhere else, double-check the handle -- I’ve probably just submitted it twice!  I’ll do my best to date the entry and link it back to the original.  In that case you might find it buried in the archives here.  Make sure to search and look around!

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

Source: http://www.iherp.com/Answers/ReptileProblem.aspx?Id=23147