Normally Colored Albino Nelsons
Normally Colored and new strain
of Albino Nelsons side by side.
New strain of Albino Nelsons
The rest of the story:
In 1993 we purchased a collection of snakes from a collector/breeder in south Texas. Included in this collection were 1.2 adult Nelson's Milk Snakes. These were listed as wild caught by the owner. Since it was late in the season we did not try to breed them the first year. The following year one of the females did not gain much weight and did not breed. The other produced a small clutch. The next year we got our first clutch from the other female but it was small and only a few hatched (all normal colored). This type of pattern went on for several years with these snakes acting like typical wild caught snakes. They did not thrive like captive bred and the clutches were small. We did not see any albinism but only had 4 - 5 babies hatch from this female. The other female did better but was sold off as she was not producing at 100%. The remaining female was not sold since she was thin and obviously not top condition. In 1997 we were able to put some weight on her and bred her in the spring of 1998. She laid two eggs and became egg bound with five more. After 24 hours the remaining five eggs were palpated out and added to the initial two in the incubator. Unfortunately, the female died a week later presumably from some complication of her laying. At that point she had been nothing but a problem so we were not suprised. Little did we know how we would be surprised!
A month or so later the first of the two initial eggs laid pipped (the other five had gone bad shortly after being delivered). After a day or so Lisa noted that she had not seen the baby that day and brought it to my attention. I was on the phone at the time and by the time I had hung up the head was back out of the egg again. But since the other egg had not pipped yet and it had been almost two days since the first one pipped I decided to help a little (I never leave well enough alone). I carefully slit the egg and was stunned to see a pink baby fully developed in the egg.
I gently touched it with the scissors and it moved! After a generous outpouring of the obligatory "woohoo's" and other appropriate exclamations we realized something. By slitting the egg we now had about a 50/50 chance of a live hatch since that baby still had not absorbed it's yolk sack. How was I going to sleep? Well I did, but just barely. After two days we had a healthy baby albino Nelson's Milk Snake out of the egg and all was well. Whew!
At this time I contacted Gary Sipperly at San Diego Reptile Breeders because I was aware that he was producing albino Nelson's Milk Snakes. Gary informed me that to his knowledge all other albino Nelson's Milk Snakes were traceable back to his bloodlines and that this was probably only the second known strain of albino Nelson's Milk Snakes.
Now we have a challenge. We have a separate bloodline for albinism and need to keep it true. All we have to work with is the father who is het. for albino and the baby who is female (thankfully). You can bet that the baby is being well fed and is growing fast! We will be able to breed her back with her father in the spring of 2000 and that should give us a batch albino babies to work with. We will NOT be crossing this strain with the existing albino strain. We are determined to keep it pure. After that we will be able to offer these for sale.
As things progress we will post the information here. Hope you enjoyed the story.
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