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Below, you can see the time spans that different specimens of the same specie have bred at our facility.

. .
Naja annulifera - Nov. 28 Naja oxiana - February 10 - March 21
Naja atra - February 5 - Early March Naja samarensis - December 27 - February 2
Naja kaouthia - October 20 - January 22 Naja siamensis - January 8 - March 13
Naja melanoleuca - February 13 Naja sputatrix - December 6 - January 14
 Naja naja - January 4 - March 18 Naja sumatrana - January 5 - March 4
Naja nigricincta - Nov. 28 .



     Most breeders we know, cool their snakes for a period of a month or two, sometimes longer, before breeding them, though this is not always needed with species that are native to warmer climates. We usually start cooling our snakes at the beginning of Oct., and cool them for 1 - 1 1/2 months. We cool our snakes down to 65 - 70 F / 18 - 21 C.  Otherwise, our snake rooms are kept at 80 - 83 F / 26.6 - 28.3 C at all times, day and night.  It is also dark in our snake rooms at all times, except when we are working in the rooms. Daylight and dark time periods is not needed to successfully keep and breed Cobras. We use a garden sprayer to spray water in the cages of the snakes that will be breeding, to simulate rain. If it happens to be raining outside, opening the doors or windows to the snake rooms will usually get the snakes in the mood for breeding.

     Until we establish exactly when a particular female is ready to breed, when we put them together, we keep an eye on them for several minutes to make sure they do not hurt each other. Once you have established the time a female is ready for breeding, things are fairly simple in the years to come. We normally feed our Cobras in late afternoon or night, and we put them together to breed the next morning. Sometimes males will stop eating when females are ovulating, and maybe even continue not feeding for a month after breeding season. After putting the female in with the male, if a male does not start twitching and rubbing on the female right away, we will separate them for a few hours, and try again. Once the male is acting interested in her, we let them be, and come back later, and usually catch them breeding. We normally leave the pair together all the time, even for several days, except when feeding, until the female is visually gravid, unless that male will be used to breed other females. We never put 1.2 or 2.1 together in a cage, and leave them to do what they want. We always know exactly who bred to who.

Photos of some of the breedings we made in 2012.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

KaoS-002-07-F Breed.jpg (149513 bytes) KaoN-002-08-F Breed.JPG (265119 bytes) Oxi-006-08-F_800.jpg (229389 bytes)
Suphan X Blizzard Naja kaouthia Naja kaouthia Naja oxiana
Sia-003-07-F.jpg (181272 bytes) Sam-002-09-F.jpg (185850 bytes) SumY-006-08-F.jpg (186221 bytes)
Naja siamensis Naja samarensis Naja sumatrana



     Once the female is visually gravid, we put her back in her own cage. We keep accurate records of when we put the pairs together. Tags on the cages, data on the computer and an updated hard copy. Sometimes they breed that first day, right when we put them together, but we check periodically throughout the day, so we can catch them breeding and take photos. Knowing when they bred allows us to better estimate when they will lay their eggs, give or take a couple days depending on temperature. Some species take longer to lay than other species, but it is generally around 60 days from breeding to laying. A week before she is ready to lay her eggs, we put a "laying box" in her cage. The laying box is just a plastic container, that will provide her a moist place to lay her eggs, so she does not lay them in her water bowl, or on the substrate where they may not have enough moisture. I put sphagnum moss in the box and spray it with water so that it is completely soaked, but not sitting in water. That amount of water is enough to keep the moss damp enough until she finally does lay her eggs.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

Small_2.jpg (57133 bytes)Small_Lay_Box.jpg (604808 bytes) Large_1.jpg (30549 bytes)Large_2.jpg (97343 bytes)

Small Cobras  (Naja sumatrana pictured)

14 x 10.5 x 4  Inches   (35.5 x 26.7 x 10.2  Centimeters)

Large Cobras  (Naja kaouthia pictured)

22.5 x 16 x 6  Inches   (57 x 40.6 x 15.2  Centimeters)

     When the female lays her eggs, many times they will be stuck together, sometimes in a pile, sometimes side by side. But, sometimes they will not be stuck together at all. If they are stuck together in a pile, and were just laid, they can be carefully pulled apart, and laid side by side in the incubation container. If they have been stuck together for a while before you found them, it is best to just incubate them the way they are. We've had eggs almost completely buried in the vermiculite, and some on top of the pile, not touching the vermiculite at all, and they all hatched, top to bottom. It isn't that important that they are all sitting side by side, half buried in the vermiculite. The humidity level inside the incubation container is more important. I never actually check the humidity, but mixing the vermiculite 50/50 by weight with water, and not allowing too much air circulation in and out of the container keeps the humidity at a good level. More on that later.

     In the case of the eggs not being stuck together, the female may knock them all around when you're removing her from the laying box, or if she has managed to lay her eggs under the laying box or elsewhere in the cage. If they have been sitting a while before you found them, and the female knocks them around, it is hard to know exactly which side was up, as it can be hard to candle the eggs to find the embryo without a very bright light. So we use a Sharpie, held by a pair of 28" long Hemostats, or taped to a wood dowel rod, and we calmly and carefully, put a small dot on each egg to show where the top of the egg is, without disturbing the female. Then we remove the female and put the eggs in the incubation container, with the side with the dot facing up.

     As you can see in the 1st photo below, the first female Monocled Cobra laid her eggs under the laying box. If I try to move her, without marking the tops of the eggs, she is going to knock them all over the place. I DID mark them, and she DID knock them all over the place. In the 2nd photo, you can see the Sharpie dots on the eggs of a Suphan Monocled Cobra, in the incubation container. The 3rd and 4th photos show a Monocled Cobra who just laid her eggs in a pile and we were able to pull them apart before putting them in the incubation container. In the 5th photo, our original female Naja sumatrana has laid her eggs in a pile, and they were incubated just as they were laid, as they were stuck together too long.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

26_Eggs_on_1-30-11.jpg (118415 bytes) Suphan_Eggs.jpg (254457 bytes) KaoN-002-08-F_Eggs.JPG (212816 bytes) KaoN-002-08-F_Eggs_Deli.JPG (590787 bytes) SumY-001-AD-F_Eggs.jpg (269338 bytes)



     When we first started reading books and researching articles online, about the incubation setup/process, it all seemed a bit overwhelming.  There were containers of eggs suspended over, or floating in water, in an aquarium. There were Styrofoam incubators for hatching chicken eggs, and many photos of professional and homemade incubators. Most homemade incubators held only a few eggs, and the professional incubators held many eggs, but were very expensive. Then we saw some larger homemade incubators, and we figured we could make a large incubator out of an old upright freezer, using a couple small fans, and heat tape.

     But, thankfully, before we got into buying an old freezer and other materials, and building the incubator, we asked a person that we had purchased many snakes from, how they go about incubating eggs. After everything we had read, we could not believe what we were told. You do NOT need any kind of incubator or fancy setup to successfully incubate snake eggs. People were making it much more difficult than it really is.

All you need is:

1)  A container secure enough to keep the smallest bugs out, and the hatchling snakes in, with a few tiny pin holes in the top.

2)  Some type of medium like Vermiculite

3)  Some water

4)  A shelf to set the container on, where it will remain at the proper temps, plus or minus a degree or two.

     The first three times we incubated snake eggs, we used fine Vermiculite, purchased at Lowe's Garden Center, mixed 50/50 by weight with water, and we put it in Sterilite Shoe boxes. Make sure the Vermiculite is pure and does not have fertilizers in it. We incubated Eastern Brown Snake eggs first, and then two years later, we incubated Eastern Brown eggs, and Sri Lankan Spectacled Cobra eggs. We buried the eggs halfway in the Vermiculite, and set the containers on a shelf where it was about 85-86 degrees, as that was the temps in our Hot Room back then. We put some tiny holes in the lid for air, but the lids did not fit tight and some tiny bugs got in, so we needed to check on them often to keep the bugs out. They also allowed the vermiculite to dry out too fast, so we had to spray water on the vermiculite periodically.  The eggs hatched fine, but we decided to change to a different type of container, to prevent the bugs from getting in and the moisture from getting out.

     The next time we incubated eggs, we used clear plastic Deli Cups, (pictured below), like the ones used for displaying snakes for sale at snake shows. We ordered cups that had no air holes in the sides, or if we used deli cups we already had, and they had holes in the sides, we covered them with electrical tape. We took a small sewing needle, heated it, and put 6 or 8 tiny pinholes around the outer edge of the lids of the containers. We used the 6.75" x 3" high Delis for small eggs or small clutches, and use 9.75" x 3" or 3.5" high delis for larger eggs or clutches. We only breed Cobras and a few Corns and Kings, so we have no need for larger containers.

     We now incubate the eggs in our "Nursery".  The Nursery is a bedroom in our house, where we keep hatchlings for the first two years of their lives. Once they reach 2 years, or are of a sufficient size, they are moved to the big snake room..

     We still prepare the vermiculite the same way, 50/50 by weight with water, only now we use the large grain Vermiculite, purchased at a farm and feed supply store. We still set the containers on a shelf in our Nursery Hot Room, but now at 80-83 degrees (26.6 - 28.3 cm), as we seem to get more 50/50 or female heavy clutches at these lower temps.  See the above link button "TSD in Snakes?" to see our results. Below are some photos of how we set up the deli cups.

     Normally, we do not need to add water to the deli cups after the initial mixing, as a little condensation sometimes builds on the inside of the cups from slight temp fluctuations. If anything, we need to remove the lids periodically, and shake off the excess condensation that has accumulated on the underside of the lids, so it does not drip onto the eggs below. This way of incubating snake eggs seems to work best, as we have very few, if any, eggs that do not hatch.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

Small_Deli_Top.jpg (115776 bytes)

6.75" x 3" with Amel Cal King Eggs

Large_Deli_Side.jpg (148898 bytes) 

9.75" x 3"  Equatorial Spitting Cobras eggs

Incubation_Rack.JPG (293582 bytes)

Incubation Rack

Venomous_Hatchling_Rack_1.JPG (219552 bytes)

Rack with 9.75" deli cup houses for Cobra hatchlings.



     When the time comes for the eggs to start hatching, you may see the eggs start to collapse. Get dents in them. This is normal, but not always the case. Sometimes, a hatchling or two will pip, (cut the egg shell and poke it's head out), a day or two before the rest of the hatchlings. But once we see the first hatchling pip, we wait 10 - 12 hours, and cut open the eggs that have not started to pip yet. We carefully cut a slit across the top of the egg, with small scissors, and make a smaller cut perpendicular to the first cut. Sometimes a hatchling can not cut the egg for some reason, so cutting the eggs for them can save a hatchlings life. I have cut eggs open and the hatchling did not come out for 3 days, so if the hatchling was meant to live, it will. 

     As the Cobra eggs hatch, we tube them and "pop" them to find out if it is a male or female. Then it goes into a 6.50" x 2" deli cup with wet sphagnum moss, and a small water bowl cut from a plastic cup, pictured in center photo below, and it is labeled with an ID number, which includes the specie, hatch year, ID #, and sex of the hatchling. The full hatch date and the ID number of the female that produced the hatchling, is also included on the label. The hatchling resides in this deli cup for about 9 - 10 days, until it has it's first shed.

     Once the hatchling has it's first shed, it is moved to a 9.75" x 3" deli cup, with paper towel for substrate, a water bowl, and a hide box. The hatchling will reside in this home until it outgrows it, and is moved to a 2' Standard Neodesha or 28 quart Rubbermaid container.

     A few days after the first shed, the hatchling should be ready to start eating. We offer them F/T (Frozen Thawed) mouse pinks first. Some will accept this as a first meal, but many will not. If they do not, we offer a live mouse pink. If that is not accepted, we try a mouse that has a little hair on it, if it is small enough for the hatchling to eat. Sometimes, hatchlings will not accept any of these options. We have found that small Toads and House Geckos usually work to get them eating something. Even just scenting a F/T mouse pink with Toad or House Gecko will work most times. To scent a food item, you can just rub the scent animals on the head of the mouse pink, or you can thaw a frozen mouse pink with a frozen baby Toad or House Gecko on it's head, wrapped in a piece of paper towel.

Click the thumbnails below to see a larger photo in a new window.

Scissors1.jpg (83026 bytes)

Hatchling_Deli small.jpg (344413 bytes)

Hatchling_Deli_large_.jpg (296546 bytes)

Scissors for cutting eggs

6.50" x 2" deli cup

9.75" x 3" deli cup



2015 Breeding Season

...........Specie........... .....Female.ID.#..... .........Male.ID.#......... .......Intro....... .....Date.Bred..... .#.Eggs. ...........Date.Laid........... ....Hatched.... ....Ratio....
Naja nigricincta Nigr-002-11-F Nigr-001-11-M 11/28/14 11/28, 12/03 15 10 good on 02/14/15 05/01-03/15 4 . 4
Naja annulifera AnnB-002-11-F AnnB-001-11-M 11/28/14 11/28, 12/04 17 10 good on 02/15/15 04/20-22/15 4 . 4
Naja kaouthia KaoN-002-08-F KaoA-005-11-M 12/06/14 12/06/14 25 25 good on 01/20/15 03/21-22/15 14 . 11
Naja kaouthia KaoA-005-11-F KaoA-005-11-M 12/17/14 12/19/14 23 23 good on 02/19/15 04/19-22/15  9 . 12
Naja siamensis Sia-003-07-F Sia-019-05-M 01/08/15 01/08/15 19 16 good on 02/26/15 04/23-25/15  4 . 10
Naja samarensis Sam-002-09-F Sam-001-09-M 01/08/15 01/08/15 5 5 good on 03/03/15 05/05-07/15 2 . 2
Naja sputatrix SpuW-005-09-F SpuW-001-09-M 12/07/15 01/14/15 ------- Did not lay eggs ------------ ----------
Naja siamensis SiaBr-001-09-F Sia-011-11-M 01/16/15 01/16/15 21 21 good on 02/19/15 04/23-25/15  12 . 9   
Naja sumatrana SumY-006-08-F SumY-003-06-M 01/08/15 01/18/15 8 7 good on 03/15/15 05/26-27/15 3 . 3
Naja sumatrana SumY-004-07-F SumY-003-06-M 01/21/15 01/21/15 11 10 good on 03/21/15 05/31/15 3 . 5
Naja siamensis Sia-012-11-F Sia-011-11-M 01/08/15 02/04/15 22 21 good on 04/03/15 06/04-07/15  7 . 10
Naja melanoleuca MelB-002-03-F On loan Adam Perry 02/13/15 02/13/15 14 12 good on 04/02/15 06/19-20/15 6 . 2
Naja atra AtrCbr-002-08-F AtrCbr-005-AD-M 02/16/15 02/16/15 10 8 good on 04/03/15 05/29/15 3 . 4
Naja oxiana Oxi-006-08-F Oxi-005-08-M 03/08/15 03/08/15 13 13 good on 04/18/15 06/16/15 4 . 6
Naja oxiana Oxi-003-08-F Oxi-004-08-M 01/30/15 03/14/15 9 4 good on 04/18/15 07/04/15 3 . 1
1Naja oxiana Oxi-002-99-F Oxi-001-02-M 12/03/14 03/14/15 8 3 good on 04/18/15 07/08/15 1 . 0
Naja kaouthia KaoN-009-WC-F Gravid Import Bred in the wild 13 7 good on 05/14/15 07/13/15 3 . 2
Naja sumatrana Eggs from a  brown pair given  to me by George Van Horn 7 Laid on about 05/28/15    


Photos of 2015 Breedings and Egg Laying   (Click photos to see larger version in a new window)

Nigr-002-11-F 11_28_14.JPG (123384 bytes)  Nigr-002-11-F 2015_02_14 Eggs.JPG (143315 bytes) AnnB-002-11-F.JPG (139579 bytes)  AnnB-002-11-F 02_15_15 Eggs.JPG (146594 bytes) KaoN-002-08-F 12_06_14.JPG (123941 bytes)  KaoN-002-08-F Eggs 01_20_15.JPG (135062 bytes)

Naja nigricincta

Nigr-002-11-F  X  Nigr-001-11-M

Naja annulifera

AnnB-002-11-F  X  AnnB-001-11-M

Naja kaouthia

KaoN-002-08-F  X  KaoA-005-11-M

KaoA-006-11-F 12_19_14.JPG (315441 bytes)  KaoA-006-11-F 02_19_15.JPG (193463 bytes) Sia-003-07-F 01_08_15.JPG (128564 bytes)  Sia-003-07-F 02_26_15 Eggs.JPG (138461 bytes) Sam-002-09-F 01_08_2015.JPG (149347 bytes)  Sam-002-09-F 03_03_15 eggs.JPG (201312 bytes)
Naja kaouthia

KaoA-006-11-F X KaoA-005-11-M

Naja siamensis

    Sia-003-07-F  X  Sia-019-05-M

Naja samarensis

Sam-002-09-F x Sam-001-09-M

SpuW-005-09-F 01_14_15.JPG (126544 bytes) .SiaBr-001-09-F 01_16_15.JPG (135988 bytes)  SiaBr-001-09-F 02_19_15.JPG (136996 bytes) SumY-006-08-F - Copy.JPG (175750 bytes)  SumY-006-08-F 03_15_15.JPG (114728 bytes)
Naja sputatrix

SpuW-005-09-F  X  SpuW-001-09-M

Naja Siamensis

SiaBr-001-09-F  X  Sia-011-11-M

Naja sumatrana

SumY-006-08-F  X  SumY-003-06-M

SumY-004-07-F 01_21_15.JPG (173711 bytes)  SumY-004-07-F 03_21_15 Eggs.JPG (129293 bytes)   Sia-012-11-F 02_04_15.JPG (137587 bytes)  Sia-012-11-F 04_03_15.JPG (141398 bytes) MelB-002-03-F 02_03_15.JPG (151744 bytes)   MelB-002-03-F 04_02_15.JPG (122670 bytes)
Naja sumatrana

SumY-004-07-F  X  SumY-003-06-M

Naja Siamensis

Sia-012-11-F  X  Sia-011-11-M

Naja melanoleuca  (Black)

MelB-002-03-F  X  Male on loan Adam Perry

AtrCbr-002-08-F 02_16_15.JPG (165098 bytes)  AtrCbr-002-08-F 04_03_15.JPG (131572 bytes) Oxi-006-08-F 03_08_15.JPG (163650 bytes)  Oxi-006-08-F 04_18_15.JPG (129022 bytes) .Oxi-003-08-F 03_14_15.JPG (169649 bytes) Oxi-003-08-F 05_08_15 Eggs.JPG (130952 bytes)
Naja atra

AtrCbr-002-08-F  X  AtrCbr-005-AD-M

Naja oxiana

Oxi-006-08-F  X  Oxi-005-08-M

Naja oxiana

Oxi-003-08-F  X  Oxi-004-08-M

Oxi-002-99-F 03_14_15.JPG (170673 bytes)  Oxi-002-99-F 05_08_15 Eggs.JPG (123893 bytes) KaoN-009-WC-F 05_15_15.JPG (133193 bytes)

..Sum Brown Female.JPG (132724 bytes),Sum Brown Male.JPG (95303 bytes)

Naja oxiana

Oxi-002-99-F  X  Oxi-001-02-M

Naja kaouthia

KaoN-009-WC-F  (Gravid Import)

.Naja sumatrana

Pair belonging to George Van Horn


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