"Speak, friend, and enter..."

Photo-Jun-03-9-55-41-PM Our beautiful new Pollen male from CBE

So much of the enjoyment we draw from nearly any hobby is born of friendships formed along the way.  Geeking out over newly-hatched snakes is fun; the fun is redoubled when we text a pic to a beloved friend and receive an elated phone call in return. The best of these friends bolster our spirits when we're faced with life's inevitable valleys, and help hone our vision and drive as they push us to take our projects to even greater heights. To this point, they also help bust us out of our comfort zones and challenge us to level up as keepers and as people.  Even better is when these friendships are rooted in similar interests, but diverge into niche focuses that allow each of us to live vicariously through one another, all the while strategizing, sharing best practices, and cheering each other on along the way. Nick Bottini of Cold-Blooded Earth (CBE) is one such friend of mine.  I've known Nick for more years than I'd almost care to admit at this point; I've watched him grow up in the hobby, work as a zookeeper where he met his amazing wife Kendra, and finally strike out on his own to work with blood & short-tailed pythons full time.  Over the years he has assembled an immaculate collection of animals with a focus on brongersmai color mutations as well as select breitensteini and curtus.  It's been a pleasure to see his collection level up year after year as he branches out into new color morphs and achieves fantastic combinations with his blood pythons.  His work with Golden Eyes and combos, Electrostatics, T+ albinos, Stripes, and now the Pied blood python project, has allowed me to live vicariously through his adventures with morphs and he never fails to impress from one season to the next.  On the flip side, Nick has been wonderfully supportive of my obsession with breeding insanely red blood pythons.  Over the past two decades of keeping and breeding blood and short-tailed pythons my goals have been focused on: make the healthiest, most intensely pigmented, even-tempered animals possible. In doing so, the "normal" animals have been the basis of my program, and I haven't ventured much into color mutations outside of the T+ albinos and PE Stripes that have long been part of TBC's collection. Nick and I have batted ideas around over the years, with thoughts of, "Wouldn't XYZ bloodline look cool as a Golden Eye, or T+ stripe," or myriad other morphs. 

Infusing crazy color into various morph projects has always been a back-burner goal, with the primary focus on building consistency of color and type within a line while maintaining genetic diversity. Every season I think I should pick up a key morph or two, but haven't quite been ready to pull that trigger.  Part of the reason for this is that there are several great blood python breeders working with these morphs, and I enjoy seeing their successes without feeling a need to compete with them. I want to be able to cheer them on without encroaching upon their customer base by producing similar animals that aren't my primary interest...I'd rather refer potential customers to Nick & a handful of others than sell them that same color morph myself. There has been a reciprocal approach as well - I receive referrals each year from my "morph brethren" who send customers this direction looking for intensely colored red blood pythons. It's been a beneficial relationship for all involved, and we're able to help new keepers get started on the right foot to best enjoy their animals - a satisfying part of the journey. Now along this journey of blood python-dom, new mutations have been established and introduced and collectively drooled over by breeders and hobbyists alike.  One such mutation is the Flower morph, first proven and established by Dave and Tracy Barker at Vida Preciosa International (VPI).  Flower blood pythons are intensely colored, with exquisite lace-like, filigree patterns.  They are incredibly beautiful, captivating creatures and still in the early stages of morph combinations; much remains to be discovered about their genetic potential, both in the homozygous Flower morph and its heterozygous form known as the Pollen trait.  Nick has been working with Pollens in recent seasons and is well on his way toward various Pollen and Flower combos.  As such, they've been a frequent topic of conversation in our ongoing snake discussions, and Nick has done his best to gently nudge me in that direction as I've dreamed out loud about breeding them into my Raspberry and redheaded T+ albino lines. This week, Nick did more than nudge - he pushed me to level up with the addition of a handsome, richly colored yearling Pollen, also 66% possible-het for T+ albino. Nick recognized that I was hanging out in my comfort zone and gave me a hearty shove back out as he opened the doors to this project.  This is a dream realized after several years of refining bloodlines for the next chapter, and as such this lovely new snake needed a unique name befitting his stature here.  With a nod to J.R.R. Tolkien, it's my pleasure to introduce "Mellon," the Sindarin word for "friend."   

There's so much more to look forward to, and I'm grateful to Nick for giving me the push needed to take this next step!


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JoanCover An elemental moment.

"Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive."-- Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

It's that time of year when social media becomes inundated with hatchling/neonate photos.  Reptile keepers of every ilk and species post pictures of beautiful babies and share their excitement over the next steps in their journey. I love seeing this enthusiasm and enjoyment of new life, of drawing closer to an end goal or future vision.  I commend these keepers who geek out over the newness of freshly-born reptiles, no matter what kind, and pray this enthusiasm always remains present in our hobby. So many keepers extoll this moment as "their favorite part" of breeding reptiles, and with the yearly onslaught of photos, it got this ol' gal a-thinking...You can't scroll through the Internet these days without being exhorted to acknowledge "the journey" that is life.  We're advised to enjoy it, and recognize that "...a thousand miles begins with a single step."  As an online meme and cliche, the sentiment is almost mind-numbingly trite, but boiled down to its essence it means one thing: be present.  Without the awareness that presence requires, it's easy to become so focused on intended outcomes that we lose sight of the plans and processes that lead to them.  With presence and awareness (and introspection, and humility), the plans, processes, and moments are savored, appreciated, understood, and tucked away as lessons and fuel for future journeys. "So, Kara," you ask, "Why all this quasi-philosophical rambling, and what does it have to do with snakes?" Well, dear reader, I'll tell you.  As this ol' gal was a-thinking about hatchling seasons and excited keepers, I was once again compelled to confront the fact that the first moments of pipping and hatching and piles of gooey baby snakes are actually not my favorite parts of breeding reptiles.  They're very high on the list (we're talking Willie-Nelson-concert high), but they still fall behind the splendor of mature blood pythons in their prime, and ultimately, females on clutches.  There is nothing in the rhythm and routine of captive propagation that tops the sight of a beautiful female python coiled around a clutch of perfect, pristine eggs.  It's an elemental, almost sacred moment: the elongate, chiseled head resting protectively atop the clutch with an air of maternal wisdom. The quiet puffing of breath and curious tongue flicks as she shifts her coils and pushes against my hand, protesting my intrusion.  My humble awareness that aside from providing the correct environmental conditions, she needs no assistance from me throughout this entire process and could quite capably hatch the eggs on her own. My whispered promise as the clutch is gathered and safely tucked into the most stable incubator I could provide, "You've done your part, now I'll do mine." Yes, I'm waxing poetic and anthropomorphizing a bit, but this event deserves no less than the intensity of emotion it elicits. Perfect clutches aren't guaranteed, and that fact makes me tremendously appreciative when they do arrive.  These females put forth a fantastic reproductive effort and the results thereof will shape the future of generations to come at TBC. I know what's in these eggs will eventually be mindblowing...right now I'm thankful that they've gone from possible to probable. In these moments I am keenly present, acutely aware, and exceedingly grateful for this step along the way.

2021 Breeding Season Updates

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Spring Things - March '21

Val3.2821 Val looking especially fabulous!

Spring is in full swing at TBC and we have some great updates to share!  In addition to what we hope will be a promising hatching season, we've been busy raising awareness about anti-herp legislation, upgrading our husbandry tools and expanding on our various T-shirt (and other merch) designs! Fighting Anti-Herp LawsFirst things first - are you a member of USARK yet?  If not, we highly encourage you to stop what you're doing and join right now. The United States Association of Reptile Keepers is our hobby's representative in the political realm, and they are leading the fight against anti-reptile legislation across the US.  Visit them at https://usark.org and lend your support.  Stay up to date on alerts, and PLEASE take action against impending legislation, even if you don't live in the affected states or keep the affected species.  The only way we will be successful in this fight is through unity across the hobby! Husbandry.ProWe have been using Husbandry.Pro for several months now, and absolutely LOVE how easy this app makes it to keep records on our collection.  It is hands-down the BEST herpetocultural tracking app available, and we've tried them all!  H.P is feature-rich but not overwhelming, and as long as you're willing to keep up with the data entry it provides a highly detailed view of individual animals, as well as trends across an entire collection.  We're using it for everything from bloodline tracking to breeding records, and standard husbandry notes such as cleaning, weights, feeding, shedding, etc.  We're looking forward to passing these notes along to our customers with the purchase of an animal, and even better - the Husbandry.Pro developers are working on a feature that allows the transfer of an animal from one user to another.  Check them out at https://husbandry.pro/ and see if one of their plans is the right fit for you.  We HIGHLY recommend this app to help level up your record-keeping game! TBC StuffWe've had a ton of requests for t-shirts and other merchandise, and recently rolled out some new designs available on a variety of items.  Here's a sneak peek - check out our Redbubble shop to order.  More stuff on the way, so stay tuned!   Breeding Season UpdatesAnd now, the moment we've all been waiting for...breeding season updates!  While 2021 won't be a huge season, what it lacks in quantity it more than surpasses in quality.  We have confirmed ovulations from 3 females and can't wait to see what the future holds.  As of now, we're hoping for a nice clutch of curtus from Tux (Hartwig line) to Joan (Jet line), and brongersmai from Bravado x Epitome (Marter x Marter), and a repeat pairing of TBC Whiplash x Jewel (TBC Manic Panic x Marter).  These babies will go quickly, so if you're looking for some nice, friendly Sumatran STPs or EXTREMELY red bloods, get on our list ASAP! We'll be updating our Clutch Records page for 2021 as the season progresses, so check back often!

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YOU are part of the problem...

sombrahea_20201021-152828_1 Sly giving the side-eye to keepers who insult rather than educate.

In recent conversations with other blood/STP keepers, a common theme hit my radar: "People just don't take the time to research these animals anymore."  This is sadly undeniable; in a day and age when more good, accurate, tested husbandry information is available than ever before, too many keepers take a bare minimum approach.  They glean care information that is "just good enough" from a smattering of social media posts, then almost inevitably run into husbandry issues in a few short weeks or months.  Whether the snake won't eat, or has the beginning of an RI, or skin issues from improper conditions, it becomes apparent that something must be done. At this point, these same keepers often return to social media. Perhaps this time they put a bit more effort into their research and seek out species-specific groups.  They join the group, demand to be spoon-fed solutions for their husbandry problem, and give one-word answers while experienced and concerned keepers play 20 Questions to determine the actual issue in hopes of offering a solid solution.   Somewhere in this exchange, another recent common theme predictably occurs: the uneducated meet the uncontent. 

Armed with memes, gifs, and sarcastic comments, a bevy of more-experienced-yet-less-considerate keepers responds by cutting the inexperienced keeper down.  They scoff, they roll eyes, they snark, and they attack. They put energy into responding only to lift themselves up by putting others down.  They feign concern for the animal, yet wallow in their apathy and offer no true solution or education.  When called out for their apathy, they hide behind comments like "This group has gotten soft," and otherwise voice their disdain for less-experienced keepers, while making zero effort to bolster the very community they pretend to defend. 

This group of blood python keepers hasn't gotten soft. THIS GROUP HAS GOTTEN LAZY.   While many of you sit around, making your internet sales and rolling your eyes at the "influx of noobs," you do NOTHING to ensure the next generation of keepers knows where to find the resources they need to help their animals live healthy lives.  Nobody is asking you to write the content.  That's been done.  The information is out there.  What we are asking you to do - what I am challenging you to do - is to stop being assholes at the expense of other peoples' animals.

Take a moment to educate.  Get someone pointed in the right direction.  Take the time to have courageous conversations with new keepers.  Use logic instead of emotion, and help people understand why they need to do better.  BE THE REASON someone is inspired to do better!  Show them what BETTER looks like, and help them feel like they can be a part of it, too.

Once you've done that on a consistent basis and the noob keeper blows you off, THEN, it is open season.  Until then, STOP BEING PART OF THE PROBLEM. Make an effort before you make an ass of yourself. The information is out there.  Just show them where to go.  #theconsciouskeeper

Recent Comments
Thanks so much for your feedback, Jay! It is hugely frustrating to watch people ask the same questions over and over again, just ... Read More
Wednesday, 21 October 2020 22:20
Thank you, Rick!
Wednesday, 27 January 2021 17:44
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The Sum of A Decade...

It's been said that "the days pass slow and the years fly by," and I suppose that's as true in breeding snakes as it is in any other aspect of life. Before you know it a decade has passed, and looking back gives so much perspective on how far you've come. As the last clutch of the 2018 season makes its way into the world it's a worthwhile time for reflection, considering these babies became a possibility 10 years ago this summer.The TBC Raspberry project has been one dear to my heart, and its roots go back to the days before the TBC prefix when I still lived in New England.  In late 2005 I acquired a fantastic wild-caught female blood python.  She was raspberry red with a reduced black and yellow pattern, and had a temper to match her color.  She was an utterly irascible snake, one that allowed an extremely limited amount of handling and no mucking about at it.  You had about 20 seconds to move her into a holding tub, clean her enclosure, ensure all was well, and maybe another 20 seconds to move her back before she boiled over.  Of course my goal was to eventually breed her, so minimizing stress was always my number one concern (besides potentially reproducing her temperament). Early breeding attempts were for naught, and after two years I wasn't sure if she would ever settle down enough to successfully reproduce in captivity.  She was paired with a very handsome, calm, tractable male in late 2007/early 2008 that ultimately resulted in a very nice clutch of babies.  Many of these offspring were retained, the most promising of which were showing very intense color as early as 8 months of age.  The goal became to utilize the best of these animals to fix and establish the bold red color and reduced patterns within the line, thus they were raised up over the next three years.  By that time Ryan and I had combined our collections (and every other aspect of our lives), and the real work with these snakes began.  We don't power-feed our snakes, and actually have a tendency to grow them fairly conservatively, giving them plenty of time to mature and body up prior to their first breeding season.  As such the first linebred TBC Raspberry clutch made its debut in 2013.  Out of that clutch there was a single male, and he stuck out like a sore thumb amongst his female siblings.  He was affectionately named TBC Double Down (TBC Fire Hazard x TBC Don'tCha).  To this day he is one of the reddest snakes in our collection (if not the reddest), and watching him grow and mature into a spectacular, richly colored animal has been nothing but a thrill.  His photo graces the front page of our website, and he's pretty much the embodiment of what I had - initially - hoped to achieve with this bloodline.  Since that time we've done additional linebreedings and outcrosses with the TBC Raspberry animals, resulting in snakes like TBC Million Dollar Baby (linebred PE Stripe x TBC Raspberry - TBC All That x TBC Don'tCha), and TBC Girl On Fire (linebred TBC Raspberry, TBC Fire Hazard x TBC Ladybird).   As good as this project has been to us, it's not all hatching glorious red snakes.  Eggs go bad, females don't produce in a particular season, sometimes snakes die for what seems to be no apparent reason, and such setbacks can really take the wind out of your sails when you have high hopes for specific pairings.  The flip side of that, of course, is that when things go well they go extremely well and propel us to even higher levels of color and pattern refinement to further build upon someday. So here I sit, 10 years after that fateful clutch that kicked off the TBC Raspberry line.  TBC Double Down sired his first offspring for us this season, outcrossed to a lovely linebred Marter female named Fancy.  The resulting hatchlings from this clutch are a mere few days old & already colorful beyond my wildest dreams (and let me tell you, those can get pretty crazy!) As with anything we try to take it all in stride - three of the offspring from this clutch did not survive, but fortunately the rest seem to be strong, healthy, robust babies with big futures ahead of them.  I can't wait to see where the next 10 years will find us with these snakes and their descendants.

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And That's A Wrap!

I know, I know...it's been entirely too long since an update from TBC. After enduring "The Neverending Winter" and navigating what can only be considered a tumultuous early spring, I'm thrilled to report that we've jumped headfirst into summer, and have some very exciting clutches hatching, and more in the incubator to boot.  Brongersmai were our primary focus this season, and I'm sorry to disappoint all of those who are patiently waiting on SSTPs & BSTPs - those are on deck for the 2018-2019 season!  We had some key red projects we wanted to nail down this year, and will have some fantastic snakes to raise, as well as some to put into the hands of dedicated keepers looking for consitent and beautiful color lines. It's been a thrill every time I open an enclosure to see a female on eggs, and since I'm there in the moment usually just have a cell phone on me.  With that in mind, pardon the poor quality of some of the following photos - I hate disturbing females on clutches & my focus is always making sure those precious eggs make it into the incubator safe & sound!  I'll be hard at work the rest of the summer getting updated pics of these beautiful snakes and their offspring onto the website.

So without any further ado, let's jump into a review of this year's season so far...

Our first clutch of the season arrived in early April, from TBC Bang Bang x TBC Rosalette, a pairing of two pure Bangka Island locality blood pythons.  They are beautiful snakes with vibrant peach, pink and cream coloration, and charcoal-grey heads, and we anticipate that their offspring should be similar in appearance.  While several of the eggs in this clutch were lightly veined and ultimately went bad during incubation, we hatched three beautiful Bangka males in early June, including a set of twins.

Our second clutch of 2018 was a repeat breeding of TBC Ricochet x TBC Vertigo. These lovely TBC Manic Panic line reds knocked it out of the park once again with lots of stripes and loads of color. 11 robust, thriving babies made their way into the world on June 18th, and we're looking forward to watching them color up and grow. Check out the awesome red eyes on this hatchling:Clutch #3 for this year was a PE Stripe x TBC Manic Panic line pairing, between TBC All That & TBC Suckerpunch.  We're really looking forward to hatching some redheaded PE Stripes, and can't wait to see these babies in early July. Stay tuned for more exciting updates! Clutch # 4 for the season will be one to watch for those looking for a great first pet blood python. This clutch was sired by a Marter line male, to a grade female named Robbin.  Both snakes are wonderfully pretty,docile animals & we anticipate their offspring will follow suit. Clutch #5 should make for some jaw-dropping babies as we crossed our TBC Manic Panic line male named TBC Whiplash (TBC Ricochet x TBC Vertigo), to a gorgeous Marter line female named Jewel.  I had back-burnered this clutch for the 2018-2019 season, and Jewel had other plans, gracing our incubator with 13 perfect eggs. I was not expecting this clutch to arrive when it did & unfortunately didn't grab a pic of Jewel on eggs, but here's a collage of sire, dam, and soon-to-be offspring:   Our last clutch of the season is another exciting paring involving the Marter line.  We bred Fancy, another fantastic female, to TBC Double Down, a linebred TBC Raspberry male. Both snakes are top shelf, and we anticipate their babies to be no less than amazing. It's going to be a VERY long 60 days for those hatchlings, but totally worth the wait! As you can see, we'll have our hands full with a bounty of beautiful brongersmai throughout this summer, and look forward to bringing you lots of updates as these clutches progress, hatch, begin feeding, and start to color up.   We will have a nice selection of red babies available this year, and you can keep an eye on our Available Animals section for more info.  If you're interested in offspring from a particular breeding, please take a moment to complete a Prospective Owner Application so we can get to know you, and add you to our notification lists.  Finally, if you'd like to receive general updates on the rest of our breeding season, feel free to subscribe to our Breeding Season Updates category right here in the TBC blog!  Thanks again for stopping in to see what's new at TBC! K

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Positively T+!

As most of you know, it's been quite some time since I've really had my attention on blood python morphs of any sort.  It's not that I don't like them - I'd be crazy not to - but my first love will always be selectively-bred "normal" bloods and short-tails.  Every once in a while though, a snake comes along that I just can't live without...or in this case, several!

In early October, I came across a post on Facebook featuring a very nice clutch of T+ albinos hatched by Angelica Rudow (aka Blood Evolution).  They were beautiful babies and a couple of them really caught my eye, so I reached out to Angelica to make an inquiry.  As it turns out, the clutch was a bit of a surprise as Angelica's female T+ albino had retained sperm from a breeding nearly *two years* prior!  

Now, for those of you who don't know Angelica, let me give you a bit of insight:  on top of breeding some beautiful blood pythons, Angelica is an agriculture teacher extraordinaire.  From managing her school's ag program, to raising and processing poultry for FFA Thanksgiving meals, to cultivating and canning an extensive garden, and raising champion exhibition chickens, Angelica is one amazing gal...and amazingly busy. 

With this in mind, I'm going to tangent a bit here before we circle back around to blood pythons, and ask all of my readers to consider something next time you have to vote on anything having to do with teacher salaries: There are some purely fantastic folks in this world who are going above and beyond to help ensure our kids get the most out of their education, and in many communities these teachers are highly underappreciated and underpaid.   This is something that is only going to change when those of us in said communities get together and vote, and use our vote to say "enough is enough!"  Let's all make an effort to support those teachers who are supporting our next generation of leaders, farmers, doctors, scientists, and everything else we've told them they can be if they work hard, buckle down and apply themselves.  Got it?  GOOD!

So, back to the blood pythons...with everything Angelica has had going on this autumn, starting and raising a clutch of baby bloods would turn her already-packed schedule into something just short of crazy. When I inquired about the babies, she made me an offer I couldn't refuse, and this gorgeous clutch of T+ albinos made the trek from Arizona to Iowa in short order.  They arrived at TBC just in time to get settled in for their first meals, which they all took with gusto and hit the ground...slithering (yeah, I went there).

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Welcome & Thanks!

Welcome to our updated website!  It's been quite some time in the making and long overdue, but we're very excited to share with you everything that has been going on at TBC in recent months.  In addition to breeding and collection updates, we have some beautiful available blood pythons, and we're gearing up for a fantastic season in 2018....
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