Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. - Truman Capote
This is a 100% het-T+ female that I hatched in 2013 and sold as a well-started juvenile. She exchanged hands at least twice before making her way back home. After a substantial QT period I decided to include her in this season’s lineup. Since she ovulated in mid-March, her behavior hasn’t been what I would expect to see from a gravid female, and today she confirmed my suspicions with 5 good eggs and 16 slugs. While it’s disappointing to look at those slugs and consider what might have been, it’s a big reality of breeding snakes. Unfortunate outcomes like this reiterate why a clutch of eggs is only ever the gravy on top of good snake keeping - an event hoped and planned for, but never something to which we’re entitled.
Now the key is to dig into my data throughout the season, and understand what activities and environmental conditions contributed to her premature ovulation. This is a female that had been out of my collection for nearly a decade. Thankfully, she came away from this clutch with a minimal loss of condition. I now have a chance to unravel her individual quirks and rhythms over the next several seasons, and look forward to impressive clutches from her in the future.
When I look at a situation like this I feel bad for all the effort the female went through for a failed outcome, but it's also one of those moments that prompts reflection on the "why" from season to season. Do my choices for these animals continue to align with my vision, and even more so, my values?
Thankfully, the answer is a resounding "Yes." The collection is bursting at the seams with quality and every animal is in superb condition. They're housed appropriately and comfortably, and our rodent colony is booming to ensure they're well fed. I continue to cultivate relationships with other keepers and seek advice from mentors and trusted advisors who can actively discuss my values and goals, and aren't afraid to ask me tough questions. I carefully screen potential homes to ensure the best outcome for the snakes hatched here, and educate keepers accordingly. The ability and resources to keep these snakes at all are gifts, and not something I take lightly.
It's been a phenomenal year so far with many first-time pairings and more on the way. Every single pairing this year should produce offspring exponentially better than the parents. It's just a few short weeks out from the first hatchlings, and days away from the last clutch of the season. In the grandest scheme of things, there's so much for which to be grateful.
Every single failure we face in life is an opportunity to learn, and it is only when we refuse to seize such opportunities that we have failed at all. Here’s to next time.