Blood "Types"

News and musings from TBC...

"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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Homage

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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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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