It looks like this is the real deal! Now, I’m not absolutely positive this is an ovulation but I think it’s even further evidence she is going to lay this year. I don’t want to get my hopes up with this girl. We have a history.
She came down with a terrible respiratory infection right after I got her. It was my fault-it’s always our fault-because I wasn’t checking on her at all. My thought was, ‘something this rare and this expensive is bound to get broken so just leave them alone.’ And so I did, and she got really, really sick. Which in turn made me sick because now I’m in the vet’s office insisting on doing the vet technician’s job because the only snake-handling experience he’s ever had seemed to have been at a rattlesnake roundup. Long story short, she made a full recovery but breeding was definitely out of the question for that season.
Fast forward to the following summer, I was handling her when my fingers felt definitive lumps in her abdomen. Follicles! Seven-NO! Eight of them at least! I ran out of the snake room, into the living room, did a cartwheel, a spinning ‘I-just-bought-a-Toyota’ leap into the air and came down into a solid Tiger Woods fistpump. Man I was excited! Alas, as I followed the progression of the follicles they became smaller and smaller until I couldn’t feel them anymore.
I think I may not have paired them early enough. Or removed the male too soon. This year Softie was in Roughie’s enclosure really early! I left them throughout the winter and he is still in there right now. I will take him out when Roughie sheds next (which I hope will be the pre-lay shed.)
They didn’t pay much attention to each other when they were first introduced. Each kept to the opposite side of the enclosure. Slowly but surely the male would be seen a little closer to her. Then hiding under her while she basked. Then next to her and finally they would be in the hide box together or found intertwined on the same basking spot. I never could confirm any copulation but the behavioral difference was apparent. Now they are back to opposite sides of the cage and Softie (the male) is eating again.
I palpated eight or nine eggs last month, and they have grown since then. The swelling in these photos is more pronounced and much lower down than last month also. This could be the year.