Buying Guide: What to look for when building your Chondro Collection
The point of this guide is to help you make the right choice to select problem free green tree pythons that will go on to reproduce for you. One difficult animal can take more time to care for than a whole collection of normal chondros and never have the hopes of breeding it. Below is just the basic list of traits to look for. I'll go more in depth later as well as cover the traits that should be avoided at any cost.
∑ Choose big Stock. While this is no fool proof method this is a very good indication that none of the weaker lines have been crossed in.
∑ Choose animals from large clutches. This is really the first thing youíre looking for. This almost insures that youíre not getting any of the long term inbred animals simply because one trait they all have in common is small clutch sizes.
∑ Choose easy to breed bloodlines. After all the point is to breed these animals and when you have the ability to breed them every year it really speeds up the process. If you pair a combination and you donít get the results youíre looking for then you just try another combination.
∑ Choose animals that are eating frozen/thawed and have always eaten readily. When I choose a holdback for my own collection the first thing I do is grab the one that ate with no issue. That will make a breeder animal that really simplifies things. It also is a trait that breeds true and was one of the very first traits I bred for. There is no excitement producing 25-30 babies that wonít eat. By selecting the problem free starters I no longer have to spend any time getting a clutch started. Selective keeping can be as big a part as selective breeding. This was one of first improvements I made building my collection.
∑ Do no purchase import babies or babies that have been force fed. Again because the breeder saved the animal what do you think kind of babies youíre going to end up with the first time you breed them?
∑ Avoid any kid of eye, tail or belly defect. While the belly defect is usually a very tell tale sign of inbreeding/line breeding it doesnít belong in a serious collection. Itís just not worth risking if it is in fact a genetic condition.
∑ Choose animals with a gentle disposition. This makes just keeping the animals in general easier as well as not minding the constant checking keepers put on them. High stress animals donít know youíre just looking in to check on them or clean a water bowl. Any animal you breed needs to be used to constant changes and being adjusted helps with that.
∑ Ten years ago it was good advice to just say purchase captive bred and born animals. Now with the genetic history of these inbred designers an easier lesson is one learned for a few hundred vs. a few thousand. In some cases I could see how it would be better to purchase 20-30 imports because at least with some time and care you should get one clutch that you go on and do something with vs some animals that cost you thousands and wonít reproduce.
∑ Itís a good idea to avoid babies that come from adults that have been fed mice. This will require a very in depth explanation and will be covered below. It basically stems from an animal that can't digest rats is not a suitable animal to build any projects from.
∑ Look for offspring that have been produced by females that were breed year after year. This is an absolute guarantee that the mother is both a great bloodline and one that hasnít seen any sorted breeding past. Many animals out there are only good for the first breeding as they can never put the weight back on that was lost with that first clutch.
∑ Body Structure. There are three body types with chondros. You have the ďJelloĒ body type which has no muscle tone and sometimes when laying on the perch you can sections of the body lay completely flat. These animals are much more likely to become egg bound and prolapse. Males for the most part donít show this trait but will pass it, so it something that must be considered. The second type is just the normal body type. This is what the majority of chondros are and is neither special nor a problem. Lastly is the solid muscle body type. These bloodlines usually tend to fall into the larger category for the most part. They also tend to metabolize their food much faster and for their size have enormous strength. Makes probing when they are a year old very difficult. These animals never have issues with laying eggs or prolapsing.
In order to write a very detailed buying guide I think the easiest way to do it is to explain how I started and what exactly the thought process was when I began. Iíve created just about every color morph there is as far as the solid colors go and can do it with predictability. With that said Iíve never once paired animals to produce a specific color. I've never once paired animals for the purpose of color period. Now Iíve done dozens of repeat pairings because of the outcome but the goal was never for color. Color is an easy side effect.
This is going to get fairly long and by doing this Iíll also be writing my ďAbout ď and ďPhilosophyĒ section at the same time. One of my goals is to end the myth that somehow quality and color are synonymous. You can't cheat to get the traits that I love and breed for but I can show you how to breed for any trait you enjoy.