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Chat Week 98 Transcript
12/11/98 - Dave & Tracy Barker

jeffb - Ok its 10 pm and time for Dave & Tracy Barker
jeffb - we currently have Dave & Tracy barker here to talk about ther new albino suboc project...
jeffb - dave/tracy ... first can you explain a little about this project?

Dave Barker - There was an albino suboc collected near Loma Alta Texas
Dave Barker - It was a hatchling male
Dave Barker - everyone was all thrilled and for one night no one talked about alternas
Dave Barker - Don Soderburg purchased the snake that night for all the money he had on him
Dave Barker - Anyway He took the snake home in a Brinks truck and he fed it tremendous amounts of rodents
Dave Barker - and then, even though he is a god with colubrids, he decided to call up tracy and ask her if she wanted to have the project on a loan
Tracy Barker - I happened to be there the day after this guy found the snake. And thought to myself I wish I could have seen it because I'm sure I would have given the guy a better deal than Don did!
Dave Barker - He had too many things going on, he was starting up his reptile shop and he worried that he might ignore the project
Dave Barker - Even though it is a beautiful snake and hard to ignore
Dave Barker - Any, so now, we python farmers have to go out and rustle up a bunch of virgin TP rats
jeffb - and live with the new texas regulations at the same time
Tracy Barker - Even though I personally knew nothing about these snakes we got two hatchling females as pets among all of our pythons.
Dave Barker - Yes, we already had the two virgin females as pets
Dave Barker - It wasn't easy to find all the girls we needed and we ended up with a small group and tracy set them up and she personally did the project
Dave Barker - and put signs on all the cages that said Dave, don't touch these cages And don't let Dave touch them
Tracy Barker - There is very little published on these really interesting snakes, but people who we talked to were pretty dogmatic regarding two points. #1 Don't leave water in their cages on a full time basis, and #2 these snakes breed very late in the year
Dave Barker - As they grew, they were set up in rubbermaid sweater boxes in aspen bedding at pretty normal colubrid temps
Dave Barker - Tra, you did have water in there, didn't you?
Dave Barker - I always saw water I there, that is when I was sneaking a peak.....
Tracy Barker - They seemed to do great and I decided to leave water in at all times. In no cases over the period of this project did I ever have any problems with "too much water."
Dave Barker - We've taken them to a second generation and Tracy hatched out an albino this year

jeffb - I understand that there are 3 different albino strains, all unrealted 1 in europe and 2 in the US is that correct?
Tracy Barker - yes, One it seems came about by some guy in Sweden or Switzerland hatching one out from two normals that he collected over here...any other knowledge about these guys?
Dave Barker - I'll bet that the European "strain" is genetically identical to the Loma Alta strain
jeffb - I have heard that the european strain was very inbred at this point.... reverse scales etc....
Dave Barker - There was a second albino collected a couple of years ago in Brewster CO TX It's different
Tracy Barker - It is a male and is gorgeous! Yellow, very different from the DS strain. The DS strain albino baby that we just hatched has a lot of red in it!
Dave Barker - Its white with pale red markings

AJ - Do you intend to work or expand into more Colubrids, if so what types?
Dave Barker - We like the Bamboo rats, they have a lot of promise as far as new colubrids go.
Dave Barker - And we have a big collection of kingsnakes
Dave Barker - I've always been a kingsnake buff, the mexicana types

Arrakis - The obvious question.How much will they be,and when will they be available?
Arrakis - Pictures?
Dave Barker - posted at
Dave Barker - We do not have a photo posted of the Brewster Co male
jeffb - DB isnt the brewster male on the Ratsnake Page?
Dave Barker - Dave Long, who collected it, has a photo of it on his site that I took
jeffb - at
Dave Barker - Yes, there's been a pic of him the night he was collected - not too impressive and another at a year of age--very HOT!
Tracy Barker - We have hets now, and we hope to have albinos for sale next year. Now we will be registering all of the offspring with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service when new laws come into effect in 1999.
Dave Barker - We have hets available for $2500 a pair
Dave Barker - Don also has his half that he's offering for sale for the same money
Tracy Barker - One thing I like about the albino strain and the registration is that we will be able to use them as a marker to see how successful we are at breeding these animals in captivity and how many aren't being taken out of the wild. Theoretically all of the future subocs in captivity may be descended from the two lines of abinos, the axanthic strain and the Blondes.

bcherp - my axanthic TP was regurgitating food for about a month. I removed the water bowl and it came to an end. Coinicidence??
Dave Barker - Maybe coincidence, maybe trichamonids
Dave Barker - the species is prone to trichamonid problems
Dave Barker - which is no big deal if you know to look for them
Dave Barker - the species should be able to have water and not barf

beauL - I have done alot of the porhys, have u found them hard to keep?
Dave Barker - wild Bamboo rats are impossible
Dave Barker - well, very difficult
Dave Barker - but we were able to buy some cb babies
Dave Barker - and they've been great

Bill - Dave it's been only 'bout 5 years since I've spoken w/u and I know you have a heck of a schedule,but any plans on returning to Del Nidos. Bill/Oregon
Bill - any chance?
Dave Barker - No, i probably won't make it back there for a few years
Dave Barker - Wow, that would be heaven to spend a month in those mexican Mtns
Dave Barker - that's where DelNido ridgenose rattlesnakes prowl, and Mexican wolves
Bill - I'm still looking for that lizard..if ya remember
Dave Barker - Which lizard?
Dave Barker - Barisia?
Bill - alligator...that H.Smith thinks is unnamed...
Dave Barker - oh yes
Dave Barker - There's still a lot of those anguids unkknown to science in Mexico

ChrisD - In what way is the albino collected in Brewster CO different from your type of albino
Dave Barker - the scalation on the head is different and the colors are very different
Dave Barker - The Brewster is a real rich yellow/gold/orange snake and the Loma animal is pale white/yellow animal

dinopolis - how have your indoor/outdoor cages affected their inhabitants?
Dave Barker - we'd be happy to answer python questions, Like this one.
Dave Barker - The cages are great and everyone with room should make a few for their snakess
Dave Barker - Care is easy for big snakes, the exercise is good for them
dinopolis - enhanced breeding and/or feeding?
Dave Barker - Well, they feed and breed just fine, and with little extra work from us
Dave Barker - but he's had species out there that were doing fine inside

Doug - Hi...At what size and age do you start breeding your Blood Pythons???
Dave Barker - Tracy?
Tracy Barker - We breed the bloods/short tails at 2 1/2 years. They grow very fast!
Dave Barker - Tracy, what do first-time breedng females weigh?
Dave Barker - Bloods, that is
Tracy Barker - The smallest I have seen is a Black Sumatran that after laying weighed 6 lbs., so she was approx. 9-12 lbs at egg laying.

Igmom - Are your facilities open to the public or are you strictly mail/net order? You're close enough to me for a road trip! *grin*
Dave Barker - Well, we;'re not open to the public, but we do let folks tour when we can, especially customers
Dave Barker - lots of time we work until after midnight and then, if we spend time showing people around, it's even later
Igmom - LOL So if we were interested in a ball we might could make arrangements to take a look at your stock?
Dave Barker - You coming over tonight?
Igmom - Nope...too cold out there LOL Thanks tho!

jeffc - All of my Jungle Carpets are getting very big and still growing. My oldest is four years old and 94 inches. Still growing but slowed down a little after third birthday. My three year olds are over seven feet and growing rapidly. What is the max size that you know of for Jungle carpets?
Dave Barker - 94 inches
jeffc - and growing
Dave Barker - no, that's the record
Dave Barker - really, that's big, maybe not the record, but that's up there
Dave Barker - especially at that age

JimM - Regarding subocs, any suggestions about their maddening tendency to stop eating?
Dave Barker - Tracy, have your's stopped eating?
Dave Barker - JimM, are you talking about captive-bred animals?
JimM - One adult female WC has been problematical since I received her eight months ago
Tracy Barker - I've never had that happen unless they were breeding/gravid. We do not hibernate or keep our snakes without heat tape at any time.
JimM - Ours are kept on heat tape with DTH of 82F and NTL of 76F
Dave Barker - I've been hunting West Texas since 1970 and the third snake I caught was a suboc. It's my experience that adult wild-caughts, especially females, rarely do well in captivity
JimM - I've seen nothing to refute that
Dave Barker - When I was younger, i'd catch them, but i wouldn,t bother with anything longer than 24" now.

Matt4 - I'm new to trans peco rats, Just how big do they grow ? I hear they are small for rat snakes.
Dave Barker - BIG subocs are about five feet. I imagine there are six footers, but i've never seen one
dinopolis - (Audubon quotes them at 34"-66")
jeffb - can't miss em on the road...
jeffb - look like an 18 wheeler parked sideways
AlTerna - the "ray charles" snake
Dave Barker - subocs are really cool, calm sweet snakes
JimM - JimM: Our largest was a female that measured an even 60"

Mattmorelia - What are the "low" temps you employ for GTP cycling if any? What months do males typically go into "heat"? Does misting help breeding???
Dave Barker - we don't mist them, so we can't comment on that
Dave Barker - Like with most of our critters, we work with light cycles, we don't hibernate them

RazorBackHerps - Dave and tracy, my argentines I bought from you are ready to breed, do I need to cool them down first?
Dave Barker - We keep them in a room that's about 76-80 year-round
Dave Barker - with a heat tape most of the time.

Ophidiophile - Did the female albino suboc you hatched out have a frontal scale or was she missing it? Does the new one (Brewster) have a frontal? What's the deal with that anyway :-)
Dave Barker - I don't know, the Dallas Zoo albino atrox was missing a frontal and so is the Loma and the Euro strain subocs
Dave Barker - it's inheritable, but doesnt seem to cause any problems. The Brewster is perfectly scaled

Snake--Eyes - Sorry to change the subject, just a little here, but do you still breed Bar-Necked Scrubs, and what is the going rate on hatchlings, and if you dont breed them, who does? any info would be greatly appreiciated. and why on earth did you sell most of your Retics? I mean come on your Retics were the bomb and as we all know they are the KINGS of the snake world!!!
Dave Barker - Retics are too big, i just had a hernia repair and don't need another rupture
Snake--Eyes - There is only one KINGS Dave, you have kept them and you know what i am talking about
Dave Barker - No doubt, if one is obsessed with snakes, then why not the biggest snake of them all.

Ralphine - What's the normal life span of a snake, say a corn snake or rat snake? And don't they continue growing their whole life long, assuming conditions and nutrition are optimum?
Dave Barker - they grow all their life but they slow way down as they mature
Tracy Barker - We have many snakes in their 20's and many of those are still breeding.
Dave Barker - i think most ratsnakes are good for about 15 to possibly 20 years
Tracy Barker - The male suboc DS is 7 years old and I hope he'll be with us another 20 + years!

Snake--Eyes - what are you currently working on(Retics) and whats with the Bar-NEcks? price and do you have them?
Dave Barker - We have barnecks, but we sold our breeders
Tracy Barker - We love barnecks. Why have a Boelens when you can have a barneck, I'm serious!
Snake--Eyes - what is hatchling price?
Tracy Barker - $250
Snake--Eyes - sweet, how big?
Dave Barker - we're going to work more with Tanimbars and Halmaheras
Dave Barker - Barnecks are BIG, we had a six-year old female die of RI that was 15'10
Dave Barker - Big as a Burmese
Snake--Eyes - thats why i like em Dave, they are like

sri - How much humidity do blood pythons require? (Missed seeing you at Timonium, MD show in Sept)
Dave Barker - enough to shed
Dave Barker - not meant to be evasive, but they will withstand a wide range
sri - How much are yours?
Tracy Barker - Again, we have quite a different outlook on what ppeople consider the norm for husbandry for some of these "high humidity" species. We never mist Bloods, and we don't keep them with wet moss.
Dave Barker - Yes, there are problems with high humidity
Dave Barker - there is a higher incidence of RI in high humidity
Dave Barker - Lower or too low humidity causes probs too, but they are easier to deal with

Stick - You mentioned on your site that you are currently working on a video project. Can you give any details of this project? (...and do you need a camera-man?) sorry, a bit off topic
Dave Barker - email us, stick, we just might

tem - Hi Dave..Hi Tracy....Which do you prefer working with? Colubrids or pythons?
Dave Barker - Hi tem, that's a hard one, but overall, i'd have to go with pythons
Dave Barker - there's nothing like the iridescence of a happy white-lipped python
Tracy Barker - The problem is that I just love snakes! I try and keep my job challenging and fun, consequently you'll find me working with some off the wall species-just ask Dave, oh no, what is she getting this week! One of the projects I'm particularly proud of is our continued success with Loxocemus bicolor. I've been veering into the rat snakes, and boas.

RazorBackHerps - Are you ever going to get your new book finished its been along time!!
Dave Barker - we're working on it. We want it to be really good

TK - 4DB...I'm getting an adult pair of subocs this spring (WC). Anything I need to know?
Dave Barker - yes, don't get big ones, and worm them
TK - DB thanks..what about feeding
Dave Barker - feeding subocs? really, diet and appetite is the same as corn snakes
TK - I just recently had some hatch, but they died
Dave Barker - our hatchlings have all started out as whizbang mouse feeders
Tracy Barker - Set babies up in shoeboxes on aspen. Feed one pink per week. I never feed more than one food item at a time until they are adults.

Arrakis - Is care for the Porphyracea Coxi similar to the Mandarin Ratsnake?If not ,what 's different?And how's your Coxi breeding project going?
Dave Barker - coxi are calm and collected, much more so than mandarins
Dave Barker - hatchling coxi are tremendous easy feedrs on pinks
Arrakis - Did you produce any this year?
Dave Barker - they can race, if upset, but mandarins race all the time until they finally grow up
Arrakis - How I know...

JimM - Spotted Pythons: Recommended temps and humidity levels?
Tracy Barker - Breeding. No lower than 70, high low 80's during the breeding season Nov. 15- Mar 01. Then resume normal temps.
Dave Barker - Humidity=low to medium, temps= anything from the colubrid range to the hot python range. We keep spotteds in a cool room and they have heat tapes

Bill - Yes, Do you work/raise/mandrians now?
Dave Barker - we have mandarins we've raised, but last year only got slugs
Dave Barker - It was the only colubrid slugs we had
Tracy Barker - We breed all colubrids and spotted and childrens in same room.

Cerastes - Yes just one - Dave have u ever worked with Rhinocheilus?
Dave Barker - Well, i've kept a number of them over the years
Dave Barker - They have a neat trick they do with their cloacas, ever see it

Devil-Wing - what is with these bar neck retic's i heard about?
Dave Barker - Bar-neck scrubpythons, never heard of Barneck retics

Danies - Yes,I have an Xanthic savu python and wanted to know if you are interested in it?
Tracy Barker - Yes, I love Savus!
Dave Barker - send a photo quick
Danies - what is your email
Dave Barker - folks are just starting to breed them, it's taken the wc adults a long time to settle
Dave Barker -

DrentonBeres - I was wonderng if you guys were going to go for double het subocs in the near future? for snow
Dave Barker - yes, maybe if we can get our hands on nice axanthics
Dave Barker - we're mainly interested in the albinos
Dave Barker - they are really beautiful snakes, very cool

jeffb - Dave & TRacy Barker thanks fo coming by tonight
Dave Barker - Goodnight everyone..............
Tracy Barker - Any more specific questions on subocs, feel free to contact us at Thanks Jeff! Thanks Don for giving us the chance to work with such a neat snake!


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