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Chat Week 98 Transcript
12/9/98 - Don Soderberg

jeffb - now Id like to introduce our second chatter of the evening
jeffb - I first met Don Soderberg about 12 years ago in the middle of nowhere in s.texas
jeffb - we both were chasing the elusive mexican milksnake and as I recall neither of us caught one
Okie_Python - Jeff, that's about anywhere when you talk about S. TX. Can you be more specific?
jeffb - no okie LOL
jeffb - Don is going to chat about cornsnakes and ratsnakes....

jules[AR] - how do you cool your corn snakes down to 65-70 degrees?
Dsoderberg - If you don't have a basement or a room you can cool by a.c., you have to be creative
jules[AR] - because I really need to go before long.
Dsoderberg - some use the coolest closet in the house and put them on the floor
Dsoderberg - most closets do not get the heat from the heater of the house and therefore are cooler. especially on the floor

CornSnakeLover - Hi Don. I've talked to you before (I e-mailed you the other day with a question about juve okeetee coloration) I want to know, how can I make a ghost corn snake without using a ghost or het for ghost snake?
Dsoderberg - ghosts are made from the double recessive of a hypo. corn bred to an anery. corn
Dsoderberg - that is...the double rec. of those is a clutch including ghosts
Dsoderberg - one out of 16 are the double recessive by average

Frogger - What would be the best mate for my male Miami Phase other than Miami
Dsoderberg - Most of the good (GOOD) candy canes started with good Miamis
Frogger - what would I use, AMel?
Dsoderberg - A good amel. bred to Miami will produce hets. that when bred together should make some excellent candy canes

Igmom - If you have no plans to breed your snake, is it necessary to cool down/brumate for winter?
Dsoderberg - Corns are one of the few colubrids that do not require brumation to guarantee breeding success
Igmom - That's good to hear....I'm always afraid I'll forget if I put something in a cool down! LOL
Dsoderberg - sometimes cooling is dangerous
Dsoderberg - if you don't go low enough, they will lose their appetites and their immune systems will decrease
Dsoderberg - guttata as a rule are the ones that are not necessarily brumated
Dsoderberg - obsoleta will also fall under this guideline, but with less success

jaxmanny - I'm interested in working with the licorice(white sided) can you suggest breeding combinations/strategies?
Dsoderberg - just cross the licorice ones with the known recessives to make double recessives. You are on the ground floor of that one

jeffc - Okay I breed Brazilian Rainbows, Had to drop my prices from over 200 to 75 or 125 over the last five years. No problem, just a hobby and still can make a little money on them. What about corn prices down less than 10 bucks for some of them. Make a prediction if you care to. Lots of people dropping out of corns will demand catch up and bring prices back up so that good corn breeders don't lose money being good corn breeders?
Dsoderberg - you are quoting market stradegies
Dsoderberg - yes, corns are low, but there are about four new morphs popping up every year
jeffc - well maybe but just looking for your opinion on price trend
Dsoderberg - the success in breeding anything in our field is to diversify
Dsoderberg - if you can't do that with species, then have as many morphs as you can. New ones would be nice.
Dsoderberg - My advice is to pay the big bucks for the new or most beautiful ones and you can't go wrong
Dsoderberg - If you plan to get rich on corns, buy a farm
Dsoderberg - I breed corns because of their beauty and variety

LGecko - Yes. (this will be embarassing) Don, I know this is a dumb question, but I've never owned a corn snake before in my life. (GASP) (I'm only 14 yrs. old) I do know a lot about herps, I'm subscribed to all the Reptile Magazines, etc., but I get mixed comments on the question I'm about to ask u, but you'll be the person I'll go by:
LGecko - WHAT LIGHTING DO CORN SNAKES REQUIRE? DO THEY NEED AN UNDERTANK HEATER? (c, I told u it was dumb) I went over a corn snake breeder's house one day and he kept all his is rubbermaid containers, with no lighting. What would I have to buy for one, or a couple in order to keep it alive and healthy? Thanks.
Dsoderberg - all reptiles will benefit from unfiltered UV B, but it is not necessary with the nocturnal ones like corns
Dsoderberg - If their mice are fed the right vits. and minerals, they'll be healthy without the benefit of light
Dsoderberg - under tank heating is a must, but only on one end of the tank or cage
LGecko - thanks, I've needed that answer for a while, any fav color morph/ variety?

Okie_Python - What are your thoughts on the corns being the "disposable" snake choice for neophite herpers and their being found so commonly in pet stores?
Dsoderberg - I think there is a larger market for the lower end animals
Dsoderberg - more people can afford a $20.00 corn snake than can a $2,000.00 albino tri-color
Dsoderberg - I don't get rich doing what I do, but I love it
Okie_Python - So do you agree with selling low-end corns to pet stores?
Dsoderberg - New colors and patterns popping up all the time and the corns are easily fed, handled and bred
Dsoderberg - Yes, if the pet shop is educated on care

jeffb - python do you have a question?
python - What temp. do you use for winter cooling and is 3 months the proper period
Dsoderberg - There are some out there that actually know how to keep a snake alive without a hot rock
Dsoderberg - no hot rocks with snakes, please
Dsoderberg - The danger brumation zone is between 65 and 75 deg. F
Dsoderberg - below that is fine and above that is fine
jeffb - ralphine do you have a question?
Dsoderberg - I shoot for 52 - 57 deg. F
Dsoderberg - If that's not possible and you have to go in the 60's, reduce the duration to 30 - 60 days
Dsoderberg - 3 months is too long for dangerous temps.
Dsoderberg - immuno-suppression occurs when temps are not conducive to appetite

RichH - Any new color/pattern morphs that you are personally excited about and are currently working on developing in your collection?
Dsoderberg - orange candy canes, sunglow motleys, and let me think about more
Dsoderberg - all the candy canes are hot right now
Dsoderberg - sun motleys are outrageous
Dsoderberg - I love bloods the best.
Dsoderberg - amel., hypo. anery. "A" and anery."B" bloods will be a money maker
RichH - I have a a pair of each reserved already form you :)

sandman - when I see my male red albino getting ready for a shed I like to let him swim in the tub for 1/2 hour or so but he seems to poop after about 10 min. Do you think he is upset by being in the tub or is it nateral to go in water? He doesn't seem up set and he likes to get back in after I let the water out.
Dsoderberg - lick your lips. they dry soon and are worse than before.
sandman - the temps at night are 69 and daytime are 85 , is this range ok?
Dsoderberg - soaking in the tub is too temporary to be of use in shedding
Dsoderberg - also remember that your skin is about 94 deg. F.on the outside so if the water is warm to the touch, it is over 100 deg. F
Dsoderberg - that's too hot and they try to get out

Vulpina - Don, what do you think of the albino western fox snakes?
Dsoderberg - vulpina, , , my weak point. You fox snake lovers out there have a great snake to work with, but I only have a few and have never bred them
Dsoderberg - The albinos from St. Louis??
Dsoderberg - That's the only ones I'm aware of and they are not breeding in good numbers yet.
Dsoderberg - I personally like the normals of the fox snakes better than the albinos
Dsoderberg - the albinos are bright as neonates, but drab as adults

jeffb - don I have a question..... is anyone working with locality specific corns
Dsoderberg - Yes, many people are interested and otherwise working with locale animals
Dsoderberg - Louisiana and Tenn. animals are hot right now for locality animals
Dsoderberg - i have some, but have to sell the sport morphs to maintain the hobby

sedgwic - mr. soderberg, you said that brumation is not necessary with corns, but would it increase the size or quality of clutches... also i liked your comment on proper rodent feeding, too many folks feeding $4/50lbs. dog food
Dsoderberg - dog food is not good for mice and therefore not for our snakes

Dsoderberg - you are what you eat and if the mouse is deficient in vitamins and minerals, so will the snake be
Dsoderberg - Go with the good mouse chows
Dsoderberg - ask your local co-op or feed store
Dsoderberg - brumation slightly increases our success in breeding corns

alansnake - 2 questions:1)when are you going to start exporting to Japan ? and When are you and Rich Zuchowski going to get together to write a book?
Dsoderberg - I have a book in the works as I'm sure Rich does. The trouble is finding a publisher that is not married to a contract for house writers
Dsoderberg - I have an import/export license, but rarely use it
alansnake - Why ?
Dsoderberg - why, the license use?
alansnake - yes
Dsoderberg - It is expensive to use and with the schedules that have to be made for inspections and the risk of d.o.a. I don't like to use it
Dsoderberg - also, I have all the business I can handle in the states
alansnake - D.O.A. is not the big problem you may think

Carlton - What would be the result of Blood X Sunglow or Amel. Motley X Sunglow?
Dsoderberg - double rec. of blood x sunglow will make a sunglow blood. Nice snake
Dsoderberg - xxrec of the amel. motley x sunlgow will make sunglow motleys, WOW
Dsoderberg - My hottest item, the sunglow motley

Cec - Don, you've got real beauties - is there another method for figuring out offspring results other than Punnet Squares - I can't figure them out?
Vulpina - Cec, try Miller & Hollander, Bioscience, either Feb or March 1995.
Dsoderberg - unless we are dealing with a new gene, the punnet square is the only way to predict without you reinventing the wheel
Dsoderberg - Just ask any breeder if you have questions like we are doing here tonight

CornSnakeLover - When brumating, should the pair that will be bred be brumated together or does it not matter? (Also, do you have a pic of the orange candy canes?)
Dsoderberg - If you're sure you want to breed a pair, you can brumate them together
Dsoderberg - sometimes they even breed in brumation
Dsoderberg - Orange candy canes are pictured on my site South Mountain Reptiles
Dsoderberg -
CornSnakeLover - But what if I want to breed it with a female I don't own, do they have to brumated together?
jeffb - no

Frogger - What's the minimum size(length, girth) , In your experience, that a male corn snake is able to breed? How many females can he service? What size is min for females?
Vulpina - Frogger, I've bred 30 inch females, no sweat.
Dsoderberg - so have I, but I don't recommend it to beginners
Dsoderberg - exdysis is dangerous and can lead to death of the female
Frogger - What about males?
Dsoderberg - I mean dystocia
Dsoderberg - egg binding
Dsoderberg - Males can breed anytime as a rule
Dsoderberg - I have had six month old corn males successfully breed

Ralphine - Is a 6-year old, 6 foot male to old to breed for the first time?
Dsoderberg - not too old, but realistically too large to safely breed a smaller female
Dsoderberg - I have had some females killed by huge males
Dsoderberg - Incidentally, that six footer is close to a record.
Dsoderberg - you may want a second opinion on that length
hognose - Any experience with Green rats (Senticolis triaspis)? I have had them in the past but didn't have any success getting them to breed.Suggestions as to proper cooling temps etc. would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
Dsoderberg - I have never bred triaspis, but many have.
Dsoderberg - I know they would like a cooler brumation

Igmom - Our cornsnake is approx 3 mos old and has shed once since we got him in late Sept. Is this a normal pattern? I thought they shed more when young as other reptiles do. Is his feeding schedule to slow for what his growth rate should be? He/she is currently eating 1 smallish pinkie every 3 days. The last time he seemed to be looking for more to eat. Should I move up to 2 smallish pinkies at a feeding or try a larger pinkie? I buy frozen ones
Dsoderberg - smaller and more pinkies for neonates like that.
Dsoderberg - be sure the pinkies you are getting are from properly fed adults and be sure they have milk in their stomachs
Igmom - 2 at a time max?
Dsoderberg - no more than two at a time
Igmom - How can I tell if they have milk?
Dsoderberg - there is usually a white band on the stomach we call a milk band
Igmom - Thanks a lot...I'll ask my supplier.
Dsoderberg - without that milk band a pinkie is almost nothing buy water and growth will be slow

jeffc - What do you think about Jungle (yuck) Corns? Hope my bias doesn't show through here.
Dsoderberg - I like them and they are so different from the king or corn, I don't anticipate problems
Dsoderberg - they are somewhat of a dead end breeding for down-the-road breedings with other corns or kings
Dsoderberg - best bred with each other.

just a comment...Don thanks again for the animals we got from you in Arlington, they are doing great!

Don, I have a Jungle corn, 3 years old, male..would it matter which I bred-back to: corn or cal.king?
Dsoderberg - corn
Dsoderberg - kings are aggressive and rough breeders and damage can result
Dsoderberg - also copulation time is much longer for males so I prefer that the male be the corn
Dsoderberg - also the "Spock" biting on the neck can annoy corns if the male is a king
Dsoderberg - not to mention the whole head in the mouth thing.
Dsoderberg - hard to breathe

python - What is an acceptable male to female ratio in a collection (corns)?
Dsoderberg - 50/50 if you get enough eggs assuming you are not hatching cool or warm
Dsoderberg - I hatch at 82 - 85 deg. F.
python - sorry, in the breeders I meant
Dsoderberg - sorry, You meant male to female. I thought you were referring to hatch. I have three males for every five females

Ralphine - Yes, please clarify the hot rocks question for corn snakes. Thanks.
Dsoderberg - Hot rocks are extremely dangerous for snakes
Dsoderberg - they give all the heat in one place and usually the snake has direct with that resulting in burns
Dsoderberg - under-tank heaters are safer

RichH - Don, do you also produce red /white candy canes and are you going to be producing albino transpecos rats also in the future and , guess that is enough :)
Dsoderberg - I run out of the good red candy canes in the first week of hatch. I wish I had more. There are tons of so-called good ones out there
Dsoderberg - Dave and Tracy are breeding my albino Trans Pecos rats for me and they are scheduled to chat on Friday
Dsoderberg - They did produce them this year. Yeah !

Vulpina - Ever tried a day/night temperature cycle in incubation? How about a baby chick every month or so for adults?
Dsoderberg - even in the wild, the temperatures of hatching eggs does not vary like you would expect.
Dsoderberg - I don't recommend you vary that day/night thing

joherp - don, when ya moving to TX so I can park my boat at your place and live with you?
Dsoderberg - If the guy gets the surveying done, we'll go down right away.
joherp - I'll be the best son you ever had!!!
Dsoderberg - I expect to be in Texas by Jan. 30
Dsoderberg - you want me to adopt you??
RichH - why Texas????
jeffb - sedg do you have a question?
joherp - well, I'm an orphan
Dsoderberg - I love Texas
Dsoderberg - Went to Stephen F. Austin and there are Gray bands down there in the West
Dsoderberg - Forget it John

sedgwic - any progress been made in bringing out more green colors in cornsnakes?
Dsoderberg - Yes, on the green
Dsoderberg - Each year, some of my snows show more and more of the green
Dsoderberg - That's the only place I've seen the green on snows.
Dsoderberg - Some say it is from breeding in the green blotched Emory's generations back
Dsoderberg - I don't know about that

CornSnakeLover - I have a male anerythristic corn, bought last Saturday, about 15 inches or so. The other corn I bought ate today but as of 9:10 pm pacific time, he's been in a feeding tub with a pinky for 2 hrs and 10 mins. He has not eaten the pinky. What could cause this and what should I do? Wait, or try somethin else or what?
Dsoderberg - Wait a few days before trying again.
Dsoderberg - There isn't enough time to go into all the possibilities now
CornSnakeLover - freeze the pink and see what happens later?
Dsoderberg - Email me at with your questions
Dsoderberg - If you keep trying the pink day after day, you will lose the prey/predator relationship
Dsoderberg - don't keep trying more than every three to four days
CornSnakeLover - today is the first day I've fed them
Dsoderberg - Wait another three days before trying again

Frogger - What is your take on the ghosts w/ ruby eyes? WHy do some have them and some don't?
Dsoderberg - That should be the lavender in my opinion.
Dsoderberg - If you have some of them and want to get rid of them, they're in demand right now.
Dsoderberg - I don't know why that is happening, but that pretty much sums up the industry
Frogger - So theoretically, I could produce Lavendar w/ my ruby eyed ghost?
Dsoderberg - In fact, your red eyed ghosts are most likely lavenders
Dsoderberg - Remember, lavender is our definition. Not Mother Nature's
Dsoderberg - They're pretty much whatever we call them
Frogger - That's interesting, Thanks!
Dsoderberg - Lots of wierd things popping up every year

Igmom - Right now our snake most closely resembles a candy cane. I understand that they can change color patterns as they mature. Is this correct? He/she was sold as just "cornsnake" but the order was labeled "albino anerth. corns" Should I continue to hope that we got lucky?
Dsoderberg - Send a picture of that Candy cane looking corn to for an evaluation

Matt3 - What do you forsee as the big seller in '99 colorwise and/or type ratesnake?
Dsoderberg - Watch for new corns
Dsoderberg - Best sellers on corns are sun. motleys, candy canes, bloods, etc.
Dsoderberg - I like the red eyed leucistic Texas rats too
Dsoderberg - The dark eyed leucistics are getting more popular too
Matt3 - I have 3.3 Tx leucist rats, but think it better to outbred
Dsoderberg - You'll have to out breed them to amel., rusty rat or hypo. or axanthic to stay in lindheimers
Matt3 - w/ the ones I have..they aren't bug-eyed but maybe close
Dsoderberg - Good. We don't promote the genetic defects like hammer heads or bug eyes
Dsoderberg - UGLY

RichH - Have you ever seen a Bubblegum phase corn and do you know if they are pure corn?
Dsoderberg - Either they are referring to the cross between the greenish or yellow rat albinos with corns or they have just named an amel corn bubblegum because it looks like that
Dsoderberg - I am skeptical of that name and color
Dsoderberg - Where can I see a bubble gum corn?
RichH - same here. They are steep in price
RichH - Lemke has them posted
Dsoderberg - I'd have to see one in person to say whether or not it is a pure corn.
Dsoderberg - I'll go to Lloyds site to see what he has.
Dsoderberg - It doesn't matter if they are pure corns or not if you like them

SeanA - um..I have been told to house male and female corns seperatly and I have been told to house a pair togeather but seperate them for you keep yours togeather?
Dsoderberg - I have over 500 breedable corns so I don't keep them together since I use males for several females
SeanA - would it be alright to house them togeather?
Dsoderberg - With any communal situation with snakes, separate them when feeding.
SeanA - are they cannibalistic like other colubrids?
Dsoderberg - Ideally, they should be separate most of the time
Dsoderberg - They are not cannibalistic, but if they smell mouse breath on their roommate, they will try it

Vulpina - Is Miami phase a recessive mutant?
Dsoderberg - NO
Dsoderberg - Miami is co-dominant at best.
Dsoderberg - It's one of the natural colors and has nothing to do with locality
jeffb - well I want to thank Don Soderberg for being our guest this evening
CornSnakeLover - Yeah Don. Thx
Dsoderberg - My pleasure, Jeff. Thanx for having me and thank all of you

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