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Chat Transcript
Python Pete Kuhn 12/13/99

Jeff Barringer - Good evening and welcome to chatweek 99, Our first guest is Python Pete Kuhn and his topic is Australian pythons but I'm sure he would answer monitor questions as well.
Python Pete - Gladly, Thanks, Jeff.

JeffB - Pete welcome to chat week
Python Pete - Thanks, Jeff. Its a pleasure and privilege to be here.

applegate - What species of pythons are you currently reproducing Pete?
Python Pete - I am currently breeding Womas, Jungle Carpets, Diamonds, Black Headed and 75% Diamond x Jungle Cross, and I have a few other projects that are not mature, too.

amazoa - I have 1.2 diamond X carpet pythons. Two questions when I hibernate them how cool should I let it go? Also my male is 6 feet and females 4.5 -5 feet but all are only 2 years old when will they be sexually mature? Do males mature earlier like in columbian boas?
Python Pete - Pythons do not actually hibernate. We increase the night time drop but still allow some day time basking. Individual snakes mature differently, just like people. We have bred many species at 18 months of age but 2 1/2 years to 3 1/2 years is more typical.

anaconda11 - What locality of gtp's would you consider to be the most fun to keep and breed?
Python Pete - I have worked with a few different localities. As individuals they are all really neat. Preference is up to you. Pick the one the YOU like the best and you will do well.

BP - Hello Pete, how many types of dwarf monitors do you have and what types?
Python Pete - I am only working with 3 species at this time but have had the privilege of working with quite a few more. Now I am concentrating on Red Acanthurus, Kimberly Rock Monitors and Spotted Tree Monitors.

gordie - What size enclosure do you think is optimal for breeding cheynei, given space restrictions and do you use the under enclosure sweater box for them as you do for your diamonds?
Python Pete - Yes, I use the bi-level cages for most of the pythons I breed. It offers them more choices (top or bottom heat) and doubles the floor space. I like them in tall display cages so that I can enjoy watching them while allowing them to climb. Its fun for me and I hope for them. Many people successfully breed them in sweater box slide drawers!

KevinA - I am going to be breeding my first pair of Jungle Carpets and was wondering, during cool-down, what are the optimum DTH, NTL, and basking temperatures?
Python Pete - Good luck on your breeding venture. If you keep them on a controlled heat program all year only a minimal cue is needed to trigger cycling, in my experience. I provide 85 to 87 F highs with 10 degree temp gradient normal days and a 5 to 8 degree drop most of the year. During the winter I increase the NT drop to 10 to 15 degrees.

Ratrace - Thank you, I have a Nile monitor that Has a rub spot one her nose, How do I medicate that? By the way Your kimberly monitors are great looking and very beautiful.
Python Pete - The rub is a symptom. Your animal is a bit unhappy with its home. It will heal on its own if you correct the husbandry and set up to one the animal accepts as right for it.

RyanG - Do you suspect interspeciation between M. s. mcdowelli (coastal carpets) and M. s. cheynei (jungle carpet pythons) in areas where their ranges overlap? If so, do you think there are any of these "natural crosses" in the U.S.? IF (yes another "if") so, how do you distinguish these intergrades from the "pure-carpets"?
Python Pete - I have never traveled in Australian so am poorly equipped to answer your question. Domestically, I am sure that almost every carpet sub species has been bred to each other, possibly excluding Bredli. I would not know how to distinguish. Mr. Barker may be more able to answer your questions. We have little or no locality data on the majority of Australian pythons in the US. Its a shame. The illegal import of much founder stock squished that information under a cloak of ambiguity.

scrubpython - Pythonpete, you doing any thing with scrub pythons? Or will you ever be working with them in the future?
Python Pete - No I don't work with them and don't really expect to. A big part of my success is a result of staying focused on a relatively small number of projects. I lack the natural ability that Bob Applegate and some others have to work with a wide variety of species.

SeanA - I know this is a little off topic. But i was wondering if you wouldn't mind describing your kimberly rock monitor setup.
Python Pete - I have kept them in a variety of set ups. I am now using 2' x 2' x 4' cattle troughs with Plexiglass lids. I did very well breeding them in front opening cages using a nest box. Now I prefer top opening cages because them are more escape proof. I have pictures on our site. See the Red Ackie information page.

applegate - What other species, if any, would you like to get and work with that you have not been able to acquire? In other words, your dream or wish list?
Python Pete - I would love to work with Morelia oenpelliensis and Morelia carinata among the pythons. Among monitors I would like to work with V. baritji, V. bogerti, V. brevicauda and V. glebopalma to name a few.

amazoa - I have read that Diamond pythons are more prone to respiratory problems. If so do their crosses show similar health problems. Also what temp do you suggest incubating diamond x carpet cross eggs and what is favorite medium. Last question what do you start your baby pythons eating the more jello like rat pups or pinkie mice? Thanks for fielding my questions Pete.
Python Pete - I have never had a hint of a health problem with Diamond Crosses YET. I hope this does not jinx things. I have only had a respiratory infection once w/ a Diamond. I incubate my python eggs at 88 F. I may allow a bit of night time drop and a small increase during the middle weeks. I have used vermiculite with success but am currently using a container of dry Perlite floating in a larger sealed container with an inch or two of water in it. I generally offer pink mice first to all pythons and get creative from there as I might need to.

anaconda11 - In the next 10-20yrs do you expect any new mutations or color morphs in carpet pythons?
Python Pete - Yes, I expect and hope for a number of exciting developments. How about Banana Jungles (all yellow) and Obsidian Jungles (all black), Chongles (Chondro x Jungle Crosses) and many more. There is a lot of room for development, in my opinion.

BP - Have you bred spotted tree monitors successfully yet, and if so will they be for sale and at what price?
Python Pete - How do we define "breeding"? I have gotten two clutches from them. This was the first captive breeding in the US. The first clutch crashed unfortunately. The second is still promising. With luck they will be available to the public sometime next year. I am not sure about the price. Maybe $750 to start. They are a really neat lizard. Quite nice.

gordie - Have you ever let your morelia maternally incubate and if so how was your success rate?
Python Pete - I tried a clutch of Diamonds last year but had no success. She never left the egg mass, which is good, but they still crashed pretty heavy. I took them away after a month and hatched about 10 out 30 eggs. Others have great success that way.

Jeanine - Have you seen the Jaguar carpet pythons? What do you think of them?
Python Pete - My fried Eric Skov showed me pictures of them years ago. They seem a beautiful animal. The original breeders are ugly. ha ha but they produced an exciting new morph. I fear they may be bit by the "Carpet Curse". Carpets have proved so easy to raise and breed that market price tends to come down very rapidly even on rare types like the bredli.

JHewlett - Have you had any experience with races of pythons such as the mini reticulated pythons? Is this race found in the wild?
Python Pete - I do not work with Retics. I understand the so called dwarf Retics come from Indonesia.

RandilynH - Do ball pythons need to hibernate? Why when and how?
Python Pete - Pythons do not truly hibernate and do not need cooling unless you are trying to breed them.

RichH - With many natural occurring herp prices hitting rock bottom and competition looming do you feel the need for commercial breeders to stay competitive by developing new herps for the market place to the extent of developing hybrids to keep their profits coming in? Do you think this is eventually the way of the future for many commercial and hobbyist herpers?
Python Pete - Not really. I think there is HUGE potential in refining many naturally existing species. I am involved in some really exciting projects with Womas and we discussed potential with Carpets. I have nothing against hybrids but hybridizing does not assure any financial success unless the offspring are inspiring.

RyanG - As you know, GTPs were not originally included in the genus "Morelia" as they are now and most enthusiasts still affectionately refer to them as "Chondros." With that said, what's your opinion on Chondro x Jungle carpet crosses? on all other crosses?
Python Pete - I spent two years attempting to breed Chondro/Jungle Crosses. I have pictures of copulation but had no viable eggs. I heard a zoo produced one clutch and that the offspring were beautiful. I have since sold off my Chondros and narrowed my focus AGAIN. It is a battle to stay focused when we love all the animals and want to work with them all.

JeffB - We are out of time, Pete I want to thank you for being our first guest for chat week 99!
Python Pete - Thanks for having me on here and thanks for the great questions folks!
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