Today I wanted to make a quick update about how the 2018 breeding season went here at Mel’s Exotics. In short, it went really well and I’m hoping we’re going to have a good variety of northern and irian jaya litters this year 🙂
Breeding season was extra exciting for me because this was the first year I had a large number of both male and female northerns who seemed interested in breeding, so I was able to create some really interesting new pairings instead of repeating past pairings or having one male breed all my girls. In fact we had six female and six male northerns pair – that means we could possible have six exciting and unrelated litters of northerns!
Northern Pairing 1: Fluke x Saute
This pairing bred Jan 21 & Feb 4, but I’d say it’s about 50/50 whether Fluke is actually pregnant or just scamming for extra food again. She hasn’t really changed size (she was still huge from last year’s scamming) and her behaviour is pretty much normal. But this is a pairing I’m really hoping pans out since both Fluke and Saute are very bright and colourful skinks and I think their babies would be screamers.
Northern Pairing 2: Flambe x Jenga
This pairing bred Jan 21, Feb 4, & Feb 7, and while Flambe didn’t seem to change all that much I think it’s pretty safe to say now that the pairing took (hint: read today’s final line). This pairing is exciting because last year Flambe made some really amazing pale yellow babies that grew into huge, speckly monsters (Yokohama and Dorking are from her 2017 litter with Alrick). Jenga is a caramel northern with basically no black or dark pigments, so these babies could look very neat.
Northern Pairing 3: Alice x Drooly
This pairing bred Feb 4, 7, & 8, and while Alice hasn’t changed size (you can’t get much bigger than she usually is), she has become a hormonal terror. I’m taking it as a good sign (but my gf is hoping she pops soon and goes back to being her sweet self). Alice is a huge northern with very pale colours and lots of speckles. Drooly is likewise pale and speckly. I’m hoping these two make some gorgeous babies to rival some of the white northern lines we see down in the US.
Northern Pairing 4: Evita x Penn
This pairing bred Feb 7 & 8, but it wasn’t until a month later I realized Evita was supposed to have 2018 off (she bred in 2016 & 2017, and I like to give them breaks). She’s an amazing breeder and had recovered so quickly after her last litter I didn’t think to check my records for her (my memory is awful so I have to write everything down). Thankfully she took to being pregnant again like a champ and made it through the 2018 season with her usual grace (*cough* yes she did pop already *cough*). Penn is an extremely dark 2y/o I recently brought in from Diana Mason in the USA, so these babies could be amazingly dark. And now Evita definitely gets 2019 off to enjoy life without any pesky men or kids, lol.
Northern Pairing 5: Tiberius x Alrick
This pairing bred Feb 4 & 7, and while these skinks are fairly classic looking northerns (though Tiberius is a caramel northern), I think this is my most insane pairing of 2018. If you recall, last year Tiberius had serious medical issues that required emergency surgery to her guts. Her survival alone was miraculous, and at the time I was pretty certain she would never be a breeder after that. And since her and her brother Taz are all I have left of their mom Trouble, and Taz hates everything including all other skinks, I was pretty bummed. I had actually been trying to find a pet-only home for her for a while now.
And yet after a winter where she was medically cleared (all her insides seemed normal), she came into breeding season. And her behaviour totally changed – aggressive twit into a sweet, receptive lady. So I decided (with medical professional input) to give her the chance to breed. Originally I hoped to use Taz (trying to line breed to get more with Taz’s glow), but again, Taz is a hateful skink, so Alrick was brought in – his colours are a lovely complement to hers. I’ve been watching her grow fat this spring with my heart in my throat. And because no one else deserves to stress out about whether she could safely deliver – she did it!!! There will be more about the babies in another post, but Tiberius and her babies are healthy and there are no words for how relieved and ecstatic I am.
Northern Pairing 6: Bomber x Wasp
This pairing bred Feb 7 & 8, and for the first time in her life Bomber has actually bulked up. This is a pairing I’ve been trying to achieve for years, and the fact that they not only locked but that she seem likely pregnant is incredibly exciting! For some history, Bomber is actually a baby who was born here in 2011 (my first year breeding) to Fluke and Wasp. Bomber was the runt of her litter and looks unlike any of her relatives. She’s always been a smaller than average skink, and I’ve received several offers for her from people who want to see if her size/looks are genetic and can be passed on.
I had originally hoped Bomber was a male – it’s safer for smaller males to breed than smaller females, and a single male can pass his traits on to multiple litters each year. Unfortunately not only is she a she, she has also been completely uninterested in breeding until this year. She’s been paired back to her father in the hopes that he also carries whatever genes make her so unique (this is called line-breeding). If she does have any babies I will likely hold back most/all of the litter for future breeding projects. I have all my fingers and toes crossed for this pairing 😀
For my irian jayas I unfortunately only have one male at the moment, so he bred two females – one completely unrelated new pairing and one repeat of last year.
Irian Jaya Pairing 1: Izuru x Musashi
This pairing bred Jan 21 & Feb 4, and as of today Izuru looks insanely huge. She’s definitely got something brewing in there, and I’m hoping it’s a big healthy litter of babies. I have had Izuru for many, many years, but she has only ever bred once before and she only produced a single single baby at the time. We’ve tried her again many times, but every other year she’s had no interest in any male. Here’s to hoping 2018 is her year to shine 😀
Irian Jaya Pairing 2: Toriyama x Musashi
This pairing bred later than everyone else, on Mar 11, and I’m cautiously optimistic that Tori is pregnant – she hasn’t grown much but she is acting like a preggo. This is a pairing I did last year and they produced 7 beautiful babies in 2017. This isn’t an ideal pairing in my mind as Tori and Mushi are siblings, and since Mushi is the father to all my IJ litters in 2017 and 2018 all the babies are related. They are still gorgeous, healthy animals, they just aren’t as genetically diverse as I would prefer. One of my big goals for 2018 is to find some unrelated bloodlines of irian jayas to diversify my bloodlines.
There are a few other skinks here who could possibly produce this year, but it’s unlikely I will have merauke, tanimbar, or indonesian BTS babies in 2018. The above are my most likely litters.
And I’m happy to say a few are so likely there’s already some tiny new faces here 😀 But that’s a post for another day, my friends (soon, I promise!).