3. CHOOSING YOUR CHONDRO
A breeder of USCB chondros typically only sells neonates that are well-established feeders. What does well-established mean? It means the breeder has spent countless hours ensuring the neonate consistently eats with minimal to no teasing required.
Never buy a sexed neo! If an owner claims to know the sex of a sub yearling chondro, he/she is is either being dishonest, or does not understand the significant damage that almost always results from sexing a chondro under 100 grams. The skeletal structure of baby GTP is very fragile and sexing a young animal either by popping or probing is likely to damage/kink the spine. As the animal grows, the kink will be observed as a dorsal twist or divot. Furthermore, sexing a young chondro is not reliable.
Red vs. Yellow Neonates
You probably noticed that neonates are two basic colors, yellow and red. Yellow neos range from pale to vibrant yellow, and can also have rust colored scales running the length of the spine. This is called “blaze.” Red neos can be different shades of orange, maroon, and brown, to almost black. Below are some generalizations for both yellow and red neos:
- Several of the southern and island types will only produce yellow offspring. A few well known examples are Aru, Merauke, and Kofiau.
- Undergo more rapid ontogenic color changes than reds. The exception is Biak types, which continue to slowly change well into adulthood, regardless of neonate color.
- Almost never develop blue pigment outside of the neonate pattern.
- Have much slower ontogenic color changes.
- Have greater color potential as adults, including high blue specimes.
- Usually fetch higher prices than yellow neos because the majority of designer chondros were themselves red neos.
Male vs. Female
There are advantages and disadvantages with both sexes, and your goals and budget will help guide this decision. The main disadvantage with males is that they normally go off feed. While this is of little negative consequence to the snake itself, it can be stressful to the less experienced keeper. The main disadvantage with females is their higher cost. Females are normally more highly valued, and with all else being equal (color, age, etc.) females command higher prices than males.
The primary advantage with males is their ability to breed multiple females in a breeding season, and their smaller size as adults. Generally speaking, smaller males require smaller caging which obviously takes up less space, and is less expensive. The primary advantage with females is, well…eggs! And while a higher cost can be considered a disadvantage, it is an advantage when selling.