Ball Python

Cutting Ball Python Eggs (Dangerous?)

You may be waiting for your ball python egg to hatch, or you may also see famous YouTubers cutting eggs and revealing their baby ball python’s beautiful colorations. In situations like this, you become curious whether cutting ball python eggs is good or not.

Cutting ball python eggs are not required to do but it can be a precautionary measure to ensure a baby ball python’s safety. If done incorrectly, it can affect the health of the baby python through bacteria infections, drying out, and immature hatching.

It might be fascinating to do, but does cutting ball python eggs actually necessary? Or is it harmful to the survival of a baby ball python? Stick around and learn more about this topic!

Why Breeders Cut Ball Python Eggs

The main reason why some breeders cut their eggs is to 1) ensure the safety of the babies and 2) to know the morph at an earlier date.

Although egg cutting is not required, these are the main reasons is why some breeders cut their ball python eggs.

I recommend cutting and checking a ball python egg not earlier than the 55th day or when a baby has peeped out of the egg.

Guarantee of Safety

Ball python breeders can occasionally cut an egg to prevent premature death of the animals in case of congenital problems such as lack of egg tooth.

If a baby ball python has a dull or no egg tooth at all, it won’t be able to cut through the shell and it can lead to them drowning inside the egg [1].

Choking through the “cord entanglement” can also happen. This happens when an umbilical cord is twisted around the umbilicus (navel area) of a baby ball python. If left untreated, this can cause them to pass away in a slow death.

Knowing the Morph Early

Egg cutting is also done by breeders to know the baby ball python’s morph. Cutting an egg allows a breeder to see whether or not they got their target morph/s.

Time and resources have been utilized by a breeder, so it is natural for them to be excited in seeing the fruits of their labor. Though this is not beneficial to the baby ball python, it sure can make an excited breeder happy.

I greatly advise avoiding cutting a ball python egg just for this reason.

The 3 Risks of Cutting Ball Python Eggs

Incorrect cutting of ball python eggs can cause serious harm such as 1) bacteria infection, 2) drying out, and 3) immature hatching.

Bacteria Infection

Harmful bacteria especially mold can infect the liquid inside the egg that’s been cut. This will then lead to possible sickness and fatality to the baby ball python inside the egg.

When you cut a ball python egg, it will be exposed to bacteria and mold particles that might be in the air or in the tool used for the cut, or on your very own hands.

Ball python eggs can also have molds but it’s a minor issue, however, when the insides are exposed, this can lead to infection in the baby ball python.

Drying out

When left unsupervised, a ball python egg that has been cut has a higher chance of drying out compared to an intact one. These can lead to the baby snake’s death due to the lack of nutrition inside the egg.

Depending on the size of the cut, a ball python egg with a cut can dry out, especially if the humidity is below 80%.

When the egg has been cut on day 55 and below, I recommend that it must have near or exactly 100% humidity to ensure that it won’t dry out. Making a hole at day 55 and below of incubation is also not advisable.

Immature Hatching

Immature ball pythons can also come out of the egg when felt threatened by too much disturbance. This instance will be a problem if it happened below 50 days in incubation.

Immature ball pythons have a meager chance of survival since they haven’t absorbed the egg sac properly.

To avoid this risk, I recommend not disturbing a ball python egg after it has been cut. After you take a peek, I suggest leaving it until the baby comes out fully from the egg.

What to Do To When Cutting a Ball Python Egg

The main things to remember before cutting a ball python egg are 1) incubation date, 2) tools used, and 3) cut size.

Date of Incubation

During an incubation, it is recommended to cut a ball python egg when there are signs that other babies have peeped through the shell. This method reduces the fatality rate of babies that cannot cut through on their own.

In standard incubation parameters which have the temperature and humidity of 90F (32C) and 100%, you can still cut an egg at 55 days and above though I will not recommend anything lower than 50 days.

However, some breeders cut their ball python eggs from 35-45 days in incubation and state that there have been no issues with it.

This procedure might be effective for them but still, I highly discourage cutting eggs that are below 55 days in incubation time.

Tools Used

The tools that can be used are sharp cutting tools like a razor, cutter, scissors, etc. But before every usage, they must be fully sanitized to lessen the risks of bacteria and mold infecting the egg sac.

After usage, tools that are used must also be sanitized thoroughly to prevent mold and bacteria from transferring from egg to egg.

You can clean your tools by washing them with a sponge and dish soap before and after using them to cut an egg. Using vinyl or nitrile gloves is also recommendable and I discourage using latex gloves.

If you won’t be using any gloves, makes sure to wash your hands thoroughly before making contact with the ball python egg.

Cut Size

When cutting ball python eggs, the straight and v-cut are recommended. These cuts must also be no more than 2 inches in the opening.

For baby ball pythons that have not yet come out while others have, it is recommended to gradually open up a large opening to fully check on their condition.

With a larger cut, you can see more clearly if there are any deformities or accidents like an entangled umbilical cord.

Size and shape of ball python egg cut

Ethical Issue in Cutting Ball Python Eggs

Whether it is ethical or not to cut through ball python eggs, we prefer to not take sides. In the community, there is no correct answer to such a debate. The opposition arguments based on natural selection and assisting in hatching are all acceptable standpoints in their own right

If it is based on the theory of natural selection, many believe that cutting eggs is unethical. This means that letting a weak ball python live can cause future generations to have the same traits as well.

For example, if a ball python with no egg tooth survived, it may cause its offspring to have no egg tooth as well. This means generations that may pass may always need assistance from a breeder when getting out of the egg.

On the other side, there are also many people who believe assisting a weak baby ball python is also ethical because they are helping these babies have a chance in living.

Breeders that found egg cutting ethical also believe that in captive breeding, ensuring that an animal survives, whether weak or with deformities, is very important.

Although it is a very debatable topic, in cutting ball python eggs, there is no right or wrong. So in the end, it is your choice on which ideals to follow in regards to this issue.

Further Questions

What to do after cutting a ball python egg?

The best thing to do after cutting a ball python egg is to leave it alone and not disturb it. Disturbing it may cause implications like the baby fleeing or damaging of membranes.

Wait until they have come out of the shell before relocating them from the incubator.

How long do ball pythons carry eggs?

There is no definite answer to this because this will depend on the female ball python itself and not just the surrounding factors.

But based on our and our friend’s experience, female ball pythons will lay their eggs 2-9 months after a successful mating.

How do baby ball pythons get out of their egg?

A baby ball python gets out of the egg through the use of its “egg tooth”. This is a tooth located at the tip of their mouth which allows them to cut through the eggshell.

Though in rare circumstances, there will be some baby ball pythons with no egg tooth. When this occurs, it is recommended to assist them by cutting the eggshell to allow them to come through.

Can I leave eggs with the mother ball python?

It is possible to leave the eggs with the mother ball pythons. This is called maternal incubation or natural incubation and based on research this method produces heavier, and healthier baby ball pythons [2]

Most breeders like to incubate an egg through an incubator because they can have control over the optimal parameters like heat and humidity to have a higher success in hatching an egg.

Summary of Cutting Ball Python Eggs

The main reason why some breeders cut their ball python eggs is to ensure the safety of the babies and to know the morphs at an earlier date.

Incorrect cutting of ball python eggs can come with risks like bacteria, drying out, and causing immature hatching.

Some factors to keep in mind before cutting a ball python egg are incubation date, tools used, and cut size. These will lessen the risk when you cut a ball python egg




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