Diamond Python

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by lucyl, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    I still love locality animals as much as ever, my favourite lines of what I work with today are still locality, but it's just not where the overwhelming majority of the hobby is now. It's morphs. That's just the reality. I find it difficult to imagine it being possible to have a reasonable number of friends in the herp scene without any of them owning a single morph, but if you're in that situation it's very cool and you're probably the only one. Your herp friends, if they have a reasonable number of other herp friends, will know someone with morphs.

    I vividly remember a time when I had never seen a snake morph in the flesh. I remember the first morph that we'd recognise as a morph hitting the Australian hobby (albino Olives, first up for sale in 2002). I naively felt extremely resistant to the idea and had absurd hopes that unlike the Americans and Europeans, Australians would not embrace morphs! Haha! How ridiculously wrong I was. Amusingly, I wasn't alone, and it was about 5 more years before there was a critical mass of acceptance of morphs in Australia. I staunchly held hope until it was pointed out to me that the herp scene was clearly developing into a pet hobby rather than herpetology which it previously had been, and morphs would get the majority of keepers (a rapidly growing number) interested in working with captive lines rather than going out flipping rocks and wrecking habitat, etc. It was a good thing I changed my mind when I did because it wasn't much later that I fluked the first albinos of a new species of snake and was the fourth Australian to establish an albino snake in the hobby.

    I sort of miss working with the Elchos. The thing about pure lines like that though, as with several other lines I decided to part with, was that there wasn't really anywhere to go with them. Elchos were notorious for being difficult to get feeding, but after a couple of generations of selecting the best feeders I had them producing clutches which mostly fed well. But, then, there wasn't really any room for progress. Great snakes, I loved them, but... what could I do? They weren't particularly popular at the time (and as soon as anyone bothers to breed a couple of clutches the market will be saturated again) and I couldn't develop them in any direction. I am not a fan of just having animals sitting around idle doing nothing, so a few years ago I sold the last of them, and while I enjoy seeing them in other collections I have no interest in keeping them again. That same outcome is fairly inevitable with most locality lines, and really, a lack of progress (or change of any sort) is the only goal which makes sense for them (personally, for reasons which aren't rational and are only sentimental, I still like to make pretty snakes from locality lines. It's silly, but hobbies don't need to make sense, right? Haha!).

    Most of the time you won't be able to get the exact locality data. Like, even with Elcho Island (which is a fairly large island and might even have variation within it), I guarantee you won't get an exact locality for captive animals. Where on Elcho Island were they collected? New Guinea is an island and Chondros on it have been split into quite a number of taxa, with plenty of regional variation. Tasmania is an Island and the tigers there vary a lot. Heck, even looking at the topic of this thread, Diamonds, they vary significantly in different localitions in the Sydney region alone, so what's a locality?

    Don't get me wrong, I really admire people with a love for locality animals and I share it. It's just that the reality is that the number and proportion of herpers who care about it is dropping, and that's not going to change.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jun 12, 2020 ---
    Wild snakes will still exist in the wild, in greater numbers and diversity than in captivity. If you want to add to diversity, morphs are the way to do it! Wildtypes will always exist in the wild, morphs (for the most part) will only exist in captivity. Bright colourful snakes bring many benefits to the hobby. 8 year old boys like the ones you and I were will still exist, running around playing with snakes, falling in love with nature, etc.

    Like it or not, morphs and hybrids are part of the future, and a bigger part of the future of captive herps than natural forms will be, especially with the most popular snakes. In fact, the morphs are what makes the most popular snakes popular. If the world's most popular snake (Ball Python, which for the record I absolutely loathe) only had one colour and pattern type, virtually no one would be keeping them. Same deal with the world's #2 snake. If Carpet Pythons all looked like Olive Pythons and Olives came in a range of colours and patterns, the numbers of Olives and Carpets being kept would be reversed.

    Don't hold your breath waiting for people to stop liking bright, shiny and new things! Basic human nature will not change. Hobbyists who like wildtypes won't entirely disappear for as long as I'm alive, even if I'm the last one, but we will never again be the majority.
     
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  2. nick_75

    nick_75 Active Member

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    That was my post, the current situation has curtailed the possibility of that happening now. The QLD border is still closed so I can't do the road trip to pick them up. Freight is not an option because he lives in far western Sydney, doesn't drive or own a car. The animals haven't been paired, this year is a bust. We'll try again next year.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jun 13, 2020, Original Post Date: Jun 13, 2020 ---
    They are all much older than me, they were in their 40's when I was getting started in the early - mid nineties. I bought both of my first snakes (both macs) from one of them. They don't use the internet much and just interact with each other. I do know one person that had a morph (albino darwin) for a few years, but he eventually sold it on.

    Was there no thought of accentuating the darker appearance of the Elchos, say like the breeders that produced the 'Ebony' mac line? I have no idea if both are examples of increased melanin in those populations.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jun 13, 2020 ---
    Yes, I became aware of that change first in the mid 2000s when someone I knew decided to get a licence and keep a snake. They applied online and got it in days. When I applied in nineties I was first directed to the QLD Herp Society. I spent time with various members who made sure that I was competent before I bought my first animal.
     
  3. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    I guess you won't let me be your friend then, because then you'd have a friend with morphs! ;)

    For all the talk, Elchos aren't really that dark. At the time I first got my Elchos, the friend who gave them to me was working on a line of locality pure Katherine Children's which was almost the same in appearance. I actually used his line to outcross to an unusual Katherine Children's Python I had (mine was lighter) which I worked on for about 20 years, and I suppose I actually still work on that line because we used it to outcross some of the morphs we work on now, including some of the marbles an T+, although I haven't kept any pure animals from that Katherine line, which was the first locality line I ever started working with. Anyway, not being the darkest Children's around (despite what some people say), they didn't seem a good candidate for that line breeding project, especially considering the fact that without the ability to introduce new blood (unless someone goes back to Elcho Island for some more animals), you're going to quickly hit a selection wall and be unable to make further progress. I actually was interested to see how patternless I could get my own Elcho line, I had one which was as good as any patternless Elcho I've ever seen (I remember posting pictures on this forum of her laying eggs, maybe 15 years ago), but when I got some true patternless it just seemed pointless as I would never get them anywhere near as good as the true patternless, and I was taking them further away from their natural appearance... so... what was I doing? That eventually inspired me to sell them. I think I sold my last trio about 3 years ago.

    Haha, when I was a teenager, 15 or 16 years old, I was given a license to keep elapids without doing anything other than filling out the form and posting in a money order. I'd never even used the internet at the time and nothing to do with the department was online. No parental permission, courses didn't even exist back then, it was great! We didn't have more bites then than now, and I think courses actually make people more likely to be bitten, by giving people false senses of security and ability.

    I have a friend with a pair of Elchos, (he actually got them from someone who originally got his Elchos from me, and I'm pretty sure the ones I sold him were from that female I mentioned above, though I'm not sure how many generations went by in that intermediate person's care). I'll contact him now and see if he's interested in pairing them up.
     
  4. nick_75

    nick_75 Active Member

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    I'm not that against morphs, I didn't disown my friend that got the albino darwin. It was a very nice looking animal, I just prefer the wild types. My interest in the wild types comes from the wonder of seeing the natural adaptation of an organism over time to best suit survival in an environment. And yes, line breeding to enhance the desired characteristics is the same process (vastly compressed) but is not the result of of natural change for survival.

    If you take the definition of what a morph is, all locality animals that differ from the main population are morphs. I guess that my interest in Elchos means that I am into morphs after all. As a distinction I'll say that I'm into natural morphs. Right, who's got an albino darwin for sale (no pms please).

    That would be much appreciated.
     
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  5. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    I was just joking, you said none of your friends have any morphs (other than people who only have 2-5 snakes I can scarcely think of anyone who keeps snakes without having morphs).

    As I was reading this, I thought 'why suggest making Elchos darker if the appeal is seeing them as nature intended?'. You literally suggested creating a line bred morph, deviating from nature. I had similar thoughts 15-20 years ago. I wanted pure locality animals, but I still wanted the best looking ones, the brightest colour, boldest pattern, etc, and yet I balked at albinos. At some point I realised it made no sense other than sentimentality, and that's not something you can legitimately expect anyone else to care about.

    No worries. No promises, I can't be sure what he'll do, but keep in mind that if he does it, he'll be your friend and so will I and we both have morphs!!! ;)
     
  6. kernel_pan1c

    kernel_pan1c New Member

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    Turns out, if you ever make the mistake of expressing any interest in wild types you are forbidden from ever appreciating a morph... :) Did I miss something? Are these somehow two mutually exclusive areas of interest? It feels as though expressing an interest, or god forbid a preference, for wild types is much the same as just coming out and saying "yeah, I admit it, I'm a sentimental, ignorant, moron"
     
  7. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    A little melodramatic there! Haha!

    Yes, you did miss something. No one said that having an interest in wildtypes is mutually exclusive with appreciating morphs, I'm a great example of someone who loves both, but maintaining nature and changing nature are mutually exclusive in the same thing. You can do both simultaneously, but only if they're done separately. I'm not against either and I love both, although I probably wouldn't bother preserving something in its natural form, I'd at least want the best feeder, the best character, etc.

    Having a preference for wild types (or indeed morphs, or both) is an emotional thing, but not ignorant or moronic. There's no rational reason for wanting any particular colour or pattern. They won't cure cancer or build you a house or anything useful, we have preferences and perceptions of beauty for our own idiosyncratic reasons. There's nothing objectively right or wrong about having either preference or both or neither.
     
  8. nick_75

    nick_75 Active Member

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    Hi Kate,

    That can be hard to determine with crosses and would have to be monitored and adjusted as necessary. Also the same case with humidity. In this case although both subspecies ranges are close geographically, temperatures are different.
    In captivity Diamonds are kept at lower temperatures than Murray Darlings.

    In some cases where natural intergradation occurs (Coastal carpets and Diamonds for example), you could look at the natural environment for clues. But in this case both subspecies are separated by the Great Dividing Range with no natural intergrades.

    Regards,
    Nick
     

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