Toffee Ball originally
imported by The Urban Python
We thought we’d give a brief update of our toffee project with some updated photos. We obtained a few 100% het toffee females from Craig Stewart at The Urban Python
back in 2008, as well as a 100% het male. All proved to be hardy feeders and model ball pythons, and in 2010 we were lucky enough to hatch out several visible toffee balls from our het females. The results so far have not disappointed. To get the full toffee ball story it’s best to go directly to Craig at The Urban Python
. He imported the original male, pictured at right, into Canada and put the time in to get the project off the ground. There had been some doubt originally as to the heritability of the toffee trait. Another similar animal in the possession of The Snake Keeper
apparently did not prove out, which cast some doubt about the viability of the toffee project initially. Pete Kahl of Peter Kahl Reptiles
, however, was able to prove out his candy ball, which looks very similar to Craig's original toffee. They may or may not be the same animal, but in any event the toffee ball was ultimately proven to be a recessive trait. The following is a quick summary of our experience with the project to date.
Toffee hatchling produced
in 2010 here at HVH
When we hatched our first toffees in late summer of 2010, the hatchlings were almost indistinguishable from albino ball pythons we hatched at approximately the same time, though perhaps somewhat darker in shade. The eye color of the toffees was also virtually identical to that of the hatchling albinos, though again perhaps somewhat darker. If we hadn’t been prepared for this result by others who had already proven the toffee out, we would have likely been left scratching our heads a bit and wondering if there had been some mixup in the hets we acquired from Craig. Others, however, had already blazed that trail and so we knew what to expect well in advance. We didn’t have to wait long for the toffee to start to differentiate itself from the albino hatchlings.
Almost with the first shed, the yellows and whites of the toffee started to darken, with the yellow deepening and the white changing to a deep purple. The eyes also began to darken materially with every shed. We’re not very good with photos, but you can definitely see the difference in eye color in the photo at left. Eight or nine months out of the egg, our toffees continue to change with every shed. While the change is certainly rapid and transformative, we're still anxiously awaiting their development into adulthood. Assuming they do finally settle out like their grandfather, it will be quite a transformation!
Below are some more recent pictures we've taken, but unfortunately the quality is not great and does not quite capture how electric these snakes are in your hand. They do, however, give a decent idea of where they stand in the color transition nine months in. We're very excited about the development of this gene over time. We were fortunate enough to produce male toffees in 2010, which will help us work the toffee gene into several of our other projects - in particular double recessive combinations. Most people we know shy away from investing the time and opportunity cost associated with developing new double recessive combinations, but when it comes to combining the toffee gene with the clown and pied genes, we intend to have infinite patience!
We'll keep everyone updated with new pictures as our toffees continue their transformation. We should produce more toffees in 2011, and this time we plan to take photos of hatchling toffees after each shed for the first two years of life to fully document the transformation. We were a little lazy this time around, shame on us!