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Current Projects

I am currently working with the the captive reproduction of the following species:

These projects which I am involved with are aside from the casual breeding I enjoy. They have a further purpose than to only reproduce a given species. It has long been my interest to further understand many of the species we keep. I hope to look into and explore new areas of husbandry and breeding, and possibly contribute some new knowledge back to the herp community.
Some of my theories are somewhat unorthodox, but I have a genuine desire to better understand these fascinating animals. For all the thousands of people just coming into the hobby, there is a terrible lacking for individuals who are willing to explore new territory. The vast majority are reluctant to leave the mold of conformity, and instead prefer to follow the accepted formula for captive breeding.
I hope to see a return to the old desire to learn and the genuine curiosity about these creatures that in recent years has become overshadowed by the more common goal of reproducing for money.

Alternative Incubation Techniques for Colubrids

This is an extension of a study I performed a few years ago involving the determination of the optimal temperature range for incubation and its effects on hatchling vitality.
I want to explore means of artificial incubation beyond the standard damp vermiculite or perlite methods, with particular emphasis on media free incubation.
I hope to determine whether an environment of 100% humidity is sufficent to successfully hatch eggs without their being in contact with any damp media. Too much moisture in the incubation media is a common cause of egg death during incubation. It can be difficult to recognize when an egg is taking up too much moisture, especially for those less exerienced with the process. Excessive moisture absorption creates increased internal pressure in the egg which can result in the death of the embryo.
If incubation can be accomplished reliably in an environment of 100% humidity without the use of a damp media, then this problem can be avoided.

Fresh killed versus thawed prey, a growth rate comparison in snakes

I have long wondered if there was actually any difference in the use of live or fresh killed prey as opposed to the use of thawed rodents as a main diet of snakes.
There are two main schools of thought in this area. First the idea that rodents lose some nutritional value from freezing and therefore fresh prey is better. The other side of the coin suggests that due to factors such as cell rupture during freezing, thawed prey is more effeciently digested and for that reason it is a better choice.
Perhaps both are true and the effects cancel each other out. The main factor which would be much harder to explore would be the effects on the nutritional quality of rodents from the amount of time they are frozen. I'm still working out the details of the controls of this project to ensure the length of time frozen doesn't alter the results but still allow for adequate time frozen for any potential nutritional degredation to occur. In other words I will require a minimum time frozen, but also a maximum time length so that the project can replicate a normal care regimen as closely as possible.

Clay Davenport
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