How do water snakes multiply

Multiplication and hibernation

Here are some tips on how to breed these animals using the example of the garter and corn snakes. The procedure for both species is similar: the animals reach sexual maturity at around 2-3 years of age and should not be allowed to mate beforehand. Mating the females too early often leads to the fact that the not yet fully grown animals do not develop further, have problems laying eggs (nesting problems in corn snakes) and, in the worst case, even die from weakness. If you want to be on the safe side, you should wait until the animal has reached the age of 4.

In order to trigger mating behavior, hibernation is necessary in most cases. This is used to synchronize the sexes in their mating behavior, since the mating season begins after the break. Usually many snakes refuse to feed or eat poorly at this time and, especially with corn snakes, one can observe that they often roam through the container and are obviously looking for a place for the winter break. In many books it is reported that temperatures of 4-10 ° C are necessary for this. I cannot agree with that, many breeders also take a different approach to winter rest. Such low temperatures are not recommended.
Often successful mating occurs even without hibernation, but the probability of a fertilized clutch is higher if one takes a short rest period. If the animals no longer want to eat, the animals should definitely be given a metabolic break.

The hibernation is prepared as follows: From the beginning of December to mid-December, you should reduce the lighting in your terrariums within a week (from 2pm to 2-3 hours daily) and at the same time reduce the temperatures to 22-24 ° C. The animals should no longer be fed a few weeks before the planned hibernation period, as they will no longer digest during the cool phase and will go into putrefaction in the gastrointestinal tract, which in turn can damage the snake. There is no need to pay any special attention to the excretion of faeces before the hibernation, you just shouldn't feed them shortly beforehand.

When the terrariums have cooled down to 22-24 ° C, the lighting and heating are switched off completely and the container is covered. Ideally, the temperatures should now be lowered to 10-15 ° C, which of course is often problematic in living spaces. I therefore put my animals in separate, small plastic boxes and let them hibernate in the basement. The container should have a high substrate layer, some hiding places, a wetbox with slightly damp substrate (e.g. moss) and fresh drinking water. The animals remain under these conditions for another 5-6 weeks, then you can start again to heat and light the container. This should not happen suddenly, but over a period of 1-2 weeks.

When the old conditions are restored, you can offer the first food that is sometimes spurned. This is nothing to worry about as mating activities are paramount. To increase the likelihood of mating, you should first separate the sexes after the resting phase and wait until the female has molted for the first time. Shortly after their first molt, you can join one or two males and wait to see what happens. If the female is ready to mate, it will have pheromones distributed throughout the pelvis, to which the males respond promptly in most cases. The female is constantly pursued and heavily courted, and many males are no longer interested in food. This advertising phase can last a few days before copulation finally occurs. If the female then shows clear defensive behavior towards the males who are still willing to mate, they should be separated - this behavior is usually a sign that fertilization has taken place.
In the case of garter snakes, the only thing that helps is to wait (70-100 days); you should not scan the animals for fertilized eggs and young animals if you do not want to risk damaging the young. Many female garter snakes continue to eat normally during this time; food is usually refused until a few days before they are thrown. Shortly before the young animals are weaned, the female usually hides in a more warm place in the pool - the animal should not be disturbed during this time!
Since corn snakes lay eggs, there is a lot more to consider: If you are sure that the female is fertilized, you should put in a dark box with moist spaghnum (or other moisture-retaining substrate) shortly after the second moult (after hibernation) Bring the pelvis in a heated area.

The already searching female will often use this opportunity immediately and hide in it.
Sometimes, however, the female leaves the container again without laying eggs in order to look for other suitable places to lay or to sunbathe. I have observed this behavior several times, in some cases it took a few days for the pregnant female to calm down. The eggs are then usually laid within a few days, during which time the snake should not be disturbed under any circumstances. If you do not offer a laying box, you run the risk that in the worst case the dreaded laying trouble occurs, or that the eggs are scattered in the basin or deposited in the water basin. The eggs (usually 10-20 eggs) should be laid 6-14 days after the 2nd moult or 40-50 days after mating. The further incubation should take place at 27-29 ° C on a moist (not wet) substrate, then it takes around 70 days for the first young to hatch. Personally, I keep the temperatures constant, it is not necessary to lower the incubation temperature at night, but it does no harm either.