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Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:56 pm
by Scincoides
Hey guys, I have a few questions that I'd love some help with. This is our first time breeding northerns in a few years and its not as easy as I remembered. We tried last year but realized very quickly that our "male" was actually a female. So after getting our hands on a nice high orange male at the end of last season, I'd like to try again. All the animals were wintered correctly and are being introduced nightly. We switched the male to newspaper bedding to prevent any damage to his hemipenes during breeding, and are adding the girls to his enclosure for 5-10 minutes a night. He shows a ton of interest, chases them around and bites them, but never completes the act. He seems to get spooked anytime one of the females makes any fast movement and backs off. Four of our females seem very receptive and wag their tales immediately upon entering the tank. So my questions are: WHY?!IS THERE SOMETHING THAT MY HUSBAND AND I ARE DOING WRONG?! And, is there a certain time of day that would be best to introduce them? Thank you all in advance for your help. -DD

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:23 pm
by Jeff
In my experience there are two reasons for what you describe. 1. The male isn't quite to the peak of his breeding window yet, and will do fine eventually if you keep pairing him, or 2. the male is just not a great breeder. I have had many cases of both. All you can really do is keep trying.

I have always had the best luck breeding in the morning probably 2-5 hours after the heat & lights come on for the day. I know others that have better luck in the late afternoon though, so it is a case by case thing.

I would appreciate it if you would keep us informed about how this goes for you, and welcome to the forum!

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:58 pm
by Scincoides
Thanks a lot. I'll try morning pairings for the next week. I'm really hoping it works. He seems to be getting a little better each time. If he turns out to just be a bad breeder, I'll guess I'll have to buy a few babies to raise up.

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:59 pm
by Fatal_S
It could also just be an off year for the male, or the females might not be as receptive as you assume. My caramel male was terrified of the girls last year, this year he's a stud. He might just be more experienced now (last year was his first time meeting the girls) or the girls were simply more willing (they definitely were, at least the first couple go's).

I'll add that I don't think tail-wiggle necessarily means "take me now". I personally think it's more of a defensive thing really - attract a possible predator to the non-vital area. I say this because I have males do the wiggle sometimes, or females who wiggle but won't let the male near them, and the babies often wiggle the tails if they see other skinks. I've never seen it used as a seductive technique (but bear in mind I don't have that many years of breeding under my belt ).

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:07 pm
by Scincoides
I'm hoping that its just an experience issue. The male is five and his first time seeing a female was late last season. My husband is sure that our male just has no clue what he's doing. He said "the drive to reproduce is instinctual, but maybe the act itself takes practice to perfect." Like I said, he seems to be getting better at it. We have another male now, a white northern that we picked up from Jordan Russell, maybe I'll let him have a try if Ol Rex doesn't work out. He's substantially smaller though, and only two years old. I tried to upload a photo of Rex, but it won't work for some reason. He's a massive skink. Probably 26 inches or longer. I figured that he'd be able to get the job done. I guess size isn't everything.

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:01 pm
by Scincoides
Awesome. I don't know why it didn't work for me. Thank you

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:03 pm
by Katrina
Valley Reptiles wrote:Awesome. I don't know why it didn't work for me. Thank you


I've split the picture into a different thread so this one can remain about breeding.

New topic is here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=22883 :)

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:03 pm
by Jeff
Just saw you are in AZ too! No prob if he isn't 26", but would love to see how long he is. Can you take a picture with him next to a tape measure?

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:22 pm
by Scincoides
Absolutely, he is huge. The pic will have to wait till tomorrow evening though. We just had a new baby (human baby lol) three weeks ago and he is currently asleep.on my chest. I'll have my husband dig him out when he gets off work tomorrow. Although I'm going to feel like an idiot if we measure him and I was off on size :)

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:31 pm
by Jeff
No rush, and no judgement if your estimate is off! :P I just want to be sure to know about it if there truly is a 26" northern out there. People make outlandish claims of 30" northerns from time to time, but no one has ever been able to show proof of such a claim. I would love for there to be giant bts out there. I just want to see them!

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:52 pm
by Scincoides
:oops: just asked my husband if he has ever measured Rex... I guess he measured him last month.... 21 3/4... turns out I'm REALLY bad guessing size

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:55 pm
by Jeff
LOL! Don't feel bad. Lots of people do the same thing! I hate to question claims of giant skinks, but I want to make sure to verify lengths before assuming they are accurate.

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:51 pm
by critterguy
I think timing and individuality is everything. This year I loaned my male to a good friend of mine(we had done this last year, but with no resulting babies-maybe timing was off). I had no luck with him and a female of my own, but during the week he was at the friends place my male bred 4 times(including 2x in 1 day with the same female). By the time I got him back he was again mainly interested in just grabbing the females and not finishing the job.

It could also be pair compatibility. A smaller female we've tried to pair him with he just doesn't like very much, and she doesn't like him either. They did breed last year, but she definitely had the hots for the other(larger) female. This year she would just grab him and toss him away and then he would ignore her.

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:44 pm
by Scotts1au
Some males take several years to learn the trade, I assume this is the same for all species and variants. Some are just duds and never show any inclination. Some are just happy to get a pony ride around the enclosure aaargh. Very frustrating when it is a male that you've grown up from a baby and kept for its colours/pattern etc then poops out. Actually with males I find these are often the more timid ones as well. Sooo many jokes that could be made.....

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:18 pm
by Spindown
I only had luck when I started pairing them in the evening, about 4-5 pm. I originally tried mornings but they just fell asleep at each other LOL

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:05 pm
by Scincoides
Update: Still no luck. He has had six different females rotated through his enclosure and still nothing. I've tried morning, noon, and night pairings. Nothing. He chases, bites, then doesn't finish up. I am so frustrated right now. I just sat next to the enclosure for half an hour and watched him literally run away from one of the females. I've never had any issues with Northern breeding. For some reason this group just isn't getting it done. Does anyone know any foods that may help kick start his sex drive? I know that bee pollen works really well to get our Rhacodactylus going. Thanks for all the responses

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:17 pm
by Richard.C
hmmm,something worth trying,jeff put me on to it when i first tried mating northerns,my male used to chase,hold on,and generally rough them up,shake them ,swing them around,ect,he would let go alot then try again,jeff suggested giving him more time and sure enough,after ten minutes of stuffing around he got his boogie on so to speak,i used to seperate the females from him because he was quite rough,i havnt seen other species do this

last season sometimes he showed lack lustre interest,would prefer to go and bask and the female had to egg him on before he woke up and got into it,which was different again,as most times hea ready to grab as soon as a female touches the deck,one he actually grabbed out of my hand,mine i keep day warmth year round and year round zero night heat,so in winter it gets very cold over night and back ground temps are quite low even during the day with a basking spot,mine start mating in the middle of winter,july usually,but it depends on room temps as year before it was august

do u do full cool down or like python breeders do

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:57 am
by critterguy
I've found that leaving the male with the female longer sometimes results in him loosing interest after the initial attempts.

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:54 pm
by Scincoides
I do a full shut down. For 10-12 weeks. And I've noticed that after ten minutes or so the male gives up on the female and usually tried to take a nap.

Re: Breeding Northerns

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:28 pm
by Fatal_S
One of my males takes a good 30 minutes to calm down and get in the mood. As long as they're not hurting each other, and I have time to watch, I try to leave them together as long as I can. Note though, mine's an extremely shy male, which is possibly why it takes him so long. Most of my other males are quick to try, but take a while to get it right. Or they get tired after a bit, take a break, then try again.