Crested Geckos, Ball Pythons, Carpet Pythons
Carpet Python Collection
Irian Jaya Jaguar - Silver/Blue Project
This is a project that's been here almost a decade now, going back to an old wild collected female Irian Jaya that I purchased from Tom Weidner of Habitat Systems in 2002. This snake looked OLD and dark - and honestly, not attractive - but she had a weird bluish look to her sides. I hadn't seen enough Irian Jayas to know if that was all that unusual, so I initially didn't think much of it. This snake had never bred successfully for Tom, and in my care she laid a clutch of infertile eggs her first season. The following season, I was able to pair her with my original GQ line male. That year I got a good clutch and one of the 12 babies had a distinctly silver ground color and the pattern was almost purple instead of the usual burgundy/red color. This got my attention, but my hopes were quickly dashed when one of the veteran members on a carpet forum told me that it wasn't all that unusual for babies to have an axanthic/anerythristic look to them. That snake eventually grew into a fairly normal looking Irian Jaya (the female named "Silver" just FYI), so to me that was just more proof that the "veteran member" I mentioned above was correct. Looking back now, I don't know if he was telling the truth or what, but it's been seven years and I still have yet to see another line of Irian Jayas produce babies like these.
The following year, 2005, the old female was bred to a Jaguar to make the first ever Irian Jaya Jaguars produced in the United States. In 2006, I decided to repeat the GQ pairing. This time I got four of the "silver" looking babies. At that point, I took some more pictures and I then proceded to sell three of the four "silver" babies at a slightly higher price than the others (like $50 more). Remember - these things didn't seem to look much different as they matured - and my Jaguar pairing the year before hadn't produced any silver babies. They had an interesting story and history, but there wasn't much to really look at.
Since then, the old female IJ has passed away, but I still have a number of breeders produced by her, or by her offspring. Some of these include Bullwinkle (IJ Jaguar - offspring), Tripod (pure IJ - offspring) and of course Silver (pure IJ - offspring).
When Bullwinkle was bred to Tripod in 2007 (both offspring of that original female), I had produced the first 75% Irian Jaya Jaguars in the United States and there was one snake with an almost white ground color and a bright red pattern. She was a clutchmate of SOB (Son Of Bullwinkle - my now famous 75% IJ Jaguar breeder male) and she was so outrageously nice looking that SOB was a distant second place in the clutch. Not once did the thought cross my mind that this snake was a "silver" one. However, as she grew, I noticed her color was not developing like SOB or any of her other siblings that I was holding onto. Still, this "silver" business was the last thing I was concerned with in a smoking clutch of 75% IJ Jaguars, so I still hadn't started connecting the dots in my head. In fact, it wasn't until sometime in 2010 when she had reached maturity that I noticed a distinct bluish color to her pattern. The lightbulb finally came on!
As luck would have it, I kept that one "silver" male hatchling (2006 - Male 5) Irian Jaya that I produced here in the 2006 clutch. That snake was raised slowly, and at one point, I had even offered him to a friend so that he could work the project. That's how serious I took this - I was literally trying to pawn the male off on a friend!
At this point, I don't know if there's a genetic mutation involved or if it's just a strong polygenic phenotype (something that could be selectively bred, in other words). Whatever it is, it has popped up in this lineage time and time again over the past decade. At this point, it's more of a curiosity than anything - what will happen if we breed two of these snakes together? Is it a dominant or co-dominant mutation with a more impressive super, or is it something we can exagerrate through selective breeding? This year's clutch should give us at least a better idea.
This is the old wild caught female in which this appearance originated. Irian Jayas change from light to dark throughout the day, and also when they become gravid. In this photo, you can't see any of the "blue" that I (and others) had noticed on her. Again - this snake was not exactly pretty and even hints of "blue" (when she was lightened up) were not impressive enough for me to think anything of it - even after I hatched a silver baby from her in 2004. Doh!
2004 Clutch - This is "Silver" and one of her clutch mates in the 2004 clutch. The difference was enough that all I had to see was their heads poking out of the egg. Obviously I was excited to show everyone.
2004 Clutch - Silver and one of her normally pigmented clutch mates.
2004 Clutch - This is Silver at around a year of age. At this point, she is no longer silver, and really doesn't look all that different, albeit a bit less yellow than the others. These snakes go through a phase where I don't know how you would even differentiate them. Even as an adult, she looks very similar to this and even displays a good amount of orange (thanks to those GQ line genes). Is there something that can be done with this look? At this point I'm nearly a decade into this line - and I just so happened to have a great pair of snakes to find out with - so I can't NOT try to find out!
2006 Clutch - Female 4 - This is one of four "silver" babies produced in that clutch.
2006 Clutch - Female 5 - This is one of four "silver" babies produced in that clutch.
2006 Clutch - Male 5 - This is the male I kept back for a rainy day. He's one of the four "silver" babies produced in the 2006 clutch.
2006 Clutch - Female 3 pictured with a normally pigmented clutch mate. This is one of the four "silver" babies produced in that clutch.
2007 Clutch - Bullwinkle x Tripod - Female 1
Who would've thought this was the Jaguar version of those "silver" hatchling Irian Jayas?
2007 Clutch - Bullwinkle x Tripod - Female 1
This is her at six months or so. This is when most snakes start gaining yellow - it seems like she went the other way from about this point on. The typical orange "saddles" (pattern on the sides) is very light/bright compared to what we normally see. Like I said before - who would've thought this was the Jaguar version of those "silver" hatchling Irian Jayas?
2011 - This is 2006 clutch Male 5 (Irian Jaya) and 2007 clutch Female 1 (75% IJ Jaguar).
As you can see, the male actually kept his weird color better than Silver did. I've not seen (or heard anything about) the other three I sold. He has feint traces of orange in the pattern, but the lack of orange is very peculiar to me considering he is getting half his DNA from my GQ line (known for having more orange than any other Irian Jaya lineage out there).
If you look closely, this female Jaguar still has red along her dorsal pattern. This part pretty much rules out the possibility of them being an anerythristic type of animal.