Aglyphic: snakes that do not have fangs for venom delivery.

Allele: one of two or more possible different forms of a particular gene.

Amelanistic: lacking melanin or black pigment

Anal plate: a modified ventral scale that covers covers and protects the vent (see vent). May be one scale in snakes possessing a single anal plate or two scales side by side in those snakes possessing a divided anal plate. The feature is useful in identifying snakes.

Anerythristic: lacking red pigment.

Arboreal: living in the trees. An animal that spends most of its time off the ground in the limbs of trees. (Royals do not but you still hear the term)

Assist feed: to start a food item into a reptile's mouth and then allow the animal to finish eating on its own.

Axanthic: lacking yellow pigment



Bask: to lie in a warm area, as under a heat lamp or in the sun, in order to absorb heat.

Binomial: a scientific name comprised of two parts, genus and species

Biology: the study of life and all life forms.

Blue: Opaque: used to describe the part of a snake's shed cycle when its eyecaps are "cloudy".

Boid: snakes belonging to the family Boidae. It includes all of the boas and pythons.

Brumate: to place an animal in Brumation.

Brumation: "cooling" a herp by lowering its temperature for usually 2 to 4 months to approximate conditions during the winter period. This is not the true hibernation of mammals. Brumation triggers the physical changes that stimulate egg production in females, sperm production in propagation.

Burrow: to dig underground for shelter or for the purpose of concealment or hunting for food. The tunnel created by a burrowing animal.



Cannibal, Cannibalistic: an animal that feeds on others of its own kind. In royals is rare but is known

Caudal: referring to the tail.

CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna. Entered into force in 1975, CITES is an international agreement designed to control the international trade in protected species of plants and animals. Participation of individual countries is voluntary.

Class: a taxonomic category for a group of related animals or plants that share common characteristics. This category is between phylum and order.

Cloaca: the common terminal chamber for the intestinal and urogenital systems. Urinary and intestinal wastes collect here before passing out of the body. Eggs pass out of the oviduct through the cloaca when being laid. The cloaca terminates at an opening named the vent.

Clutch: a group of eggs laid by a reptile or bird.

Codominant: a mutant gene that changes the phenotype from normal when at least one mutant gene is present. The phenotype of a heterozygous individual is NOT the same as that of a homozygous individual. (See also dominant, recessive)

Colubrid: a snake belonging to the family Colubridae. The common snakes, including King Snakes, Rat Snakes, Garter Snakes, Indigo Snakes, etc. The vast majority of these snakes are harmless to humans, but there also exists a subfamily of Colubrid snakes, the Boigid snakes, which are rear-fanged and venomous. The venom ranges in toxicity level from mild to extremely toxic. A gland called the Duvernoy's Gland produces the venom of these snakes. (Kept this as it shows other yypes other than boide)

Cool: brumate. To "cool" an animal is to place it in Brumation.


Dimorphism: having two forms. Sexual dimorphism means that the females and males are different in appearance. Dimorphism is a special case of polymorphism, in which a species has more than one form.

Disecdysis: some or all of the old skin did not shed off as it should have.

Diurnal: active during the day.

Dominant: a mutant gene that changes the phenotype from normal when at least one mutant gene is present. The phenotype of a heterozygous individual is the same as that of a homozygous individual.

Dorsal: referring to the top surface of the back.

Double clutch: to induce a snake to lay eggs twice in one season.

Double heterozygous (Double het): being heterozygous for two independent mutant genes, such as albino and anerythristic.

Drop: to lay eggs.



Ecdysis: shedding of the skin.

Ectoparasite: parasites that affect an animal externally by attaching themselves to the skin and sucking blood from the host animal. Mites and ticks are ectoparasites in reptiles. (See Endoparasite)

Ectotherm: an animal that cannot regulate its body temperature by an internal mechanism. Reptiles and amphibians are ectotherms. A "cold:blooded" animal. Ectotherms regulate their body temperature by utilizing warm and cool zones in their environment.

Egg:bound: a life:threatening condition that prevents a female reptile from laying her eggs. It is usually caused by one or more (usually infertile) eggs adhering to the lining of the oviduct.

Endangered Species: an animal that is considered in danger of extinction. An animal that appears on Appendix I of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Endemic species: a species native to a particular region.

Endoparasite: parasites of the circulatory, digestive or pulmonary systems of reptiles. These include a variety of round worms, tapeworms, flukes, and protozoans. (See Ectoparasite)

Estivation: the lowering of metabolic rate during hot periods or droughts.



Family: a taxonomic category of related species between order and genus.

Filial: generations of progeny in a genetic breeding project. Unrelated animals in the parental (P) generation are mated to produce the first filial (F1) generation. Two F1 individuals are mated (brother x sister) to produce the second filial (F2) generation.

Force feed: to feed an animal by force. To use some mechanical means to deliver food to an animal's stomach.

Fossorial: burrowing. An animal that spends most of it's time in underground burrows or burrowing.

Fuzzy: a young mouse 7:12 days old. It has begun growing fur but has not opened its eyes.



Genotype: the genetic code that produces a phenotype. The genes passed to subsequent generations.

Genus (pl. Genera): a taxonomic category for a group of related animals between family and species. A sub:division of a family.

Gestation period: The period of egg development while the egg is still inside the female, before laying. 

Glottis: the moveable stiff "tube" in the bottom of a snake's mouth, which facilitates breathing while the snake is swallowing a prey animal.

Gravid: a term used to describe a female reptile which is carrying eggs or young (see gestation).



Hemipenis (Multiple is Hemipenes): the organ used by a male snake or lizard to deposit sperm inside the female's body during mating. Royals have two hemipenes located in the base of the tail, but only one is used at a time.

Herpetologist: A person who studies reptiles and amphibians. There is no specific degree in Herpetology in the United States, so a Herpetologist will usually have a degree in Biology and Zoology, with graduate work in the discipline of Herpetology.

Het: see Heterozygous.

Heterozygous (Het): Having two different alleles of a particular gene in a gene pair. The two alleles may be different mutants or a wild type allele paired with a recessive mutant or a dominant mutant or a codominant mutant. For instance, a crossbreeding between an albino ball python and a normal ball python will produce offspring that have a normal gene paired with an albino (recessive) gene. These babies are heterozygous for albino. (See also homozygous, dominant, codominant, recessive.)

Herbivorous, Herbivore: an animal that eats vegetation or plant matter.

Hide (Hiding box): reptile cage furnishing which provides a secure place for the animal to hide. 

Homozygous: having two identical alleles for a particular gene in a gene pair (both genes are the same). 

Hopper: a juvenile mouse 12:19 days old, after the eyes have opened but before weaning. Named because of their tendency to hop or jump.

Husbandry: the different aspects and techniques of caring for an animal.

Hybrid: to herpers, the progeny from a breeding between two species of the same genus or between two genera. It may also refer to the result of a man made breeding between two subspecies or two inbred lines.

Impaction: a condition where a looped intestine or a plug of some foreign matter makes the animal unable to pass waste material through the intestine to the outside. Often a fatal condition. It is especially common in smaller animals that are kept on a substrate of sand or other small particulate matter, and caused by accidental ingestion of the substrate.

Incubate: to maintain eggs in conditions favorable to development and hatching.

Incubator: a device used to incubate eggs.

Inclusion Body Disease: A normally fatal and highly contagious disease seen primarily in Boas and Pythons in which symptoms include neurological impairment, "star:gazing", respiratory disease, and regurgitation. The disease gets it's name because of Cytoplasmic Inclusion Bodies seen in certain tissues of infected animals upon microscopic examination. Inclusion Body Disease is thought to be caused by a retrovirus. Also known as IBD.

Infralabial: the scales on the lower lip.

Intergrade: 1. An animal that comes from an area where the ranges of two subspecies meet and that shows some characteristics of both subspecies. 2. A baby from a man:made mating of snakes belonging to two different subspecies. It would be desirable to use a term such as "subspecies cross" for the man:made mating to separate the two definitions.



Jacobson's Organ: the olfactory organ in the roof of a snake or lizard's mouth in which it inserts the tips of its tongue after sampling its surroundings. This organ is responsible for the senses of taste and smell.

Juvenile: a young animal, not yet sexually mature.

Labial: pertaining to the lips. Labial scales: the lip scales of reptiles.

Labial pits: Heat:sensitive pits present on the lips of Boas and Pythons.

Lateral: on the side, as in the stripe along the side of a Garter Snake is called a Lateral Stripe.

Locale: refers to the specific area from which a captive animal lineage originated. F



Melanistic: having an excess of melanin or black pigment.

Mental Groove: the groove in the skin along the midline of the lower jaw. It allows great expansion of the lower jaw during feeding.

Morph: usually refers to the different colorations and patterns produced by one mutation or a combination of mutations in a particular species. Snow Corns are one morph of Corn Snakes, and Motley Sunglow is another.

Mouth rot: see Stomatitis.

Neonate: a newly hatched or newborn animal.

Nocturnal: active at night.



Ocular: referring to the eye. Ocular scales are those contacting the eye. T

Opportunistic: to take advantage of the situation or opportunity at hand. An opportunistic feeder is an animal that eats whatever is available.

Oviparous: egg laying



Parthenogenesis: reproduction by a female animal that has never been in contact with a male of her own species. Asexual reproduction in female animals of a sexually reproducing species. Sometimes occurs in certain reptile species. (Never been seen in Royals)

Phenotype: the visible characteristics of an animal. The things about an animal which can be observed, such as outward appearance, physical characteristics, behavior, etc., which are caused by genes which can be passed on to subsequent generations. See genotype.

Pinkie: a baby rat or mouse in the first seven days of life before it begins to grow fur.

Pip: The act, by a baby reptile or bird, of cutting it's way out of the egg using a special egg tooth or caruncle.

Pit: A heat sensitive organ in Crotalid snakes and some Boids. In pit vipers (crotalids) it is located between the nostril and the eye. In boids there are several located on the lips.

Pop: to sex a snake by everting the hemipenes. Usually done on neonate snakes.

Postocular: the scales just behind the eye.

Preocular: the scales just forward of the eye.

Prey: an animal that is captured and eaten for food. To capture and eat an animal.

Probe: the tool used for sexing snakes, or the act of using a probe to sex a snake

Protected species: a species that is protected by law and cannot be legally captured or molested without a specific permit to do so.



Range: the geographic area in which a particular species is known to occur naturally.

Recessive : a mutant gene that changes the phenotype from normal only when two identical mutant genes are present. When a recessive mutant gene is paired with a normal gene, the animal looks normal.

Regurgitate: vomit. In reptiles, to bring partially digested food items back up from the stomach and out of the mouth. Usually caused by some irritation of the stomach by parasites or bacterial or viral infections, or by temperatures that are too high or too low.

Reptilia: the taxonomic class of vertebrates that includes snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises and crocodilians. The reptiles.

Retained eyecap: a condition in which a snake fails to shed the transparent skin structure that covers each eye along with the rest of his skin. .

Rostral: referring to the tip of the snout. The scale on the end of a snake's snout is the rostral scute.



Shed: a skin that has been shed by a reptile. See also, Ecdysis.

Smooth: a term used to describe a reptile that has smooth scales.

Smooth scale: a scale that has no median ridge. Smooth scales give a reptile a glossy, shiny appearance and a smooth feel.

Species: the taxonomic category that subdivides a genus into groups of a particular kind of animal.

Spur: a small appendage located on either side of the vent in Boas and Pythons. Vestigial hindlimbs. It is more pronounced in males.

Stomatitis: an infection of the lining of a reptile's mouth. It is usually caused by bacteria and is characterized by a cheesy discharge from the lesions and unwillingness to feed. Severe cases can cause death.

Stuck shed: see Disecdysis.

Subadult: a juvenile animal that is nearing sexual maturity.

Subcaudal: referring to the underside of the tail.

Subspecies: a taxonomic division of a species into geographic races.

Substrate: material used to cover the bottom of a cage. 

Supralabial: the scales on the upper lip.

Supraocular: the scales just above the eye.



Taxonomy: the systematic naming of animals and plants. The scientific name of a plant or an animal.

Terrestrial: living on the ground. An animal that spends most of it's time on the ground.

Thermal gradient: a gradual change in temperature from one part of a cage to another.

Thermoregulate: moving from a warm area to a cooler one or vice versa to regulate body temperature.

Tongs: A tool for handling venomous snakes. A handle of varying length with a lever at one end that is connected by a cable to jaws at the other end. The jaws are for gripping the snake's body while keeping the animal a safe distance from the handler.

Trinomial: a scientific name comprised of three parts, the genus, species and subspecies. Ex. Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis

Triple heterozygous (Triple het): being heterozygous for three independent mutant genes.

Tube feed: to force:feed an animal or deliver medication by use of a tube and syringe.



Vent: the opening at the end of the cloaca (see Cloaca) where urinary waste, intestinal waste, and eggs leave a herp's body. 

Venter, Ventral: pertaining to the belly of an animal.

Ventral scales: belly scales



Wild type: 1. The most common phenotype in the wild population. 2. The genes required to produce the wild type phenotype. 3. The standard or normal allele for each location in the genome.



Xanthic: yellow or orange in color.



Weaner: A mouse/rat that is 19-25 days old, after it has been weaned off its mother's milk.



Zoology: a branch of Biology concerned with the study of animals.


Commonly used abbreviations

Royal = Royal Python
Ball = Ball Python 
CB = Captive Bread
CF : Captive Farmed
FT, F/T: Frozen/thawed, refers to food animals 
JV: Juvenile 
RI: Respiratory infection 




Some of the modified pictures we have in our home

This is an altered image of Ronnie the pastel changed to greyscale. Their patternation can make wonderful art.


Sexual Notation


This is always used to note the sexes of reptiles of the same species and sub-species.

So, if you have 1 male and 2 female royalls, you would write:

1.2.0 royal pythons

Or, you may drop the unsexed column if it is not needed

1.2 royal pythons

If you have 1 male and 1 female and 6 of undetermined sex, you would write: 1.1.6

If you only have 6 of undetermined sex, you would write: 0.0.6

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