Welcome to our Black-Headed Python section of the website. It is our hope that you will find this resource helpful in learning about the special world of Blackheads in the wild and in captivity. Additional photos and information can also be seen the June 2006 Reptiles Magazine article titled: “BLACK HEADS! Monarchs From Down Under”. We proudly co-authored this fun article with Matt and Nicci Turner of Selective Origins.We strive to produce strong, high-quality animals from our diversified bloodlines. We are working with several lines of these magnificent serpents with our primary line being the Swiss Line as described below. We feel the provenance (previous ownership) and pedigree (lineage) are an important part of our breeding program. In order to keep our lines straight and to avoid confusion, we have decided to name key animals in our breeding program.
The Swiss Line produces brilliant yellow, high contrast offspring and also produced what may be the first Hypomelanistic Black-Headed Pythons hatched here in the United States.
Our patriarch breeder male, Granger, was hatched out in Zurich, Switzerland by George Merahtzakis in 1993. Granger was one of the original Black-Headed Python imports brought into the United States by Joe Robson of Living Jewels in April of 1994. The Living Jewels Blackhead collection (including Granger) was purchased from Joe Robson’s estate by Casey Lazik in 1997. Granger resided in Casey’s Blackhead breeding program until early 2001 when he was sold to Brandon Weik of Summit Reptiles. According to Brandon (personal communication) this normal, nice looking adult male Blackhead unexpectedly went through an extreme color transformation while in his possession. The black pigmentation on the main part of his body was gradually replaced by pastel hues of red and pink. His high contrast banding virtually vanished. The black area beneath his chin also turned a milky white coloration during this change. This transformation took place rapidly during a series of sheds over a three-month period. When the transformation was complete Granger had turned into a magnificent”Coral Pink Hypo” Blackhead. In early 2002 Granger was sold by Brandon Weik to Joe Lewis at Rare Earth Inc. Granger remained at Rare Earth Inc. as a breeder until being acquired by Split Rock Reptiles in 2004. The first two photos of Granger (shown below) were taken by Paul Edwards while visiting Joe Lewis at his Rare Earth Inc. facility in Virginia many years ago. What an amazing looking Blackhead!
Olivia was captive born at the Rare Earth facility in June of 2000. The Sire and Dam who produced Olivia were purchased as a group (2.2) of baby Blackheads by Rare Earth from Jay Brewer at Prehistoric Pets in July of 1998 as Lazik captive-bred offspring. It is important to note that these Lazik captive bred offspring were produced in 1998 and are probably directly connected to Living Jewels stock Casey had in his possession at the time as he had just purchased the Swiss line stock (including Granger) from Joe Robson’s estate in 1997. We believe that these1998 animals were part of a clutch, which may have been sired by Granger, as he was an active breeder along with another Swiss line male at Casey Lazik Reptiles between 1997 and 2001. Based on the timing and placement of the animals described above, it is very likely that Olivia is the granddaughter or a close blood relation of Granger.
Olivia arrived at Split Rock Reptiles along with Granger and a pair of their 2003 offspring (Annabelle and Winston) in March of 2004. Olivia had been bred to Granger at Rare Earth and was gravid at the time of delivery. Three days after her arrival Olivia laid a beautiful clutch of 10 eggs. Olivia and Granger had been a dedicated breeding pair at Rare Earth during the 2003 and 2004 breeding seasons for good reason! The 2003 clutch (Olivia’s first breeding year) hatched out Annabelle, possibly the first Hypomelanistic Blackhead produced in the United States! Olivia’s 2004 clutch was incubated successfully and 10 beautiful baby Blackheads hatched in May of 2004 including another Hypomelanistic looking female (Clementine). Most of the offspring from this breeding were kept back for incorporation into the Swiss Line breeding program and will be discussed individually later.
Olivia was given the 2005-breeding season off to regain some much-needed weight from two consecutive years of breeding and egg laying. As the 2006 breeding season was approaching Olivia was being conditioned to breed by increasing her rat intake to three rats per week. In late October-early November, she began shedding more frequently, often times turning light blue while she was opaque. At the conclusion of each shed cycle, her pigmentation became lighter and her banding began to vanish as she ultimately went through the same color and pattern transformation that her mate Granger had experienced. This coincidental transformation could be taken as evidence of blood relations between Granger and Olivia. The first photograph below was taken three days after Olivia’s arrival and shows her normal coloration and banding before her transformation. The next seven photographs show her in the mottled stage in the middle of the transformation. The final three photographs show Olivia fully transformed and ovulating during the 2006 breeding season.
Annabelle is the offspring of the first breeding of Granger and Olivia and was hatched at Rare Earth in 2003.
Winston is the sibling brother of Annabelle and was also hatched out at Rare Earth in 2003. Winston has proven himself to be a solid and virile breeder… just like his father Granger.
This prized animal was what we were really hoping for as the eggs began to hatch in May of 2004. All of the babies that hatched out were top quality animals but this one was absolutely stunning. We believe that deep fading of black to tan beneath the chin is may be an indication of Hypomelanism. We have seen this on both Clementine and Chance and several subsequent offspring. Hatching this animal proved there is something in the genetics of the Granger and Olivia pairing and gives us great hope for determining how this gene works and how to reproduce it with measured repeatability.
This male is one phenomenal Blackhead. He possesses a quality we term “electric brilliance” as his ground color is bright, bright yellow. His bright ground color combined with his thin and almost perfect banding, causes him to almost glow! We suspect that he may also be a hypo. Chance was placed in our breeding program in 2007 and has sired some of our very best looking baby Blackheads to date. As of this writing, Chance is progressing through the color transformation window and is beginning to show lots of pastel pink on his sides.
Piper is another example of the high-quality stock produced by the Swiss Line. As a hatchling Piper was just different and stood out from the crowd. Lighter in ground color than the bright yellows that brother Chance possessed, Piper’s ground color was almost a white or light cream color. Piper is another suspected Hypo in the 2004 Swiss Line offspring. Piper still maintains his bright clean high contrast appearance.
Ingrid was held back for future breeding because of her beautiful yellows and red colors and nice wide banding. Holding Ingrid back turned out to be a wise decision as she, like her Mother (Olivia) and Father (Granger) before her, crossed through the color/pattern transformation zone, morphing into one the most awesome Black-Headed Pythons in our collection!
Chelsea is just another example of a very desirable Black-Headed Python.
We purchased an additional breeder female (Matilda) from Rare Earth Inc. in September of 2004. Rare Earth purchased this animal as captive born offspring from Dick Goergan Reptiles in September 1999. This acquisition allowed us to add more genetic diversity to our Black-Headed Python gene pool, giving us the chance to outcross between unrelated lines. As 2005 was going to be Olivia’s year off to regain body mass we used this as an opportunity to breed Granger (Swiss Line) to Matilda (Goergan Line) in 2005.
Isabelle has bright white milky blotches distributed over large areas of her belly. These are “paper white” blotches and are nothing like the clear, clean bellies seen on our previously-hatched Blackheads.
Roscoe is another fine example of a nice looking Black-Headed Python. His good looks were easily inherited from his father (Granger) showing some key Swiss Line traits like orange and red coloration and good clean banding. Roscoe also has a very small amount of milky white blotching on his belly.
We purchased a pair of hatchling Wagner-Hamper animals from New York Reptilia in 2003. These were our very first Blackheads and remain in our colony for increased genetic diversity and outcrossing opportunities. The male Fletcher and the female Cecelia are now both proven breeders.
We are now working with a new line of Axanthic Black-Headed Pythons, which popped out in another U.S breeder’s shop in 2011. This new line resulted from the breeding of two unrelated “normal” looking animals. The resulting clutch consisted of three axanthics and a bunch of normal looking clutch mates. Based on the hatch results it was assumed that both parents carried the recessive axanthic gene making them hets. The normal looking clutch mates are assumed to be possible hets. Fortunately, we were able to acquire a baby Axanthic female and the Dam of the clutch (assumed to be het. Axanthic). We also purchased a group of possible het. siblings (males and females). The maternal origins of this clutch come from Matt Turner’s Japan “Red Line”. The paternal origins come from crossing the Goergan and VPI (Barker) bloodlines. Future breedings within this group should determine that the Axanthic trait within this small group is indeed a truly recessive genetic trait. We are excited to prove this out and look forward to breeding this line of animals in the future.