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VRHD FAQs


If you don't see the information you need in the FAQs section below please use the "inquiries" button located in the button cluster at the top left of this page to pose your question(s). The FAQs section will be updated as new relevant topics arise.

Q:

Is the gene responsible for hypomelanism a simple recessive? And what about the genetics of the pattern variation?
A:
The gene responsible for hypomelanism has proven to be a simple recessive. The pattern variations are linked to the hypomelanism gene but we are not certain what conditions lead to the expression of the pattern groups. Consequently, we are unable to predict pattern outcomes at this point. This is likely to change as more collectors/hobbyists come on board to work on the puzzle.



Q:
Will the VRHD hold their colors?
A:
There is little point in mentioning specific examples but, more often than not, color related mutations in many species available today produce very brightly colored juveniles with adults becoming quite a bit more subdued colorwise as they age/grow. The exact opposite occurs with the VRHD. The VRHD are one of the uncommon instances where older, larger animals are spectacularly more colorful than the juveniles. Adult VRHD continue to add subtle nuances to their color scheme that give additional depth to  an animal that is already world-class beautiful. 



Q:
How large do these animals grow to be?
A:
VRHD, like other Pituophis, are large, muscular animals as adults. They tend to be relatively slender as juveniles and subadults. Once they hit about 5 ft. they begin bulking up to become relatively stout adults. Typical large adult length would be 5 to 5.5 ft. Some robust and particularly well fed individuals may eventually approach 7 ft., but that is not the norm, at least under healthy captive conditions. Our largest and oldest deppei is a male measuring about 6 ft.



Q:
What is the deppei temperament like?
A:
As with their coloring and patterning, the temperament of deppei varies quite a bit. Some deppei can be fearful and others quite calm and inquisitive. The are usually never bellicose but will expel air and rattle the tail when they feel threatened. Striking out is kept in reserve for the most dire situations. When grown under good husbandry practices and handled properly, these snakes can be a joy to work with. Our outreach snake for the last 20 years has been a large (6ft) male that actually seems to enjoy human contact.

Durango Mtn. Pines do not appreciate high temperatures. Temporarily warm temperatures for digestion are fine, otherwise they like it on the cool side, ie, human comfortable room temperatures. Kept too warm, these animals grow restless and may panic. They fare best under captive conditions practiced for most other montane colubrid species.



Q:
Can I come and pick up my VRHD in person and see your operation?
A:
Sorry, but due to past legal issues our physical operation is no longer open to the public.



Q:
Are the VRHD some kind of albino or partial albino?
A:
There is often some confusion regarding how the terms albinism and hypomelanism are used.  I find it most serviceable to think of  hypomelanism visual outcomes in terms of melanin layering alterations in the dermis/epidermis, much in the manner of  how "layers" can be altered in Photoshop. The VRHD are not albinos - partial or otherwise.



Q:
Can you tell which VRHD will produce the pattern that I am interested in?
A:
We don't claim to understand the inheritance rules governing VRHD pattern expression at this point in the adventure. It will be interesting to watch as hobbyists decipher VRHD pattern inheritance rules which will undoubtedly happen in the next few years. Thus far we have been merely observers, not orchestrator's, of the profusion of patterns associated with this snake.



Q:
Why are only females available now and why the limit of 2 per buyer per year?
A:
Males will be sold at a date yet to be determined based on this years breeding performance and other factors. We anticipate making males available but have not yet determined the release date. With the limit in place we keep the factory operations at bay for a little while, allowing ordinary folks an opportunity to see a reasonable return on the animals they purchase or at least offset the purchase price. The limits should also slow the pace of the inevitable hybridizations that will take place with other Pituophis (other genre?!)



Q:
Are the VRHDs the product of hybridization with other Pituophis  genre/species?
A:
An easy one. VRHD are pure, unadulterated Pituophis deppei deppei. Our deppei collection has been sealed for many years and is limited to the original Los  Mimbres collecting locality.



Q:
Can I breed a VRHD to another deppei locality and pass along the VRHD gene?
A:
Most likely. This has not been tested, however.



Q:
Can VRHD be bred with other Pituophis  species to create crosses that carry the visual impact of VRHDs?
A:
Again, most likely. Rest assured that this course of action will eventually be tested by reptile breeding entrepreneurs seeking to create beautiful new animals for increased market value. After a certain amount of time has passed, VRHD type hypo Pituophis of several species/subspecies will begin to appear in the hobby. This has indeed been the course many simple recessive gene projects have taken in kingsnakes, rat snakes, pythons etc.



Q:
Will Vivid offer heterozygous VRHD?
A:
Eventually we will produce heterozygous VRHD in order to keep the strain genetically robust but these will not be available in the near future.



Q:
How can I see VRHD that are currently available for sale and what about prices?
A:
VRHDs will be listed on the available page with a link to inquire about current availability and pricing. For absolute, "real time" availability, please use the "inquiry" button for the latest information. Numbers will be extremely limited and available VRHD animals will be sold on a first come, first served basis.



Q:
Will Vivid offer payment plans for the VRHD?
A:
We offer a net 30 day, interest free payment plan. Payment plans will require a minimum 25% deposit to initiate the plan. The deposit is non-refundable except under conditions of non-performance on the part of Vivid Reptiles.



Q:
What kind of future do you foresee for the VRHD?
A:
The VRHD should have a strong, robust future. The limitations on the initial sales should assure a steady, stable roll out. The combination of rare and exceptionally beautiful" has always been a strong driver in herp commerce and the VRHD delivers on both of these fundamentals. Another subtle, but vastly important quality of the VRHD is the inherent variability of deppei - the variations and surprises should keep rolling out for years to come. The fact that the VRHD is a locality strain will be important to a subset of collectors that would normally have little to no interest in hypos, albinos, etc. Also, these animals cannot be pushed to grow at accelerated rates even though the juveniles are more than willing eat everything put in their enclosures.



Q:
Does the VRHD genotype/phenotype occur in the wild?
A:
Two or three decades ago I would have confidently answered, "no way" to this question. However, I have seen many strange things in the wild over the years, including spectacular hypos - both in the wild and produced from wild collected animals. Heterozygous hypo deppei could exist as a subset to the main local  population with occasional heterozygous X heterozygous pairings being inevitable. The deeper question here is whether or not the genes associated with hypomelanism could play any kind of role in long term survival of the species under conditions of environmental extremes.



Q:
What is the product of crossing a Summer Phase with a Winter Phase?
A:
This crossing will/has produced offspring of both types with an occasional Pallid phase popping up. Oddly, we are not seeing much by way of intermediates. However, I wouldn't read too much into this as it is still very early days.



Q:
What is the product of crossing a Pallid Phase with a Summer or Winter Phase?
A:
We have done this once, a Pallid  X Summer. The result was a mix of all three phases with more than the usual black filigree on the dorsal blotches. Again - early days, need more numbers to draw any real conclusions.



Q:
What would you recommend in pairing these animals?
A:
The Vivid approach usually involves breeding to maximize diversity as diversity is what makes the magic happen. This is also the approach that exposes traits not seen before. We have taken this approach with many snake genre over the last three and a half decades and it has opened many doors that would probably never have opened with single trait, line breeding. It gets down to personal choice of course and whether or not variation floats your boat. So, mix it up for exploration and discovery or line breed to expand the numbers of traits already in place.

Sooner rather than later, hobbyists should consider out crossing to unrelated or normal bloodlines to maintain the genetic vigor of these animals. A common mistake when simple recessive traits are exploited is to produce animals with the visually marketable target traits while ignoring the future vigor of the strain.



Q:
Are there any visual differences between male and female VRHD?
A:
We hesitate in answering this with much confidence but it appears that VRHD with the most expansive and dramatic white are often males while the brightest yellow VRHD are often females. However, not to beat a dead horse with this, but the numbers aren't there to really qualify this potential trend. A somewhat surprising and interesting aside to this that in our entire history of working with  normal, non-hypomelanistic deppei, we have only produced females with high, bright whites. Whitish normal males tend to have softer toned, off whites or very pale yellows compared with normal high white females. There could very well could be some sampling bias introduced here with juveniles selected for specific breeding purposes.

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