This project started in 2007 with two WC female and two WC male gopher snakes from near Marathon, Texas. Here is the snake that really started it all.
Wild caught female A
Wild caught 2007 Sonoran Gophersnake from near Marathon, TX. Female A.
This one was found right next to the one above. Both are females and both are young of the year 2007, found on labor day weekend. No doubt these two females are siblings from the same wild clutch.
Wild caught female B
Wild caught 2007 Sonoran Gophersnake from near Marathon, TX. Female B.
After I found those two females it was clear I would be starting a new project, and I would need males. Luckily 2007 was a banner year for gopher snake hatchlings. We found nearly 100 babies that year and I cherry picked two males that I believe were the nicest of the bunch. Here is the first.
Wild caught male A
Wild caught 2007 Sonoran Gophersnake from near Marathon, TX. Male A.
And here is the second. These are the four founders of the Forks' line and the snakes that led to the discovery of the Forks gene, which is an example of an Incompletely Dominant gene.
Wild caught male B
Wild caught 2007 Sonoran Gophersnake from near Marathon, TX. Male B.
It was a long 4 years raising these snakes to maturity, but they grew and got prettier by the day. As adults they were stunning.
Wild caught female A
Wild caught founder Female A photographed 10/12/2015.
Wild caught female B
Wild caught founder Female B photographed 04/23/2015.
The first year I bred them nothing spectacular happened, but the second year one of the F1's looked a lot like one of the founder females. At that time I knew I wasn't dealing with a simple recessive gene.
Male F1 from wild caught
F1 from Wild caught. Male Sonoran Gophersnake hatched September 2011.
I raised this F1, several of his siblings, and several cousins from the other WC pairing. Another long 4 years went by and as the snakes grew they became amazing. This is the same snake as above.
Male F1 from wild caught
Same snake as above on 09/11/2013.
Male F1 from wild caught
Same snake as above on 10/12/2015. Over six feet in length, and weighing in at 4lbs.
While these F1's were growing, I continued to breed the original WC's and produced many nice snakes like this F1 female.
Female F1 from wild caught
F1 female from August of 2014.
This 2014 F1 is the same as the above photo and is growing into some orange color and speckling on the neck. The change these snakes go through is amazing. In this photo she is almost one year of age.
Female F1 from wild caught
Same snake as above on 07/20/2015.
Which brings us to 2015. The F1 holdbacks from my first breedings are adult and ready to go. I would get 7 clutches of eggs and only hoped to produce more like the Original WC and maybe the spectacular 2014 female. Little did I know I was about to discover the super form of the Incompletely Dominant Forks gene. Eight years of hard work and thousands of dollars in rats later the second of seven clutches began to hatch. The first snake out of the egg to my amazement in that second clutch was this one. Oh my!
The world's first Super Forks
The first Super Forks Sonoran Gophersnake ever hatched, 08/01/2015.
Then it got better.
The world's second Super Forks
The second ever Super Forks Sonoran Gophersnake.
And they kept coming.
Partial 1B 2015 clutch
Part of Female 1B's clutch, August 5th, 2015.
Here is one of the very popular high expression animals from this line.
2015 High Expression female
Female 7B-4 now in the collection of Carraig Stanwyck.
These snakes will be amazing as adults.
2015 High Expression male
Male 7B-2 now in the collection of Carraig Stanwyck.
Not only did I have a banner year in production of the Forks gene, but I also identified which animals were the super stars for producing results. The breeders are being super fed and the females are pounding large rats for the size they will need to lay big healthy clutches of eggs next year. I'll re-arrange the parings to (hopefully) optimize the number of super and high expression animals for 2016.
Female 6B
Female 6B. 4lbs 8 oz. on 10/12/2015.
Expression of the Forks' gene
All breedings to date suggest the Forks gene is incompletely dominant.
2015 Male 7B-10
Super Forks from the #7 clutch at not even 2 months of age. Already getting orange, and speckling coming in on the neck.
2015 Male 7B-10
Super Forks from the #7 clutch at 1 year of age. Turning yellow, and more stipling coming in on the neck.
That is the basic history and origin of the Forks Line, and Super Forks Sonoran Gophersnakes. I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring, as we continue to explore the possibilities of the Forks Line Sonoran Gophersnakes.
New blood wild caught female
Wild caught female Sonoran Gophersnake from near marathon, TX. New WC genes to keep the Forks Line robust for years to come.
As an interesting related note, on June 20, 1988, west of Langtry, Texas I ran into and old friend who asked me if I'd seen any Bullsnakes. I told him that as a matter I had seen one and took him about 4 miles away to a Bullsnake tucked in behind a large boulder on the cut. My buddy is a pretty big guy and easily removed the 300lb rock and is rewarded with a spectacular speckled Bullsnake! A virtual carbon copy of a present day high expression Forks gene animal. I ended up catching a female gray-band thirty seconds later, but always regretted not getting that speckled Bullsnake, until labor day weekend 2007 when I found the two sibling females that led to the discovery of this gene. Langtry is 116 miles east of Marathon on US route 90.
2016 Highlights
A few highlights from the 2016 breeding season
The 2017 breeding season was a major success, with several hold backs being produced. Here are a few of the highlights.
In 2017 there were 20 supers produced by me, 48 total since 2015. With 43 Supers hatching in 2018 that brings my total to 91 Super Forks hatched since 2015.