Should geckos with deformities be culled?

Should deformed geckos be culled?

  • No. Under no circumstances should a living creature be killed.

    Votes: 24 8.7%
  • Yes, but only if they cannot survive on their own.

    Votes: 208 75.6%
  • Yes, but only if it is a known genetic defect.

    Votes: 21 7.6%
  • Yes. Any defective or deformed gecko should be put down immediately after birth.

    Votes: 29 10.5%
  • I'm undecided. (list reasons below)

    Votes: 18 6.5%

  • Total voters
    275

Alusdra

New Member
Messages
475
Location
Washington, DC
It is also possible, though cost-prohibitive, to spay female geckos. Male geckos having their hemipenes removed would be less difficult, but they might possibly be able to breed still.

I, too, would never breed any of my geckos, and there of plenty of responsible adults looking for pets for a deformed but otherwise able to eat and shed animal, especially if it is friendly. The ones with severe dysfunction, though... tough finding them homes.

I don't think either option- pet-only or euthanizing, is a poor choice. The euthanasia must be done humanely, though, and as a pet one must consider this animal may live for 20-30 years.
 

newfieb

New Member
Messages
60
i also have a leopard gecko male that i adopted because of a curled tail. He is very healthy and active. he is a good weight of 70 grams, eats well and is very tame and loves to explore out of his cage. He is now about 2 years old and going strong. So i have to agree with what everyone else says. If the deformity is going to hinder its health and cause problems in its life than by all means i think its the right thing to do. But in my case a deformed tail is nothing. In my eyes its no different than a regrown tail and does not effect him at all. I felt bad for him when i found out that the breeder who bred him was neglecting him because he was of no value to him. so i took it upon myself to give him a geat life at my place
 
F

Fish

Guest
I wouldn't cull an animal if it had, say, a physical deformation that made it look ugly but barely effected the animals life.

If a gecko is so deformed that it couldn't survive without lots of help and would probably die a painful death, I would cull it.
 

sammer021486

New Member
Messages
544
Location
Northern Ontario Canada
I voted undecided as I am not sure how I would choose whether to cull or not. I had one hatch out with a minor defect that I would not have culled for. Its two inside toes on all four feet that were closer together than normal. Its siblings from other clutches all hatched normally.

I am not sure about these two geckos that were clutch mates. Either they developed MBD from not being given calcium or they have a genetic defect as it only seems to affect their front legs. Both of them have what looks like MBD only in their front legs. One was so bad that it could not even walk with its front legs, it pushed itself around the tank with its back legs. If they were mine and I was giving them calcium and they still developed these symptoms they would be culled, no second thoughts about it.

I now own the mother of the two geckos that have the MBD symptoms, she was breed this year so I will have to see how her offspring develop. First one to hatch, if all goes well, is to hatch beginning of April.
 

Mallie

New Member
Messages
50
Location
KY
I would only put down an animal if it cannot live on its own or without some degree of help. I've had plenty of ill animals and putting one down is my last option.
 

Taquiq

JK Herp
Messages
3,602
Location
CA
I'd rather kill them if they need my help to live, not let them suffer a painful life.
 

Leopard.Geckerz

New Member
Messages
387
Location
Ontario, Canada
I recently came across someone asking for me for help with two leos. Both should have been culled. One hatched out with no eyes. Literally, no eyes, empty sockets. And the other hatched out with deformed legs (that look like MBD to me but all claims from owner say no.) One can't see and one can barely move. I think it would have been kinder to humanely cull.

I have had a gecko with a kinked tail, I would not cull for that. I also have one (from a very, VERY well known breeder) whose eyelid is slightly mishapen. Wouldn't cull for that either.

I am for culling when it effects quality of life. For vanity purposes, no.
 

CallDr

New Member
Messages
412
As a hunter I have dealt with this topic all my life. Killing poor animals. What has always perplexed me is the denial of saying this as they finish eating their Quarter Pounder with cheese as if they had no "blood on their hands" for the dead Cow they just ate. If you eat meat or fish you are a Killer...... period.

If you are a Breeder and don't know what to cull........ stop. If you can't stomach how to kill them humanly....stop. Your hobby should be a Pet owner. It's the responsibility of the Breeder to be a "responsible breeder". That means having to cull animals due to selective breeding.

Breeders should not breed "questionable" morphs till they know they are a "healthy breed". Knowledge is good. Once you know "mother nature" tells you that something is wrong....... listen to Her.

Selective breeding should be done by someone who is educated. Not a basement experiment by a pet owner who has a new hobby.

With that said. I take my hat off to the breeders who have openly admitted that culling is done.:main_thumbsup:
 

CallDr

New Member
Messages
412
An old topic but still a good one and important at that...

Personally, I do not allow weak or bad genetics to thrive in my collection at all... Pretty much any deformed hatchling is instantly culled, minor or severe... I have plenty of Varanids that readily accept geckos as prey... To me that is the best way to cull deformed or weak hatchlings... If the animal must die, it might as well be put to use...

I do not believe in rasing animals that are physically or genetically weak... Those traits can easily be propagated into the population and make more weak animals... Survival of the fittest... If it is failing to thrive on its own, it should be culled... Although there is no natural selection in captive breeding, we as breeders should do as nature does when it comes to propagating fit animals...
Thats my opinion...:main_thumbsup:
+1
 

leolover23

New Member
Messages
275
I believe that a gecko that will suffer should be put down if there is no hope of it recovering--and I mean, that this is the deformity, they will be in pain forever. But, if a gecko has a deformity, even if it severe, as long as they aren't suffering, they shouldn't be put down. Even if they cannot thrive on their own, there is someone in the world who will take care of them, make them comfortable, and give them a happy life, even if you cannot provide that for them. As for small, unwanted deformities (such as unwanted characteristics when breeding geckos), it's completely inhumane to put them down.
 

Pokersnake

Member
Messages
252
Location
Chicagoland IL
I have to say, this is one heck of a debate.

As a student of Biology, Darwinian logic tends to guide me in ethical practices. If an animal of any kind were to be born in the wild with any sort of defect that was to detract from its ability to survive, it would die.

However, since we are speaking of pets and captivity, these rules no longer apply. Some animals who are born with profound deformities should be put down. However, the deformity should be such that it would inhibit the animal's daily functioning; missing limbs, muscular problems, coordination, obvious signs of pain, discomfort, or the inability to thrive.

Animals with cosmetic abnormalities, while still viable as pets, should not be bred, especially for the sake of a quick buck.

And here's where I might get yelled at... The information I've found on Enigmas leads me to believe that those who show signs of the disorder should only be pets. However in severe cases, what quality of life do these creatures really have? Are breeders really using a genetically corrupt line simply because they look pretty? That, to me, is more of an issue than culling the weak. Actually perpetuating a genetic disorder for profit... that seems irresponsible to me.

I would like to state that I do not know everything about the genetics of Enigmas. I hear that breeders are trying to eliminate the syndrome while keeping the display of color. And while this is an admirable genetics experiment, I don't beileve that it's ethical to use these animals for profit while still working out the kinks.
 

courtnashe

I lovez me my animals
Messages
91
Location
Auburn, AL
I would only kill them if the defect prevented them from living a good life. Someone asked me a question "What happens if there are defects you cannot see, what do you do then?" If I cannot see the defect, trust me it will eventually show itself, and sad to say it will probably kill the poor fellow, but at least they lived a nice life for some period of time.
 

Gecko_Jay09

Addicted to reptiles!
Messages
145
Location
Rugby, Warwickshire, England
i totally agree! culling should only be used should a gecko have a defect that affects their quality of life whereby it is unable to survive or if letting it survive would be constant torture for the poor thing!
 

M_surinamensis

Shillelagh Law
Messages
1,166
Animals with cosmetic abnormalities, while still viable as pets, should not be bred, especially for the sake of a quick buck.
You're halfway there, but that quote is where you lost it.

Animal life spans can vary but most reptiles, especially those popular pet species, can live for at least a decade if they receive adequate care. Many of them can live for two or three times that duration (or longer if one keeps chelonians or crocodilians).

You acknowledge the responsibility of keeping such animals out of the breeding population.

Given the inability of a person to absolutely guarantee, beyond all doubt, that they will retain possession of an animal for twenty years, there is an an associated inability to ensure that a live animal is not bred.

Terminal culling is the only absolute when dealing with species which cannot be sterilized. The responsible thing is not to designate some animals as "pets only" simply because there can be no firm assurance that they will remain that way for their full life span. Culling provides that guarantee where simple owner enforced abstinence can not.
 

Tony C

Wayward Frogger
Messages
3,899
Location
Columbia, SC
You're halfway there, but that quote is where you lost it.

Animal life spans can vary but most reptiles, especially those popular pet species, can live for at least a decade if they receive adequate care. Many of them can live for two or three times that duration (or longer if one keeps chelonians or crocodilians).

You acknowledge the responsibility of keeping such animals out of the breeding population.

Given the inability of a person to absolutely guarantee, beyond all doubt, that they will retain possession of an animal for twenty years, there is an an associated inability to ensure that a live animal is not bred.

Terminal culling is the only absolute when dealing with species which cannot be sterilized. The responsible thing is not to designate some animals as "pets only" simply because there can be no firm assurance that they will remain that way for their full life span. Culling provides that guarantee where simple owner enforced abstinence can not.

Everyone who wants to breed should read this until they believe it or give up on the idea. Good genetic management is a breeder's primary responsibility.
 

M_surinamensis

Shillelagh Law
Messages
1,166
Good genetic management is a breeder's primary responsibility.
Absolutely.

(what follows is not so much directed at Tony, who has made it really obvious that he already knows this stuff,

Most people understand that they have a responsibility to their own animals. To keep them healthy and to keep them safe, to give them everything that is required to live and thrive.

A lot of people, especially a lot of them who get into breeding as a way to advance their hobby, don't understand that they also have additional responsibilities in the way their choices affect the entire captive population of animals and every other person keeping reptiles, now and in the future.

Anyone who breeds should be actively working to make sure that the next generation of animals is as healthy as possible, healthier and stronger than the current one in every way that it can be. Since natural selection is largely taken out of the equation with our captive populations and since we're often running breeding projects that are directly counter to the dictates of natural pressures anyway (breeding for high color or temperment or unusual sizes or abnormal patterns) it increases the burden of eliminating negative traits.

There are a few ways that breeders should do this.

Careful selection of breeding stock and the choices that are made in which animals are paired together is the first step. Breeding should always happen between two animals that have been carefully selected for their positive traits, there should be something (ideally everything) about the animal that is worth trying to reproduce. Strong feeders and healthy development, behavioral traits and their relationships with genotype are touchy and difficult to predict but can be a factor as well- when choosing to breed various morphs and mutations, the breeders should be the best possible representations of that trait.

Culling is another part of that. A distasteful part- nobody sane enjoys ending an animal's life, it should always be done in the most humane manner possible* but it should be done for the greater good. Most of the participants of this thread seemed to recognize that deformities weren't something good, most of the participants said that deformed animals should never be bred. The reality of the situation though- with the life span of these animals, is that someone keeping them cannot absolutely guarantee that they will retain control over that animal and its reproduction for its entire life. Accidents happen and people are injured or killed, financial hard times occur, angry landlords can get uppity and demand that the animals are removed from the property, kids go to college, spouses want to convert that room full of rack systems into a private gym... Things happen. These things aren't definite but avoiding them isn't definite either. The only way to assure, to absolutely guarantee, that an animal is never bred is to either surgically sterilize it** or to euthanize it.

If a pair of breeding animals starts showing a pattern of producing deformed offspring, similar steps should be taken with the adult pair and any siblings. It's the genetic material that needs to be expunged.

The third way, although it's a bit more ambiguously connected, has to do with our spending habits. As long as there is a market for deformed animals, unscrupulous people will continue to produce and sell deformed animals. The only way to influence other people (other than talking to them in discussions like this one) is to make it so that breeding is only profitable when the breeder uses ethical practices. That means keeping money out of the hands of anyone who is displaying a practice that is unethical (like selling deformed offspring rather than culling them), no matter how heart wrenching it may be to see that sad little gecko with the twisted spine sitting in a pile of its own feces in some murderhole of a retail store*** it should not be purchased, it should not make a profit for the person trying to sell it. If it makes money, even indirectly, if it leaves with a customer that has to come back and buy feeders and lightbulbs, then it is something that dealer will simply continue to do.

Spending money with the good guys, keeping it out of the hands of the bad guys eventually puts the bad guys out of business. When they go out of business and the only profit to be had is in high quality, top notch stock- that is what will be available. Good for the animals, good for anyone that owns them, breeder or not.

It is a set of responsibilities we all share, everyone should actively work to make sure they aren't the weak link that prevents it from working.


*humane euthanasia of reptiles is a subject open to some debate, unfortunately

**something that is difficult or impossible to have done with most reptiles for a number of reasons

***not all retail places are murderholes. Some of them are excellent, with standards and practices that meet or exceed most breeders. Most of them, the overwhelming majority, are simply mediocre.
 
Last edited:

Autra

New Member
Messages
155
Location
Houston, TX
First off, your entire post was excellent, but I have a question:

If a pair of breeding animals starts showing a pattern of producing deformed offspring, similar steps should be taken with the adult pair and any siblings. It's the genetic material that needs to be expunged.
On this note, where does the line get drawn in the case of enigmas? Obviously, the concerned breeder isn't going to breed any animals with severe enigma syndrome, but even the best of them can develop problems later in life, or have offspring that have problems.

Where is the balance of creating the most beautiful animal that you can and keeping the integrity of the genetic pool?

Is it truly possible to find that balance in this case, or is the use of enigmas nothing but a blatant cash-grab, no matter how you rationalize it?
 
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