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

M_surinamensis

Shillelagh Law
Messages
1,166
On this note, where does the line get drawn in the case of enigmas?
Personally I would cull them all... but...

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.
From what I understand... which I have to admit is a result of information given to me by other people... the enigma morph is codominant Edit: Please see Tony's Post quoting this one, I was mistaken. and the enigma issues are only seen in the animals displaying the color/pattern trait, never in normal siblings produced from the same lines. Expression is unpredictable, with enigmas displaying a lot of variability in how intense and frequent the problems are and even that can change, with the issues intensifying or receding in individual animals over time.

Since it appears (again, from what I have been told- I'm really not that into leopard geckos and am not delving deeply into any of the morphs for the species) that the pigment and the spinning have an identical genetic cause- a single allele simultaneously responsible for both traits, then it can't be spread beyond enigma production. All enigmas have the potential for a variable expression of the issue, non-enigmas will not, even if they are crossed out of an enigma project and into other lines.

Provided that is accurate then enigma projects only harm enigma projects. It's self contained. To a point anyway, enigmas and enigma derivatives.

I don't like it and I would cull them because... well, there are quality of life questions and it is propagating a negative trait for the sake of a color morph, which I feel is a pretty crappy reason to allow a health issue to spread through multiple generations. I don't really like morphs anyway though, my preferences run to natural patterns and colors, so I am biased as to the value of a morph.

People who do choose to work with it are able to do so with the knowledge that any neurological issues that end up being displayed will never contaminate the larger population. As far as I have been told the degree of expression can be somewhat random, but there are a lot of questions about exactly what prompts individual animals to display the problems the way they display them. One of the people working with them may eventually work out a suspicion and manage to isolate a cause- if they do, then it might be something that can be addressed through husbandry adjustments. I still would want to cull them all, but if it turns out to be something like a vitamin uptake issue that can be fixed with supplementation then the quality of life question pretty much evaporates.

Where is the balance of creating the most beautiful animal that you can and keeping the integrity of the genetic pool?
A tricky question for every breeding, not just the enigma morph.

Ultimately every pairing that happens in captivity is unnatural, we circumvent the selection strategies of the animals, we remove most of the dangers that would prevent unfit individuals from making it to adulthood and entering the breeding pool, we select individuals based on our own criteria rather than the traits that would bring together two animals in a wild environment. To some degree, the integrity of any captive gene pool is shot as soon as a human being gets involved in picking out which animal will mate with which other animal.

When we practice genetic management, through selective breeding and appropriately responsible culling practices, we're mostly weeding out the obvious, the overwhelmingly bad stuff that is clearly and without question no good. We've redefined a baseline for healthy and successful by altering the experiences an animal will have over the course of its life and we breed and cull based on an animal being fit for success when the issues of predators and prey and diseases are removed or severely reduced. A healthy immune response becomes a trait that is less significant in the probability of an individual passing along their genes than the aesthetic appeal of color and pattern (and not even the appeal of color and pattern to the animals themselves, the appeal to us).

Which really just means that our responsibility to carefully consider each pairing and our duties when it comes to the fate of the offspring are overwhelming. Breeders have replaced natural selection, very few animals are allowed to fall victim to the usual elements that eliminate most wild reptiles before they reach adulthood. Failure to thrive is something that we try our hardest not to allow individuals to succumb to. Every single trait, no matter how major or minute, is in our hands- to reproduce or to excise.

When we make our selections for color and pattern- the new yardstick for genetic success with captive animals- we should always weigh every other trait just as heavily. Is is a strong feeder? Is the line prone to illness? Does the animal have good muscle tone? Are all the sensory organs apparently strong and acute? Does it shed cleanly and easily? Does it display any negative behaviors?*

Many of these things can be difficult to quantify to begin with and since many of them can also be altered by husbandry parameters, there is a constant question about where the exact line is drawn and each individual prospective breeder (animal) should receive careful consideration before it is included in a project. It always ends up being a judgment call on the part of the owner- but there are people who never even pause to give it any thought.

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?
I am sure there are people working with enigmas who simply do not give a damn as long as they make some money.

I am also sure that there are people who are working with them with the express intention of minimizing the negative trait. That's an enormous job that, if it is even possible, would require years of intense record keeping and minor variations in individual variables while maintaining control groups and large numbers of geckos. Hard work. Hard work that might never pay off... I am pretty sure financial gain is kind of far down their list for the reasons they choose to try anyway.

I am also pretty sure that the biggest group of enigma owners probably haven't given it much thought. There's a huge group of pretty much silent reptile keepers in the world. Folks who have one or two as a family pet that they picked up at a reptile show because Little Timmy had a good report card and likes lizards that don't give it any further thought. Lots of people who are pretty much in that same category that might try their hand at a very small breeding project too. Most of them will never find their way on to internet forums. Most of them never even make it into their local herp society. They have a book and maybe a website or three and that is as far as they care to educate themselves.

Even the ones who might make it as far as registering on a web forum might not care enough to pay attention. Just look at the recent threads that have dealt with this and similar topics; half the participants want to stick their fingers in their ears and hum because they could never consider ending the life of an animal.** Some of them listen and learn, which is great. Some of them don't, which is not. Who knows what the ones who read it and don't respond go away thinking.


*not "does it bite?" which is... an entirely different matter, but things like face rubbing, stress regurgitation or coprophagia

**and I may end up sounding like an elitist asshat here, but the dividing line on something like culling seems to be almost exclusively drawn between educated, experienced people and uneducated, inexperienced people. The second I see a line like "I would never kill an animal! You don't kill people with down syndrome, do you?!" I know exactly what kind of knowledge that person has. Unfortunately, they often fail to see the same difference and it can be difficult to point it out to them, in the interest of getting them to pay attention and learn, without them getting their panties in a wad.
 
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BrilliantEraser

Bookworm!
Messages
388
Location
Connecticut
Personally I would cull them all... but...
**and I may end up sounding like an elitist asshat here, but the dividing line on something like culling seems to be almost exclusively drawn between educated, experienced people and uneducated, inexperienced people. The second I see a line like "I would never kill an animal! You don't kill people with down syndrome, do you?!" I know exactly what kind of knowledge that person has. Unfortunately, they often fail to see the same difference and it can be difficult to point it out to them, in the interest of getting them to pay attention and learn, without them getting their panties in a wad.
I've tried yelling "No, you're stupid, you need to listen to me!" but that doesn't seem to work. Grabbing them by the shoulders and shaking them doesn't seem to work either. But I certainly agree with your observation. If I might also add, there seems to be a greater number of younger people who are anti-cull than older people who are anti-cull. Must be some sort of naivete, or lack of worldly experience, I believe.
 

Tony C

Wayward Frogger
Messages
3,899
Location
Columbia, SC
From what I understand... which I have to admit is a result of information given to me by other people... the enigma morph is codominant and the enigma issues are only seen in the animals displaying the color/pattern trait, never in normal siblings produced from the same lines.
It doesn't really matter in the context of this discussion, but the Enigma morph is dominant, not codominant.
 

Autra

New Member
Messages
155
Location
Houston, TX
I may end up sounding like an elitist asshat
Well, I didn't want to copy the whole post and this seemed as good a segment to keep as any. Mainly to appease my juvenile sense of humor, but it is what it is.

Either way, thanks a ton for your response. I know there is a whole thread devoted to the subject, but I wanted to get your direct thoughts on a few points and decided to ask here.

Again, thanks. I appreciate people that can use logic to answer questions, not just typical internet logic, where typing in caps is assumed to be the same as thinking.
 

Dog Shrink

Lost in the Lizard World
Messages
2,799
Location
NW PA.
If I might also add, there seems to be a greater number of younger people who are anti-cull than older people who are anti-cull. Must be some sort of naivete, or lack of worldly experience, I believe.
I would contribute this to the ethics and experiences of generations. Look at the older generation. Most likely have raised animals for themselves from farming and know that culling is a fact of life... survival of the fittest if you would. Breed only the best to the best and get rid of the ones that don't make muster. Cattle ranchers will beat this into your head. Also the new generation is raised on a "love thy brother" kind of ethic. Every life counts no matter how deformed it may be it desirves a chance to live regardless of the quality of life it will have. In their own do-gooder ways they wouldn't realise the lesser of 2 evils is to end the suffering rather than make compensations for the entire life of that animal which will likely be shortened by it's deformity in the long run anyway. Chalk that one up tp the bleeding heart animal activists.
 

Golden Gate Geckos

Mean Old Gecko Lady
Messages
12,731
Location
SF Bay Area
Every life counts no matter how deformed it may be it desirves a chance to live regardless of the quality of life it will have.
So, an animal that has no quality of life should be kept alive only to suffer and eventually die an inhumane death?
 

ajveachster

New Member
Messages
1,185
Location
NE Ohio
So, an animal that has no quality of life should be kept alive only to suffer and eventually die an inhumane death?
I saw that too. I find it hard to believe that the animal I had that could no longer eat or move out of its own feces should have been kept alive any longer. We kept her even though she had only 2 stumps for front legs. We let her go on until she got to the point I just described.

I guess I would like to know what I should have done.

Should I have let her sit in her own poop to give her skin infections? I couldn't sit in there waiting for her to have a movement so I could clean her up right away. Should I have let her starve to death over several weeks or months? She could no longer eat on her own even if hand fed.

Maybe I am just short sighted. I would really like to know what my other options would have been.
 

Kotori

New Member
Messages
77
I chose 'Yes, but only if they couldn't survive on their own', but I'm not a breeder. I have a pet that might have a slight tail kink, but it bothers him none. If I did breed, I think I would euthanize all severe deformities. That brings up the 'If your kids had a deformity you wouldn't kill them!' but, some people do. If their kid has a severe, painful condition that can be determined before birth (I don' know how they do that, but they do) they have abortions. Or they pull the plug if it becomes obvious that they are in severe pain.

Of course, I also had some kids at my school that were paralyzed from the waist down, and they had electric wheelchairs. They had ita bit rougher, but they still thrived. Sometimes dogs are born without legs, they learn to scoot around and live good lives.

However, I realize that people sometimes have weaker ethics towards reptiles, and would have no problems breeding a deformed lizard (not talking about curly tails, but if they were missing eyes or limbs) So I think the best solution if you don't want to euthanize a gecko with a kinked tail, and don't trust other people, is to simply have a separate tub for it. If money issues came up and you had to get rid of it, at least you'd know it had a good life, which is more than some non-deformed geckos.

Just my thoughts. I don't think that a slight tail kink would cause an animal to die in the wild, as long as it doesn't affect movement, and I realize sometimes culling is the only humane option.
 

T-ReXx

Uroplatus Fanatic
Messages
1,745
Location
Buffalo, NY
How do I give anti-thanks?
If you find a way, please let me know.

Hellen Keller? Seriously? Are you honestly comparing a human life on par with that of a lizard?

Here's a question for you: You're house is on fire. You can save your gecko but you're child will die. You can save your child but your gecko will die? What is your decision? Because by the logic of that statement you might actually hesitate and think about which life you should save...
 
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