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Breeder Chronicles: Season Comes to a Difficult End

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So I can finally announce this breeding season as a complete failure. My final clutch of eggs hatched and I had a nice Jungle RAPTOR and Tremper Albino hatchling. They were squealing and running around but I decided to keep them in the incubator for a few extra days just to be sure all was well. After checking on them daily I went to move them into tubs on the third day to find the Jungle RAPTOR dead but the Tremper doing just fine.

What Happened and Why

I moved the Tremper into a tub and monitored the temperature. A week later it ate 3 mealworms and did so for the next three days. Eleven days after hatching I found it dead in its tub with no warning. As I’ve written  before, I had thought that it might be something to do with the incubation but I think I’ve ruled that out after talking to a couple of other breeders. After that conversation I think that I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities. Supplementation and genetics.

Genetics is one possibility that I don’t think I would have ever really thought of but it does make sense. I used the same male for all pairings this year so if there is something genetically wrong with that male it might not have shown itself last year. I did have one strange hatchling last year that seemed to have some form of epilepsy. I didn’t see that in any of these animals but it might be a sign that there is some genetic issue that the male is passing on to some of its offspring. I currently have an animal that is about a year old that came from that male and one of the same females that I used this year so I know that it isn’t an issue that all of the offspring have. Next year I am going to breed that male to only one female that has never been bred before. Hopefully I can see if that is the issue.

Supplementation should have been at the top of my list. When I switched to feeding Dubia roaches I stopped supplementing. I can’t say why, it wasn’t a decision I made, it just happened. I no longer followed the same feeding routine that  I did with the mealworms and I didn’t think about it as much because of the increased nutrition factor of the roaches versus the mealworms. All the females do have calcium without D3 in their tubs but without supplementing the D3 the calcium wasn’t being processed as well as it should have been. The could have led to an issue with the hatchlings.

Plans for Next Year

I’m still replacing my incubator for a homemade mini fridge with a proportional thermostat but I’m also going to be supplementing the roaches once per week to make sure that the animals are getting all the nutrients necessary. I’m also switching from RepCal to Repashy Calcium Plus. This is not because I think there is a problem with RepCal, I just have heard great things about Repashy and I like the idea of only needing one container and not having to mix supplements.

I’m extremely disappointed that not a single hatchling survived but I also feel like it was the best year to learn a lesson like this since I didn’t breed on a large scale. Hopefully next year will be a better year. I will have more males at my disposal and will hopefully sell my first gecko.

Written by Justin Hansen

Justin Hansen's first reptile, an African Fat Tailed Gecko, sparked an interest that ended up consuming a dorm room in New York City and almost getting him expelled. Now that he has the space he is renewing his passion for breeding geckos. Currently focusing on Leopard Geckos he hopes to be able to branch out to other gecko species. He will be found at LongIslandGeckos.com once he has a spare moment to finish the site.

2 Comments

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  1. I so sorry to hear about your Gecko’s. I lost 2 babies this year while still in egg this year. It’s sad anytime we loose an animal. My children are always upset when we loose a baby at any time.

    Our babies was 1 baby from one clutch and another baby from a separate clutch. I went to go check on the eggs one day and it was around the time to hatch, the eggs had deflated and it looked like all development had stopped midway thru. I waited a day to make sure nothing was going to happen and it was apparent the babies had expired. I cut the eggs open to see if there were any deformities and there weren’t. I’m not sure what happened… they looked like they were premature.

    This was our first experience in looking babies. So my children, HAD to have a burial for the Gecko’s. So I placed them in a paper towel and in a shoe box and we had a burial in our back yard.

    Good Luck with everything! It was a learning experience… sometimes there is nothing you can do. It’s just nature… Kind of like I used to breed Golden Retriever Puppies and I have lost a few pups too.

  2. Sorry to hear about your bad luck Justin.
    I highly recommend Repashy Calcium Plus. I call it “gecko fertilizer”. I dust the insects (mealworms, suopers, Dubias) with it almost every feeding.

    Wishing that you have better results next season.

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