Eric from The Valley Reptile or TVR as he refers to it contacted me through iHerp to let me know what was going on in his neck of the woods. Eric is the owner and operator of TVR which he started back in 2005 with Crested Geckos only. He is located in Northern Alabama in the Tennessee Valley and here is what he had to say about his breeding projects at TVR.
How did you get started in Breeding and how long have you been doing it?
I bought my first pair of Crested Geckos in 2002 after reading an article about them in a reptile magazine. At that time I was looking for a gecko with easy care and something fun for a first time breeding project after talking with a local friend about his Rainbow Boa babies and breeding projects. I spent my first two years just keeping them as pets, learning as much as I could from them and in 2004 I started my first breeding project. After having good success with the Crested Geckos I decided to try other geckos and started keeping Leopards, Pictus or Panther geckos, Gargoyles and a few others.
What types of projects or products are you planning for the future?
The future looks great for TVR. My Crested Gecko projects are already going. I am working with Extreme Harleys and Blonde Harleys now. I also have a Yellow Pinstripe project that I started this year and it has started off better than I expected. I held back a handful of their hatchlings that should make next year very interesting for the project.
I started a Pictus gecko project again this year. Last year I bred normals and since I have a little experience with them now, I decided to try putting some projects together to selectively breed the next few years. I will have Snow and Red projects for the next year and I will then cross some of the offspring to see what comes from that.
With the Leopard Geckos, I am working with Raptors, Enigmas, Snows, Tangerines, and a few others. My biggest project for 2010 will be the Gem Snows, crossing them with Raptors, Trempers, and Enigmas.
I also just picked up a lot of nice additions to these projects and am looking forward to trying other geckos that I have not worked with yet. At the top of my list are N. Milii and R.Leachianus.
Would you consider yourself a small, medium, or large breeder? What size would you like to grow to?
I would consider myself to be a small breeder. I only have one 16’x16’ room dedicated to the geckos. With 80 geckos in my projects including holdbacks from this year the room is big enough but does tend to get a little crowded in the middle of the season with all the eggs hatching. I would like to double that next year and get a small building dedicated to my reptiles. I would like to stay around a medium size breeder range as long as I can keep up with everything.
What reptiles do you enjoy breeding the most? And what is your favorite morph?
Crested Geckos will always be my favorite. They have been my main project since I started keeping them in 2002. With all the colors and patterns out there now, it’s fun to see what comes out of the eggs.
With the Crested Geckos, my favorite morph is the Pinstripes, a nice high contrast Harley or anything with bright orange colors. My favorite Leo morphs are Gem Snows and Raptors; the Enigmas are another good one.”
What type of problems or challenges have you faced in starting to breed reptiles?
I have not had too many problems lately. When I first started I was given bad advice on the Crested Geckos’ diet. I was recommended to use baby food as their main food. After hatching some babies I soon started seeing MBD in some of them and one of my females had a severe calcium crash and nearly died. I switched to the Repashy diet and that took care of all the problems.
I also have a small problem keeping temps right during the summer when it can reach 100 degrees. I had to cover the windows and put in an extra air conditioner to control the heat and that has worked out well for the last few years.
Do you attend any reptile shows? If so which shows do you attend?
Right now I attend the Dixie Reptile Show 3 or 4 times a year in Birmingham, AL when I have available geckos. I am planning on attending the South Carolina Repticon show next year.
Are you affiliated with any groups, organizations, clubs, or forums? If so, which ones?
I am a member of many of the gecko forums including Pangea, Ciliatus, Repashy, Reptile Culture, Gecko Forums, and iHerp. The Crested Gecko forums really helped me out when I was starting off and would recommend them to anyone just getting into geckos.
Thanks Eric for taking time to tell all of us about what you are doing with The Valley Reptile. You can check Eric and TVR out on his website http://www.thevalleyreptiles.net.
Next Interview is yet to be determined. And as always if you would like to take part in this interview series please contact Cory at CSM Gecko. You can contact Cory through his website www.csmgecko.com or email [email protected].