I know with the reptile breeding season starting, a lot of people get really interested in hatching out their own cute little baby reptiles! There are plenty of reasons to breed your reptiles, but I think a lot of prospective breeders don’t take the time to consider the possibilities for problems that arise from breeding. This is mainly for animals that have large pet populations - ball pythons, leopard geckos, bearded dragons, crested geckos, etc., but can apply to many other species as well. Here are a few reasons why you should reconsider breeding your pets.
1. Breeding takes a toll. It’s important to be well versed on reptile body condition, general health, proper breeding weights, and ages before pairing up your reptiles. Pair them too early, and the potential for breeding related complications drastically increases. Egg binding, calcium crashes, death of the mother, failure to regain weight, poor calcification of the eggs, and hatchlings that fail to thrive can all be issues that pop up from breeding unhealthy or unfit animals. Are you prepared to deal with these issues, both emotionally and financially? Are your animals healthy enough to deal with the strain on their bodies?
2. Are your reptiles “breeder quality”? A lot of people want to breed their reptiles to see the cute babies they produce! This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to keep in mind that if your animals aren’t prime examples of their morph (or if you don’t know the morph or genetic history of the animal) they shouldn’t be bred. One of the reasons is…
3. The market is flooded with “pet quality” and unhealthy animals looking for homes. Do you really want to contribute to overproduced populations of animals seeking homes? If you aren’t able to sell your animals you have to be prepared to house however many you produce for the entirety of their lives. Is it ethical for you to be breeding pet quality animals?
4. Breeding is inherently expensive and you are unlikely to make a profit, even if you’re breeding top quality animals. You’ve got to buy incubators, thermostats, hatchling racks, breeder quality animals, feeders for those animals, cleaning supplies, husbandry supplies, etc! That’s just scratching the surface of the things you need before you begin breeding!
5. Always keep in mind the reason you want to breed your reptiles. If your reason is “because I want to” with no real goal in mind, you probably aren’t ready to breed them.
((this post isn’t directed at anyone in particular, it’s just something I see happen every year when the breeding season begins!))