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Re: A few thoughts on these snakes...............

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Bull, Pine, and Gopher Snake Forum ]

Posted by KJUN on March 09, 2003 at 18:30:16:

In Reply to: A few thoughts on these snakes............... posted by Fred Albury on March 09, 2003 at 11:39:01:

:I am glad to say that I know John Ginter, and have been blessed to be at his house and see his collection. I also, after many years of sitting on the fence, purchased a pair of *pure* STILLWATER HYPOS that he produced. I'm not going to say negative things because Ginter crossed these to strengthen the limited gene pool and bloodline. I will say that he is at least honestly representing them as such. Only problem comes in when people get ahold of the ofspring, will they be as honest. I dont know.

I agree. If everyone was as honest as Ginter, we wouldn't have these problems. Too bad we all know this isn't the case. Additionally. most people don't really ask questions about their stock. Sooo, what happens is an "honest misleading." For example, someone buys a hypo bull that is an OUTCROSSED Stillwater, but all they hear is Stillwater. Soooo, they sell it as a Stillwater hypo to someone else who then unknowingly sells the babies as Stillwater hypos (which most people take to mean locality animals) when they really aren't! Think about how RARE it is to find an Okeetee Corn that really comes from somewhere in or near The actual hunting club in Jasper County, SC. That happens with almost everything. Arghhh!

: Frankly,I know for a fact that John Ginter went to extreme measures to not cross many snakes in his collection all these years.Do I think it is *right* because as "Big breeder" does it(Crossing) Not necessarily...but K.J. makes a valid point and that being the tiny gene pool and the inherent problems that come with it.I've often wondered what problems would arise when you have such a tiny group of locale animals to work with and how long the defects would take to pop up.

I hate to bring up P. ruthveni again, but Bob Fengya has an excellent example that would fit in here. He has some Rapides locality ruthveni that are descended from only 2.1 original WC's. The original WC's were captured YEARS ago, so these are probably F3 or F4's. I've got some babies off of those, so tack on even one more generation to that. Add in the fact that the original producer probably didn't know much about genetics, so I doubt if he used the males in a way to maximized the potential genetics in later generations. Anyway, this line seems to be the weakest line of ruthveni I've ever seen. I think it really is due to inbreeding, but who knows? I hate outcrossing this line, but there is no other option. We plan to outcross a male of this local to a Vandeventer animal (both pure ruthveni from Louisiana sources) and see how those babies do compared to a Rapides locality hatchling. The Rapides locality ruthveni may be doomed to disappear and result in just more generic locality ruthveni. That's still good, but not the best option. What can we do in a case like this? I wish I knew the answer. :(

:We have had this discussion before, and I will say this, that often, once the crosses get put on the market, bred and THEIR subsequent offspring get put up for sale, a complete loss of control occurs and then you dont know what your getting, which means you have to trust the seller. No big problem if your buying from Ginter,K.J, John Cherry or anyone else here that
:has a vested interest in their reputation being ruined. But buying crosses from an unknown party,I dont know,I probably wouldnt.

Thanks for putting my on that list, but even if you hadn't, I couldn't agree more with that statement. We both mean to say that some smaller people out there are VERY honest and VERY trustworthy, but people like John Ginter and John Cherry and the smaller breeders with the same level of honesty are the exception and NOT the rule. I bet there are already more Stillwaters sold than could possibly have been produced by this time. :) We all know how this kind of stuff develops.

While we are being hypothetical here, I'd like to bring up MY thoughts on new, locality pure morphs. I'm not saying I'm right, but I'm not insisting anyone else agrees with me, either. Let's assume you get a new morph, either a WC or hets like the Stillwater hypo originators. What would be the first thing I would do? Well, run around in circles screaming in excitement, probably wet myself, and pass out dead from a heart Seriously, I feel that it would be the possessors duty to breed that animal locality pure FIRST. Lock in the trait so it isn't lost AND lock in the locality with hets and morphs. This way, you've got the locality morph no matter what happens. Getting the hets (e.g., from as many WC animals from that local as you can acquire reasonably without negatively impacting the population within reason - by this I mean within your means, of course) would help prevent the genetic bottleneck effect for as long as possible. I say this because you can always outcross with generics to get generics, but you can never turn a generic into a WC.

The NEXT step, once you get that locked down for posterity, is to outcross with like animals to produce pure specimens that are generics. This way, once you've got verifiable locality ones, you can start increasing the gene pool and selecting for the healthiest or the most docile or the best feeders or..... et cetera. The FINAL step would be to start crossing them with other pure morphs if that is your goal. The last two steps can almost occur simultaneously, of course. This way the locality animals are protected and you end up with generic that may have better, more diverse, genes for the long haul IN captivity.

Since there seems to be no verifiable unrelated Stillwater bulls we can easily get our hands on, we've got to move to step two or head into potential problems as I see fit. That said, and to get back to Stillwaters, the most importantly HONEST thing we as herpers need to be careful of is to differentiate "Stillwater-locality hypo bulls" and "generic locality Stillwater line hypo bulls." That long and harder to market, BUT it is the truth.

Oh, well. I didn't mean to spark this argument, but thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts if you made it down this far!

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