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Posted by Pennebaker on April 16, 2003 at 03:31:46:

In Reply to: Loren posted by GECKOS UNLIMITED on April 15, 2003 at 18:54:18:

If you want me to interpret your quotes properly than you can start by doing the same with mine. You purposefully misconstrue my quotes to your benefit while asking me to act differently? These kinds of inconsistencies are irritating.

Proper contextual interpretation of quotes can be very elusive due to the varying perspectives and defensive postures of each person involved in the communication. My apologies if I have taken you out of context, but I feel that you should try to understand my position as well.

Letís review the situation. Someone asked for advice; you posted your care sheet and link to your site. Someone else recommended my care sheet as being Ďhelpfulí for learning about rangei care and provided the link to my care sheet. Later, when the original poster had another question, you posted your opinions and again offered-up links to your site. Apparently feeling the need to exert your opinions, you made sure to say that,
ďContrary to what many individuals believe, you only need 1/2-1" of sand..Ē and ďP. rangei are completely fine without 4+" of sand.Ē

This statement was a direct and seemingly intentional contradiction to what my care sheet recommends. No big deal under normal circumstances, but this particular person had just digested my care sheet (Iím assuming). I find it hard to believe that this was just a coincidence; that you were not intentionally attacking the validity of my care sheet PUBLICALLY. So, you see it could be interpreted that you were the one to attack me first! Ah, the wonders of differing perspectives.

Just like me, Iím sure you read numerous care sheets that are being publicly recommended that you donít agree with. The conviction that gives me the restraint to avoid publicly contradicting these care sheets 99% of the time and making a nuisance out of myself is that there are many roads to success and that itís not my place to exert my opinion and claim that it is more valid. It still happens sometimes of course (LOL), but I make an effort to not do it.

You seem to have a propensity for exuding attitude and getting into conflicts on these forums (Rhac & gecko). I too have been known for this, but i NORMALLY refrain from posting here to avoid such conflicts. You seem to have no such compunctions. Opinions are great (LOL) and I would offer that neither of our opinions are necessarily more valid than the other.

How do I know rangei prefer more substrate? Because Iíve experimented and tried numerous different set-ups for them and have found that, if given the choice, they will make extensive burrows and spend most of their time in them. If given too little substrate for making complex burrows, rangei still instinctively try to make them. Doesnít this tell you something? Have you ever seen a rangei dig to the bottom of your substrate and continue to try and dig deeper? Have you ever seen a rangei spend hours building a little burrow only to have it collapse because the substrate is too shallow? And then, notice the rangei try again; and again; and again? Day after day, night after night; you get the picture, right? Do I need to isolate the specific gene that carries the instinctive directions for making burrows to convince you?

Iím sure your rangei have adapted well to your methods, but is it really that necessary to deprive them of one of their main activities for the whole year? Most of the care sheets that Iíve read on rangei recommend providing ample substrate for burrowing. Even one of the breeders on your links page recommended ample substrate for rangei. I donít understand why you feel the need to deny that rangei prefer to have substrate to burrow in. What do they do in their natural habitat? They burrow. Why do they have webbed feet? They move across unsteady sand and they burrow.

If given a choice, my rangei prefer to be underground during the daytime. Rangei with substrate too shallow to support complex burrows frequently do not enjoy this option and must remain above ground where their natural instincts tell them they are vulnerable (and for good reason). Providing catch basin hides mitigates this sensitivity of course, but it is not a rangeiís natural choice for shelter. Most burrowing geckos feel more secure when they feel their backs up against the ceiling of their hides/burrows. Rangei spend most of their time underground in burrows they create (unlike many other species, which usurp burrows, inhabit old ones or seek cracks and caves). This denotes a possible propensity for controlling their environment and making adjustments according to environmental stressors.

One thing nice about having lots of substrate is that it allows more room for error. A beginner will be trying to set-up a stable environment and temp range for a newly acquired web-foot, but mistakes are often made. When substantial substrate is offered, the thermoregulatory options are increased. If the gecko is feeling too hot, not only can they move away from the heat on the surface level, but they can find their desired temp range in varying levels of substrate as well. Vice versa with cold temps. Thus, the substrate acts as a buffer from drastic changes or extreme temperatures. This gives newer keepers more leeway on temperature mistakes or accidents.
As a general rule of thumb, I try to recommend set-ups to beginners that are practical and affordable. Most customers I sell to do not have breeding racks and heat-tape as their means for heating and housing. Many new rangei buyers Iíve dealt with come with the mentality, experiences and husbandry methods honed from their experiences with leopard geckos. These people usually are interested in enclosures and heating methods that are more small-scale, personal and/or attractive than a freedom-breeder rack.

More substrate also means that any eggs deposited will likely be able to survive long enough to be discovered because they are protected in their deep substrate from dehydration. Shallow substrate frequently dictates that the eggs be collected within 24hrs(often just a couple hours) or the eggs go bad.

My female rangei are very selective about the temps and moisture of the sand they lay in. The heating and watering system I have remains constant so that a relatively specific swath of substrate (about 3-4 inches wide and 13 inches long; about 1/8th of the enclosureís total space) is always the best temps etc for egg deposition. My rangei lay their eggs in this Ďzoneí (the word I used in the last post) about 90% percent of the time.

Keeping something alive and getting it to breed is a far cry from making that animal happy or content. Once again, Iím not debating that you can breed and keep rangei alive on a half-inch of substrate. Iím saying that the individuals themselves have a natural preference (based on their design and environmental niche) for digging complex burrows and spending most of their life underground. If the substrate is not provided for this natural propensity or preference, then, in my book, the individualís desired requirements are not being completely met. Hardy, prolific species can deal with not having all their requirements met and still live and reproduce.

I would agree with you wholeheartedly that mediocrity abounds in the reptile trade. That is exactly why i like to encourage people to go above-and-beyond the generic recommendations. How is providing a half-inch of substrate for a species that is well documented for burrowing anything but mediocre?

I applaude you in your efforts to educate people on breeding practices and methods. But, I don't agree that the majority of my customers have breeding intentions. Ceratinly many do have these intentions or develop them later, but from what i have been able to ascertain, they are not the majority. Perhaps we have different customer demographics? Many of my customers are discriminatory buyers, collectors, repeat customers, beginners and hardcore animal lovers. Granted, we do sell to a decent amount of breeders and/or people with breeding intentions, but I do not believe that they makeup the majority of our customer base.

Being that it seems we are both prone to argue incessantly, let me try another approach.
Iím sorry about the compassion comment.
I will admit that my compassion comment could be seen as being inappropriate and, in hindsight, may have been more emotionally reactive than warranted.
At the same time, I think you should be more sensitive about how you publicly contradict someone elseís care sheet in a direct manner. Were it not for the fact that you were discrediting my care sheet to someone who had just been recommended my care sheet, I would never have made my Ďcompassioní comment.

Let us put this conflict to the side and get on with our passions. Let us agree to disagree.
Peace? Or war?


:Please don't quote me out of context. I said breeders and keepers that I KNOW. I work with geckos because I am intrigued and fascinated by them. I sell them on the Internet to fund my "passion" (i.e. new geckos, crickets, enclosures, etc.). You made a personal stab at me, which was entirely inappropriate. I have researched, bred, and photographed geckos for half of my life, and their well-being is most important. Please be assured that the keepers and breeders that I know are concerned about the health of their geckos over the bottom line. This is not my career, so I don't have to worry about production of my animals. I prefer to keep a large portion of the progeny for captive husbandry research.

:Of course I'm a little jaded. Mediocrity abounds in this "hobby", and I make sure that people know that my opinions are just that. We have lost some of the pioneers of gecko husbandry (Carl Lerner, Jeff Nunan, etc.) due to the evils of the industry. Do you really believe that gecko keepers are not interested in breeding? Since you sell geckos via the Internet, you should know that most gecko keepers want to eventually breed their geckos. Yes, my care sheets are made with the breeder in mind, and I believe that is no less noble.

:How do you know that P. rangei prefer to have a deeper substrate in captivity? It sounds like both of us are having success with them. There is no need to patronize me. Yes, it is more convenient for me when searching for eggs, and the health of the geckos is not suffering, which seems to be your point.

:I keep the cool end of the enclosure moist, and the sand on the warmer end remains dry. They are able to easily thermoregulate and can choose various humidity ranges. You repeat that the geckos "prefer" your set-up as opposed to mine. How do you know this when the P. rangei in my collection are healthy?

:There is nothing wrong with "spartan style of enclosure[s]", and I do keep many geckos in naturalistic set-ups. So, you don't keep any of your reptiles on paper towels, newspaper, or something similar?

:Like I mentioned earlier, most gecko keepers are interested in breeding, and there is nothing wrong with that. How many individuals buy only one gecko from you? If they do, they will eventually become interested in breeding the gecko. Just read the posts on any forum.

:Your P. rangei lay in the same general area? Wow! My P. rangei lay all over the enclosure, and I too use a brush ;).

:You questioned my compassion, so I had to respond to you. You avoid conflict? That's funny! You bashed me, remember? I am simply responding to your post. Why didn't you e-mail this post to me? It only seems fair that I respond to you.

:Nathan Hall


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