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Posted by mikecoscia on April 23, 2003 at 16:34:03:
In Reply to: I went straight to the source for a reply... posted by mikecoscia on April 23, 2003 at 16:12:13:
::I'm tired of having dead end debates, so I sought concrete answers based on years of working knowledge. Here is an email from Allen Rapeshy with answers to some questions i asked him pertaining to the original question and susequent replys in this thread. Take it for what you will, but I know what information I take to the rep room with me.
:: I will answer your questions without checking the forum as to not be
:: influenced by any "debate"that is at hand.
:: You can quote me if you like
:: >2. Which is the more important factor, weight or age?(for breeding)
:: I would have to say conditioning is really the key here, and it is more
:: evident by size than age. I have a size that I consider to be a good
:: breeding size, but it is more "eyeball than weight" I would have to check,
:: but as I recall, we did some weights for our book, and I think it was
:: around 35-40 grams.. I will grab double check. This usually takes an
:: average of 10 months on a the SuperFoods. We raise all the geckos in
:: breeding groups from about 6 months, and the breed when they are ready. We
:: do not raise females to a certain size before we put them with males.
:: Healthy females will lay eggs when they are ready... it is as easy as that.
:: Size can be a misnomer if the animals are not healthy. you could have a
:: long skinny gecko that weighs that. I am talking about a robust animal with
:: good calcium stores.
:: >3. How long of a cool down do you give them, and at how many clutches?
:: We cool our animals for a very scientifically determined time period....
:: from Thanksgiving day till New Years Day... :) 5-6 weeks. I would say that
:: our average number of clutches is probably about 7 per year. The geckos are
:: always kept in breeding groups, and the females take breaks when they need
:: to at different times of the year. Production would continue year round,
:: but it is usually maturing females that start to lay late in the year. Most
:: of the seasoned females slow down in the fall on their own. The only
:: reason we cool them is that we need a break to reorganize for the new year,
:: and it does seem to trigger the youngsters who have not laid to start
:: >4. Do you think a extended cool down of a year would increase the geckos
:: As far as I know, I have the oldest females in captivity. They were
:: collected as Adults in 94-95. These females are in my estimation at least
:: 12 years old, and they still produce on par with my second year producers.
:: We usually see a little more production from first year females (an extra
:: clutch or two) and then they settle down and produce consistently from there.
:: Hope that helps, Allen"
:::It is common sense that animals grow slower and less frequent then they do in captivity. However since you live by your articles and always doubt me for some reason here is a quote from Rhacodactylus: Biology, Natural History & Husbandry, “Captive-bred geckos reach sexual maturity much earlier, and the period of pregnancy is much shorter then in captured specimens. This phenomenon most probably results from the optimal nourishment and general keeping conditions prevailing in our terrariums. As a consequence, the intervals between the clutches are usually shorter, too, so that females bear the risk of ‘wearing out prematurely’.” Since I care about the well being of my animals the last part is of concern to me. So my guys do not breed every year. There is also more that relates to what I have been saying about females and stress during breeding, but I am not going to quote the whole book.
:::As far as me comparing reptiles to humans, sure the times and ways vary greatly. However when you get down to it reproduction is reproduction. It does not matter if you are an intelligent ape or a single celled ameba. Everything has to reach a certain point before they can reproduce. After they need a period of rest to replenish what they have lost so they can reproduce again. If they do not get enough time between intervals they “wear out prematurely”. Reason being they are sacrificing nutrients they need for their own bodies for reproduction, something I have seen many times with many species. So it is going to do nothing but benefit your animals to breed them slightly older and less frequently. 10 months is absurd, but if you are not concerned about the well being of your animals, then go nuts.