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Old 10-12-2014, 08:27 AM   #101
Originally Posted by bigjej View Post
Very good points.
Originally Posted by toddnbecka View Post
There's no real "natural selection" process in captive breeding, so animals that would never survive in the wild are raised and passed along. I agree that it's better to allow the young to sort themselves out than to go to extremes to keep them alive.
Thanks for the support.

In certain breeding programs, I can see why a breeder might feel differently. If this were a line breeding or morph-based program for a more common species (corn snakes, for instance) I could see where working toward getting an individual through this phase and working to breed in some genetic strength later on would have its benefits.

However, this program is about sustainability of an endangered species, and thus, health and viability are by far the priorities. I might also feel differently if there were, say, only four babies total and they were all non-feeders, but since 25 out of 28 readily accepted chick thighs, the continuation of the species for the next generation seems pretty well assured, so viability becomes a factor for non-feeders.

In my experience, snakes are sometimes slow to start feeding, or picky eaters, and that has little bearing on overall health. However, any snake that is willing to starve itself to death is either being kept incorrectly (unlikely with 26 success stories of identical husbandry) or has something severely wrong with it. I have force fed or trick fed other snake babies in the past (corn snakes, for instance) and while many go on to become healthy, viable adults with good feed responses, the incidence of sudden, mysterious death was significantly higher amongst these individuals than with their easier subilings. This is not a risk that I am willing to take with Jamaicans.
Old 10-12-2014, 06:42 PM   #102
It stands to reason that a lack of appetite is an indication of some other, less apparent issue. Given that in a typical litter there are often several stillborn it isn't realistic to expect every live baby to be equally healthy and hearty. I've kept. bred, and raised aquarium fish for most of my life. I've culled large numbers of fish fry, and have seen some brought in to pet shops by other people that should have been culled. Even among otherwise "good" stock there's a significant difference in size and growth rate, and in the wild if 2 offspring survive the species has broken even.
Obviously, captive breeding of endangered or rare snakes is a different situation, but the same principles apply. Not every individual is going to carry good genes to pass along, and the ones that don't are best left out of the gene pool in the long run.
Old 10-12-2014, 09:09 PM   #103
It's interesting that you bring up fish. I also have a good deal of fish breeding in my experience, and from what I've seen, most (if not all) fish have a breeding strategy of producing a large number of offspring under the assumption that most of them will not survive to breed, as opposed to say, an elephant, which has one, large, developed baby that has a much greater chance at survival. Jamaican boas have a similar strategy to fish. They have the largest litter size of all of the epicrates, and as such, also tend to have the smallest babies. It would stand to reason, then, that many would not be expected to survive. I will continue to offer the non-feeders various food for as long as I can, in the hopes that they come around, but I don't think I will be going to any extremes in order to prolong their lives artificially.

In contrast, the second bahaman anole was added to the lizard-eater's cage yesterday, and this morning can not be found, unless you count the large lump in the baby snake's midsection. This is a good demonstration of the difference between a picky eater and a problem feeder. This snake is only willing to eat live anoles (so far), but is still willing to eat regularly, immediately, and of its own accord, indicating that it is healthy and viable. I will be feeding the holdback babies (except the one that ate its quail chick) in the next day or two, then will skip them on the normal Thursday feeding, and get them back on track the following week. I will update on Tuesday (or some day nearby) with the results of that feeding.
Old 10-12-2014, 09:38 PM   #104
LOL! ;-)
Old 10-12-2014, 09:42 PM   #105
Well said!
Old 10-13-2014, 12:27 PM   #106
Originally Posted by Snakesitter View Post
Well said!
Thanks. All holdbacks (minus the quail-eater) have been given a new thigh. I'll update later with the success of the venture. I'm really hoping the presence of a quail chick on Friday, and any possible failed attempts at eating it, have not somehow put them off feed.
Old 10-13-2014, 10:59 PM   #107
I'm sure they will pull though for you!
Old 10-13-2014, 11:08 PM   #108
Originally Posted by Snakesitter View Post
I'm sure they will pull though for you!
Four of the eight had already eaten their thigh when I checked on them this afternoon, so I'm hoping the other four eat overnight. I'll update tomorrow with the results.
Old 10-14-2014, 05:46 PM   #109
The remaining four holdbacks ate overnight. Everyone is back on feed (except my two non-feesers, of course) hopefully, I will find some smaller anoles at hamburg on Saturday.
Old 10-15-2014, 03:24 PM   #110
Quick correction. Upon cleaning out cages today, I found hidden chick thighs in Escapee #1 and Escapee #4's tubs. Apparently, in my attempt to not be too invasive, I did not search thoroughly enough for these food items. E1 and E4 will be fed tomorrow with the other snakes, so hopefully they will be over their protest.

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