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Old 6th April 2013   #1
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Default GeckosEtc. Leopard Geckos and Genetic Abnormalities

This is a message to anyone considering buying higher end leopard geckos large scale line breeders, and especially GeckosEtc. This is not a message meant to hurt anyone's business. Just a public FYI. I have copies of all correspondance relative to this matter, as does the business owner. I understand his position, but he has little respect for mine.

Early last year, I purchased $850 worth of leopards from GeckosEtc. A $550 Super Giant male, A stunning $200 super snow female, and two $125 females, those being a giant mack snow, and a bold stripe. The following is my experience for your consideration.

I know GeckosEtc has many, many, satisfied customers, and that's great. However, I am not one of them. Although I had considered this issue done for some time now, this very morning I just happened to find another person who had a very similar experience, which brought all the frustration of a wasted $600 flooding back.

That person also had a GeckosEtc Super Giant prolapse a hemipene, but discovered it early enough to save the gecko, and that lizard is fine now. That person also lost a GeckosEtc super snow female when she became egg bound.

I have approached the owner many times since these issues began to make this right somehow, and he is not interested. So this message is my last avenue on the matter. These are leopard geckos, not some rare dwarf cloud forest chameleon, their husbandry is not comlicated. There is simply no way my husbandry caused all of this.

The $550 SG male was as good as dead 45 days after receipt from a prolapsed hemipene that got infected. The health guarantee is 30 days. I was trying to allow the geckos to acclimate, and didn't bug them too much for the first couple of weeks. By the time I discovered it, it was too late. It was infected, and I could not save him.

The Super Snow female was a weird feeder from day 1. She always snapped at her prey 1/4" short. It was as if her depth perception was off. She would sometimes be successful, sometimes not. She eventually stopped eating, and then began to emaciate. Eventual force feeding did nothing. She wasted and eventually died...approximately six months after I received her.

The mack snow and bold stripe females were both bred last year, laid a few sets of slugs, and then stopped feeding. I removed them from the male, and they continued to get skinnier and skinnier. I eventually started giving them repashy crested gecko diet with a syringe, and they snapped out of it. They are both now eating, fat and happy.

When they were very skinny, and I was afraid I would lose them, I again contacted the seller at GeckosEtc. He said they most likely had pinworms. I had fecals run, and those came back negative. It was always something on my end...something I was doing wrong, rather than what appeared to me to be obvious genetic weaknesses.

I have seen more than once (the other incident was with Phyllobates terribilis) where a reputable breeder essentially scoffs at the insinuation that his animals are beginning to show genetic weakness. I purchased a trio of the frogs, and by the age of 1.5 years, one's back was going crooked, and the other was developing a goiter in its throat sac. The third is thriving at fours years of I said...rolling the dice. Some good, some not so good.

The surviving mack snow has laid eight eggs this season, of which two were fertile. I have no desire to hurt anyone's business, but I spent $850 dollars on what I believe were genetically inferior lizards, and the response has essentially been, "sorry, but it's not my problem...30 days is up!"

Like I said, I recently exchanged emails with another person who had essentially the same issues with the same morphs. I had written this situation off until this event. I am not willing to bring that person into this discussion unless they give me permission. They informed me that they had many GeckosEtc leopards, and most of them were fine, which again, is great. It seems to be a roll of the dice.

So it essentially comes down to this, folks: Leopard geckos are being line bred like nobody's business. Some of the morphs are getting thin, genetically. So if you are considering spening a ton of money on high quality morphs, you very well may be rolling the dice, and may want to make an agreement with the breeder that if you see some weird "tick" or other issue with your purchases, that you can report and/or video that tick and return the lizard. 30 days is not enough time, given the weird stuff that is popping up.

The owner of GeckosEtc will say he offered to give me a deal, which is true. But I didn't want to give him any more money. The owner will say I at one time said I would "write this off as a loss", this is also true. I had convinced myself (with his help) that this was my fault somehow. I was never difficult or rude about this, even though I had lost over $600 worth of leopard geckos, and had barely saved the other two, who stressed very heavily after their first intro to a male.

He said (this afternoon, when he emailed me whining about threatening him) he didn't want to send me another gecko for fear that if it had problems I would gripe about that too and blame his genetic lines. Uhhhhh, yeah I might, am I not supposed to complain when VERY EXPENSIVE but normally hardy lizards die for no reason?.

This is not a threat, it is a complaint from a customer who is upset over the loss of $600. Happens every day. You're not special, or protected by some force field. You're running a business, and customers complain when they feel they have been slighted.

When I contacted him this morning, telling him once and for all I wanted a replacement gecko, he said he was rescinding the offer he made me (that's rich), an offer that was never made, but I assume that had he voiced it, it would have involved me forking over more money.

If you have had similar experiences with higher end geckos, it's probably better for everyone if you say something. It is the guys like me who are, for the first time, putting a large chunk of money into a breeding group that will get hurt if we don't speak up. Next time it may be you.

I believe that some of these mega breeder lizards are raised in such perfect little "bio-cubes" for the first year or so of their lives that when they leave it, some of them cannot cope with it, and any weaknesses they have come screaming to the top.

When I discovered the other person that had experienced the same things with the same morphs from the same breeder, I decided that I would try again to get a replacement. I only asked for a replacement gecko worth half the price of my original purchase. I do not believe that is too much to ask.

Apparently it is too much to ask.

So before you spend hard earned money on a GeckosEtc might want to set some ground rules. The owner has told me more than once that his guarantee is the best in the business. For me it wasn't good enough...not even close.

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Old 6th April 2013   #2
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Default Re: GeckosEtc. Leopard Geckos and Genetic Abnormalities

Just a little comment, its nonsense to talk about high quality morphs. If you are purchasing complex mutants you are not buying for quality, you are buying for colours, rarity or commercial potential. Some leopard gecko mutations are known to have severe neurological effects, cause blindness, etc. Those are linked to the mutation (some in fact being a direct, intrinsic consequence of the mutation), not necessarily the product of line breeding or weakening stock. This reminds me of a woman in a different forum that was furious to have been sold an enigma gecko that seemed, and i quote, "retarded". Well...yeah thats what you get, madam.
Im sorry this happened to you but this is exactly what happens when all people want are "high quality morphs".
I wish i could be more sympathetic, but im really not...:S

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Old 8th April 2013   #3
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Default Re: GeckosEtc. Leopard Geckos and Genetic Abnormalities

I'm with Rodrigo - I only breed wildtypes from my Afghan line. Having seen how badly a friend's mutations coped with environmental conditions when he looked after mine during a house move, I'm convinced that we're breeding some terrible animals in pursuit of colour.

On a less sanctimonious note - good luck with your geckos and I hope you get some satisfaction from the breeder.

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Old 11th April 2013   #4
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Default Re: GeckosEtc. Leopard Geckos and Genetic Abnormalities

100% agree with Rodrigo.

As a breeder of leopard geckos (tangerine and sunglow baldy's)
There are leopards I will NOT touch with a 50yd pole.
The Enigma being huge on the list. Contacting a breeder and making sure the lines I'm interested in are not bred with these is a first for me.

I'm seeing a LOT of this neurologically deficient animals lately, enigmas, spider ball pythons is another huge example.
A lot of breeders do not seem to group reptiles in with fuzzy animals and I see way to much line or plain inbreeding. I'm not sure how they don't see it being a problem when you mesh the same DNA over and over but it is.

Regardless of species i've never "left an animal alone" to acclimate for 3 weeks that's crazy, and negligent. I spend more time with an animal I just received. Making sure its eating well, has no shipping aftermath (as I call it) and is hydrated well. Especially if its a higher investment animal. Leaving $200-10,000 animal to "acclimate" is absurd.
Leopards do not always ship well. And can be terribly picky eaters, even to refuse a different sized insect, even though its the same food.
Case in point i have a female leopard that loves roaches, but only small ones, if they are to big (larger then a dime) she won't eat them.

With all that said GeckosEtc is a huge breeder, there will always be a % of failed health when you breed 100's of animals a year. Health guarantees have an expiration for a reason. There is a point where you took the risk on genetics, and it becomes your responsibility. Breeders can't guarantee life time health when we don't know if the animals are cared for the way you were told too.
Not that that is an excuse if he sold you bunk animals, but you also have to accept some blame on yourself. Not just for the risk of gene inbreeding for color and pattern, but for leaving animals unattended in such a way you didn't notice a prolapsed hemepene for 45 days.

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