If you’re at all familiar with our shop and our ethos, you’ll be familiar with the fact that we only sell captive bred reptiles. We do this because we deal
in pets, rather than specialist collections; an animal that has been born and bred surrounded by humans is going to be much more likely to take family life in its stride, without any of the stress or parasite problems that can so bedevil a wild caught animal.
We also breed several species right here in the shop, and there’s several reasons for that.
One, it’s interesting. We got into this trade because we’re passionate about reptiles, and thoroughly enjoy keeping them. Managing adult animals and successfully rearing their offspring is what it’s all about, in a way. And you can’t beat that feeling when you peep into the incubator and are faced with a little nose poking out of an eggshell!
Two, supply. Some species can be difficult to obtain, or the supply can be a little bit patchy. At least when you produce your own you have a fairly good idea what’s going to be available and when. Our Western Hognose snakes are a good example of this. (Also, a newly hatched hognose is one of the most adorable baby snakes in existence!)
Three, quality. And that’s not just the quality of the animal itself, but the quality of the care it has received until it reaches us.
We have written several times about providing UVB for nocturnal and crepuscular species, a subject which still arouses heated debate within the reptile keeping community. As you will know if you’ve been following our writings or spoken to us in store, we are very much in favour of it – to the point where we believe it’s a necessity, not an optional extra.
Read our blog UV lighting for nocturnal geckos, snakes and amphibians
When we bring in amphibians – a group that are most frequently kept without UVB – it’s very noticeable that the first thing they do is bask under the UVB of their new home. This happens every single time; they line up and soak up that artificial sunlight, then go and hide as they’re supposed to. After that, they just need to top their levels up, and so you’ll see them first thing in the morning having a little bask, then returning to their hiding places for the day.
The same is true of the nocturnal geckos. During the day most of our geckos can be observed emerging from their hides for a little while to absorb some UV, then go back to their daytime refuges. Unfortunately, an awful lot of geckos are kept and bred without the benefit of this specialist lighting, and although they will survive and even breed without it, they don’t thrive in the same way as those kept with it.
In the past we have had some health issues with the geckos bred by commercial establishments. Whilst heavy supplementation can indeed work to keep these babies healthy, many of them do seem to struggle with relocation stress, and can take a long time to settle in to a new environment. It can be rather a lottery, and it’s not always possible to be sure how soon such babies will be ready for a new home.
The solution is simple. Obtain good quality, healthy, strong adults, keep them well, and let nature take its course. When the offspring arrive, the higher standard of welfare observed in both the care of their parents and themselves results in stronger babies that cope beautifully when they go to their new homes.
We can guarantee how old they are, what they have been fed on, and what supplements have been used. Because we’ve known them since the day they’ve hatched, we’re familiar with their different personalities and habits; this makes it so much easier to match up the right pet with the right owner.
All our crested geckos have been bred in store for several years now, and this is the first year we’ve produced our own leopard geckos too (Pete used to breed loads back in the late 1990’s). The quality of the babies speaks for itself.
Whilst we would love to breed more species, time and space very quickly become a factor! So for the moment, we’ll stick to producing the animals that – in our opinion – benefit most from the care and attention that can only really be found when they are bred in small numbers, very carefully managed for the animal’s wellbeing.
So if you would like to welcome a little gecko into your home, why not consider one of our little home bred gems?