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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The dragons are biting.

If it has a mouth...it bites.


Dogs bite, cats bite, shit...fish bite...HUMANS bite...ask any cop or preschool teacher...


I get this "does it bite?" question ALOT. I always say that if it has a mouth it can bite you...If its som'thing that tends to be docile, I say "these tend not to bite". I can not remember a time in recent years where I've told som'one an animal was not going to bite them, in an absolute :never: way.

I find myself, more and more pondering peoples motivations behind pets. I mean, I was one of them, so I can understand it on that level, but I have "moved on" in many ways...as in, I like to have animals, but the need to go out and actively acquire new ones is a need that has left me for the most part.

I once was a consumer. Iam still, technically a producer. Even though I have for the most part shunned my former breeding operations, I still produce animals professionally, and due to my "career" assist novices in producing animals. Helping the novices, tends to produce more ill feelings than me producing my own animals, due to the sheer number of people who have bad motivators...and then here Iam, being the one having to deal with aggressive offspring from aggressive parents, having to baby non feeder snakes, which can from parents that were likely non feeders, and having to find homes for, or euthanize animals born with birth defects, when their producers reject responsibility for them

Ah, to cull or not to cull. Iam all for culling, in the spay neuter sense. As in, this dog is not perfect, lets bar it from breeding, but spare its life, and find it a home. But in reptiles, its not so easy. I can't spay/neuter a bearded dragon, and no matter how well I screen people, every year, som' tool decides that that kinked tail shouldn't stop lizzy from having babies. Or the School teacher, that year after year, produced tiny, pathetic, weakling bearded dragons, that grew slowly, the great majority of them with birth defects, and me doing everything, from reasoning, to pleading with her, not to pair the parents anymore. Every year, I'd find her eggs in the incubator, until finally, exhasted, as female beardeds become from egg laying, the mother of the weaklings passed on.

And there in lies the other evil. Egg laying. I'd say 90+% of the female beardeds I've known have died in egg laying. They get old, they get thin and their bodies just can't push them out. Its inevitable. Those that don't die in egg laying, die of accidents, or being euthanized when disease strikes their aging bodies. Males die generally of kidney failure or obesity, tho they do get to live twice as long as the girls do.

I used to say I've been bitten by beardeds twice. I remember both times...one was a very skittish animal that a person saved from a classroom where the kids were caugh torturing it. It nailed me as I tried to examine it for health. It was scared out of its mind.

The second animal, was an animal that belonged to a customer, and he felt the need to retell you its pedigree every time they brought it into the store (which was often). Reminds me of the people who approach you with their dog and blurt out "shes a champion such and such, when you hadn't even noticed the animal yet.....Of course pedigrees in bearded dragons for the most part are simply pretty animals bred to pretty animals, selected for color or pattern mutations. Anyway, despite its pedigree, it was a rather mediore looking animal, and it nailed me as I held up a nail clipper. It gave no signals, it just bit me, let go and was fine. The top of my finger was not fine

but these two stories, while I say they are the only ones, really aren't. I get bitten by babies almost daily now...som'thing I couldn't have said 6 years ago. Baby beardeds seem to be becoming more and more aggressive as the years pass, I have also noticed an increase in flightly skittish animals. Beardeds so skittish, they are almost impossible to handle, and they take quite a bit of forced interactions to 'grow out of it".

I remember a specific group of leatherbacks imported from europe. I have never dealt with beardeds that were so aggressive at a juvenile age. Absolutely untrustworthy and "evil" as we called them. They weren't a hard sell tho, they were a rare morph, and no doubt every last one of them went on to reproduce.

I have seen birth defects increase, with a big peak around 2008, I see fewer today, but I think thats due to most of the novices no longer breeding, and have given away their adults.

Thats the other thing...where are all these dragons going? This year and last, people in mass gave up their pets. It was insane. It was like I missed the "everyone relinquish anything alive" memo. People poured in wanting to give up the animals they swore were family members...many people saying the reason was the animals babies could no longer fund the hobby...ironic since the majority of people who buy a bearded dragon or two are not thinking about breeding for money...yet, once they have, and the money flow stops, the animals are worthless to them

Ironically, the pet, the exotic pet, that makes people different, is slowly going the way of the poorly bred purebred dog.

I see many more bites in my future.

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