Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Underbites: Lies, Fairytales and Baby Food

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Underbites: Lies, Fairytales and Baby Food

    This is a post that I have been meaning to make for a while but just never had the time. I woke up today and said, "OK! I'm gonna make it happen!" so here we are.

    Anyway, as many of you know, my Scooby has quite an underbite or "fat lip" as I affectionately call it. There are a few others on here with Chahoua that have the same defining characteristic and it is something that I have put considerable time and effort into investigating over the last year. I was originally intrigued because most people were mentioning that the underbite was a result of deep inbreeding in Grand Terre populations several years ago, but I was also noticing that unrelated animals were producing some offspring with underbites as well.

    When I got Scooby I asked the breeder several questions and probed pretty deep into what caused his jaw to protrude like it does. I believe that the breeder was very honest and upfront with me about the situation, and that is why I felt comfortable purchasing him, so I’ll start by sharing Scooby’s story:

    His parents are both unrelated Grand Terre animals from two different breeders and each was 5 1/2 years old at the time that he was born. In the three years that they have been paired, the female has consistently laid 3 clutches and produced beautiful, healthy babies. In this particular year, she decided to drop a “surprise” 4th clutch and calcium crashed directly after laying. The other egg turned out perfectly fine but Scooby came out with a fat lip and was the first imperfect baby that the breeder ever produced.

    I always considered his situation when hearing of or looking at animals with underbites, and I started to notice a pattern: a lack of calcium in the mother while laying was frequently a part of the circumstance. I am not saying that this is necessarily breeder error, but we don’t always have much control over how many clutches a female decides to lay in a year, especially if she decides to slip an extra one there. It is common knowledge that these guys are extremely calcium-sensitive so it makes sense to think that at the end of a season the female may have been depleted, squeezed out one last clutch, and those babies suffered as a result of her deficiency.

    There is a member here who has a local laboratory that keeps several Rhac species, and has a few different Chahoua pairs – both GT and PI. The doctor who keeps these animals only feeds baby food with a bit of calcium (if I recall correctly – that person can correct me) and undusted crickets. Not surprisingly, every baby from every pair has an underbite.

    I think the results from that lab are quite interesting: with 6-7 pairs of unrelated animals from different locales producing 100% of babies with underbites, the focus then becomes what they have in common. The first and most obvious is housing and diet; the second could be incubation which I know nothing about. Not surprisingly, the lack of calcium mimics Scooby’s mother and story.

    I want to be clear that I think there are two different types of calcium deficiency:
    1) like Scooby’s mother, where a female is not adequately “recalcified” before laying another clutch
    2) a situation where the diet itself is weak in calcium from the very beginning, like in the laboratory
    In one instance the underbite baby is produced at the end of the season due to depleted reserves from the first few clutches, and in the other they are produced from the very beginning, but the common link is a lack of calcium in both.



    Now, this is where things get a little murkier. Grand Terre animals have the reputation of being more prone to underbites and many people assert that this is due to a lack of genetic diversity and inbreeding. I am not so sure that there couldn’t be another explanation…

    If I recall correctly, Grand Terre animals were imported to the U.S. first and the Pine Isles came later. (I am not even sure if this is correct or what the lapse of time between importation might be, but it’s something to research). Obviously, remarkable research and insight have been gained on the front of reptile nutrition in the last 20 years, and really, just in the last 5-10 years. For a very long time baby food was the standard dish when feeding your Rhac. After a while people realized that they needed to add some supplementation to the baby food, and then a while later CGD was born. Now 3 generations later, and we are still making progress!

    I think it’s quite likely that when the GT Chahoua arrived, they were fed mostly baby food and/or crickets. Since this is not a necessarily calcium-rich diet (and if my above assumptions are true) and considering the calcium-sensitive nature of Chahoua, they probably started producing a good number of offspring with underbites. As the numbers increased and feeding practices stayed the same (baby food and/or insects) more and more underbite chewies were born. Today I think we are seeing fewer animals with underbites because we know more about how to correctly feed, supplement, and breed them which produces offspring that does not exhibit this trait as often.

    Perhaps by the time that the Pine Isle animals arrived, a decent number of GT Chahoua had been produced in captivity, with underbites, so that is what people came to expect of the Grand Terre locales. I have certainly seen a few PI’s with underbites, but the GT’s suffer from the stigma moreso than they do.

    Also consider: the Rhacodactylus genus as a whole has proven to be extremely resistant to the effects or mutations often associated with inbreeding, even over prolonged periods of time.

    So, put in layman’s terms, I think it’s possible that Grand Terre Chahoua get a bad rep for underbites and “being too inbred” when it is probably human error and misunderstanding of their nutritional needs that caused the problems in the first place.

    So, I pose a few questions:

    Have any of you produced a chahoua with an underbite?
    A. If so, what do you feed and what is your feeding schedule?
    B. What number was the clutch that the baby came from (first, fourth, etc)?

    Do those of you who own Chahoua with an underbite know the story, care, feeding regimen and history of the parents? If so, can you share?

    Have any of you bred a Chahoua with an underbite? If so, did the offspring exhibit the same characteristics?


    Thanks for reading my ramblings…feel free to disregard if you want !
    Charming Chewies: Specializing in Grand Terre and Pine Isle locales of chahoua.

  • #2
    Thanks Michael! I agree that the "inbreeding" pat answer to the underbite questions that commonly come up around GTs is false in most cases. Very thought provoking post!
    Specializing in R. Chahoua

    Comment


    • #3
      Great post! I have some input as well

      Have any of you produced a chahoua with an underbite? YES 1 ever out of 22 babies in 8 years. yes it was a mainland...

      A. If so, what do you feed and what is your feeding schedule? Crickets dusted and fed collard greens and carrots 3x a week, a organic baby food cocktail with added reptivite +D3 2x a week.
      B. What number was the clutch that the baby came from (first, fourth, etc)? That egg was in the only 3rd clutch that female ever laid (normally only laid 2 a year) and was completely unexpected. I take full responsibility for not having pumped her with calcium, it was my first time breeding chahouas and I was in the middle of a move and didn't even realize she could lay that quickly after her 2nd clutch. The other egg was extremely small and under calcified, the resulting hatchling from the better egg has an underbite.

      Do those of you who own Chahoua with an underbite know the story, care, feeding regimen and history of the parents? If so, can you share? Yeah, see above

      Have any of you bred a Chahoua with an underbite? If so, did the offspring exhibit the same characteristics? I am breeding that underbite female this year. She has so far laid 2 clutches, but it is her first year breeding. The first clutch was undercalcified and infertile, which is not uncommon for first timers. The second was perfectly normal, fertile, BUT I had a incubator malfunction (spiked to 92 for a day) which killed all but 1 egg in my incubator.

      I'd also like to add to this post that specifically vitamin D3 is very important for these geckos and was not even known in the zoo and large private breeding groups to be essential to reptile reproduction unti the mid 1980's when Bert Langerwerf presented his findings of the positive effects of vitamin D3 in reptile diets at the 25th Annual Meeting of SSAR. I do not know when this knowledge eventually leaked down to the rhac gecko hobbyists, but think it's important to factor that particular vitamin in to the history of chahoua's hatched out with underbites. Baby food diets have been proven to work as food for over a decade, but you can't just give it alone. Calcium with D3 OR UVB lighting are also big essentials.
      Rhachic
      www.goodlifeherps.weebly.com
      specializing in rhacodactylus

      Comment


      • #4
        I am inclined to agree that the underbites are caused largely as a result of dietary issues, although I am no professional on the subject. I have seen instances where a completely unrelated pair of PI chahoua have produced clutches of perfect babies and then one will pop up with an underbite.

        I think that there is something critical about the calcium requirements that we are missing when we don't supplement. I have seen it in my own chewies where if I don't supplement calcium every once in a while their tails start to get a hint of kinking and their lips get a hint of swelling. I am a firm believer in supplementing extra Ca for chahoua, especially for breeding females.

        Comment


        • #5
          Great post mike! I think your observations can definitely help get to the bottom of the underbite issue after a few generations of research.
          Crested Geckos
          Ball Pythons
          African Fat Tails

          www.Geckodelic.com

          http://www.facebook.com/pages/Geckod...34486576627889

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Guys!

            I do certainly agree that nutrition plays a roll especially in calcium nutrition. I even heard of examples in other Rhacodactylus in which an underbite trait had accompanied a strongly suspected calcium deficiency. My "hunch" on all this was that mainlands because of their smaller gene pool perhaps carried a defect in their ability either to absorb or utilize calcium. I had less considered an ontogenic reason since i had assumed similar diets and conditions among PI and Mainland animals. It never ceases to amaze me how often i find that my assumptions interfere with my pursuit of knowledge. It is wonderful that you reminded us that mainland underbites stories could largely come from a time when diets deficient in calcium were common, and the captive R. chahoua population was likely composed entirely of mainland animals. I do find the anecdotal data compelling enough to be interested in more information from that member you gave the example about, or anyone else that has found a similar trend.
            Last edited by AndrewLiu; 09-16-2010, 04:09 PM. Reason: Grammar and Spelling
            2.3.10 R.ciliatus
            2.2.0 R.auriculatus
            4.4.1 R.sarasinorum
            8.10.3 R.chahoua (PI)
            1.2.0 R.chahoua (GT)

            www.JollyGreenGecko.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Good post! Not too much to ad but, when I was first started my research before getting any chahoua I looked at P.I. vs G.T. I read a lot of forum threads. There were a great deal that brought up the Mainland inbreeding accusation(it was sometimes presented as a well known thing) as it related to underbites. It wasn't until I spoke with a reputable breeder that I learned about this just being a theory and completely unproven. I ended up buying two Mainlands(niether of which have underbites) and I'll let you know if I ever breed them.
              -Aaron

              R. Ciliatus,R. Chahoua(P.I. & Mainland)

              Buyer Reviews:
              http://www.faunaclassifieds.com/foru...d.php?t=237728

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for all of the insightful replies! My thoughts are obviously far from scientific but I have spent a lot of time gathering data and sorting through feeding schedules, clutches, diets, and anything else that might be relevant. All of that led me to the conclusion of calcium, as outlined above.

                Hopefully, as a community we can pull together and make some more inferences and share our experiences on this subject!
                Charming Chewies: Specializing in Grand Terre and Pine Isle locales of chahoua.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I dont have a chahoua with an underbite, But i do have a GT cross leachinaus with a slight underbite. he cam from two unrelated parents obviously becasue one was a GT and one was a henkeli. I know it is not genetic because he has produced two cluthes of completely normal leachianus'. Probably had to do with the calcium level of the mother at the time. Awesome post though.
                  Crested Geckos...
                  5.8.x Leachianus
                  2.2.x PI Chahoua
                  4.12.x Gargoyles
                  3.3.x Sarasinorums
                  1.0.0 Crested-Chahoua Hybrid

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Does anyone think a UV light would help the calcium absorption

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I dont have a chewie yet (the key word is yet). But I have often been thinking this over as I do have the source to buy them dirt cheap, I shyed away from it as every baby they hatch has an under bite. Although she doesnt know the local of her groups besides one of her geckos which passed away, I have no idea if it was from poor bloodlines, or from bad keeping.

                      I did probe deeper into her habits, I looked at all of her rhacs in general, looked how they were kept, fed, and incubated All of her adult chewies were on the smaller side, a little thin, not terrible but IMO, never seening an adult chewie in person besides these (only in picture), I had thought them seemed small. But as I probed deeper into her care, it was uncovered that all of her rhacs are fed baby food with calcium, and calcium dusted crickets. And it wasnt just her chewies that had issue, the gargs and cresteds did also (her chewies appeared fine). The baby gargs and cresteds appeared perfectly fine, but the adults were thin, had MBD, FT (yes I know that isnt from diet), in general not the healthiest looking adults, but the babies she produces are beautiful. She is trying to make steps now to change her diet the last I had talked to her (BIG thanks to Sarah on that for helping to push her towards CGD).

                      I believe the reasoning for her chewies underbites is simply from poor diet. I would possibly consider otherwise since some of the parents have it, but being that her poor feeding habits has affected 3 of the 4 rhac species this lab works with, that is my assumption. I have still considered getting from her as her chewies are beautiful, and I think if fed the right diet the babies will quickly get on track before any major damage is done, but it leaves me to wonder, will it ever grow into its under bite?
                      lets just say I have a lot of stuff
                      www.sublimereptiles.com
                      Facebook
                      BOI

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by goReptiles View Post
                        Does anyone think a UV light would help the calcium absorption
                        definitely, which is why I mentioned the whole UVB and D3 thing, gotta be UVB though regular lighting won't help the calcium absorption.
                        Rhachic
                        www.goodlifeherps.weebly.com
                        specializing in rhacodactylus

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Must have missed that part. I will be getting a UV for my new guy

                          I prefer the bulbs, but would that be too harsh on the gecko? Would the zoo med 5% UV tubes be a better choice?

                          Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by goReptiles View Post
                            Must have missed that part. I will be getting a UV for my new guy

                            I prefer the bulbs, but would that be too harsh on the gecko? Would the zoo med 5% UV tubes be a better choice?

                            Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
                            I've heard that higher than 5.0 can potentially be harmful to their eyes especially if it's a small tank. If you have a 4 foot high vivarium 10.0 would be ok. I use 10.0 in my 6 foot tall vivarium and 5.0 in all my small tanks. Tube or bulb shouldn't matter, I use tubes because they're easy to fit above the tanks, but use bulbs over my tortoises.
                            If you're already using a D3 additive it may not make a difference to use the UVB, but in my opinion it never hurts to be over prepared.
                            Rhachic
                            www.goodlifeherps.weebly.com
                            specializing in rhacodactylus

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by thongwedgie View Post
                              But as I probed deeper into her care, it was uncovered that all of her rhacs are fed baby food with calcium, and calcium dusted crickets. And it wasnt just her chewies that had issue, the gargs and cresteds did also (her chewies appeared fine). The baby gargs and cresteds appeared perfectly fine, but the adults were thin, had MBD, FT (yes I know that isnt from diet), in general not the healthiest looking adults, but the babies she produces are beautiful. She is trying to make steps now to change her diet the last I had talked to her (BIG thanks to Sarah on that for helping to push her towards CGD).

                              I believe the reasoning for her chewies underbites is simply from poor diet.
                              I feed a baby food mixture I make myself and have neverhad any under bites in my cresteds, and gargs, and all but 1 baby chahoua out of 22 babies. There are many other dietary factors that can and most likely are causing her problems. If she does provide calcium but not UVB or D3 it won't matter how much calcium she gives them because they are unable to process it properly. This would cause all of her animals to be weak and have babies with under bites...though i'm kind of surprised she doesn't have more dying if she really isn't providing either of these supplements. Normally they would get MBD and have much worse problems than just an under bite.
                              Rhachic
                              www.goodlifeherps.weebly.com
                              specializing in rhacodactylus

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X