Where's Our Hobby Headed (Hybrids, Morphs, and Pure Localities)?

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Nero Egernia, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've just started reading the iHerp magazines. I found the article "Morph it or Leave it" to be an interesting read.

    The article discusses the divide between the "light (purists)" and "dark (morphs)" sides of the hobby, and how in general the greater hobby is turning to the so-called dark side. But how do we define the opposite sides of the same coin?

    Keep in mind the following are only generalizations. Apologies if anything's incorrect.

    By definition I suppose a "purist" is someone who keeps and breeds herpetofauna of known wild origins. They don't hybridize species and subspecies, and they aim to preserve the area specific integrity of their animals, only breeding their chosen species with another of the same species, from the same locality. For example, they'll only breed a Tasmanian Tiger Snake with another Tasmanian Tiger Snake, even though Tiger Snakes can be found right across southern Australia. The purist may take it even further by only breeding Tiger Snakes found just outside of Hobart. They won't breed their Hobart animals with animals that may come from the north-west of Tasmania, for example.

    The "dark side" on the other hand can be a little different. This usually consists of someone who may breed animals of known localities with other animals of known localities in the hopes of breeding something different from the norm and visually pleasing to the eye. For example they may breed a Common Blue-tongue (Tiliqua scincoides) from Adelaide with a Common Blue-Tongue (Tiliqua scincoides) from Brisbane. Or they may take this a step further, and pair sub-species together e.g. T. scincoides scincoides x T. scincoides intermedia. Or they may simply breed animals of unknown origins. Another example would be pairing Australian Green Tree Pythons with Biak Green Tree Pythons. They may take it further and pair species e.g. Black Headed Python x Carpet Python.

    Interestingly, however, as alluded to in the article, both sides of the hobby will selectively breed their animals to be more visually pleasing, and perhaps for better ease of sale. Is there really that much of a difference here?

    ~ From the iHerp article.

    But if the hobby is taking a turn to the dark side, and it may or may not entail more intentional breeding of hybrids, but if it does, how will this affect the law? I believe in most states hybridizing reptiles is illegal, and yet many people seem to do it. Furthermore, some advertise it in an open manner. I'm not sure how it works in the eastern states, but surely those who participate in illegal activities are prosecuted?

    And what of the morphs and locality specific animals that have been smuggled into Australia? Are the departments of wildlife not aware of this? Will the law bend for the hobby? I know that jags have been done to death on here, but where exactly is their point of origin? I've read conflicting information where some texts suggests that jags have been smuggled into Australia and or that it's the result of hybridizing carpet python subspecies. There's also been discussions that carpet pythons are one and the same. How can one tell the difference between the different subspecies (if there's any)? Would distinguishing between them become more difficult when morphs that are totally different in appearance from the original subspecies arise? How can you tell that it's still "pure"?

    Where exactly can we see our hobby heading? Opinions or predictions?

    Apologies for the long winded post everyone, but I'm generally curious.

    Edit: Another example.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  2. cris

    cris Almost Legendary

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    I would like to see the hobby heading towards sustainable harvest and conseravtion breeding programs as well as a normal level of people just having a few pet reptiles because they are cool. All the idiots who came to breed reptiles for cash have hopefully died off to some extent by now. I wish them well and hope they don't come back.
     
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  3. Houdini-The-Bluey

    Houdini-The-Bluey Not so new Member

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    Although i am curious of both sides of the coin, there are some really amazing mophes after all, but im kind of hoping there will still be a strong collection of people preserving the original versions. For instance, i dont know how often red and yellow ridge tails are breed together, but it seems yellows can be found much more often than reds. Im honestly thinking about becoming a part of breeding more reds one day. And that is only one type, there are plenty of others that you see plenty of morphs of and few original patterns.
     
  4. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    Its an interesting subject and one that separates the hobby quite badly at times.
    There are really very few true purists out there in my opinion but many people appear to be of the opinion that they are a purist because they dont cross breed species or sub species. But they go out of their way to argue that morelia are all one species so interbreeding between morelia is ok but breeding a carpet with a scrubby is not. I agree that a purist is one who wants to keep their lines clean, area specific but as far as I'm aware this boundary has never been clearly established.

    Do I breed morphs because I line breed BHP's for specific traits or am I a purist because I don't want to create a hybrid cross between a BHP and something else? Depends greatly on which side of the fence the person I'm talking to sits. Do we even need a clear line established between the 2 or, as they are hobby animals and nothing more than pets with zero conservation value does it even matter what the hobbyist does?

    The hobby in Australia will continue upon the course that has been established in the USA and Europe in my opinion. We love to point fingers over the water but lets be honest, if there were the number of breeders here that there are in the USA and the same types of animals were available would we not be trying to be better 'breeders' of morphs than they are?
    Everyone knows the jag gene is a bad thing with some horrific consequences but its establishing itself nicely into the market these days regardless of whether we love it or loath it. The ethics of breeding the silk back took the hobby to a new low but I still see adverts selling them and buyers asking for them, no interest in the animals welfare so please someone explain to me that Aussie breeders have better morals than those over the water.
     
  5. cris

    cris Almost Legendary

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  6. Shaggy77

    Shaggy77 Not so new Member

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    A morph breeder is someone that uses traits with a known mode of inhertance, I think that part is relativly straight forward, but a purist can certainly be put on a scale! At one end they wouldnt breed anything that isnt found under the same rock, as mentioned in the artcle, or at the other end they simply dont like mutations and/or the idea of breeding subspecies together!
     
  7. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    Unfortunately they haven’t. Vic expo today had more than a few vendors with the usual “axanthic X albino X galaxy-thrice-removed X 75-percent-chance-of-growing-an-extra-head” of whatever python, dragon or bluey tickled your fancy. I nearly fell over when I saw the prices some of these things command.

    Not my cup of tea, clearly.
     
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  8. Stuart

    Stuart Site Admin Staff Member

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    images (2).jpeg

    Lets try not turn this into a fecal fight...
     
  9. Shaggy77

    Shaggy77 Not so new Member

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    Yes the prices can certainly seem a bit exuberant for mutations, especially if your not interested in them! However the many years it takes to produce some of these mutli gene animals combined with the low probability of producing them can certainly justify the price if someone is willing to pay it!
    I guess at the end of the day its the same old econimic story! Low supply with high demand equals $$$
     
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  10. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Personally I don't believe there is. It seems to me that within the current market it, be it lizard, snake or turtle the trend is all about producing reptiles of enhanced visual appearance. I don't see any difference between line breeding selected specimens from a specific locality to produce enhanced colour traits and breeding morphs of the same species/subspecies from different localities with the aim to produce a similar result. You never see "dull" or "average" lookings animals (I'm referring to snakes in particular here) for sale. Like any form of sales, it's all about marketing a product to get the best possible result.

    I think the quote you added from the article has it spot on.


    Nice idea regarding sustainable harvesting and conservation breeding programs but the way I see it and from what I've been told I can't see how any privately bred reptiles would be included in any conservation breeding program at this stage. Maybe down the line but even then I believe that any breeder considered for inclusion would be thoroughly scrutinized before being selected to take part in any such program and I don't think it would involve any of the animals currently held in collections.


    I agree on both points. I also think that a lot of people on both sides of the fence forget that it is just a hobby and as such people should be allowed to make their own choice as to the road they want to tread without criticism.

    Personally as long as the welfare of the animals being bred is the first and major concern of the breeder I don't see anything wrong with either.

    It's the way it is and will continue to be for a long time yet.

    It seems to me that years ago it was only those that had a genuine interest in the field of herpetology that only kept and sometimes bred reptiles. These days keeping reptiles appears to have turned a corner toward herpetoculture which has brought a different (and sometimes conflicting) culture into the whole pot.

    So where's it headed in Australia?

    My opinion is that the hobby side (herpetoculture) will remain as it is and continue to grow to fulfill the wants and needs of an ever growing pet market.
     
  11. cris

    cris Almost Legendary

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    Yeah, it is more of a transfer of skills and knowledge that could be used in this type of reptile (or other wildife) keeping. I think it would generally be best done on location and probably not in combination with existing captive stock. It could easily supply reptiles to the pet market and zoos, but it would need to be based primarily off wild caught animals. I really want to get into this with spotted tailed quolls, but it would be good for many other critters too. There are lots of places where land can be bought fairly cheap and many places have species that are endangered at least on a local level. I had been thinking about this myself, but there are others out there already doing this and trying to establish these sort of conservation networks.
     
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  12. Waterrat

    Waterrat Almost Legendary

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    There is also a third group, even though very small.
    Some of us have a strong interest in wild reptiles, their biology and ecology and we only keep selected species to learn more about them (e.g. reproduction, mating habits, etc..) And that with a little regard for the animal's visual appearance.
     
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  13. cris

    cris Almost Legendary

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    Yeah they call them wierdos or possibly just undiagnosed ;)
     
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  14. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    I remember not many years ago a complete morph project sold in Oz for 100k.
    Within 2 years offspring of that line was issued to the market with a price tag of 4k per animal.

    So many people invested at 4k that within a further 3 years down the road and the price has dropped to 400 an animal with breeders fighting for a sale that they are undercutting anyone to try to make a sale.

    Price is always going to be associated to availability with anything be it a morph or not. Remember the roughie and the prices they were fetching when they first came available? Turned into a 250 animal in about 3 seasons. GTP, same thing but the price has stabalised around 700-800.
     
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  15. Waterrat

    Waterrat Almost Legendary

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    I proudly wear that title. Just don't call me a pet owner. :)
     
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  16. Mick666

    Mick666 Active Member

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    I've just had my first breeding season. I produced three clutches, Caramel Het Axanthic Coastals, Jungles, and Hypo Bredli Jags. As much as I like natural looking snakes, I love the morphs even more. It's so exciting to see what comes out of the egg when there's variation within one clutch. But I don't see a reason why I can't breed morph lines as well as pure lines, I see a future in the hobby for both.
     
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