Ackie Monitor lays first (infertile) clutch.

E.Shell

Not so new Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
46
Reaction score
50
Location
Central Maryland, USA
I bought a 'male' Ackie in December of 2018, "Ralph", that was born February of 2018.

Never had reason to think it was anything but male, except that I have never noticed it to evert. Honestly though, my day only overlaps Ralph's activity period by a few hours and a lot can go by unnoticed.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed he was putting on weight. Not worried, he wasn't truly obese, just getting a little thick around the middle. I feed generously, so it wouldn't be surprising if he got a little extra weight on. Then, late last week, I noticed him struggling to defecate, and he only produced a small amount of fecal matter, compared to his usually generous deposit. I got worried and gave him a warm bath to stimulate further defecation, which only produced another small bowel movement. As I'm looking at him in the tub, I realize he is actually huge, abnormally huge...

I was afraid that Ralph was impacted. Although I have been pretty careful and I don't think these Ackies are prone to that anyway, it's all I could think of.

Another day went by and he didn't improve, so I hauled him to the vet on Sunday, the first available appointment. The exotics vet is an hour away, so I packed him up in a box next to a jug of warm water, and off we went. FWIW, a one gallon jug filled with hot tap water and a towel around and over it stayed warm for hours.

We have some sort of 'covid' scare going on here, so no one is allowed into the vet's facility - I had to hand Ralph over and wait in the truck. Got him in to see the vet and they spent about 15 minutes with him, then came out and asked permission to radioscope him. I said 'Sure' and in another 15-20 minutes, the vet came out and told me that Ralph is actually a girl in very good condition, and that Ralph is full of healthy-looking eggs. He explained that the eggs were still soft (not calcified) and that she wasn't egg-bound or impacted (my biggest fear) and that it seemed the eggs were developing normally. He also said that he expected Ralph to lay very soon.

While I had Ralph dug out of her hide on Sunday, I decided to fluff all of the substrate, make sure it was moist all the way through and I added another few gallons of damp substrate to what was there. I wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be any inhibition to laying when she was ready.

I got everything put back together and put Ralph back into the enclosure. Of course, having such a busy day, she just dove into her hide and disappeared. Didn't see her for the rest of the day.

This morning around 9am, I see Ralph is up on her basking spot, waaay early (usually about 12noon) and she is *wrinkled*!! It seems she lost quite a bit of bulk and her skin was no longer stretched tight along her sides, though she was still a little chubby-looking. She stayed out in the hotspot for an hour, refused any food (crix & chicken liver), then went back into her underground hide. I can see down into the entrance from outside the enclosure and my wife pointed out a little speck of white down inside the tunnel.

I got the long tweezers and recovered one egg. I imagine there are more in there, the radiograph image showed what looked like 8 or 10, but excavating her hide is a pretty big undertaking because the actual hide is a bar sink, hung under the main enclosure housing. The top of the bar sink is about 6" under the surface of the enclosure substrate, and the sink itself is 8" deep and full of substrate. I decided to just let her rest for today and dig it up tomorrow.

This animal was three years old in February and has never shown itself to be gravid, nor laid any eggs that I have seen/recovered. Never scent marked and obviously (now) never everted. She has never been with a male.

murrindindi had suggested in one of threads that Ralph might be female and it looks like he was correct.

Now, to find a feminine name I can easily transition to from "Ralph", although, after two and a half years together, it's gonna be tough to call *her* anything else.
 

murrindindi

Active Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2017
Messages
106
Reaction score
61
Location
U.K but from Nunawading, Melbourne, Oz...
Probably going to have to.

I dug everything up yesterday evening and found 11 more eggs, for an even dozen.

I`m glad she deposited the eggs, I doubt this is the 1st time she`s been gravid, I know you keep your monitors properly supported , I would suggest you strat weighing her regularly. Maybe next time the eggs wil be fertile even if she`s still alone, or obviously you could introduce a known male, I think it`s less risky that way anyway. You could call her Rosy which sounds like Ralph (sort of) if you mumble it ...;)
 

E.Shell

Not so new Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
46
Reaction score
50
Location
Central Maryland, USA
Hi mirrindindi.

Yes, I'm glad too. I was afraid things would go sideways. The vet had said it would be no big deal to remove any calcified eggs and spay her, but, having had abdominal surgery myself, I'd really hope not to inflict that on the animal.

I understand what you mean about this probably not being her first clutch at over three years old, but I feel pretty sure I would have noticed her gravid unless it was a very small clutch. I never found any eggs or shell fragments in the substrate, but I suppose she could have eaten them.

I'll take your advice and stay on top of her weight. I have no idea what she weighs right now, but I do have a dietary/recipe scale I can use. Be a legit excuse to handle her more too, maybe she will resent it less at some point.

I thought about trying to incubate the eggs, just to see if she might have produced any parthenogenically viable eggs, but I'm not really set up for it.

I do have two young males on hand, born 31Aug2020, that run around sniffing and scent marking so much, they would likely breed with a washcloth about now. They are about 19" right now, fat tails but but still not really filled out in the body and legs. I keep telling myself I really don't plan to breed, reminding myself I have no place to put a dozen baby lizards, and I'm betting I'd not want to get rid of any of them when it was time...but for conversation's sake:

How long do you think it would be before she developed another clutch? I'm more curious than anything, but wonder that, IF I did want to breed her, how long I should wait to introduce a male? I do want to build her reserves back up ASAP, whether she breeds or not.

The attached pic is of the full clutch. The lower right egg was the one I pulled out Monday, the rest were dug up Tuesday. The coin is a US Quarter-Dollar, about 2.4 cm in diameter.
 

Attachments

  • Omlet02.jpg
    Omlet02.jpg
    117.8 KB · Views: 8

murrindindi

Active Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2017
Messages
106
Reaction score
61
Location
U.K but from Nunawading, Melbourne, Oz...
Hi mirrindindi.

Yes, I'm glad too. I was afraid things would go sideways. The vet had said it would be no big deal to remove any calcified eggs and spay her, but, having had abdominal surgery myself, I'd really hope not to inflict that on the animal.

I understand what you mean about this probably not being her first clutch at over three years old, but I feel pretty sure I would have noticed her gravid unless it was a very small clutch. I never found any eggs or shell fragments in the substrate, but I suppose she could have eaten them.

I'll take your advice and stay on top of her weight. I have no idea what she weighs right now, but I do have a dietary/recipe scale I can use. Be a legit excuse to handle her more too, maybe she will resent it less at some point.

I thought about trying to incubate the eggs, just to see if she might have produced any parthenogenically viable eggs, but I'm not really set up for it.

I do have two young males on hand, born 31Aug2020, that run around sniffing and scent marking so much, they would likely breed with a washcloth about now. They are about 19" right now, fat tails but but still not really filled out in the body and legs. I keep telling myself I really don't plan to breed, reminding myself I have no place to put a dozen baby lizards, and I'm betting I'd not want to get rid of any of them when it was time...but for conversation's sake:

How long do you think it would be before she developed another clutch? I'm more curious than anything, but wonder that, IF I did want to breed her, how long I should wait to introduce a male? I do want to build her reserves back up ASAP, whether she breeds or not.

The attached pic is of the full clutch. The lower right egg was the one I pulled out Monday, the rest were dug up Tuesday. The coin is a US Quarter-Dollar, about 2.4 cm in diameter.


She could become gravid again in weeks, and as far as you never finding shell remains she likely reabsorbed them, they cannot digest their own eggshells.
The males being around 50cm are big enough to be sexually mature, you now have to decide whether you want to try introducing her to one, it needs to happen in a neutral environment if you do.
It`s unlikely she would try and nest infertile eggs (but possible) so the risk of her holding onto them is greater if she hasn`t bred with a male. I understand your concerns about not having anywhere for the hatchlings if it happens. I personally would always incubate the eggs if they look reasonably decent (without her being with a male).
 

E.Shell

Not so new Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
46
Reaction score
50
Location
Central Maryland, USA
...The males being around 50cm are big enough to be sexually mature, you now have to decide whether you want to try introducing her to one, it needs to happen in a neutral environment if you do.
It`s unlikely she would try and nest infertile eggs (but possible) so the risk of her holding onto them is greater if she hasn`t bred with a male. I understand your concerns about not having anywhere for the hatchlings if it happens.
From what you tell me, it makes sense that she would be better off if I allowed them to mate whether I would plan to save the eggs or not.
I personally would always incubate the eggs if they look reasonably decent (without her being with a male).
Some of the eggs from this first clutch looked very good, others were a little deflated-looking.

If I wanted to try to hatch a clutch, I'll have research optimum incubation conditions and see what I can come up with for equipment.

Thank you for your advice!
[automerge]1623593927[/automerge]
Well...I made the jump and found a boyfriend for 'Ralph', my misidentified female. I found a nice young adult male a couple hours away and met the former owner halfway on Saturday a week ago and picked him up. Reasonably priced (for this area) at $500USD.

He is rather shy, but is coming around quickly and has been coming down to eat from forceps the last few days. I plan to let him acclimate a little longer, then introduce him to Ralph. I have purchased a ReptiPro 6000 incubator as well, and I am now arranging more enclosure space.

I suppose murrindindi realizes that this is his fault... ;-)

As an aside, having the two adults side-by-side, it is quite easy to see the 'maleness' of the new guy. Very big, blocky head, longer, heavier neck and a much more narrow, tubular body build. I'll get some better pics when he's not afraid of every little thing.

The first two pics below are of the new male, from the previous owner's sale ad:

Male3-01.jpgMale3-02.jpg

This is a picture of 'Ralph', the female, having a quick soak just before she deposited her 12 eggs:

Female1-01.jpg
[automerge]1623697407[/automerge]
The introduction went well:
 

Attachments

  • Ralph&Sue00.jpg
    Ralph&Sue00.jpg
    241.5 KB · Views: 2
  • Ralph&Sue01.jpg
    Ralph&Sue01.jpg
    165.7 KB · Views: 2
  • Ralph&Sue02.jpg
    Ralph&Sue02.jpg
    141 KB · Views: 2
  • Ralph&Sue03.jpg
    Ralph&Sue03.jpg
    122.6 KB · Views: 2
  • Ralph&Sue04.jpg
    Ralph&Sue04.jpg
    140.9 KB · Views: 2
  • Ralph&Sue05.jpg
    Ralph&Sue05.jpg
    141.8 KB · Views: 2
  • Ralph&Sue06.jpg
    Ralph&Sue06.jpg
    93.5 KB · Views: 3
Last edited:
Top