deleterious gene policy

The proliferation of captive breeding of reptiles around the UK has on the whole been incredibly positive. More species are bred in captivity than ever before, including critically endangered species whose captive population ensure their continued existence. There has always been an interest in specimens that looked different, these phenotypes or ‘morphs’ produced often by chance or by combining morphs to create new phenotypes has held major allure for a number of companion animal owners. In the main these morphs pose little or no problems when it comes to captive husbandry and rearing, there are, however, exceptions.

Some morphs have proven to be problematic; this has demonstrably affected their quality of life. Consequences can vary from head wobbles to the inability to right themselves, to kinking, cancerous tumours and a seriously truncated life span. UK herpetoculture must be ethically robust when it comes to the sales and proliferation of such genes, with the abundance of safe and hardy morphs available on the market there is no longer a need for these cultivars to be produced within UK collections.

With a view to self-regulation, it is therefore REPTA’s position moving forward that the following genes should no longer be produced or available through reptile specialist pet centres. We understand there will be opposition to this decision, however, it is assumed this will be from breeders working with these genes. Again, we would re-iterate, ethically there is no justification for the proliferation of genes known to carry neurological or physiological traits. This is not an exhaustive list and will be amended as sufficient evidence of a problem is presented to REPTA for consideration.

A number of these animals are produced by pairing two examples of the same morph together to create a ‘super’ form. In these cases, the original non ‘super’ morph is stable and can be kept and sold without issue. Clear guidance should be afforded to any onward home about the risks present of breeding to another example of the same morph. Shops should provide written guidance of such warnings of which a copy can be retained as proof of advice given.

List of deletErious gene animals

REPTA members must not breed, purchase or sell any morph listed below:

  • Spider Royal Python (Python regius)
  • Jaguar Carpet Python (Morelia spilota ssp)
  • Super Motley Boa (Boa imperator)
  • Enigma Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius)
  • Lemonfrost Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius)
  • Silk Back Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps)

This list is reviewed constantly and will be amended as necessary.

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