Ethics of Spiders and Spider Breeding

I responded on this thread not to any individual or post, but instead simply shared my opinion. Also, if you reread the post you will see it is not a condemnation but a way I choose for myself to react to it. I never stated that others are wrong to do so. Simply it is not for me nor would I encourage it. Most of it is posed as questions to provoke thought, not elicit responses. Nevertheless, the result of this has been a number of responses directed at me, pointing out that my opinion is wrong. First, it’s an opinion so it can’t be wrong. It may be contrary to other opinions or unpopular but it is valid for me. I thought that this forum was supposed to be a place to share ideas, opinions, and promote open dialogue. I didn’t know only popular opinion is permitted courtesy. So as long as we are taking shots across the bow, I may want to send a couple volleys back.

Anthropomorphizing? This entire debate is anthropomorphic. It is all man’s opinion that the animals are fine and fine is subjective because what it really means is “good enough to continue breeding for our own needs”. The animal has never been asked, hadn’y any choice in it, nor have they been able to provide any input. There isn’t any actual medical or scientific data to support the argument that they are fine, since all of the data would be based on observation and not anatomical dissection, trial and research, and medical analysis. The industry has determined they are fine so the industry can continue breeding and selling to recoup their investment. Nothing more. Let’s face it, the only thing that deters people from breeding Spider to Spider is they can’t produce a viable organism. That said, you still hear from time to time of someone trying to produce super spiders or super champagnes when it is well documented the combinations are lethal. Panda Pieds are another morph that people are willing to sacrifice a higher percentage of offspring for the opportunity to hit 1.

Certainly a geneticist can recognize the difference between a 1 in 700 chance and a 1 in 2 chance. The Spider gene is 1 in 2 odds. The result of the 1 in 2 odd goes further in that every animal that isn’t Spider, doesn’t have the defect. So you can only achieve the goal of producing Spider, by producing the defect. That means the defect is 1 in 1 or 100% odds for every Spider produced. Whether or not they have a little wobble or sever wobble is irrelevant.

The analogy that Wobble is like inner ear issues seems to ignore the idea that inner ear issues are mostly temporary and not genetic. But it does permit the OP to the luxury of minimizing the situation to a level they’re comfortable with. Spider wobble is neither temporary or avoidable. If it is Spider, it has wobble. The degree of measurability doesn’t change the fact.

The idea that proper husbandry can reduce the severity is so far out there I couldn’t begin to respond.

I’ll pose the “hypothetical” question once again but in a way that is not to be taken literally but instead is in the spirit of and parallel to the subject at hand. There seems to be some difficulty with my analogies being taken literally. If there is a couple that only wants a boy, and if down syndrome were attached to males and their odds are 1 in 2 of producing a male or female, and it is 100% certain that the offspring that will not carry the extra chromosome will also not be male, would they choose to try to produce a male child?

My use of such examples as vertigo and Parkinson’s is to try and use afflictions in which the result is either involuntary muscle movement or a disorientation which may be what the snake is experiencing. Again I say “may” which is open ended and allows for contrary opinion. I am comfortable with being honest in that I am only “presuming” these conditions for the animal based on observations with no medical or scientific data to support it. The same which can be said for the argument that the animals are fine. Wobble is not the problem, it is a symptom or manifestation of the problem just as tremors are a symptom associated with Parkinson’s. The “symptoms” associated with the afflictions, I am using as examples, not the afflictions themselves, have some parallels to the “symptoms” associated with the Spider gene, not the defect. I feel it is a safe argument to say that symptoms are undesirable and uncomfortable to those who have the afflictions. That doesn’t mean they aren’t managing, coping with it, or able to maintain some quality of life. It is simply saying that, given a choice, they would probably prefer not to have those symptoms. If they prefer to have them, why would those with the afflictions seek medical attention and pharmacology to alter their circumstance? The reality is they didn’t and don’t have a choice. Biology/Genetics have selected them to have the conditions. The Spider ball python does not have a choice either. The difference is a breeder has decided for them, they will have the affliction. That is more power than I am comfortable wielding.


You do know when you post an opinion on a forum, it leaves you open to responses to criticize that opinion, right?

I compared it to an inner ear issue because said issues cause something you already stated vertigo or loss of balance or orientation.

Everyone that has kept wobblers for a while knows that stress and high temps makes them worse, so proper husbandry does make the wobble less likely to be a severe issue. Since you don’t have experience with that, you wouldn’t know. High temps can also cause neuro issues in normal BPs as well.





noun: defect ; plural noun: defects

  1. a shortcoming, imperfection, or lack

A change (read - mutation) to the normal code of the gene thereby altering it such that the gene product is produced incorrectly (read – imperfection) or no longer produced (read – lack)

As Thomas so rightly says, a mutation absolutely is a defect of a gene.

But let us examine this a little closer so we all understand…

You say a change in colour is not a defect. Albino is very clearly a colour morph.

Albinos are more properly described as being amelanistic. What that means is that they suffer from a complete and total loss of melanin. The loss of that melanin is because they lack the enzyme tyrosinase, which is essential for the very first step of the melanin synthesis pathway. The reason these animals lack the enzyme is because there is a defect in the gene that codes for the protein strand that folds into the enzyme. That defect, better known as a mutation, prevents the protein from ever being made. Because the protein is never made, the process of melanin synthesis can never be initiated, melanin can never be produced, brown/black pigmentation can never be distributed over the body, and so the animal’s colour is changed from dark brown/gold to white/yellow.

So you see, the colour of the morph is absolutely the result of a defect. Meaning that, if you are breeding Albino morphs, you are breeding animals that you know harbor a defective tyrosinase gene.

I chose Albino for this example because the genetic mutation behind amelanism is well known and understood (I can even provide you with a listing of numerous specific mutations to that one gene). We do not have an annotated genome for ball pythons, so we certainly do not know the specific gene for each of the morphs, but that does not change the fact that each and every morph, be it Albino or Spider or any of the dozens of others, is the direct result of a defect to a given gene that in turn gives rise to a change in the phenotype(s) of the animal. Ergo, if you are breeding any morph, you are knowingly breeding animals that harbor a defective form of some specific gene.

Likewise, there is exactly zero actual medical or scientific data to support that these animals are not fine. But that very clearly does not stop those opposed to the morphs from speaking as if it is fact

Certainly he can. But that was not your argument. Your argument was that the threat of having a Down Syndrome baby, regardless of severity, would be a deterrent to people having babies. And then you conflated that to the breeding of Spider. The two are in no way related. There is no way to accurately or properly build an analogy between them and bringing up Down Syndrome creates a hot button issue.

Probably the most similar human disorder that you could use to draw an analogy to would be achondroplastic dwarfism - Dominant inheritance pattern, lethal homozygous, secondary health associated problems ranging from mild to severe.

That said, I am going to preemptively kill any discussion beyond that because it is very plain where that discussion would lead and it has no place on these forums


I bought a guy’s entire collection at the start of the year. It was a sight unseen deal. One of the girls was a Cinna Bee with the worst wobble and duck billing I have ever seen. She spends her days spinning her head in spirals. She’s also the best eater I have. Ridiculously powerful feeding response.


Ok, then we stop breeding ball pythons for different patterns and colors, anything but wild type would be a defect. Especially white snakes, albinos which would have a difficult time hiding from a predtitor. Comparing a wobble that is very minor in MOST animals, is apples to oranges for any human. You can not compare a human to an animal.


Alright everyone… This topic is bordering on heading into off-topic, and very contentious, territory.

Please rein it back in


Honestly at this point people are getting irritated with one another, and it’s obvious that some of us won’t see eye to eye. I think for now the topic should be locked/closed for a few days so we can all cool off.


(late to the party like always) but I have only one snake with spider (this includes all genes with neuro issues) just like @bluefeathurs and use him in projects but I try to keep my spider babies to a minimum

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I just bought a spider. Yes I know that the offspring can or will have a wobble.
But from what spiders I have seen other people show, the wobbles are not bad. Yes I have watched a few videos of the extreme wobble that they have.
I hope I never have any babies like that.
My spider female is not just spider it has 3 other genes in it also. I don’t know if that helps keep them from having a wobble or not. Does it?

Question: Where did the first Spider come from and did it have a wobble?

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I recently took on a Leopard Enchi Spider, didn’t have the worst wobble but was noticeable.

I brought the whole rack and all equipment aswell, heatmats, stat etc. I didn’t change any settings on the stat, just plugged it in when I got home and let it settle itself (minus inhabitants).

The heat mat covered about half of the tub and to my surprise when I temp checked with my heat gun I was getting readings of 35/36°C.

This was quickly rectified and stat adjusted to what the actual temps were and not what the stat said! I have now moved them into my own racking where they are on Orchid Bark and coconut husk azwell as having a hide rather than just water bowl on paper towl.

The point at the end of all this is that I barely notice any spider wobble at all. The only time is when it is time to feed and he gets excited … the wobble is almost non existent even when handling.

I believe if you can see the wobble noticeably then you have got something wrong somewhere.

Nerd imported the first one and they have always had neurological problems.


It does not and if you stack “wobble” genes it will be worse.

Just because you don’t notice it doesn’t mean it’s not there. The Neuro issue will always be an issue with spiders and certain morphs. With that being said I have yet to hatch a spider or “wobble” morph that failed to thrive. I work with about all of them while I don’t recommend certain combos I feel almost all of them we hatch are capable of thriving in captivity.

Blackhead is allelic with spider there als masks the wobble but it is still there.


I know Not to breed two spiders together. I have seen them on video, they either die in the egg or die a few hours after hatching.
I do not intend on getting another spider. She has potential with the other 3 genes, 1 being a recessive to have in a breeding project. Spiders have a beautiful pattern to them. It looks very good with other combos. I didn’t even think to ask about a wobble when I bought Her. But, I don’t think the guy would sell her if it was really bad.

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I’m not trying to discourage anyone from getting a spider. I love the spider gene just wanted to put out there every single one has neuro issues even if you can’t notice them.


Yeah that’s what I mean. It’s there and won’t go away … but the more noticeable it is then something may be not quite right, heat, humidity, lack of hide etc.

My spider since changing his tub, different substrate, hide and adjusting temps his noticeable wobble has reduced dramatically.


I understand. It is a touchy subject with everyone. It is weird that there has not been any other Spider BP’s imported to the US. Just the one that NERD bought. Surely there was more than one in the wild, unless because of the neuro issue they always get killed by a predator before maturing into adulthood, and the people just lucked up on finding this one.


Always has been. But without the spider gene the ball python won’t of taken off the way it did. People sometimes forget not only does spider have neuro issues so does champagne, sable, hidden gene woma, woma, cypress and others. But in my humble opinion this does not mean these beautiful animals can’t thrive in captivity. They can and will I just don’t advocate breeding combos that are known for severe wobble. I’ve produced champagne sable which while the two I hatched did very well the combo is not one I would try to produce again because the wobble is what I consider verging on extreme.


And I’m sure there was to. I’m guessing more than that one have been imported.

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I will love my spider girl no matter what. I am still learning about all the other morphs that have issues. I want to breed for pieds, Bels, and albino combos. That is what I like the most.
It will be a few years before She matures. I have plenty of time to do my homework. Making sure I don’t breed the wrong ones together. All the information I have learned from you guys helps a lot. Thanks

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No problem!!! I work with almost all the “wobble” genes if you ever have any questions about them don’t hesitate to ask! Always more than happy to help anyway I can!