Ethics of Spiders and Spider Breeding

I am well aware of this, and did not say we should ban these animals. My argument more of is, if you are going to damn one animal to not be produced because of a known issue, then you shouldn’t cherry-pick and animals with even worse issues should be on your list too. The problem is people that are against spiders never think about other animals the same way, and will argue dogs/cats/birds or whatever have you are “different”.


By saying all morphs have known genetic defects, are you referring to random genetic anomalies? Or ones that can change?

It’s odd to breed an animal that will 100% have offspring that will develop a specific genetic defect. It’s not like breeding a breed known to have bad hips or eyes yet being able to to health test and only breed the animals with good hips/eyes. And the offspring result is good hips/eyes. Some may still get bad hips/eyes, but the likelihood is dramatically decreased.

I did not accuse you of advocating for banning them. I was more supporting the argument you were making while sort of obliquely adding in that the “damnation” of certain breeds has its own level of myopia (not you specifically, just people broadly)

I did not say all morph have known genetic defects, I said all morphs ARE known genetic defects. Every morph is the result of a genetic mutation to the wild type gene. Whether or not that morph has secondary phenotypes aside from the blatantly obvious change to colour/pattern does not change the fact that a mutation is a genetic defect. Therefore, every morph you breed is breeding for a genetic defect.


A defect is a genetic disease or disorder. A color change is not a defect. Nor are all mutations.

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A defect is a defective gene, a gene that doesn’t work the way it should.

A non defective ball is a normal ball python.

The banana morph is a defect of a certain gene.
The caramel is a defect of another.

Spider is exactly the same.

As Travis notes…

When we are talking “morphs” we literally mean the genetic defects of a animal.


Nowhere have I seen a definition of a defect as simply being any gene building itself differently (mutation). It always refers to an impairment. A disease. Or a disorder. A defect is not an umbrella term for gene changes. Please tell me where that is defined differently.


The word defect isn’t just a genetics word… It means defective… Imperfect.

If a banana ball python got rid of all defects it would then look like a normal ball python.
The same with spider Ball Pythons.

The banana (and all known morphs) ball python has a disorder, it doesn’t produce the correct pigments. It’s probably less likely to survive than a spider in the wild.


If the gene that determines color does not work as it is naturally intended, how is it not defective? Further, those genes typically have other tasks they also don’t perform correctly hence this discussion regarding spider wobble…


If you want to go down that endless rabbit hole then snakes themselves are defective because they mutated from something else.

English is weird and there are multiple uses for one word. I’m strictly talking about it in terms of genetic defects. Genetic Defect: “a disease or disorder that is inherited genetically”


Well yeah, exactly.

Every morph is a disorder.

Also what about paradox? Going by that definition paradoxing isn’t a defect.

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A paradox isn’t a genetic trait that can be passed down. So no it’s not. A paradox is irrelevant to talking about genetic defects. That’s something else entirely.

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But the genes within are not working as they should. They are defective.
I feel we may losing track of each other here.

So “morph” is the term we give to a visual defective gene… A mutation, a genetic defect.

These defects that happen cause the diffences in the pattern, but some have secondary jobs.

The gene that defected that caused the pattern disruption in the spider morph had a secondary balance/spinal/??? job that it didn’t do correctly.


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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