I'm new and on the fence about Spider/Wobbles

I’m new, and I’m still not sure what snake I’m getting. The first thing I wanted to do was rule out any potential sickly-morphs. I came across a list of “wobble-morphs” and a lot of conflicting theories when consulting both breeders and owners on the severity of the defect’s impact.
Any rough estimates or anecdotal evidence is also welcomed!
Thank you so much for your passion and knowledge.

What I don’t want answered --> I understand that breeding animals with a known defect, of which " SIGNIFICANTLY impacts" their quality of life, is wrong. I will avoid purchasing known severe wobble combinations (like Spider x Sable).

What I do want answered --> Is the wobble defect a " SIGNIFICANT impact" or a “Light/Benign Symptom” in Spider, Woma ect…?
1.) Can you help me define what a " SIGNIFICANT impact" means? (defined below)
2.) Roughly, Out of 100 “wobble-morphs”, what is the likelihood of a " SIGNIFICANT impact" occurring?
3.) If yes/no, is there any numerical data that supports this?

Defining/Examples of; " SIGNIFICANT Impact " vs “Light/Benign Symptoms”

  • " Significant impact "–> Unable to eat or eats very little, Can’t correct from being flipped upside down, is more susceptible to IBD from stress (weakened immune system), shortened life span ect…
  • " Light / Benign Symptoms "–> Light tremor, momentary stargazing, irregular head movement, able to correct/ move about/ eat, and has a normal life span, or no symtoms at all

We have had multiple debates on the forums so you should read those if you need help deciding for yourself if spider is for you. I created a poll on the spider gene as well you could look at.

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A couple videos by Olympus I reference people to. I like them because it actually shows animals being kept correctly, not put in a compromised position through stress then filmed and taken as the norm. Worth a watch at least. Second one especially was done more recently (last year) and shows all the spiders in Matt’s collection. Enjoy!

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To be fair I heard the crazy stuff people say and was on the fence too as a newbie, just had to talk to some more knowledgeable breeders I met and sift through some content to decide what info was relevant and what was fake news. Glad though that MOST struggle with this out of a desire for healthy animals, that’s what we all want.

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A lot of your questions will be answered by the videos above, so I will just give you some of my personal experience/advice/opinions.

I don’t have a spider, and probably won’t get one just because I don’t generally like their patterns. But I do have a champagne combo. I have only seen the tiniest hint of a wobble when he was about to strike when being fed once. He has no head tilt when holding his head up, and I sometimes forget his morph even wobbles because he moves just like a normal BP.

I have noticed that inbreeding might play a role in how bad the wobble is as well. I have also noticed that spiders tend to have things like the head tilt a lot more than other wobble morphs. That is either because there is more inbreeding in the ones I have seen, or the wobble may just very in each morph that has it. Rule of thumb with a lot of issues in animals is that you have a higher chance of the severity increasing the more you inbreed. Like kinking in snakes, as well as bug eyes and duckbills. Another thing that most people follow is to never breed 2 wobble genes together. Like Spider+Spider, spider+champagne/woma/sable/spotnose. It all increases the chances of severe issues, on top of the fact that most of them are potentially lethal combos. There are people that breed those combos together despite the high risk, and I personally don’t plan to purchase from anyone that does. I also never plan to buy a combo of two wobble genes so I am with you on that.

Lack of stress is another thing that helps keep the wobble under control, even in snakes that generally have a pretty bad wobble. If you get a wobble gene from a breeder and they said it doesn’t have wobble, and when you get the snake it clearly does. Chances are the snake is highly stressed and will take a bit to get used to everything and go back to having little to no wobble. When I got my champagne however, I asked to breeder if him or his parents had any wobble, and he said he never seen any wobble in his champagnes. He also never showed signs of a wobble when I got him home. Even after the shipping he went through he didn’t show signs.

If you do ever get a wobble gene, and you don’t want a bad wobble then I suggest asking the breeder if their snakes have any wobble, as well as ask how closely related all of them are. Most of the time a reputable breeder will tell you the truth.

Also, here are a couple pics of my Champagne Banana Pastel het VPI boi Akira;



The first one I just took a bit ago for a closeup of his little eye stripe, and the second was not long after I got him.

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@eddieriggs89

I was just like you when I started out and heard about the spider and the wobble/issues they have. I was HIGHLY against adding a spider to my collection, along with other genes that I knew had issues, and went out of my way to avoid these morphs when looking to add to my collection.

It wasn’t until I came across a virgin spinnerblast that I kinda weighed my options about spider. The ad for her specifically mentioned she had no wobble. I went ahead and purchased her along with a breeding size Champagne male. When they arrived the spider (Sugar) was fantastic, and has been fantastic ever since. She has no issues that I can tell, and is extremely sweet. I was kinda upset at myself for hating on a morph that I actually had never dealt with before, and after having Sugar, I would have no issue purchasing another spider. Most of the horror stories you hear about are from extremes.

I mentioned the Champagne male on purpose because he did have an extreme wobble and corkscrewed like no ones business. His ad never mentioned anything about having a wobble/corkscrewing. If you are concerned about an animal, or would like to know if they have any issues, just ask the breeder/person you want to purchase a snake from. Most of the time people are upfront, and it never hurts to ask.

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Here are some topics you might enjoy and will help you find your answers:

Let’s see them Spiders

Yeah let’s do this: here’s the Super Spider

Ethics of Spiders and Spider Breeding

Spider Encyclopedia Entry

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Yes, great video! I liked Clint’s Reptiles video on the matter because he has a very scientific approach to his stance. However, Clint mentioned analyzing a data set from NERD and did not disclose the information (I’ve messaged him on numerous different platforms).
Update: When I reached out to NERD on the matter they gave me a guesstimate that less than 5% of their spiders would have any issues with severe symptoms. Finally got a number to work with!
I would like to other breeders to put out some sort of numerical data because I feel like numbers are the hardest proof you can provide.

It’s going to be hard to find exact numbers as people are on both sides of the fence.

Spider breeders won’t want to show off the worst of the worst.

Spider bashers won’t want to show off the healthy.

Stats will be hidden by a huge chunk of the community and skewed to favour either side of the argument.

The only judgement you can use is your own, on a individual animals basis.

If your interested in owning one, get hold of a breeder and talk to them about your worries and ask to view their animals.
Most breeders understand the worry customers have around spiders and will be more than happy to help you make the choice that is right for you.

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All spiders have “wobble.” There’s nothing “wrong” with wobble. But there’s no spider that “doesn’t have it.” They just might not exhibit much of it. And I think it’s getting technical…if someone says theirs “doesn’t wobble,” it’s probably just mild presentation and they don’t know where to look for a slight one.
Good question, spider is the most commonly debated one but there are several other morphs out there with some possible issues that get less attention as well so. Info gathering and sifting is important.

The very extreme cases are what get all the attention but as mentioned previously by Deb and others it’s usually husbandry related.

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Thank you!

I read through all of them and the only “numerical” research that I found was still very conflicting.

“…is ethically defensible to continue to propagate the ball python spider morph” 44% said no and 56% said not sufficient info.

Also statements like " Respondents (n¼28) typically perceived a moderate to high welfare effect associated with the clinical signs of the wobble condition" can be found next to “…there was a general consensus that a low proportion of these snakes were severely affected”, all in the same conclusion. It is very frustrating.

Overall I think I’m going to avoid it till I can make a more informed decision. If I happen to fall in love with one, then so be it.

I myself was against spiders at first because of the controversy. I saw one at a show and asked to hold her. I never put her back down except to get out my money! She is a perfect example of low wobble, I barely notice it even when feeding, transporting, baths, etc.

I did recently get another female spider who is definitely more moderate in her wobble. She screws and shakes for feeding and knots herself when held. I don’t consider her really bad as she still eats great and is even a proven breeder. It just looks funny but she doesn’t seem to mind in her tub on a daily basis.

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I purchased a male spider lesser a few years ago,
I’ve noticed as long as the care of the snake and the stress levels are low he’s the same as every other snake I’ve had with one caveat.
Sometimes it may miss a strike during feeding now and again but it has the best feeding response of all of my snakes

as a hatchling

As an adult

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I guess it depends what you call severe, worst wobbler I ever produced was held back and became a breeder, his wobble was bad, but given he grew up to be a great breeder hard for me to say his quality of life was significantly impacted. He struck at food upside down sometimes was his biggest quirk.

But if you’d like more guesstimates I’ve produced over 100 spiders by now. Nothing compared to NERD but I’d say 40% show minimal wobble to the point an untrained eye would never notice anything odd. 40% had a slightly noticable wobble but hardly anything at the same time, untrained eye still might not notice most of the quirks. 17% had a very noticable wobble, but still not what I would call bad 3% as I’ve only produced 3 spiders that made you go “wow”. These were bad imo, but as I said before, 1 of them was a holdback and became a great breeder anyways. I still haven’t produced any that were YouTube Trainwreck bad. Best guess I can give you from my experience, I didn’t actually log any of these but now I wish I did.

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