Losing Passion/Overwhelmed?

I never thought I’d be one to post something like this. Ever. Yet here I am, looking for guidance and advice from experienced keepers on a difficult subject.

(I keep leopard geckos)

I’ve owned my first leo for five years, my second and third for two, and my fourth, fifth, and sixth for one. This year was my first year “really” breeding as last year I just bred my pet quality gecko whom I love, got three eggs, only one hatched and I kept him.

This year I bred two quality females to a quality male and ended up with eight hatchlings, five of which I’ve sold, two haven’t sold yet, and the last I’m debating on holding back but will probably sell.

Unfortunately rather then feeding my passion for reptiles, it seemed to drain it away… :frowning: I felt stretched for time, stressed, sad to see eggs not making it, constantly worrying about something happening to my girls and their young, etc. and easily spending 4 hours a day caring for them.
Now, that would be fine, if I didn’t have horses, dogs, and cats to look after as well!

I thought I would revert back to loving my geckos and spending time with them after I sold off the babies but instead I feel kinda detached. That’s unheard of for me. I’m tired, stressed, and I never feel like I have enough time in a day. I always feel like I’m TRYING to keep up, TRYING to take the best possible care of my animals, rather then feel like I’m actually doing and enjoying it. I have extremely high standards for my animal care and while I am still meeting them (as I refuse not to), it’s not enjoyable.
The last time I remember my small pets being a hobby that I absolutely adored was when I had one gecko and three hamsters. Two hams passed around the same time, I was completely heartbroken and distraught, and bought two geckos for breeding after getting extremely flustered and panicked over hamsters short lifespans when I went to look at them two weeks after losing the two.
Nowadays I wish I could go back to one gecko and 2-3 hams.

I miss having a hamster or two around dearly, but there’s no time and no space since my last passed early this year.

Despite WANTING to breed, I’m starting to think I’m not cut out for it. I bred in January, it’s been nearly ten months and I’m exhausted with three young left to sell, and I only got 1/4 of the babies I could’ve ended up with.
My question is…should I rehome a few geckos? I’m not someone to toss it around lightly, and I’m embarrassed for considering it. Honestly I’d keep my 2-3 females, and sell the three males as they got so nasty during breeding season I’ve become a bit afraid of them.
They’re all in nice 20 gallon long aquariums decked out with nice decor, spot cleaned daily, water dishes washed every other day, fed on a schedule, I used to breed my own mealworms but that became completely depleted so I’ve been spending a crazy amount on feeders the past few months. Basically, they ARE very well cared for.
But I no longer get them out just to hang out, and don’t feel excited about going to expos or making new setups in their enclosures (which I LOVE doing).

I just don’t know what to do. I’m attached to all my adults, despite feeling detached from everyone and even a bit afraid of my males. I DID knowingly and intentionally take on these 15-20 year commitments. (four of them I bought specifically for breeding and it makes me sad that I don’t seem cut out for it as I really wanted to be) I feel completely responsible for them for the rest of their lives and very guilt ridden about potentially backing off on that commitment. Then I wonder…do they care? Do they really care who their with? If I rehomed them with their setups would they still be happy or would their whole world get tipped upside down, they’d be miserable, miss me, and end up dumped or in the wrong hands because someone got bored of them? I get bitten almost daily simply filling water and such, yet would never forgive myself if I rehomed and something bad happened to them.

I just don’t know. I’m sorry for the ramble. It’s late, I’m tired, and off to clean enclosures and feed.

(Extra unimportant information: I was really sick the past two years, and only this fall did they finally find out what was wrong with me. Now that I’m getting better everyday (finally!) I’ve started feeling this way towards my geckos…what I was sick with was affecting my brain, lungs, nervous system, joints, EVERYTHING and now that I can think straight I’m faced with this. Sigh)


People get burnt out. People try things and sometimes they decide it’s not for them. It’s not a bad thing to decide you want to keep them as pets and selling off the animals you no longer enjoy.


Hey there, nubs. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling like this. As someone who has gone through these exact same thoughts (and still am in regards to certain animals if I’m being honest), I just want to say thank you for sharing this. It’s not always an easy thing to admit, to yourself or to others, especially when you feel so strongly about their care and wanting them to go to the right person if you do end up having to pass them on. It’s normal to feel worried. And it’s normal to feel guilty. And that’s okay.

From the sounds of it you’ve got a lot on your plate. Between your other pets, having to deal with your health, that’s a lot for anyone to try and juggle alongside all the ups and downs that come along with keeping and breeding reptiles.

Speaking from experience though, I would hold off on making any kind of rehoming decision until you’re in a better mental space. Take your time, take a step back, and give yourself a chance to just sleep on it. A week, a month, whatever you need. Keep spoiling them rotten in the mean time and if you still feel like down-sizing is the right choice than do it. There’s no shame in needing to move an animal on to a new home. And the fact that you’re so worried about making sure they end up with a good one is fantastic! If you do end up needing to rehome them and want to vet the person you sell them too than use those concerns to give them the best chance possible.

Whatever you do just take your time.

Alternately, if you decide you want to keep your current geckos but don’t feel like breeding is for you than that’s okay too! You don’t have to breed your animals. Looking at my racks of snakes right now I can tell you there’s at least 3 animals here that I wish I had thought harder about before impulse buying them, and 2 that, although I bought them for breeding, I might never do it because my plans changed. I don’t like it as far as I can throw it, but it happens sometimes. So until the time comes that I sell them (if ever), they’ll stay here and be spoiled and live their best lives.

I’m not sure what to tell you about the bitey males, since I don’t personally work with leopard geckos, but I hope you’re able to work through that if you do end up keeping them. But honestly, as randall mentioned, if you don’t enjoy working with them than maybe you’d have better luck selling them - or even do a trade for a different male.

You’re going to have to look at those animals and take care of them for the rest of their lives if you keep them. As much as it sucks if they don’t make you happy then why make yourself miserable doing it?

I hope at least some of that helped. And if you ever need someone to talk to about it further you’re always welcome to message me! :blush:


Your post is a very brave one, @nubs. I am sorry that you’re in such a difficult situation. Health challenges make things exponentially more difficult in all kinds of unexpected ways, many of them not at all obvious until they upend plans. Even plans to do the spot cleaning.

Your commitment to your animals’ care is laudable. It sounds like you’re doing exactly the right things. For them. Don’t be afraid of an equal commitment to doing right for yourself.

Breeding isn’t for everyone. Sure, seeing healthy babies appear is thrilling and fulfilling. Of course, that’s not all there is to it. Some years that’s a miniscule part of the emotional wringer. I know you knew that before you decided to breed, I don’t mean to imply that you made that decision lightly. It’s obvious you didn’t. It is honest and it’s all right to decide that, having tried responsible breeding, you don’t want to do it. Maybe you wlill want to try again someday, maybe a different species, maybe not. That’s fine. There are no wrong ways to be a responsible keeper. Not all right ways include breeding.

No one who’s being honest says they love every minute of caring for their creatures, whatever the species. That said, if you’re just not enjoying it in the longer term, there’s nothing wrong and much that’s right with stepping back, finding new homes for some of your animals.

Your concern for the animals’ possible future with someone else is valid. Accepting their care was deliberate. That doesn’t mean that there are never good reasons to make a different decision, nor does it mean your animals would mind. We reptile lovers generally love them for different reasons than why we love mammals. It’s just sensible.

Much as I love my snakes, I don’t believe they love me back. I think my adults would notice that the usual “warm tree” wasn’t in their lives anymore but I don’t believe it would rock their world. My cat would be devastated. As long as my snakes’ needs are met to the same standards, I don’t believe they’d care. I don’t keep leos, maybe they’re different, but I don’t think so.

@nmarcellus is right, do take your time. I know you will second- and third- guess yourself. That’s normal. If you arrive at a different decision than the one you expected when you decided upon your path to breeding, well, all right then. Maybe you’ll decide to keep your animals and not breed. Maybe you’ll decide to rehome some. There is no right or wrong answer, but there is an answer which is right for you now. I have faith in your ability to find it.


Thank you, everyone, for the advice and different views on the subject.

I have been sitting on it, since June. I hoped it was “middle of breeding season blues” but they just haven’t left.

I do completely accept responsibility for them, it’s certainly not their fault I’m struggling with this. People keep telling me to take care of myself or take a day to relax, and I keep thinking “I don’t have time”.

Part of me says “Keep them, they’re your responsibility and maybe the joy will return eventually. If not, at least you know they’re cared for and that you stuck with your commitment.”

The other part says “You’ve been through enough! You don’t enjoy them, and since you don’t want to breed again at least rehome your males and see how you feel. Might be exactly what you need to get back to enjoying them.”

It’s not that I want out of reptiles. I want to enjoy them again, I just genuinely don’t know how to get there.

Thank you all again for the honesty.


Oh boy, I feel like I was meant to find this thread. I have been where you are. This was my first breeding season (corn snakes) and I got hit with almost all of the worst case scenarios. It left me where you are right now. I found my way back to the passion, but from my experience, I’ll give you my two cents.

It sounds like your animals in part helped you deal with your illness. I’m chronically ill, so my snakes, for me, are a big motivator to actually participate in daily life. Now that you’ve got a diagnosis, you’re starting to feel better, naturally you’re feeling a bit weighed down by the responsibility of so many lives to be in charge of. Having breeding animals is a big responsibility and does tend to take a lot of spontaneity out of life, because you always have to worry about those geckos.

You’ve thought a lot about this, and obviously this is such a weight on you that you don’t feel you can focus on yourself with your current situation. I say it’s time to rehome those males as a first step. You’re responsible for them, yes, but if you start to resent them, they’re not getting the best you. The most responsible, thoughtful thing you can do for them and you is to find them a new home. Your commitment to them is to put their wellbeing (and your own) first, and right now it sounds like it’s in everyone’s favor to trim down your collection.

The part of you saying, “You’ve been through enough!” is the part that truly knows what you need to start moving in a more positive direction. Take that leap and go from there. If trimming down your collection reignites the passion, there’s nothing to say you can’t add more animals back in further down the road. It’s also totally okay to, if the passion doesn’t come back, rehome your collection and enjoy them as an observer, and not a keeper.

I think talking about the realities of this hobby, the way it can impact your life and mental health, needs to be done more often and out in the open. Not everyone is cut out for breeding. It’s a lot of work, stress, heartbreak, and realistically not everyone is equipped to handle that, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, organizationally, whatever.

As for rehoming your animals and what that means for them and you, your leos won’t really know the difference. I know it can be hard giving up any pet you’re attached to, but you have to learn to let yourself accept that anything that happens after they leave you isn’t your fault, and you won’t have failed them by giving them up. You’re being selfless and caring by finding them a place with someone who will give them the interaction and enrichment they need.

People are telling you to take care of yourself and take a day to relax, sometimes that means doing something we see as “selfish” (it’s not) and I think you’ve done all the thinking necessary to know what is right for you and your leos.


They definitely helped me a lot when I was sicker, simply by keeping me busy 24/7. My brain wasn’t working right so I couldn’t read/think/create but I could follow my routine of taking care of them.
Now that I CAN do those things I‘m back into crafting (things for my animals like hides, etc) and thinking, still struggle a bit with reading but getting there.

My entire life I’ve been a huge animal lover, I’ve had my own pets since I was eight years old and never skipped a day of care. My entire life is and always has been animals and I definitely don’t want that to change. I can’t help but grin when my horses whinny at me, laugh as the dogs do something silly, or feel that flush of love when the cat jumps into my arms. I truly love taking care of them, and since I’m a huge homebody and prefer to stay home 99% of the time it’s not an issue at all.
But noticing that taking care of my geckos feels like a chore/job rather then something I want to do, a labor of love, makes me feel bad. I miss pulling them out to do photo shoots, or just because I loved them and wanted to hold them, or theming their enclosures. Cleaning day used to be one of my absolute favorite days ever and now it’s not.

I do feel that although their care is the same, not being handled or having their enclosures changed around nearly as much as I used to isn’t fair. When I take pictures of them or watch them I still get that “he/she is SO pretty”. But I deeply miss having that burning passion, going to expos, chatting about them nonstop, and learning more everyday. After cleaning day, when I’ve handled everyone and their enclosures are all sparkly, I do get that fulfilling feeling of love for them. But it quickly becomes overwhelming again within a day or two especially the feeding.
Maybe it’s simply too many leos…


I am much the same. In my life it has always been about the animals. Aside my snakes I’ve got seven cats and a dog. I prefer animals to people most of the time.

You should never feel bad for being overwhelmed. Life is not static, our situations and responsibilities change, and that’s okay. Part of being such a devoted carer for your animals is knowing when maybe to send them on to a new place. Maybe start by rehoming just one, then give it a little time. Choose the one that you interact with least, the one that causes you the most issues. It’s okay to waffle, it’s okay to start slowly, it’s completely normal to second, third, fourth guess yourself. We like to believe there’s no such thing as too many animals (oh if only I could own a zoo!) but in reality, it’s a lot of work on top of everyday life. Some animals are just easier to care for than others, and some animals don’t fit with certain lifestyles.

There is nothing to feel ashamed, embarrassed, guilty or regretful about. You’re recognizing your limitations and what is best for your beloved animals. You’ve done everything for them up until now, you held up your end of the bargain. You’ve got to let yourself find balance, or that overwhelming feeling won’t go away.


ALL of this thread is exactly what being a part of the MRC Family all about. Gentle compassion and understanding advice are far, far better than bickering.

I hope that you reach a place of balance in your decisions, and that as your health becomes better, you begin to enjoy life fully once again.


@spottedbull I just want to second your response on the MRC. Yes yes yes this thread is a PERFECT example of the way it should be. Compassion and caring. Thank you so much for bringing this up!

@nubs My heart goes out to you. There is not much else I can say that hasn’t already been said. You have been given such compassionate advice giving you reassurance and a few options to remedy your situation. I am not a breeder but I have rehomed a few pet animals in my lifetime.

When you have an illness that affects your brain, obviously your emotional health is skewed as well. In my heart, after reading your original post, I think you already know what you need to do. I think you just needed reassurance. But if not, there are PLENTY of people here to advise and comfort you until you make a decision and then afterwards if you need it. This is the way this world should be. That’s the way it is here.

One more thing. If you should decide to part with a few geckos,
you might contact your vet. I am assuming you have a reptile vet? If so, he or she may be able to connect you with a rescue/rehome organization. Christmas is right around the corner as well…….

And IMHO, reptiles don’t attach themselves emotionally to their humans like dogs or cats or horses, etc. They are just not wired that way.

You will get through this with your reptile family here.


@caron I think you’re right…perhaps I just needed reassurance that I won’t be completely ruining their lives.
Although, I was not expecting the compassionate and heartfelt responses. I was expecting to be shamed and told how horrible I am, how I should either keep them all or drop the hobby entirely, how I never deserve to bring home another reptile, etc, and I certainly did not expect others to have been in the same position, feeling the same way as I am! It’s a relief, really. I can’t thank you all enough.

In my heart, I know I need to rehome at least the three males. I feel sick to my stomach reaching into their enclosures as I’m so anxious about getting bitten. I should be able to find good homes for them, and might know of a few people. Asking my vet is a great idea and I will keep that in mind for sure.


All the best to you nubs! Keep us all posted……


I would like to believe no one here would ever shame someone for showing care for their animals, we’re all in this hobby because we love what we keep. It takes a lot to share something like this, and it’s obvious that, no matter if you’ve lost the spark, you still have your leos best interest at heart.

Wishing you all the best, hopefully this sets you on a path to a better, more mentally healthy you. Remember, let yourself feel relief. You’re not closing the book, just starting a new chapter.


While my own experience on this forum has been limited - lurker by nature and all that - I can say that this community has been one of the best that I’ve ever interacted with. I’m sorry that you felt so much dread over simply asking for help and advice, nobody should ever have to feel like that, but I am glad that you did. Because hopefully now some of those thoughts won’t be so loud (or there at all) the next time that you need to reach out.

I know myself and many others would be thrilled to have you here and enjoying the community, geckos or no geckos. As others have said though, give yourself a chance to rest and take things slow. You’re not a bad person for needing to take care of yourself and your other animals. And despite what some people outside this forum might say there’s no reptile membership card to revoke if that should happen, no impossible bar to reach for in order to be a “real keeper”. There’s just you, your animals, and the joy you get from seeing and interacting with them even when they drive you up a wall or make you say “Really? I just cleaned that!”

And if the passion you had for them isn’t there anymore than that’s okay.

I hope you are able to find good homes for the three males! It sounds like you’ve got a good plan started and I truly hope that it helps. Also, if/when you feel up to it, maybe you could show off some pictures of your girls?


You’ve gotten some great advice so far. One thing I want to mention is that I feel a little bit like this with some of my crested geckos. With how often they need fed I feel a little bit overwhelmed since I think I’m over-worrying about them (I had multiple die due to what I believe were bad crickets). I have about 20 babies and adults, which means 20 food and water dishes to take and clean out, enclosures to mist and clean and monitor. The main reason why I’m losing passion with those is because I just don’t enjoy them much. I pretty much never see the babies (always hiding) or they are just sitting on a branch, and while they are cool, I just am not that interested in them.
My solution to this is I’m just not going to breed them anymore, I’m going to take care of the babies I have now, maybe keep a couple of them that I really like, and just avoid having 20 crested geckos in the first place. Someday I might hatch a couple clutches from the female that I’ve enjoyed babies from the most, but I think I might just dispatch, feed, or give away the extra eggs.
Hopefully this helps you with your decision, and know that you’re not alone in feeling this way.


Maintaining passion while dealing with physical or emotional pain isn’t easy. I can’t really say I have the answers for you. I will say that I believe whatever decision you make will be the correct one. How you openly shared what you are experiencing and how it has you feeling takes strength, wisdom, and compassion. I kept and bred geckos myself for almost 20 years. Thanks to a natural disaster I had to euthanize all my surviving reptiles and invertebrates. Four years later my 15 year old dog passed. Not long after that I sustained a shoulder and knee injury that has led to chronic pain and at times placed limits on my mobility and emotional happiness. It took me 11 years to open my home and my heart to pets again. Part of my “preparing to retire” plan. Now that i have 30+ reptiles again, I don’t know what I would do without them. I worry more about where they will be once I’m gone than I do about myself. I just know that I’m happy. That I enjoy what they bring into my life. Even if it does consume a quarter of my income, lol. They provide me with a sense of serenity in a crazy world. I look at them and see beauty and majesty. I’m glad to have that passion in my life again. I hope you find that balance again for your life. I know I’m nobody to your reality but, I believe in you. I trust and respect whatever decision you make. I appreciate you for sharing your experience. Nothin but love.


I had this happen with the crested geckos I had, and I eventually made the decision to sell all of them. Taking care of them felt like more of a chore than it did anything enjoyable, and I was really struggling to give them the proper care they needed.

I found that I’m not too big on lizards in general, but I love my snakes. I never struggle to care for them, though I’ve found it easier to do a little bit of care at a time rather than doing all of it in one day. Considering I have probably 80 snakes by now, it’s a lot to care for but I love doing it!

On the other hand, I do have a single male leopard gecko and I love him, he’s such a character and easy to take care of. Easier than I found the crested geckos to care for — he’ll eat his dubia roaches off of the feeding tongs and so far I haven’t had any issues with stuck shed or humidity. I might have to move him into the reptile room though since the weather is getting colder and humidity getting lower. We have a big humidifier in the reptile room that keeps it at 60% which is where most of my critters need it at!

I’d love to try getting some higher end leopard geckos to breed, and see if maybe leopard geckos are something I’m actually happy working with.


It takes courage and strength to open up and express your feelings in a group that you have never met in person , or even seen the faces of for the most part.
Much respect!
I know you only have the best interests for your animals and it shows.
I wish you all the best and want you to know you are among friends here.
Whatever decisions you make I know will be what is best for you.


Never feel bad about rehoming an animal as long you’r e diligent in vetting a new home.

Something that everyone who’s feeling overwhelmed should consider is, getting a little help. People are often happy to volunteer their help just to get to interact with animals they can’t keep themselves. I found once I hired employees that my passion wasn’t dying, my life had just evolved and my anxiety that I didn’t have time to properly care for everything was overwhelming me.

Now I keep my collection growing and evolving with a small village to support it and the villagers (whether paid or volunteers) get a huge amount of enjoyment out of it. And I keep my house cleaner because people are always coming over :roll_eyes::joy:

My collection is quite a bit larger than average (200+), and at times it was a serious burden. I ramble about on this thread if you want to take a look.


I’m so thankful for you asking this question. In the beginning, I thought I wanted to breed crested geckos. I have a friend who does and I know a couple other people that do.
I got some of my dream morphs, studied and learned all I could about the genetics, set up a future budget for costs, kept an eye on the market(which is insanely saturated anyway), sat back after all this time, money, energy, and thought had been put into this endeavor and I realized “I don’t want to be a breeder.”

I also had a sign from the Universe it wasn’t mean to be because all of my probable females developed pores in the dead of the night.

I realized that for me personally, I love just having them as pets. That’s what brings me the most joy and that’s okay.

My point in saying all of this is that its never wrong for you to do what’s best for you. If keeping just the females and selling the males is what will bring your joy back, then that’s what you need to do.

My heart goes out to you for the decisions you are going to have to make, but I’m happy you are getting better.