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… 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)