The Ethics of Culling Snakes

After the question in the gene form about what the combos look like, he said any combo that was not used (referring to Eramosa) was culled from the collection. He never said non-project animals.

@eaglereptiles if it isn’t ok for me to quote the original thread, just let me know and I will change it to normal quotations.


God I didn’t even think about that. And yeah I don’t have any snakes that are snake eaters either. There really are downsides to every contingency.


I fully understand your position on this, I respect it but disagree that it isn’t ethical.
I find it way more ethical to fully control the process to ensure that a situation like the Desert gene doesn’t happen again. Since there’s a lot of assuming going on around here I’ll assume that’s what this means:

With regard to the ethics of culling (killing) animals we produce, there are two questions:
Will this act reduce or prevent suffering?
Will this act create or prolong suffering?
The answer to the second question should always be no - that’s it, that’s the guidance. As long as an animal is humanely euthanized, suffering isn’t created or prolonged.


Nowhere in any of my statements I have made have I said anything about ethics. Others have, but I have not. I just want to know if he culled the animals just so no one else has the gene but him, or if he did it for other reasons. That said, a responsible keeper (in my opinion) should always avoid unnecessary deaths. Even if that means selling as pet only if you don’t know much about the gene. From the way he says it, it makes it sound like any combo that wasn’t good enough was culled. Ethics are always a matter of opinion. From how long he worked on this project, it is clear the females reproduced pretty early on, and that they didn’t have any issues. If anything, he could have gotten one of his breeder friends to take the extras and work on things with him, instead of culling. If they are healthy, culling shouldn’t be the first option taken. Unless you have a snake that absolutely needs to eat snakes, or it is a very commonly produced morph that is usually abandoned or mistreated (like wild type ball pythons). Though it is relatively easy to avoid producing wild types.


For established breeders, yes, but for alot of breeders who dont have massive collections or those trying to build up their multi recessive collections, breeding hets is a necessity, and not all want a dom or inc dom that chances overpowering the look of the recessives.

I cant imagine there are many people breeding normals intentionally anymore, i would guess they come from trying to gene stack and are a byproduct of het breeding.


I think there are quite a few. Maybe not a lot of people that are in the hobby/community and working towards a goal, but a lot of pet owners likely have a snake (most often a normal) and get another or borrow a friends to breed them. Then the babies are often just sold on craigslist/facebook or given to friends (who will sometimes breed them).


Fair, BYB i could definitely see. But they arent easy to sell and the hassle of incubating feeding and rearing isnt worth the 20-50$ youd get for them, or the electricity used. So i have to think its one and dones, but with how many people own BPs, i could believe it is possible there is no shortage of people to pick up where they left off.

But professionally, normals have limited use, not 0, but limited. When you want to see if a gene is recessive, inc dom, or dom, a true normal is still the best way.


Yeah, most of the normals I’ve produced are just byproducts of pairing a visual recessive to a het/normal — though one of those clutches was meant to be a pied clutch.

Either way, all of the “normals” I’ve produced are 100% het for either pied or VPI axanthic, so they’re still worth something for new people getting into the hobby.

Though I’m also looking at investing in a multigene male to pair to my normal females, so I can create a nice variety of babies and be less likely to hit any more normals.


You seem to have wildly misunderstood my intent here, and on that I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I made a logical assumption based on the original context provided in Corey’s original post, and his own assertion that any non-project animals were culled. My first few messages were, in fact, asking Corey for clarification, as were multiple other people. When there was no clarification provided by Corey, the conversation proceeded a little without that in terms of an elaboration on why myself and others wanted clarification from Corey himself and why we were concerned. This is a public forum. Discourse is the entire point, no?

You also seem to think that I’m targeting Corey in some way. I did not “put him on public blast.” I didn’t call him out on social media or make a video about him. I didn’t incessantly tag him or insult him. I responded to his own post on these forums proposing a new gene and asked him for clarification on the wording of an assertion that he wrote. There has been no blasting of any kind, and it’s a little concerning to me that there seem to be many people calling me out for asking for his clarification on the matter.

I’m never going to apologize for asking for more information on hobby practices. Just because someone is well-known and/or well-respected does not in any way mean they are above criticism. In this case, I’m not even criticizing Corey - I’m seeking information and criticizing the general concept of culling animals for non-health related reasons. You can disagree with me all you’d like, but there’s no malicious intent here from me and I’m not sure why my request for clarification has been taken as such a threat. I’ve not made any illogical or malicious assumptions or comments here - we had discourse.

Until such time as Corey himself decides to clarify what he meant in the original wording, the only thing that I can say for sure is that if breeders out there are euthanizing animals to prevent a new gene being released to any other collection, that’s a very clear indicator to me that we should take a deep look at what we are willing to accept as a hobby. If that isn’t happening, that’s wonderful - and it’s all I wanted to know. That’s the final thing I will say on the matter.


This was an issue that I had when raising and breeding Tarantulas. I raised a female Chaco Golden Knee (G. Pulchripes) to adulthood. Had a male set to go when he matured. But to have as many as 800 slings stopped that plan as soon as I realizing how much time would be needed to move that many.

I don’t think I could sell any of my future BP hatchlings knowing they would be used to feed other species. Although accepted, my moral conscious would tear me up inside.


Same, dude, same.

“Euthanasia” is only meant to refer to compassionate assisted death for a reason (suffering, severe disability, important research, as a prey item, etc.), not a painless dispatch convenient for the owner of the animal. After this post I’ll stay out of this convo as well due to my extreme bias, but I 100% insist this term not be used to reference the killing of animals because they didn’t fit into a breeding program or did not sell, whether performed without stress or pain or not. I am very qualified to make this distinction and will not debate it.

Insofar as I know, ‘cull’ can mean removal from a breeding population via any means, lethal or just selling off.

Agreed. Personally feel recognition of morph (edit: without) this is not justified.

Agreed with @ashleyraeanne that decapitation of reptiles is 100% unacceptable as primary means of euthanasia. The veterinary community has recognized this for decades, any vet that doesn’t know that is very out of touch. Thank you @ballornothing for sharing the AVMA’s guidelines.



This is more to @mblaney than anyone else actually. I am also retired but I worked for a vet for several years in the early 2000’s and she treated not only dogs and cats but also exotics including small animals (pocket pets), birds, fowls, reptiles and even fish. She also worked with several wildlife rescue groupsSome of the “tails” I could tell you!

She refused to dock tails or crop ears( cosmetic surgery). She also stopped declawing kittens as well as adult cats. I was blessed to have worked for her because I learned so much about reptiles and developed a passion for snakes.

It really saddens me to think of what could be going on behind closed doors in the reptile trade after reading the above posts and replies. I think puppy mills are the worst and there are breeders who get away with it because their dogs are considered “live stock”. Unbelievable.

To destroy any healthy animal that was purposely bred because the animal is deemed not profitable IMO is morally and ethically wrong.

I’m done


You’re quite welcome.

I don’t mean to offend anyone but I am not interested in further participating in this portion of the discussion as I mentioned above. It draws forth entirely too much emotion, and I am here to share knowledge/learn from others. That does not happen in an emotional and/or anthropomorphic conversation.