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lace monitor nesting simplified

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Posted by: crocdoc2 at Sun Feb 12 19:33:25 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by crocdoc2 ]  

The discussion on nesting in lace monitors has now gone on several diversionary tangents, so I'm going to try to rein it back in to the basics. Let's try to keep the responses simple:

There's been much discussion about whether or not lace monitors are obligate termite mound nesters in the wild. We know (well, some of us do) that there is overwhelming evidence from many sources that lace monitors do (at very least) commonly nest in termite mounds, so doubting that is pretty pointless. There is even 'caught in the act' photographic proof available. So far, there is no solid evidence that they nest anywhere else in (at very least) much of their range, particularly in the areas from which the lace monitors being discussed originally came. However, let's suppose, for the sake of argument, it's possible or even probable that they do nest elsewhere on occasion.

Here's my first question: Why would you base your husbandry on what a tiny percentage of the population may do rather than what the vast majority of the population is known to do?

Let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that I don't know anyone else that's ever used a nest box with lace monitors. Based on my understanding of what the wild population is known to do (at very least, the vast majority of them in the areas from which the lace monitors being discussed come) I have proposed that it is important for breeders of this species provide a heated nest box, designed to simulate the conditions within a termite mound that are conducive to nesting, as an additional option. Still keep your deep substrate and hollow logs (as I've mentioned before, I have both in my enclosure) but add a nest box. We'll call that Option A.

The opposing argument (Option B) is to not add a heated nest box, with the assurance that lace monitors can nest successfully in leaf litter, hollow logs or dirt.

Fortunately, we don't have to wait for the results to come in. Kind of like a cooking show, both sides can say "here are some I prepared earlier" and show the results as we look back on the two methods.

The results from using Option A with a single female has been a huge number of eggs and babies and that female is currently still alive to breed again.

The results from using Option B on several females is a large number of babies. The combined effort of several females being roughly .66% of the total reproductive output of the lone female using Option A.

However, every female in the Option B trial went on to die of reproductive failure after a number of clutches. The person trialling Option B has stated this is due to nesting failure.

My second question is: If you were a new keeper viewing the results, which of the following would you choose?

Option A: One female, but high success rate (1.5x the combined reproductive output of all animals in the Option B trial) and still going.

Option B: Several females, 66% reproductive output of Option A, but ultimately 100% reproductive failure rate as all of the females died.

Keep in mind that there's no gamble involved in using Option A, for it's about adding something extra (a nest box) rather than replacing things (such as deep substrate and hollow logs) which are available in Option B.

As a scientist, I'm aware that n=1 (remember, this is an imaginary world in which I don't know anyone else that has ever used a nest box) isn't a large sample size, but as the alternative seems to be certain death, wouldn't you at least have a shot at trying Option A?


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>> Next Message:  RE: lace monitor nesting simplified - varanusaurus, Sun Feb 12 21:07:20 2012
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