Overly Aggressive Shingleback

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Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby anchietae » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:50 pm

Hello Blue Tongue Friends.

After a long winter with high hopes for the 2014 breeding season, I've been very frustrated the past week with one of my male Shinglebacks. He has remained with the female he was raised with but he has grown increasingly aggressive towards his larger mate. It's been 6 weeks since they have been warmed up and like the past two years, breeding activity starts like someone has turned on a light switch. In past years, the female has been able to keep him under control. This is a photo of the female (Coco) putting the male (Lorenzo) in his place.
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This pair has yet to produce a baby; Lorenzo seems to be overly excited and concentrates on biting Coco not just on the shoulders, but also her head, body, and tail, even if she is submissive. Coco is currently in really rough shape. Image

I have attempted to guide Lorenzo's tail under Coco's when he is courting but even without my intervention, he loses his steam, only to go on with biting later, but nothing else. Coco is being very submissive and will lift her tail as Lorenzo scratches her with his back legs as he has a hold of her with his mouth. He fails to copulate, in fact, he rarely goes beyond the biting and pestering of his mate. I have moved his tail into place but after a few seconds, he moves and just can't get it done! Last year I hoped he would pull it together after a similar but far less aggressive breeding period. The year before that, it looked like the pair may have been copulating but I suspect he wasn't quite there. That year he would bite only in the shoulder region and commence to bring his tail under hers. Unfortunately, without any positive results.

I'm ready to pull that little guy out of there and give Coco a break. It seems Lorenzo is getting more aggressive as time goes on but less focused on what he really needs to be doing.
They both look terrible, but I'm afraid Coco has stopped defending herself. Image
It would be one thing if he would just figure things out. A little biting is expected. :oops:

I have another male that I have put with this normally aggressive female for an hour under careful observation. This is a four year old Boris, with no breeding experience.
Image

Coco is so worn down by her mate's bullying she has tolerated the the other male investigating her cage (without the little bully present). This is contrary to last year's brief introduction where she aggressively chased Boris off. Boris is paired with the mate he was raised with but there have been no signs of breeding activity that I have witnessed so far with his mate. I'm not sure if I should move males or let Lorenzo continue?

Here are some pics of happier times with the pair.
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Any suggestions are welcome!

Thanks.

Casey
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Richard.C » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:07 pm

Hi casey,

Last season, i noticed my males were more interested in just grabbing a hold of females,just latching on and holding,then letting go,no courting attempts,for a couple of weeks before they then changed there behaviour and attempted to actually mate,girl didnt get roughed up like yours though,but did abit on shoulders,and got a leg infection to possably from same behaviour,but didnt notice that till later in gestation

Was the first time ive actually spent hours trying to observe mating,and i saw mosrly this behaviuor in the lead up till actual copulation attempts making me feel demale wasnt quite ready,but males being males they were

With my blotchies i see this behaviour alot to,young inexperienced males chase and grab anything that moves,theres usually a couple of both sexes the end up looking like your female,back of head and body get really scuffed up,the behaviour your describing sounds just like what i see

Maybe females not quite ready but male is,thr blotchies do this every year,some males show zero interest until a couple of weeks after younger ones grabbing behaviour ,which then quitens uoungens down as dominant ones take over
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Richard.C » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:28 pm

Personally id persevere with those 2,u could try other male as well,my males last season were both doing the bite but nothing thing to her for a couple of weeks,it frustrated me to because i wanted to film them mating and they wernt even attempting it,toeards the end of this behaviour and i assume when females was closer to being ready the males stopped harrassing her as much and actually were nudging each other away from her with the odd mellow bite thrown in,then like clock work,one male stopped all together and the other started pursuits around cage with actual mating attempts,no more just bitings

Unfortunatly i got slugs to,possably because it was first season ive tried breeding them,plus i may have warmed them up to fast,biting started 2 weeks after wake up,mating 4 weeks after wake up,normally mine take a few months after wake up as i do it slower in a bigger more open cage and my climate really sux ,lol
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby anchietae » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:36 pm

Thanks Richard. I suppose I could be patient. It seems like the female is ready, or at least, rather submissive. On the other hand, the other shingles have been doing nothing up to this point. My rugosa female gave me two monster slugs last year. :( I still think Lorenzo doesn't know what he's doing. Of course, based on my lack of success, neither do I! lol

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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Richard.C » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:25 pm

My female just copped it when they did it to her,no trying to flee or anything,when they actually tried mating,they had to chase her a fair bit,with the just biting they just hung around her and would bite at her out of the blue,not chase her or anything,was more like if she went by them they would grab at her,but then just let go and all just went on doing normal stumpy things like it was no big deal

This season i saw none of that,now matings either,but oddly enough in last cpl of months that female just out of the blue bites at all the other stumpies,like a dont argue get away from me kind of thing,im hoping shes carrying more than slugs this season,there definatly oddballs these stumpies,they can also mate alot without you ever seeing it if kept together,ive had best results when i witness squat,lol
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby acanthurus » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:36 pm

Hi Casey,

All of your shingles look in great condition. I was just wondering how old are they currently, and how certain you are with sexing?

I have one female in particular who sometimes decides she is male in the breeding season and will try to mate girls, and get aggressive with the boys. This seems to happen later in the season, after she has been mated herself.

I did find that it takes the male a few seasons to settle into things. Most people who I have heard of having trouble with breeding has been down to the males. These males are often disinterested with the females, so I wouldn't take the aggression as being all bad. Having a bit of competition, with a large enclosure and multiple males also helps.

I also feel that given the way shingles mate, with the male following the female for weeks, that they probably do better if they have a bit of space. This way the female can lead the boy on her games without being too harrassed, and when the male finally does catch her he gives it his best shot.

Growth rates and body condition are also important. I have heard anecdotal evidence that growing too quickly can lead to poor fertility in females. For this reason I grow the females in particular slowly, aiming to get to adult weight at 2 years old, and breed in their 3rd to 4th season. Once full grown I keep the girls chubby. The boys however I keep lean, as excess body fat seems to make them lazy and disinterested. Many of the pictures I see of people's males I would classify as overweight. In saying that yours seem to be in good condition from the pics above.

I hope you have some luck :)
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby anchietae » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:42 pm

Thanks Richard and acanthurus. :) I really appreciate your insight.

I know keepers of Shinglebacks need to be patient, particularly when adding additional specimens is so difficult, as it is in the states.

I am certain of the sexes with the fighting pair. They are six years old this summer and are siblings. They have been raised together since birth and this is the 3rd year the male has demonstrated the breeding activity 5-6 weeks after the cooling period has ended.
Image

The rugosa will be five years old this summer. Still no breeding activity this year. Last year, I noticed a bite mark and roughed up scales on the shoulder of the yellow face female in the photo above. I made the assumption the other was a male and at least attempted to breed the female. I haven't been 100% sure on the rugosa, in fact, initially, I thought the female was a male. If it wasn't for her bite marks followed by the instant and quite obvious weight loss and the presence of two large infertile ova in the cage to confirm her gender, I'd still be unsure. The biter, the assumed male, has shown no interest yet this year. I'm hoping for that to change any day now unless my "male" rugosa is another female that just happen to bite the female in the right spot. Have either of you had a virgin female pass infertile ova without copulation?
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My other pair of aspera are 4 and 5 years old. No breeding activity. I place this male in the the other cage with my female. He cautiously inspected her and she tolerated him. He also defecated a small amount in her cage, fully everting both hemipenes in the process. There was a string of fresh seminal fluid on each organ. It was quite fascinating. I wish I would've been ready for that with my camera. I kept him in there for an hour but he lost interest in the female after twenty minutes.
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Thanks!
Casey
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Richard.C » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:48 pm

I dont always witness matings,but have had slugs,funnily 3 times i have witnessed matings twice i got slugs,first time i didnt cool them,but caught old male mating a few times,she may or may not of had slugs then,but had 5 litters the following 6 years after that ,as i started cooling then

I have noticed males start dropping alot of plugs before females are ready and during peak period,so hopefully your females are just close to cycling

Only femal aggression ive ever seen was my hopefully gravid aspera now,for 6 to 8 weeks she bit at 7 other stumpys of both sexes with a bit of intent,shes mellowed off again the last few weeks
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Fred Gaal » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:35 am

What temperatures you give them in the Winter? I now aspera need way cooler than rugosa.
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby anchietae » Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:57 am

Thanks Richard.
Fred, all my Shinglebacks were kept at 11 to 13 degrees C. (52 to 55 F.) for three months with a two week gradual cool down to these temps and a two week warm up.

Casey
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Fred Gaal » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:13 am

I think that could be longer. I keep them on aboud11 degrees celcius over 7 weeks and every 2 weeks 2 days at 20 degrees.
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby acanthurus » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:13 am

Casey do you have any better pics of your rugosa? The known female does look very female, and even though the other is less obvious I do wonder if it could be female too. If this was the case I'm guessing it wouldn't be all bad as there seems to be a large number of people with excess males over there.
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby anchietae » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:50 am

That's been my thought on more than one occasion, especially recently. The only thing that has led me to think this one pictured here could be a male is the bite marks this animal apparently left on my known female last year. That and they were sold to me as a pair. Of course, with that, the supposed male turned out to be a female. 8)

I just took these photos.

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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby acanthurus » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:32 am

Looks very female to me Casey. Is there any chance you could get a male on a loan to find out?
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Jeff » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:36 pm

Casey, They look like they could both be female to me too. I might know of a male rugosa that would be interested in a play-date next year. :wink: Jason and I are working with 4.2 rugosa over here. It might be worth assuming your rugosa are females next season and trying to get them paired with some of our extra males? I agree, these guys are extremely frustrating!
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Richard.C » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:31 pm

Does look a bit girly,especially its noggin,though if not power grown its head may not have filled out yet,that it left shoulder scuffing on other one isnt really what you would expect with 2 females,takes a bit to scuff rugosa scales up,maybe another male may help,just in case nothing happens this season
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Richard.C » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:33 pm

20140401_131719-1.jpg
20140401_131749-1.jpg
20140401_131801-1.jpg


A few pics of my 13 year old male rugosa rugosa,need to find him a female or 2

Oh,i find in the lead up to mating period and right through it mu males drop a crap load of sperm plugs,might be worth a closer look ,as if u find any you can guarentee its sex that way and yours should be close to that stage now,if not already started,if mine poop ,generally plugs will be around 6 inches away from poop ,dropped as there buggering off,lol but often they just drop plugs with out the suprise as well
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby anchietae » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:09 am

Thanks guys. I suppose this is not a terrible problem to have. Jeff, yes, maybe we (and Jason!) can work something out?
I just checked the three Shingleback cages. The two enclosures with the aspera pairs (or asper, if you prefer), are full of wasted semen.
The rugosa enclosure is conspicuously lacking of this addition.

Thanks for your help!

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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Richard.C » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:01 pm

Caset have u got a birds eye pic of the rugosas side by side?

Also not wasted semen,tgink of it as clearing the gunk in readiness for mating,when they mate the semen has a bubbky look to it,i reckon your asperas are very close to making money shots so to speak or may have already in your absense
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Re: Overly Aggressive Shingleback

Postby Fred Gaal » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:56 am

Why dont you try them one a proven male aspera?
Just look how he react and offcours not to breed. ;-)

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