Mum bit her babies in half

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PaulaD
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Mum bit her babies in half

Postby PaulaD » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:44 pm

One of our BTSs gave birth last night and she appears to have bitten the babies in half. We are unsure if they were born alive. We've never experienced this before. Any comments/advice would be appreciated.
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby Kbell31 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:50 pm

I am so sorry, what a traumatic site to find. I would not consider myself the person to go with on this bc I am NOT as knowledgable as others on here but I would say they were probably stillborn. I would like to hear the others opinions bc this is so sad. ALSO I hope any members considering breeding their skinks for the first time would read this and decide it is a serious decision.
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby Bird_Brain » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:53 pm

While i have never had experience with this, I do know of a breeder who had a female attack and kill one of her babies. Id imagine that it is possible. I havent heard of any other situations where the female has killed their young before, but if it were stillborn, she may have been trying to eat it.

Very interesting, yet sad situation. I hope others can provide more insight on this.
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby Linnea » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:12 pm

which species were they, and how many babies were there, and how did the injuries look?
even if it is tragic, i think photos might help us understand the situation.

im very sorry, it sounds very very sad....... :cry:
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby Jeff » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:59 pm

In my experience I have never had a mother kill a baby. On one occasssion I had a stumpy mom try to eat a stillborn baby, but she definitely did not bite it in half. She tried to eat it whole starting from the tail and working toward the head. If you know how big stumpy babies are, you will understand why it is not possible to do this. The mother eventually regurgitated the baby out in one piece.

It is hard to imagine that a mother would bite her babies in half and leave them, but like Brad, I have heard of one instance where a mother killed a baby with a single bite. Babies will tear each other apart if left together too long though. That is not a pretty site, but generally they do fine together at least until their first shed, and from what I have seen, for 3-4 weeks.

I don't know what to say about your situation other than I think it is something that is very uncommon.
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby mark_w » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:28 am

What a shame. I've not seen this either. I have seen really aggressive cannibalism in baby Irian Jayas a couple of times which I think starts when one animal bites another for whatever reason - this can start a grotesque feeding frenzy. Horrible I know.

As I'm sure you know this can happen in rabbits and rodents in captivity, probably in other animals too. It is usually blamed on stress or disturbance. Was the gravid female alone or with other animals (males)?
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby Spindown » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:01 pm

I dont have any idea what would have caused this, but i want to say, I'm sorry for your loss. That would have been horrible to find. :(
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Richard.C
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby Richard.C » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:56 pm

ive experienced this,outdoors,in a group situation,exept it was yearling blotches eating newborn easterns,i also know of a keeper who had kimberley northerns kill and eat a litter,but they were in a group to,was your female with others,ripped in half sounds more like 2 trying to eat one?????

im guessing it was with easterns
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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby RoryBreaker » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:05 am

I had a Kimberley give birth early last week too. I see that you are located on the Gold Coast and would assume you had the heat wave other parts of south east Queensland had aswell .

Why I mentioned the extreme heat , I believe it had some influence on my own poor results with my girl ( premature birth? ) where she gave birth to 7 young , and at least 2 unfertilized ovum . Of the seven , I have one still kicking , the others were still born/or died near after , and some had signs of being chomped on . This was the mother's first litter. The mother was being kept by herself while gravid. All the young were very small.

I had another Northern give birth this afternoon ( a surprise I wasn't expecting ) where she had only 4 healthy young but i witnessed this mother eating the unfertilized ovum after birthing. All reptiles are masters at conserving limited resources , eating unfertilzied ovum packed full of nutrients makes sense . Maybe your newborn blueys were not quite 'up to standard' and eating/attempting to eat them was a natural response?

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Re: Mum bit her babies in half

Postby PaulaD » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:40 am

Thank you so much to everyone who replied to my enquiry.
We have had 5 females give birth over the past 4 years with some having 16 healthy babies and never experienced anything like this before but perhaps they were stillborn as suggested - we didnt see them get born. They appeared all fully developed but a section of the torso missing out of each - in a big bite-shape.
Mum (an Eastern) has been in her own enclosure for 6 weeks before giving birth - well rested, well fed and relaxed (we love our BTSs).
Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos - I didn't think of it at the time and had to make hubby remove the remains - I'm too much of a sook!
Thank you again to everyone - I really appreciate your sympathy, comments and advice, it has helped a lot.
Long Live all BTSs!

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