Deformed Baby Northern - Graphic *Update*

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Jeff
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Deformed Baby Northern - Graphic *Update*

Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:08 pm

I debated over whether or not to post about this guy, and decided to do it on the Advanced Discussion Forum hoping that people wouldn't open it expecting to see pictures of a cute little baby northern.

This baby was born this way about 2 months ago. He was the first baby born in a litter of 14. All of the other babies in the litter were perfectly formed. I can't really even guess the cause of this guys birth defects. I just thought some would like to see him.

This guy behaves perfectly normal in every way. He is active and growing at a normal rate. If he appeared to be in pain or suffering in any way, I would probably decide to cull him, but like I said - except for his hideous appearance, he seems normal in every way. As long as this continues I will give him the best life I can, just like all of my other skinks.

When he was born I expected him to die in a day or two. He surprised me! It's hard to not form a special affection for such a unique skink!

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His mouth isn't lined up exactly right. Sometimes his tongue hangs out a little.

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His head is too malformed too. It is actually worse than it appears in the pictures. There is a significant "dent" in his skull.


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I think it is worth noting that many people would immediately assume that a skink with a spine like this is suffering from MBD. This is not the case with this guy. Of course I don't know exactly what caused this condition, only that it happened before he was born. I guess it is possible that the cause was a shortage of calcium being processed invitro which in essence is the same thing as MBD. If anyone has any thoughts I am very interested.

I am planning on taking some advice I got from Ray this year about some supplements to give to gravid females. He claims that birth defects are greatly reduced when he does this.
Last edited by Jeff on Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Coomassie » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:22 pm

He may very well live for a few years or more but often times, birth defects like that come with internal birth defects that can't be seen. Are you planning on keeping him?
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Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:28 pm

I will definitely be keeping him. Like I said, if it starts to appear that he is in pain or suffering at all, I will need to reassess, but for the time being as long as he continues to "thrive" I will continue to do everything I can for him.

I have absolutely no expectations whatsoever. I will just see what happens as time goes on. I can't help but root for him though.
6.10.9 T. s. intermedia
2.2.7 T. s. scincoides
1.2.1 T. nigrolutea
2.2.0 T. r. rugosa
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Postby Fatal_S » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:40 pm

Wow, he's very unique. It's nice of you to give him the chance to live a happy life safe with you. May I suggest a name? Quasimodo :)
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Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:50 pm

Lol! I wish I would have thought of that name sooner, it is perfect. He was already given a name by 3 of the cutest kids on the planet though (well at least 2 of them are cute 8) ). James Wilson's niece and nephews named him "Lumpy". I thought that was pretty appropriate too.
6.10.9 T. s. intermedia
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1.2.1 T. nigrolutea
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Postby Katrina » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:23 pm

Fatal_S wrote:Wow, he's very unique. It's nice of you to give him the chance to live a happy life safe with you. May I suggest a name? Quasimodo :)


:lol: I was just about to post that!! Great minds. 8)

Jeff - great post, it is good for education purposes (especially to illustrate that not all bone deformities are MBD). As to the calcium deficiency during pregnancy... I would think that if lack of Ca was an issue when developing it would be seen in more that one of the babies? Seems odd that there were 13 healthy babies and no signs of deficiency in the mother. :noknow: Thanks for sharing - that it is a great learning opportunity!
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Postby Scotts1au » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:08 pm

The best decision is rarely the easiest. Trust me.
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Postby christian » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:17 pm

I guess being Jeff's son doesn't mean anything to him when it comes to worldwide cuteness affairs. :(
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Postby Richard.C » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:06 pm

jeff i had a lowlands blotch born very similar to that,but when newly born its tail curved back under it making it not be able to sit properly,i thought i may have to humanely do something about that but after a couple of days it kind of fixed it self enough to walk around freely,so i hung on to it,i had her for 5 years,and she never grew as well as her 3 other litter mates,she did well though and did normal bluey things and was one of the stronger feeders,unfortunatly she died last season,how im not to sure,but i can say they can do quite well with such deformities,but even though it can straighten out abit with the bumpy look,they carry it for live,but if they otherwise function normally,its quite fun to keep them,i got quite attached to my one,its not the same now looking for her out in the pitt,she was one of the first out to greet me,especially when food was there
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Postby Alioop » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:14 am

Jeff I'm really glad that you posted this. Its very interesting to see this unique little guy. Have you thought about getting an x-ray done? I'd be curious to see exactly how his insides look. Of course it would just be for the sake of curiosity, maybe not worth putting him through the stress.
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Postby Hopeful_Herper » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:20 pm

it would be very interesting to get an x ray,
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Postby critterguy » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:04 pm

Short of keeping him from running around on the table an x-ray should be a pretty low stress procedure.
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Postby Katrina » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:42 pm

critterguy wrote:Short of keeping him from running around on the table an x-ray should be a pretty low stress procedure.


It depends what they want to xray and how they will need to position him. Xray can be very. very stressful depending on the angle they need to get and how they have to hold him still. Any time an animal is being forced not to move it will be stressful though. I'm not saying it isn't worth it, but it can be stressful. :wink:
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Postby James Wilson » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:41 pm

Awesome post. I am really glad to see little Lumpy, and I am glad he is doing well. It was truly good for him that he was born into your care. Last week the kids came out here (san Diego) for a visit, and they were asking about uncle Jeff and Lumpy. I will post some photos in the general discussion forum of them with my big female in addition to photos of the earlier visit to Jeff's house when I was visiting over there. Let me also commend Jeff on his patience and tolerance while my two nephews played with those Shingleback Skinks. I was grabbing my gut in stress the whole time, and if Jeff was feeling any stress, he never showed it. My hat is off to him.
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Postby Scotts1au » Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:36 am

Hey Jeff always commend someone who is willing to stand by their "issues". Probably would have gone in the freezer a long time ago if it were mine.
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Postby xxmonitorlizardxx » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:47 am

Katrina wrote:
critterguy wrote:Short of keeping him from running around on the table an x-ray should be a pretty low stress procedure.


It depends what they want to xray and how they will need to position him. Xray can be very. very stressful depending on the angle they need to get and how they have to hold him still. Any time an animal is being forced not to move it will be stressful though. I'm not saying it isn't worth it, but it can be stressful. :wink:

Won't they have put the lead jacket on him?
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Postby Jeff » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:50 am

Scotts1au wrote:Hey Jeff always commend someone who is willing to stand by their "issues". Probably would have gone in the freezer a long time ago if it were mine.



Scott, I'm not going to lie - that was definitely a consideration. I have very limited space right now, and the last thing I need is to fill an enclosure with an animal that will obviously never be part of any project I am working on. I told myself that I could easily justify it by telling myself that this skink was in pain, or was suffering. The problem is, I can't find any evidence that it is. With that being said, I would never judge anyone for coming to a different conclusion about what should be done with this skink.

After thinking about it more though, I realized that I don't want to becolme someone who places value on my animals based only on their "usefulness" to me or their monetary value. If I get to that point I will know that I no longer have the animals best interest in mind, and that I am keeping them ONLY for my selfish enjoyment. Even as it is, the main reason for keeping them is that it makes ME happy. I think that if I am going to subject them to a life in captivity for my selfish fulfillment, I have a moral obligation to treat each one of the with respect. I may be weird, but to me that includes taking care of all of them the best I can until it is no longer possible for them to have a "comfortable" life.

It's not really nobel on my part, it is simply accepting the responsibility that comes along with the privilege of keeping and breeding these amazing creatures.

In addition, I think that raising this skink will enable me to gain knowledge that may be useful to someone in the future who has to make a decision about what to do with a skink that has a less severe birth defect. By learning how things go with this one, I will be able to say, "I have this skink that is much worse off than yours, and he has managed to live a normal life for x# of years". Of course if the skink doesn't survive very long, I will be able to offer that insight as well. It might help someone make a more informed decision. We'll just have to wait and see.
6.10.9 T. s. intermedia
2.2.7 T. s. scincoides
1.2.1 T. nigrolutea
2.2.0 T. r. rugosa
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2.0.5 T.s. chimaera
0.0.0. T. occipitalis
0.0.0. T. multifasciata
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Postby James Wilson » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:08 pm

Jeff wrote:
Scotts1au wrote:Hey Jeff always commend someone who is willing to stand by their "issues". Probably would have gone in the freezer a long time ago if it were mine.



Scott, I'm not going to lie - that was definitely a consideration. I have very limited space right now, and the last thing I need is to fill an enclosure with an animal that will obviously never be part of any project I am working on. I told myself that I could easily justify it by telling myself that this skink was in pain, or was suffering. The problem is, I can't find any evidence that it is. With that being said, I would never judge anyone for coming to a different conclusion about what should be done with this skink.

After thinking about it more though, I realized that I don't want to becolme someone who places value on my animals based only on their "usefulness" to me or their monetary value. If I get to that point I will know that I no longer have the animals best interest in mind, and that I am keeping them ONLY for my selfish enjoyment. Even as it is, the main reason for keeping them is that it makes ME happy. I think that if I am going to subject them to a life in captivity for my selfish fulfillment, I have a moral obligation to treat each one of the with respect. I may be weird, but to me that includes taking care of all of them the best I can until it is no longer possible for them to have a "comfortable" life.

It's not really nobel on my part, it is simply accepting the responsibility that comes along with the privilege of keeping and breeding these amazing creatures.

In addition, I think that raising this skink will enable me to gain knowledge that may be useful to someone in the future who has to make a decision about what to do with a skink that has a less severe birth defect. By learning how things go with this one, I will be able to say, "I have this skink that is much worse off than yours, and he has managed to live a normal life for x# of years". Of course if the skink doesn't survive very long, I will be able to offer that insight as well. It might help someone make a more informed decision. We'll just have to wait and see.


I could not have said it better myself. You are truly a breath of fresh air. I wish more keepers could see things the way you do.
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Postby Scotts1au » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:48 am

Will be interesting to see how it goes Jeff, I suspect it will be in pain. They are such tough buggers though - not sure how you will know.
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Postby Coomassie » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:55 am

Scotts1au wrote:Will be interesting to see how it goes Jeff, I suspect it will be in pain. They are such tough buggers though - not sure how you will know.


That is an interesting question. How do you determine pain in a BTS or any reptile for that matter. I know that an external stimulus for pain will cause them to run away (that just makes sense) but how do you determine pain levels when it is all internal?
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