Culling Tokay Geckos

Posted on: August 27th, 2013 by JE

“To cull” means “to remove”. As a Tokay gecko breeder, your goal is to create the best offspring from your collection. To do this, you need to pick the best breeders. But it cannot be avoided that in the process, undesirable traits may appear from the offspring and you want to remove these undesirable traits from your collection by removing the male or the female Tokay gecko or both, or its offspring, this process is called “culling”.  This process usually entails killing of the culled animals.

Which Tokay gecko to Cull

There is no much debate on killing hatchlings suffering from severe deformities which normally leads to a painful and shortened life.  Some of the common severe deformities found in geckos are abdominal hernias and underdeveloped eyelids.  But the real question arises when a breeder is confronted by a situation where he needs to decide if the condition would lead to a reduced but reasonable kind of life, or if the genetic character of the offspring could possibly weaken the gene pool of the Tokay geckos in his collection.

For instance:

  • Tokay geckos suffering from minor abnormalities which would require special care such as blindness or foreshortened limbs
  • Tokay geckos suffering undesirable appearance which do not need special care such as missing toes, tail bends, and bulgy eyes
  • Tokay geckos that are having difficulties catching weight or does not thrive well compared to its peers
  • Tokay geckos that have poor genetics, such as geckos that exhibits the characteristics of albinism
  • Offspring of Tokay geckos with poor genetics and deformities

Some breeders believe that culling is an important part of breeding because they contend that minor abnormalities observed in Tokay geckos are manifestations of a more serious condition hidden from the naked eyes.  So, if these Tokay geckos are bred, there is a great possibility that it can significantly weaken their genetic composition. To further justify the process, some gecko owners or keepers say that culling controls the spread of these genetic flaws, and deformities and it is better to just eliminate the geckos suffering from these questionable gene pool and deformities rather than they suffer from a reduced living condition. Breeders feel that it is their responsibility to ensure that their Tokay geckos possess a healthy and quality gene pool.

On the other hand, animal activists and conservative Tokay gecko owners who do not favor culling, would argue that every animal deserve a chance to live. They believe that the weaker geckos will not breed and eventually be eliminated through natural selection. Therefore, there is no need for human intervention.


There are several ways how Tokay gecko breeders and owners cull the hatchlings.  Some would feed the gecko hatchlings to their natural predators or other reptiles, thinking that death would be quick and that they provide nourishment to other animals.  Other culling techniques that are commonly used include the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) chamber, freezing, or taking the hatchling to a veterinarian for euthanasia.  The issue on which method is humane and which is painful is still widely debated by gecko owners and breeders.


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