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domesticating

Postby simmer » Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:30 pm

I need an expert's thought on this.
I have an exotic pet, a common east coast snapping turtle. I was wandering what it would take to set up a successful domestication program for it. Owners claim that they can teach their turtles tricks, and it is proven that if raised from a hatchling they will grow docile, and devoted to their owner. They can recognize the owner but I'm not sure if it is by sight, or, smell, or if they can't recognize people, but grow use to people as handler's.
A few traits I would like to alter:
---size/weight...although we could branch off and kinda make two "breeds".
--temperment...To make them loyal to their owners
-----------diet...to handle the misfeeding that pet owner's often infflict on pets
In any case is it even possible to do this :?:
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Postby Condraz23 » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:05 am

Is domestication not the result of hundreds of years of selective breeding?
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Postby alextemplet » Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:26 am

Lots of people around here keep snapping turtles, but nobody even tries to domesticate them. They just leave them in a big pond and throw fish in to feed them, and the turtles are almost never handled by humans. They're far too aggressive and dangerous to be treated as normla pets.
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i know

Postby simmer » Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:00 pm

I know about both of those but there are people out here who have handled the turtles all through their lives (the turtles lives).
It is also true that if handled as a hatchling they will grow up docile. There is some who were not meant to be w/ people but that's what we got to rule out.
I know about domestication and I know it'll take hundreds of years of careful selective breeding but it's still possible as long as their are people who own them and know about this.
Also, be sure your not talking about an alligator snapping turtle
Plus this will be the first reptile in history to be domesticated.
It may seem that I'm obsessed w/ them, but I'm not. 8)
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Postby alextemplet » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:55 am

What about iguanas and geckos? People keep them as pets all the time; how are they not domesticated?

And I am talking about an alligator snapping turtle. Around here, that's what a snapping turtle is.
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Re: i know

Postby damien james » Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:46 am

simmer wrote:I know about both of those but there are people out here who have handled the turtles all through their lives (the turtles lives).
It is also true that if handled as a hatchling they will grow up docile. There is some who were not meant to be w/ people but that's what we got to rule out.
I know about domestication and I know it'll take hundreds of years of careful selective breeding but it's still possible as long as their are people who own them and know about this.
Also, be sure your not talking about an alligator snapping turtle
Plus this will be the first reptile in history to be domesticated.
It may seem that I'm obsessed w/ them, but I'm not. 8)


Most wild animal will not be docile even if handled as hatchling, especially non-mammalian. I think it would be much harder to domesticate a reptile than a mammal also. Also it is true like alex says. Iguanas are raised and bred in pet stores for a long time, and still they are wild.
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Postby Condraz23 » Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:21 am

A succesful domestication programme for alligator snapping turtles would be very hard to achieve. Remember, reptiles aren't very "moldable" creatures. It would be similar to domesticating snakes or crayfish. Although not impossible, it would definitely take alot of time.

Successful domestication occours within the genetic level. Careful selective breeding will pick out undesirable genes, replacing them with new genes that causes the animal to exhibit desirable traits. Animals showing these desirable traits could be bred together, leading to domestication.
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Postby alextemplet » Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:21 am

Alligators are probably easier to domesticate than snapping turtles, because they are more intelligent.
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Postby Darby » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:18 pm

Reptiles do have personalities - lizards more than snakes, snakes more than turtles, and it might be possible to breed for certain types. So far as I know, no one has done that - just breeding individuals is much trickier than for things like mammals and birds.

You're fighting reptilian instincts, though, and with snapping turtles, once they're a certain size, a miscalculation could lose you a finger.

My bull snake is incredibly trustworthy - so much so that I feel confident letting preschoolers handle her. But I had a very docile savannah monitor (about 9 lbs / 4 kg) who was always very calm until, after an outdoor walk (and I assume a whiff of dog or something, latched onto my shoulder - took me about 15 minutes to dislodge him, but he didn't cause any permanent damage. I have a subadult snapping turtle, and I've seen him cut minnows in half - I never handle him without being out of his biting range. But I have heard of people having very docile snapping turtles.
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Postby Linn » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:37 pm

I have a snapper too! He is soo ugly hes cute! he catches birds. If I could get him to not birte me when I am not looking I could train him to be a guard snapping turtle. Some things can not be toatly domesticated what has happened is he has lost his fear of humans. Studies have shown with animals that successive captive bred generations DO actually begin to change in size, color, and mannerisms. I dont know if this can happen with our initial subject though. :?
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Postby Skeletor Rinpoche » Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:50 pm

East coast common snapper is no where close to being as big/aggressive as Alligator snappers. I know a person in Maryland who breeds both alligator snappers and common snappers(easier), not sure what his name/website is.
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Postby Linn » Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:00 am

Skeletor Rinpoche wrote:East coast common snapper is no where close to being as big/aggressive as Alligator snappers. I know a person in Maryland who breeds both alligator snappers and common snappers(easier), not sure what his name/website is.



I am sure you are right, but my snapper is a vicious little devil :twisted:
I will see if I can get a picture :)
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