The Female Sav Delimma
As the owner of a young female Sav, Summerdog, now 9 months old, I find myself in a deep delimma.
She is adjusting to her new enclosure. It's proximity to my den is making her more a part of our family and goings on. She watches us and we watch her. She has developed a "relationship" through the glass with my Cairn terrier--they are SO interested in one another and approach each other with curiosity. When I open the door I have to be careful, because he wants in and she wants out! More and more I'm learning her personality and she has gained significant confidence. When I walk in the enclosure she doesn't retreat, she comes toward me and will even crawl onto my shoes. I'm enjoying her SO much.
So here is the problem. My delight in watching her grow and progress is overshawdowed by a sense of dread, because no one seems to have a female Sav who lives much beyond age 2 or 3. Learning of the death of Daniel Michelle's Gunter at age 4 really drove this home to me this week. I feel like one of those parents with a child with a terminal disease, celebrating each birthday like a countdown to her eventual fate. I hope that doesn't sound overly dramatic. Even though I try very much to be a concientious Sav owner, what in the world would make me think that my lizard will do any better than hundreds of others who die prematurely each year?
I've been actively looking for a mate for SD, going on the theory that many promote that having a male with her will somehow help her in her cycle. But that didn't seem to solve the problem for Gunter, despite some successful clutches.
The delimma--should I save the money I plan to spend for a mate and go ahead and have her spayed this spring? My vet wants to wait until she is a year old. The cost will be $400. Seems worth it to me.
Hey Carla! I would still push to get a male sav and change the diet to what Daniel Bennet has discovered with their diet being almost completely insects. I'd also provide a second basking spot, around 130F as I believe it was Liam who said he noticed his savs avoid high basking temps unlike the males. Not sure if that plays a part, but it could.
I second the idea of taking diet into consideration. And to keep the intake only as much as what Summerdog does with activity levels even at her young age now. Keeping her lean and not overly satiated. Its a tough life for savs in the wild and yet they are, to our best knowledge, thriving out there but not in the "cushy" life of captivity. My females I had did seem to like nothing more than 145F with basking...avoiding it completely if it was any hotter than that so its worth experimenting to have at least one area of a large basking spot have that lower end range. But just because a handful seem to like it doesn't neccessarily mean all would. Its all in the observations we do where they tell us what their particular preferences are.
There is a much more active study going on with them at this moment than there ever has been for a long while. Paying close attention to the breeding season and in their lives in general. Things we all hope are going to shed more light on females in general
I'm hopeful with the new research, but will it come in time to truly benefit my girl? I'm currently leaning toward spaying her rather than be part of an experiment. She is such a kind little soul and though she is keen and an aggressive eater, she does not try to bite me or tail whip. I enjoy her so much and can't bear losing her if there is something I can do that I know should help prevent her loss. Has anyone had any long term success with females? By long term, I mean alive and healthy after breeding at age 5-7? On the other hand, do we know anyone who has a spayed female that is living healthily?
Joshua Richholt is the only one I know of with a female that is older in terms of what we are all used to seeing. Send him a message if he doesn't see this
As for spaying a sav, I've heard that it can extend their lives significantly. Something I am kicking myself over for not doing with my own because I had nothing to lose at that time. Buddy was doomed either way but I had a feeling she wasn't going to make it through the surgery, so I hesitated for my own selfish reasons of not allowing the possibility of losing her sooner rather than later. Its a tough call when you have one that doesn't appear to be cycling yet, so you have no idea how well she will handle it and if its a better thing to do before it happens. I understand your concern because I had gone through the constant worry myself. What also got to me is I saw examples that some managed to stay alive for a while in poor conditions with no nesting, why they made it through while those of us with all the best intentions were not having success.
I'm sorry I don't have any better answer for you that way. Thinking out loud, if I was in your position, I'd be tempted to keep Summerdog as is and see how she does when she reaches maturity in that sense (if she may even be there as it is). Be very observant of any change in behaviour or appearance and get bloodwork done if she is showing signs of cycling. She may be one that may handle it well enough...as well enough as they can. I hope others with better experience in this will answer and give you their opinions
Thanks, Lori. I'm really searching for answers. I'll reach out to Joshua. In the end, I know it will be a judgment call. I'd like to make it with as much information as I can gather.
Thank you, JF Arguskeeper. I have noticed Summerdog does not spend much time at all at the 150 spot. She tends to prefer 110-130. And even then, she doesn't spend much time stretched out under the lights. She retreats to a tube that is partially under them--more secure I guess.
Last edited by Carla; 01-02-2017 at 03:37 AM.
Something I've noticed too. With my females I had before Baturi, they did not like anything over 145F. Baturi really does seem to seek out spots that get past that so that one observation once mentioned in the differences between genders seems to be what I see, but I have a very small sample size to go off of, so who knows if this rings true for all. Until its proven time and time again with different animals in different homes, its all still speculation
I dont think Id worry about spaying yet, it seems like maybe something to consider in their second year. I have to say, my girl has not had the best time of it either regarding cycling. Its been some years re-absorption, some years slugs, there was one year that Im honestly not sure that she actually cycled. She has never been with a male though. She is about 7 now I think, though I did get her when she was already a juvenile (my guess is based on the assumption that she was a little less than a year old when I got her). She had a rough year this year again as I had to move her. I have since the beginning fed her an invert only diet, and my basking site has never had a higher temperature than 145F, just for a frame of reference.