Eddie laid eight viable eggs, the first was found the night I brought her home but was almost two weeks ‘old’ at that point, and the rest I found during enclosure cleaning over time.
The night the first one, Ox, hatched was a great night. Ox exhibiting symptoms of neurological degeneration a couple weeks later was a terrible time. I lost Ox just before the next clutch hatched. I named them Vo and Nah. Vo lived slightly less time than Ox did, and Nah was just over 50 days when he too passed. All three went of the same thing, developmental issues based on Eddie’s lack of health when building the eggs.
It was tremendously difficult to decide what to do with the rest of the eggs at a certain point between Vo passing and Nah showing degenerative symptoms — the next clutch had fully developed geckos in it already and freezing is far too cruel a way to go. I fully expected that they would have the same path of life and death, however, and that could arguably be just as cruel.
That clutch hatched on April 16th 2021. Ripley’s growth has been and continues to be significant, to the point that I just had to get her out and look at her a bit early tonight. It is feeding night and Bugs will be doled out to the babies in a bit, so I generally wanted to leave them alone until then, but just seeing this monstrous baby… And she is beginning to look a lot like Eddie. Gorgeous, truly.
With Ripley’s growth and development comes the reminder of the first three. The reminder of decisions made and questions asked. The search for an answer, and the defeating sensation of guilt over letting them stay in comfortable homes with access to food and water until their passing, rather than taking them in to be put down humanely (arguably, the stress of a visit like that would have been cruel too). The biggest reminder is the notion that the further viable eggs should have been frozen, something I ultimately opted not to do.
I am glad I did not freeze the final eggs, as these five babies are truly incredible beings. I am awestruck at Art’s character, at Ripley’s size, at Mora’s perfect structure, at Sheo’s willingness to keep up the fight when things seemed slow, and at Izar’s brilliant markings (and her sheer hatred of me).
There is no ‘good’ decision sometimes. Take the first three in for a humane euthanasia or let them pass in the comfort of an environment they’ve known since they hatched? Freeze the rest of the eggs or take the gamble that they’ll be okay? It was hard, it hurt immensely, it added another year on the list of these 7 where I have lost loved ones or had something traumatic happen. Stasis, inaction, is still a choice, and not often is it the right one. In the case of Ripley’s rapid growth (reminiscent of Shin Godzilla, the titular character from which I have named two other geckos after) I am lucky in that it, to me, was the right one. It does remind me of all of the decisions leading up to this point, however, and sometimes I need to take pause and reflect on them.