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The History of the GGG Lines, How the Hobby Has Changed, And Retirement w/ Marcia McGuiness



This is (more or less) the transcript form last Sunday's show. I apologize in advance for the formatting and syntax of the transcript.



Hey everybody. This is Evan and welcome to the Strength In Leos podcast. I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who tuned in to our premiere episode of the Strength In Leos podcast. We had a lot of great feedback and the turnout was much, much more than expected. I am truly grateful for everyone who listened and shared the show with others in the community. Today we're going to have an awesome guest who has made a huge impact on our community, whether that you know it or not, not only through the perspective of breeding but also in care and education. Marcia McGuiness from Golden Gate Geckos is true Gecko veteran who has been in the Gecko games since the beginning with over 20 plus years of experience. The knowledge and experience she has is greater than most breeders in the industry today. Today we plan to discuss the history of the mini Golden Gate Gecko lines that she has developed over the years. Also, how the hobby has changed since you started to now and of course Marcia's retirement and how she's doing.

I am also super excited to introduce to you guys, Strength In Leos first official sponsor Ramsey's Reptiles celebrating their 10th year breeding reptiles. Ramsey's Reptiles focuses on delivering the highest quality animals both in health and genetics. Ramsey's Reptiles works with a variety of reptiles including multiple species of Geckos and snakes. They have dedicated themselves to maintaining detailed records to keep track of all the lineage and detailed genetic histories of all their animals. Chad has some amazing lines and works with some of the highest quality stock on the market. Ramsey's reptiles is a strong supporter of the Strength In Leos podcast, so I follow them on social media at Ramsey's Reptiles and check out what they have available for sale on RamseysReptiles.net


so let's go ahead and bring on Marcia McGuiness. Welcome Marcia, you are now live on the Strength In Leos Podcast. Marcia, how's it going?


Well, it's going pretty good. Evan, how are you doing?


I'm doing really good today.


So to start off for anyone who doesn't know who you are, can you give us a short intro about who you are and what you've accomplished over the years at Golden Gate Geckos?


Well, okay. Well I'm Marcia McGuiness and I've been the owner, uh, and, uh, of Golden Gate Geckos since 1995 and I worked over the years with a leopard Geckos I started out with and then moved on to several Australian species and other, um, uh, domestic species here, bandit Geckos Coleonyx species. So I've been working with them 11, well a total of 11 different species of Geckos. All terrestrial Geckos. And let's see, what else can I tell you? I was the, I was the vice president for the Global Gecko Association, which just worldwide, um, I've written many, many, many articles for Gecko time, uh, as well as reptiles magazines. And I was an administrator for many years to get the forms back when the forum days were really screaming. And I've been, um, I'm still a, I'm an advisor on several, um, Facebook or online, um, Leopard Gecko communities. Um, and that's what I've been doing for the last 10 years or 20 years. Well, no, let's say 24 years. Wow. That's heavy duty for a long time. And the community longer, longer than a lot of people out there working with Geckos. They've even been alive. Right.


Yeah. Including me.


So for the people who don't know, are you completely retired? Or do you consider yourself semi-retired?


No, I'm semi-retired. Um, I, uh, I still work with the Geckos, but certainly not on the scale that I did as an international breeder years ago. Um, but, uh, no, and I work with, I work with a few of my, you know, special Geckos and in groups and projects and things like that. But, um, if I want to say it's more, it's more than a hobby, but it's not, I'm not in business anymore. What do you still working with today? What mine's from Golden Gate get goes. Are you still continuing that you're directly greeting right now? Um, my Murphy pattern list, um, is my, my signature, uh, more than I continue to work with. Um, I'm also doing, um, doing some fun stuff with that. I have a super giant, uh, Mack RAPTOR male and I'm going to be pairing him up with some new gals this season, uh, to try to get some of the white and yellow in there too. So I guess, I guess my fantasy would be to create a super, let's see us super snow, super giant raptor, white and yellow.


That's a lot of genes in one Gecko.


Yeah, I know the odds are pretty slammed but hey, you know what, if you just never know, right.


You don't know until you try it.


Yea, and as far as my, um, as far as my, um, uh, project, um, I'm having seller's remorse. I did sell my sunglow project to Steve Sykes from Geckos ETC. And I wish I'd kept at least, you know, a pair or trio. I'm the only one. I have a, the only thing I have left is, um, is one of the grand matriarchs of my line in, um, she's, uh, she's about eight years old now, so I haven't, you know, breed her for a couple of years and she's just my sweetheart. Like, um, a lot of my favorite Geckos over the years. It just going to live their days out with me. So that's about it. I do have a, I'm still working with, um, the only, only one Australian species now. Underwoodisaurus milii. I, uh, or the barking Gecko or Thick tail Gecko. Uh, so I've got eggs coming, uh, from, from that and I, um, I worked with those for years and I just adore them. Uh, I like all the Aussie, geckos but these guys were my favorite.


Yeah. And they're really underrated.


Yeah. They're really cool. It really amiable and, and easy to handle and work with and they do well and in groups and that kind of thing. Um,


I think they should be more available in the hobby.


I think so too. But they're not for everybody, but I think that they should, I don't understand why they're not mainstream, uh, uh, you know, species and people's collections that they're just, they're just great. So, yeah, so I, and, and I worked with him for many years and, and, um, started producing some really pretty, um, you know, I wouldn't call them how Ipos, but their color became more and more golden in an orange and some red and things like that. So I, uh, I could with selective breeding and in, so I dubbed them, uh, I dug the more, um, an ultralight. So there was a normal phase and a light face. And then my ultra lite line in there is, there are lots and lots of breeders out there now that are working with my line. Um, and even making them even cooler looking and stuff.


So, so yeah, that's, uh, that's, that's the only Aussie species I work with now. I used to work with all the knob tails and, um, really enjoyed them a lot. They do require a lot of work. Um, and part, part of the reasons that I'm no longer in business. If I, I, I'm 100% disabled. No. And so, um, you know, it makes it really tough for me to provide the care that they need. Uh, so I had to scale way back and then we, we retired up in the Sierra mountains near Yosemite and, uh, we've got, we've got five acres up here. It's beautiful and we love it. And we're, I wouldn't say we're reclusive, but we've really, you know, just, you know, changed our lifestyle, moving out of the bay area and, but I will always, always be working with Geckos. I will always have Geckos.


Yeah. Cause once you get bit by the bug, you can't get out.


It's true. It's true. And you know, when I started out, I mean there was really no, there was, there was no internet information or anything else like that that was, that had any, you know, most of, most of what we went through and pioneers in the early days was coming kind of like hit and miss. It was, um, we made, we made a, we made a lot of mistakes and learned from them and pass that information on to the people, um, that was just getting on board with, uh, I mean reptiles as quote-unquote pets in general, you know, but Leopard Geckos is a really good place to start.


I'm just not in the mainstream anymore. Um, and I just hope that my legacy and my beautiful Gecko more, um, you know, uh, live on, there's a lot of people that really are interested in working with, um, you know, the pure going get Geckos lines. So that's all I can ask for really, after all these years, you know, um, you know, 20, well actually I've had Geckos longer than 24 years, but I've been breeding for 24 years about your Golden Gate Geckos Sunglows. Can you talk about those and the history behind those and your goals in making them?


Sure.


Okay. Well, um, back in the day, um, there were, there was, um, a, uh, high, uh, high, highly colored orange, um, um, you know, temper I'll buy now that came out and they called them high by nose, which was, which was short for a hypo out by now. And so I was able to pick up a female and then I searched high and low for a male and uh, and then, uh, producing pretty interesting babies. Um, I acquired a few more because I don't, I've never inbred and in other words, uh, never bred siblings or anything like that. Um, I, I used to breathe, I breathe, I breathe what I call parallel lines and they may have a common ancestor, but, but I would have more than one group of the same morph and the offspring from saying group one a would get crossed with the offspring of group two.


Or the offspring would be breed to them, either the sire or the, you know, the dam of the opposite group. And, and then I would hold back the best of the best. Uh, and I did, I did pick up an awesome male, beautiful, gorgeous, gorgeous male. He, at the time, he was like the, um, um, what would you call it? [inaudible] was everybody covered at him. And I got him from JMG reptile and he, and they, and they, uh, got that line, uh, directly from Ron Tremper. Yeah. And with, with that male, I was really happy to have, you know, um, anything that wasn't, you know, um, directly, you know, related and crossed him with some of the best females and started producing some gorgeous. And of course today they're called high contrast. Yeah. Tempers. But back then they were called hibinos and, um, then, uh, Craig Stewart, years later, uh, was working on similar projects and he, um, he was the king.


Him and Ron Tremper. We're both kings of, um, marketing. Stewart from urban Geckos in Canada, uh, started producing them and he, he coined the phrase Sunglow. And if it's, you know, really a true sun glow came from Craig Stewart's line. But everybody just started calling them something else. So over the, over the years, um, well let me backtrack. When I started producing these amazing Geckos, um, they all had beautiful, beautiful, almost solid whitetails. And I thought that that was gorgeous. I just thought that was so cool to have a body pattern, you know, gorgeous patterns with, you know, deep reddish oranges and you know, and that kind of thing with, with a solid white tail. And everybody was saying, Whoa, you know, the only thing that would make this Gecko even prettier was if it had a carrot tail. And I'm like, Oh man, you know, I did.


I did cross the man to a few of, uh, of my, uh, uh, I had some carrot, you know, Super Hypo Tangerine Care Kales that were at Trump, had Tremper and cross that in. Uh, but this was years and years and years ago. Uh, so whatever influence from the hypo carriage health tendering care tails with long gone, um, that I, I did that to get the carrot Kale in there. And then I started not only focusing on outline on my line, you know, to develop a richer, deeper, gorgeous, you know, red, tangerine color bet, holding back the ones that, that exhibited the, you know, the highest percentage of the deep, the deeper red reddish orange at the pace of the tail. And so the Golden Gate Geckos done glow was born. I didn't ever really market them as don't engage Gecko signposts that people that were highly sought after and people were really wanting them. And there are, there are people now that are still working with the pure, with the pure lines. Um, and then, uh, exchanging offspring a and whatnot between themselves.


MMM.


Now Steve had my line for quite a while and we had an agreement, you know, that he would sell them as Golden Gate Geckos line sunglows. And I really wasn't seeing anything, keeping them as a secret for a while. Well, he, he, he finally started releasing them to the market because I've, uh, been one of the few privileged people too, see


the inner sanctum of guys was et Cetera. And, um, and so, um, I think he introduced them in, in Asia before he did here, but he keeps, he basically is very, very, uh, uh, what's the word I'm using that studious. Um, and the way that he, you know, keeps them raises in breeds is Geckos in, uh, his facility. The only, the only Geckos that are in there are ones that were produced by Geckos, et Cetera. Uh, all the Geckos that he gets from other lines are housed in a completely different building. Wow. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah, it is. It's very interesting. So he, he was, uh, waiting to build enough inventory and, and diversify them enough to where he could have, have some and then boom, there they were. And he introduced me to, he didn't do, he introduced the line, I think it was in NARBC what, two years ago or done down in your neck of the woods down in southern California.


Um, yeah, so they're there, they're available through him, but there are, there are other breeders that are working with the line as well. Now after, after several breeding seasons and stuff, they might doll out a little bit, but, um, no, they don't turn brown or anything like that. They, they really, they really, um, and there's just, there's just amazing. So I'm just really glad people are working with them and, and um, hopefully, the gene pools won't get too shallow, but, um, but yeah, and when they post pictures of their offspring, Paris reptiles is another one. Aaron Paris, um, uh, has my line of sun glows, um, that she's working with and she's, she's produced some amazing offspring. Um, so, so yeah, let's just keep it gone. Really good stuff that they're doing with your lines and especially the history behind the lines that keep going. Cause we see a lot, it was just, it, it was just, I didn't really have anything in mind, uh, other than, you know, making, uh, uh, a red or orange, you're more carrot tail, you know, Tremper sun glow that retained its color and was also robust.


And, and you know what, they are eaters too, these guys are very healthy. They don't miss any meals. They're, you know, they're, they're, um, you know, so I was very careful when I, you know, over the years developing that, that, um, netline yeah. And I think that's something that a lot of readers don't do when they're trying to look for a certain color or more that they're trying to develop as genetic diversity. And I think that's something that you did really well for the egg song globe. And I think that's what makes them such a nice, robust more, well, I was never, you know, and I'm not passing judgment or anything, I was just never a one to one to run to the bank with, you know, with the proceeds of, you know, uh, you know, the next new more kind of a thing. I was more inclined to be careful to, um, you know, take time because these things are just in, especially when you don't have, you know, a hundred Geckos of the same more so work with, you know, I had, you know, I only had maybe 30 or maybe 20, uh, to work with.


So I had to be very careful because, um, um, I just didn't want any, you know, any genetic anomalies or anything like that too, you know, to come out. And I just wanted to create the richest, beautiful orange. So I wasn't motivated by going to the bank with it. I was, it's not that they're selling for a lot more money than I ever sold them for now, partly because I don't have them anymore. But I'm sorry I didn't keep at least a parent, you know, it's kind of like seller's remorse. But when we, when I became disabled and I knew that my husband was retiring and we sold our home and everything is a bay area, we, we owned this house, uh, this home up here in the Sierras, um, for, for years, uh, before we actually retired up here full time. And, um, so I, I just, I had this, I just had to scale back. I really didn't have a choice.


Yeah. And it's an amazing story and I think this, it should be told to people because a lot of people get into cause don't know the history. And I feel like history is something that's really important for you to know, not just only for yourself, but she had this education. Other people.


Yeah, absolutely. I think that that's really important. Uh, you know, to know where all of these, these lines or re-originated and, you know, and, and the work that's been involved over the years in developing them, I mean, not all of us are lucky enough to just have the random more pop out in our colonies, you know, like they're super snow or the Bell Albino or you know, those and of course, the enigma and that you've got, you know, and things like that. Um, everybody dreams of doing that. But, um, I mean actually the odds are definitely not in anybody's favorite that that's going to happen. I think that they, I think that my, my line of sun glows became more popular after I stopped producing them. Um, kind of like, kind of like a van Gogh has all these great paintings and he didn't become famous and it didn't go in the Louvre Museum and sell for billions of dollars and stuff until after he was dead.


So even though I'm an old lady, I'm still alive and, and uh, um, it's nice to, it's nice to see the fruits of my, my passion and work, you know, still around me. So that's, that makes me happier than anything. Yeah. It's really, your legacy is living on do these animals. Oh, awesome. But I do run up against a lot of, you know, when I tried to help or give advice and of course I'm certainly not, you know, the golf or anything else like that, but I've got, yeah, I've got so many years of experience and you know, and trust me, I have made some terrible mistakes, terrible, terrible mistakes. Um, and so one of the things that I've been tried to focus on, two was, was utilizing, you know, the, you know, the benefit, you will of terrible tragedy sometimes, um, to educate other people so they don't make the same mistakes.


And, um, so I run across people when I try to give on some of the pages on Facebook or whatever, that they, they get condescending with me and them, they, you know, and I'm just like, whatever. Okay. You know, why you guys, I don't have a huge ego, but I'm going to have to put my foot down here and tell you. And then, of course, people will chime in and say, you know what? Um, you know, if I haven't, if I haven't experienced it, I've certainly heard of it, you know, um, you know, you know, and I, and, and I guess my ego does kick in a little bit cause I get a little butt hurt sometimes when I'm going, wait a minute, I'm just trying to help you. I'm not a know it all.


Um, and I certainly didn't start out to be a knower and all that's for sure. But, but I'm here to help. I'm here to offer, you know, my knowledge in including my biggest mistakes. And I remember a couple of other breeders, uh, cause I went public with a lot of my horrible catastrophe mistakes that I did that night that happened and the things that were actually my fault out of, not on purpose of course, but just none, not using my brain or, or accidental or wherever. And, and I've had other breeders say, well, Marcia, aren't you? Aren't you worried about ruining your reputation by admitting all these things? And I said, uh, no, no, I'm not. Why would that, you know, anybody that says they haven't made mistakes that were costly and, and heartbreaking is not being forthright. So part of, part of the way I feel about being an ethical breeder, right?


And being honest and saying, you know what, don't let this happen again. And sharing not only my victories but my, you know, my, my failures as well. So, uh, yeah. And I think that's why I'm still around. I Dunno, maybe, I dunno, some correlation going on there with honest readers and the longevity of the careers. Well, I mean, um, I think that you know, I may be tooting my own horn here, but I think that the majority, anybody that would Google home and get Geckos are Marcia McGuinness would find a whole lot of stuff. But I don't think that they would find very many things that are, you know, negative. Um, you know, I'm honest and I'd be, I never misrepresented anything knowingly or, or anything like that. I do want to, I do want to mention one thing that I did that wasn't one of my finer moments in customer service. Um, and it's actually kind of funny now. It wasn't at the time, but you know, I


had a bow type line that was very, very prolific and on, in, in, in, um, oh, you know, there was a great demand for them. And, uh, so there was another breeder, uh, that was, you know, therapy typically where w I mean he was well known and whatever. And so he wanted to, um, buy mine both sides if a group of my bowls stripes and wanted to know the price. So I, I gave him the price and he did that. He didn't like that one bit. He was like, that's ridiculous that you know, I mean, and I said, well, okay, but that's what their price is. And you know, if you can do better than that, then go for it. That's fine with me. I don't, I don't, you know, I, it's not like they won't sell or, or anything. Right. So, so anyway, after a couple of days, he came back and he said, I'll offer you this amount, will you set that? And I said I'm sorry. No.


Okay.


Uh, I'm not going to do that. I don't, and I don't appreciate being low balled and my Geckos are worth everything. And if anything, I underprice them, you know? And so then we kind of bickering back and forth and I just said, luck, you know what, uh, you know, this is going nowhere. I'm, I'm not gonna, you know, I'm not gonna, you know, compromise my, you know, my line or my reputation over money. And I think that I'm, um, I think that I'm perfectly warranted and fair in the pricing on them. So then, okay, I won't go on and on and on. The story went on for about a week. Anyway, he sent me pictures, uh, two beautiful bolts that females that he got from somebody else for half the price of what I was charging for mine. And he wanted a male


yeah.


For me. And I said, okay, this is this price. This is the price. And so, anyway, um, um, he said, well, you know, that's just an, and I said, look, you're, you know, congratulations on finding some beautiful bolt's stride at a better price so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a male.


Okay.


So it went on and on. And then after a while, he finally broke down and said, okay, this is the male that I want from you and I will meet your price. Uh, eh, or no, this is what I'm going to offer. And I said, okay, I don't meet your offer.


Okay.


Can we use language on this?


Sure. It's your episode. You could do whatever you'd like.


I said,


okay, I'll get into you for the price that, you know, the higher price that you offered me. I said, but I am going to have to tack on a 100% assholes surcharge. Wow. Which brings it up to the original price. He flipped out, oh my gosh, I'm going to report you here and there. I'm going to take you down. I'm going to do all this and you know, all these threats. And I said, you know what if she did, you know that that's the way it is. And so that wasn't one of my finer moments for sure, because he had just like pushed me to the point of going, you know what? This is getting crazy here. And, but yeah, I mean he was just being, he was actually bullying me and stuff and I just went, okay. So I, I, I kind of shot him down. So he had somebody, he had somebody else by the mail for him.


But in a way that actually is a compliment to me. You know, it's a, it's one of those sideways compliments, but, but yeah, but you know, that's one of my failures as a, as a breeder that I just didn't use the best. Um, I dunno, I just, I, I broke down and use it, use it as a word with him and left it at that. But, and I felt terrible about this app after that, but I don't anymore because that was many years ago flapping about it now. But, but you know, we all have, we all have us, all of us, everybody in the hobby, we have our chat, we have our challenges, we have are fine moment that we have are not so fine moments. Okay. And, and that's just the way it is. And if you can't, you can't hold grudges forever. You can't, you know, you just have to go, okay, you know what we're talking, we got personalities here.


But focusing on the main thing, which is, you know, our love and passion for, for Geckos, that's one thing we do have in common and get past all of it. So you've been in the hobby for a really long time now, 20 plus years. Matter of fact, what do you think the biggest changes you've noticed, both in positive and negative aspects of the hobby and the hobby? Um, I'm walking through a room for, you may hear some background noise on the TV right now, so, um, I hope to get out of that way in just a minute. Okay. So, um, the biggest changes, so first and foremost, technology or kind of the biggest changes, um, you know, since I've been, you know, doing this as far as, uh, you know, information portals and, and that kind of thing. I, you know, and that's, that's a big plus, but it's also a big minus. Uh, so, um, or can be, uh, for example, um, you know, and I'm not, I'm not passing judgment. I'm old. Okay. Uh, and so technology is really exciting for me, but it's not a priority in my life. So, so what happens is people go on, you know, uh, you know, social media, which is okay. And that's great. I mean, that's a great way to, there is so much misinformation. Yeah, I'll Sarah.


Okay. We had a bit of technical difficulties over here, but we're back on. And Marsha, are you still there? I'm still here. Great. So, um, we'd go ahead and just continue where we left off about in the community where it was going with this. This is, you know, we're in an era now where, you know, people don't necessarily always want to do their own research. They just want to be, they want to ask a question and be told the answer. And it's not always a credible answer and it can cost the lives of Geckos and the health and safety of Geckos and, and things like that. There's just, you know, so along with the great thing about social media and sharing of information obviously comes the bad side or the downside I should say, which is that, you know, um, you know, just because you read it or heard it on a, on online or something like that doesn't make it true or factual.


And so that's frustrating for, you know, uh, veterans like ourselves. Um, you know, where we were forced to, to do our own research and I mean, we had to scour everything and we had to make phone calls, we had to send emails, we had to share, we had to share pictures online. And they, the, uh, the forefront of technology as far as information goes with king snake.com because they had, they threw up forums and, um, and that's where I first got involved with the sharing of information and their thing. And this was back in, you know, like the late nineties, uh, and, or no, not nineties. Yeah, yeah. Like back in the, like in the late nineties, that was the only, the only resource that we have an online resource that we had at the time. And so I do have to resort to going online and doing, you know, looking at research papers from like Texas a and M, uh, the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada and, and things like that.


And, and research these papers and to get viable information. And I was very fortunate, uh, living in the bay area to have one of the two, actually two of the very best at the time. And one still is, uh, um, veterinary specialists, uh, for web tiles. And My, that was doctor Kenneth with, uh, they call him Hark Harp, um, you know, a exotics and, and reptile specialist in Berkeley. And, uh, he, you know, he and I developed and we're still very, very good friends over all of these years, developed a wonderful rapport where, I mean he actually did some research papers and presented them to the, um, amphibian and Reptilian, uh, a Rav, you know, the reptile, um, association worldwide and things like that based on some of the stuff that, that was happening with me or I was contributing to. And I'm not taking credit for it with him, but we, what I'm saying is that I was fortunate, I was lucky.


, not everybody even has, you know, a good veterinary resource, um, you know, and, um, so we're still very dear friends. Uh, even after all these years and, and I was like a sponge. I would just like, you know, like the Vulcan mind probe on his brain. I wanted to get as much information as I possibly good and I passed it on, uh, you know, and, and so I, I lucked out on that. That wasn't anything I did on my own. It just happened. And I feel very blessed and very fortunate to have had that resource. The other was a doctor, Dr. Frederick l Frye, who's gone now. Uh, and he was the chief, uh, a professor at UC Davis Veterinary School. Uh, he was the the the number one professor and advisor for their, their exotic and ripped rough child department at Uc Davis, which is one of the most accredited veterinary colleges in the country.


And, uh, he worked with me on some other, you know, some other things. And that's for another discussion because it could take a long time to go through all of that, but I gleaned so much information from them. Uh, and I was, and I was not shy to share my, you know, my, my issues or my problems or my mistakes or what was going on and stuff and, and work with these people. So I, I'm just totally fortunate. It just was a blessing. It was all, it was. It certainly wasn't anything that I devised or purposely did, but I was, I was hell-bent on sharing whatever information that I had with as many people that would put up with it. Uh, another person is, of course, with an acid, you know, but, but yeah, that's, that's, uh, that's just luck and, uh, so, and I have a thirst for knowledge and sharing knowledge, so, yeah.


Yeah. So, so you know, firsthand stuff is, is, you know, that you've learned and experience is, is priceless. But, but when you go on and you say, my Gecko is, you know, is that green diarrhea that stinks like crazy? What do I do? Well, it's easy for people to say, go to a vet, but where do you find a vet that can deal with that? Because I have dealt with, I've dealt with vets that, that didn't even know that, you know, that, that Leopard Geckos laid eggs, you know, and, and so that, that's really discouraging. Um, but the doctor, doctor, darker heart doctor Harko waste was able to perform surgery on, um, a couple of females that I had that, that had, you know, serious, um, ed binding, which is dystocia, uh, and relieve that. And was he, he was so delicate that surgery was so delicate and he was able to actually preserve their, their reproductive organs.


Wow. Uh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, right. I mean, Geez, that's, uh, that's amazing. So I've been, I've been very fortunate when it comes to that and I just want other people to understand and know that I'm not trying to be the boss of you. I'm not trying to, you know, have an ego that, you know, blows the roof out. And it's not that I need to be right all the time because I'm not, I, I made tremendous mistakes and I've been wrong a lot, but I don't want anybody else to go through, you know, these trials, tribulations and the heartbreak. And sadness and discouraging, you know, things that do happen when it comes to, um, not only keeping Leopard Geckos but breeding them. That's a whole different game, you know when you start doing that. So I feel pretty, I feel free, pretty good about that.


And can you talk a little bit about the relationships you've made with other breeders and how that education has helped you with your breeding? Uh, through the years I've made friends that I still, I'm still, you know, whether they're breeding or not or anything anymore, I've made tremendous friends, uh, that are just so valuable, not only to me personally, but they started out being valued, value, you know, value to me and hopefully vice versa. Obviously, it was based on our experiences. And that was the days that you spent hours on phones talking to all these other breeders. And I'm talking breeders in Europe, uh, South Africa, uh, you know, and those kinds of things where, where we've shared our, and of course Australia, because, um, I spent a lot of time working with, you know, amazing a hepatologist and, um, exotic veterinarians in, um, and as well as, you know, the people that go out in the field and do and research a lot of Australian Spacey's cause I was fascinated with them and still am. And so no, the relationships continue, uh, even on a personal level, um, I can think at times that I've flown to Orlando or to Daytona, Florida for the international reptile symposium and stopped in Texas for a, another, a breeder, uh, and stayed at her house and we flew together out and I got to see her collection and work with her. And, you know, to me, that's invaluable. That's, that's what community is.


Uh, and, and, and don't get me wrong, we've had our arguments squabbles and you know, and stuff like that, but, but the sharing of that information on that level is, I don't see that happening now. Yeah, I agree. I don't. And, and that makes me sad


that, that respect and mutual respect, we didn't always agree, but we had tremendous respect for one another. Uh, and you know, and, and if we could put, you know, put stuff aside, egos aside, put, you know, disagreements aside or whatever. And of course, the natural drama that comes along with, you know, a community. Um, and, and focus on the community. And first and foremost, the animals first and foremost, because anything that we know, we understand and that we, you know, can share, only strengthens, you know, not only our animals that we love, but, but it strengthens the solidarity, so to speak, of the community as well. And I miss that. I miss that because I'm just really not seeing a whole lot of that nowadays. You got to figure we were the pioneers for all of this. And, and so every, everything that everybody is gleaning today, it is, you know, it was founded on all of us stumbling through things and, and holding ourselves together for the sake of the animals, number one, and, and to keep them, keep the community strong and, and everything else. So, yeah. Yeah.


Since you've been in the hobby for so long, do you think that the Hubby is moving in a positive direction or a more negative direction? To be honest with you, it's, well, it depends. It depends. Um, I don't want to do pessimistic, but I think the hobby is digressing. In what ways specifically? Well, because, and it's, it's, it's natural. It's just natural. I mean, I'm talking about the community, not so much the hobby. Okay. Let, let me, let me be more specific. Therapy. Yeah. Um, it's natural for people to form cliques if you will. Uh, people who have like, you know, that you have, you have common interests, will, everybody has a common interest, but you know, it's, you, you formed this click and, and it, I mean, it happens and it starts happening in freaking great school. You know, where you form a click and, and, and that kind of thing.


And you don't look beyond that and you're not, we're not open to anything beyond that. And so, but I see it, especially with, with the, I mean, the tsunami of misinformation that is flowing out there. I see that as a digression, I really do. And the, and the unwillingness or the inability or whatever to actually get down and do research. Uh, you know, so I think that that's Karma going to harm the community. But on the flip side of that, I think that the community of, and I'm speaking especially Leopard Geckos, cause that's kind of what this is focused on is exponentially exploding with interest, with a passion, with, uh, you know, I mean, you know, it's kind of like, okay, you want the good news or the badness. I gave you the bad news first. Now I want to focus on the positive part. It, and that is that you know, there are so many people out there that that just truly love their animals and they truly want to do right by them.


And, and there's this open discussion everywhere. And I think that that is, that part of it is really, really, uh, progressing and not digressing. And it's exciting. I think it's really exciting that there's some much interest. I mean, she eats. When, when I first started, uh, working with Geckos people, it was, it was almost like it was a novelty to have a woman or a female that was interested in the reptile. Yeah. You don't see, you don't see that anymore. That is awesome. That's great. Because age, gender, or anything else, it has no boundaries as far as a passion for something that we all share, which is these animals. And I think truly everybody really wants to do the best that they possibly can for their, for there, you know, Geckos and that's, except part's exciting. It's really, really exciting.


So I enjoy, uh, and a lot of other breeders get so bored with, and I got to admit I'm straight up. I got to admit, I've just been rolled my eyes and said, I am so tired of, you know, 20 years of substrate debate. I'm just tired of it. So it's not going to do me any good to jump in and type away and you know, do stuff like that that's going to convince anybody because they're, they're just setting their minds because somebody told them it was okay or it was that. But, but you, you know, it's, it's important, but it's not an, it's not a positive push, uh, for the community, uh, to progress and evolve and, you know, grow with wealth and information that's out there. It's just that you've got to take some time to find it. You got to scratch the surface a little deeper than you do.


Don't just ask a question and somebody answers. It's like, oh, okay, that's the gospel. It's not, it's just not. So it's, it's, it's, it's a, it's a balancing thing, but, but as far as the future of, you know, reptiles, um, in our lives and then, Eh, and, and, you know, especially Leopard Geckos with new, more fitter coming up and people that are focusing on, you know, um, good, you know, good genetic backgrounds and things like that. Um, this is all very, very positive for me. To me it is. Yeah. I agree a lot. I Dunno what, what do you think?


I think that there's a lot of, I think with anything, any, if you bring a group of people who have one thing that they're passionate about, I feel like there's always going to be positive and negative and there's going to be some talking to people and what's in that community. And some people will really try to advance and make this community as big and as often as it could possibly be. And I think in the last work dental community, what we lacked a lot is education and not just education but spreading that knowledge. Cause there are some people, right? Like I've had, when I started off in the hobby a couple of years back, they wouldn't answer my question. And then there's other people that are talking to like John from GeckoBoa. Oh, John from John is John is much information. Oh yeah. Yeah. And the funny thing is, and I'm not taking credit for anything. John is awesome. He is first and foremost expert. You know, the guy is just amazing in every way and, and what he produced, it shows that. But I remember years ago when he did his first


okay,


uh, reptiles shell and I was bending there and he was a little bit shy to come and talk to me and I'm like, what? I, I'm just a person, you know, and I, so I, I went over and I seek the now on purpose because I mean liberal deliberately lift for him because I knew that he was, you know, going to be a force to be reckoned with. And I looked at what he had there out in the show and stuff and I was just like, oh my gosh,


okay.


You are, you are, you are. And I, I think I even told him that, you know, and I'm not taking credit, I'm not taking any credit whatsoever. I'm just talking about my observation of him and what he was producing and everything else. I just, and I said, you're going to be a force to be reckoned with. Yeah. Just the due diligence he has for proving out. Absolutely. Test being he does is awesome. I think that there's a lot of that lacking now is, well, especially with his test breeding. I mean, he's gone. I've gone above and beyond anybody else in the whole globe as far as, um, you know, his, you know, the dude, like you said, the dude, uh, due diligence that he, you know, and effort that he puts in and the, that he has for it to keep certain lines pure and, and, or, or, or at least know the backgrounds of, of everything.


And I just applaud him because I didn't, I certainly didn't come from that era and all that is another huge, huge, huge positive thing that the direction of a breeding and more is going is with people like him, uh, that not only are credible, they're honest, they're passionate, they're dedicated and they, they, they are just straight up. I have probably more respect for him, uh, than any other in any other breeder in the world right now. And, and I'm, I'm glad, I'm glad that he, you know, I'm just, I feel really, I can sit here in my retirement and just kind of gloat on, yes, this is what we need. We need people that have this same integrity. And that's what it is. It's integrity. So this, and he's not the only one. There are many others, you know, but, but you know what, anybody can go and have a couple of Geckos and breed them and then throw it up anywhere on social media and say, Oh, I'm, you know, I'm Unicorn Geckos or whatever.


I'm, you know, I'm, you know, so and so Geckos anybody can do that. Anybody can do that. And that doesn't mean, that doesn't mean that they have earned the, um, well, how can I say it, the accolades or the, you know, that level of commitment that it takes to get to a point where you're actually credible. And I'm not saying that they're not credible, I'm just saying that just because somebody has a name doesn't mean that they, I mean, they could, they could have been produced their first clubs last year kind of a thing. And I'm not putting anybody down. We all started there. Every single one of us. Absolutely. Yes. And it's people, it's, it's, it's the people like us who, um, a lot have given up throwing their hands up in the air and saying, I'm just, you know, I just can't, I'm just tired of this and I'm not, we all, we all began somewhere.


And, and so when I put something out there as a courage moment or advice or what I see going on from a different perspective, so to speak, and whenever it's not out of ego or if it's on a, a true love and deep-seated passion for this hobby and I want it to go forward. Yeah. And especially when people are trying to establish themselves as in this community. And while they're greeting, they don't understand. Like they see people like Ron Tremper or um, you deck a boy and they see the finished product, but they don't see everything that happened. The 10th, no. Here's what happened before. And all the work you guys put in to get there. And how'd your name known around the Denver Community? I think that needs to be told and that story to be told to these newcomers that are coming in. I think so too. I think so too. Yeah. And it's not a matter of, you know, putting feathers in anybody's hat. It's a matter of perpetuating this passion, knowledge and most of all the experience, uh, so that, you know, so that gives a good foundation for, you know, today's and future, you know, keepers and breeders to instill those values and that experience and that knowledge in them is it, I still, I feel, I feel very strongly about that and I'm 65 years old. Okay. I still feel that way. Yeah.


So, so yeah. Uh, it's important. It's really important. MMM. And I get a little miffed sometimes, but everybody else does too. And then I just got to stop myself and say, okay, what's the best way that this information can be presented? Not Everybody's interested in the history of all the morphs and stuff. And I can tell you firsthand who's who created the first character tail, you know, and who, who's line was the first, you know, true tangerine that are high contrast cans, your rain. And I see some of the things that, for example, John is producing and it's like, oh my gosh, it's like the way back machine, but even better. Okay. We're back from our second set of small difficulties that we had marches, here again, just to continue on. I just want to ask, since we're running out of time, what do you think the hobbyist going to be in another 20 years from now in terms of breeding more and just overall education? Well, I, you know, it's hard to predict because he's in the last 24 years, things have changed. Okay. Exponentially. MMM. I can't predict the future. In 20 years I probably won't be alive anymore. Um, you know, maybe I will, who knows. But I wish I could. I wish I could say, I wish I could answer that, but I think if we keep on the path of communication and passion


and ethics and integrity and things like that, that, that we were making leaps and bounds already when it comes to, um, you know, veterinary, uh, science when it comes to reptiles. Um, that's, that's huge. That is huge. I mean, trying to fuck when I started trying to find, uh, uh, that even treated reptiles were unheard of. And now that reptiles have become such mate, you know, such mainstream, uh, uh, you know, main mainstream pets for lack of any other term, more and more veterinarians or, you know, getting involved in, in, you know, rip Kilian, veterinary science and things like that. So looking at it from that aspect, my wildest dreams can't even comprehend in 20 years what, you know, what might be appalling, what might be a possibility. Right, right. The downside of it is that some of the things that concern me are, um, you know, the over the, well, how can I say this and be PC still?


Okay. You know, we're all, we're all focused on conservation and we're all focused on, you know, uh, the continuance of, you know, speed or species and things like that. What concerns me is, is the stuff that, um, you know, like we're are dealing with, and that is legislature, uh, that is going to try and take away people's or impede people's ability to work with reptiles. Uh, that's scary to me. That's really, really scary. Um, that's like going back to me. It's not making progress, but I think that a lot of this legislature that gets, you know, put up and things like that state to state and in that kind of stuff is based on ignorance. And I don't mean ignorance in a, you know, you're stupid way. Ignorance means the, you're, you're, you're lacking understanding or education on a certain thing.


And so I think that, uh, for people who want this, this hobby, this community, and the future of, you know, everything involved and keeping these amazing animals and, and propagating them and, and conserving them means that we need to reach out and educate, uh, be educators and lift, lift the shadows or the, or the fear that, that I don't know that we're born with a fear of reptiles, but we're certainly taught to be afraid of them, uh, to undo that. And in the only way to do that is through education. I spent, I spent, I can't tell you how many times I volunteered time to go out to schools and, and take, take some of my animals with me, including, you know, I also keep snakes, but you, you know, and have a, have a Q and a thing where we brainstorm and I put it up on the blackboard or the dry erase board and say, okay, why do you think people don't?


Why do you think, what do you think the main reasons are that people don't like reptiles? Oh, and let's just throw it up there. No answer's wrong. You know this lining. Okay. They bite you. Okay. The poison it. Okay. You know, I'm just throwing it up there on the board. Right. Brainstorming as an educator, I, I would go through and dispel all of those myths and educate them with the, with the facts and the kids and the young people are starving for this information. There, they're thirsty to learn and everything. And of course, they had to sign permission slips and all that. And then that's when I would bring out my animals and go, okay, can you, you want to touch this? Is that slimy? No, not at all. So let's cross that off. Let's just cross slimy off. They're not slimy. Okay. Are they, are they vicious?


No, it's sitting in my hand just going, okay. You know, they're vicious, no do. And then I would say things like, you know, more people were injured by horses and dogs, you know, seriously injured than reptiles and me, you know, so you just have to, you know, you have to listen to what they're, what they're thinking and what their mindset is, and then go back in and present information that dispels a lot of that. And you create, by doing that, you're creating more generations of people that aren't, you know, that don't have those, uh, you know, those preconceived notions. And there's always people that aren't going to like spiders. There's always going to people that don't like snakes. I mean, you know, that's just, there are people that don't like dogs for Pete's sake, you know or cats. But, but I think that by education and putting ourselves out there to promote our passion and the love of all creatures, uh, the only way to, to successfully do this is by understanding the creatures nature first and foremost.


And then second of all, you know, presenting that information to people and to get them on board with, wow, I have some preconceived notions here that I don't have anymore. That's really interesting. You know, I have five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter now, and they, they carry around my Geckos. I've had, you know, a diamond carpet pythons and stuff like that that they carry around and things like that. And so they're there, we're not raising you. No, I'm not raising these children to be afraid of them. But yes, to be educated too and to respect them, uh, is great. So I think that the future will just, the future, we'll just, you know, be amazing if we can promote and, and pass on information and education so that a lot of this, um, legislature gets pushed down because I mean, as it is right now, um, you know, we use, we have to have permits to, you know, ship reptiles over certain state lines and things like that.


And it's only gonna get worse. And then it's going to extend to other animals too if we don't, if we don't take a foot in here and say, wait a minute, this is based on inaccurate information. And so, um, friends like, you know, my friend Brandon, I mean, you know, he down in Bakersfield, I mean, he's out there all the time, which is the animals educating children and you know, and that's, that's great because these kids are going to grow up and they're going to be more open-minded to, you know, too, to this kind of thing and be more curious and, and you know, so that's where I see the future. But you know, but this is a critical time. We, we, we can't just, we can't just turn our backs on it and ignore and expect everything to work out in the future. We have to be parked, you know, active participants, participants on how it, how it works out.


Yeah. I think that's a really big part of the hobby. Yeah, I absolutely agree. I absolutely agree. But along with that comes keeping an open mind and, and being diligent, it's being dealt with as far as finding out information and then coming to a rational conclusion about things and not just taking an answer as, you know, that's the way it is. Open and free thinking is something that's made, made us, you know, what we are, is and made our country what we are. We don't just listen to what the news media tells you and don't just listen to what Facebook somebody on Facebook tells you. Do you know? I mean, open your mind and, and, and look at, look at the pros and cons. Look at, look at every aspect of it. And then, you know, not everybody's 100% right, but you know, if you, if you can do that, then you've come to your own conclusion based on, you know, what truth there is in every, in every perspective, you know, and form your own, your own, uh, educated opinion, if you will. Well, I think that's all the time we have today. And again, I want to thank you for coming on this show and spreading all this information.


Yeah, absolutely. Oh, and I appreciate it. So having this opportunity that come on and, and just talk about, you know, talk about this and there's, there's so much more, but that, um, yeah, I think that, uh, I think that if we can, if we can all continue to have open conversations like this and, um, let our, let our passion kind of vibrate through our conversations and things like that. It's, it's hard when you're typing to get that feeling. Uh, it's just, it's just words. And so talking to each other like we're doing right now is, is cause you can, you can hear the passion, you can hear the love, you can hear the dedication in each other in both of us just in this conversation. And I hope the listeners can pick up on that as well. So thank you for the opportunity to do this.


I hope you got a little bit of a throwback from the Gecko nation radio days with days and before that it was late night. Leo's. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was a lot of fun. And of course, uh, the secret's out. I am, I am, you know, the Angry Gecko lady is my, she's my evil twin that pops up and, and whatever the, one of the challenges for that whole thing was calling in as both of us. I'm a guest and then having this, not everything can be so darn serious. You know, you just got to have an alter ego sometimes, you know, for coming on and you're welcome anytime you want. Yeah, we'll keep it. Thank you, Evan. Very much. And so all the listeners out there, the faith and just keep going with our, with our knowledge and our love.


Well, guys, I hope you enjoyed today's show featuring Marsha and her take on the reptile hobby today and even where it's going to be in the future. Having Marcia on the show has Julie brought in my perspective by viewing the reptile community in a different Lens. This is why it is important to understand the history of the Leopard Gecko Hobby and why you should educate people correctly in order to grow the hobby. In order to keep the hobby going in a positive direction, we need to continue to keep an open mind and educate each other with proper backing. Again, I want to thank Marcia for her abundant contribution of information to the show and the Leopard Gecko community. You can find Marcia on Facebook at Golden Gate Geckos. Also, check out her website at www.goldengategeckos.com to see some of her past projects. I want to thank all of you guys for joining us on today's show with the second official episode of Strength In Leos. Don't forget to share with a friend, right? Our podcast and subscribe. If you would like to support us, please check out our on our patreon page at Patreon.com/strengthinleos or buy a tee shirt, mug, or Hoodie on our website. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook at Strength In Leos. And last but not least, tune in again on March 24th, 2019 for our next episode on Spotify, Itunes, and our website, StrengthInLeos.com this is your host, Evan Wooldridge, signing off. Continue to grow in knowledge and share the Strength In Leos.

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