Are you married to, dating, friends with or even just know of someone online who is big into reptiles enough that they have a whole room dedicated to them? Do you help in the herp room or is it a mystical land where reptiles reside in tubs, tanks and is hot as hades inside? What exactly does it mean to "be in the herp room" to those you know?
Herp room chores are the WORST. It's about as bad as doing dishes. At least, that's how I feel. But it must be done! My herp room comes before the rest of the house as far as upkeep on tanks and feeding. Especially err... since I spend a lot of time feeding about 40 animals on a given day. I often get home and have quite a few hours of time to myself in the evening. I also don't do my herp room stuff all at once, I break it up a little bit. Usually once I hit the front door, set down my keys and take off my jacket I head up to the herp room to check temps and humidity.
Here's a little checklist I kinda go through on a typical night and the basic order that I do them in. My cleaning room days kind of go a little differently.
1) Check temps and humidity. I always check my main thermometer that hangs out by the herp room door. It gives me a good sense of what the ambient temps in my herp room are. I also take my handy little temp gun and check floor temps in my desert rack. This is pretty important for things that need belly heat. I check temps of my dubia roaches right about this time. Not every day, but usually. I make sure no one is too wet, too dry or just right in their tubs, starting with baby geckos or younger ones since they are not as hardy compared to the adults when it comes to humidity.
2) Fill up my mister. I have to do this before I begin cleaning/feeding or anything else. That way I won't be right in the middle of changing tank paper towels and have to fill it up to mist it, and forget where I'm at when I get back with a full mister. Full mister=imperative to my little schedule here. I get all thrown off if I have to stop what I'm doing. Sometimes, though I do have to fill it up twice, and I'll usually find a little break where I'm not in the middle of something to fill it up.
3) (Turn on music and) check meal replacement bowls, remove every other day or third day depending on the season and how much everyone is averaging for intake. This can tell you what humidity is like, how much your animals are eating and if you have a porker. Most of my little geckos are porkers. They really like the PFMC. If your bowls are a little dried out, you probably need a tad bit more humidity in your enclosures. If you find a bowl that has mold or mildew it's probably time to punch a few more air holes in the tub. While I'm taking out meal replacement bowls I also look around for poop and remove it. I also set up a soaking bowl with hot water for these meal replacement bowls so I can scrub them with a toothbrush later.
4) Feed bug-eating baby/small geckos daily. Sometimes your baby geckos will not eat all the bugs you offered them, so just leaving the live feeders in their bowl is fine. Some baby geckos have a bigger appetite than others. I tend to take poop out of tubs at this time too unless it's squishy. Squishy poops I'll just pull the entire paper towel out to avoid getting gecko poop all over my fingers. Joy. Poop. Isn't it lovely?
5) Feed adult bug eaters, every other day or so. Babies I feed every day so they can grow properly. Adults... well if you feed them every day or sometimes even every other day they tend to... get fat. I like a hefty gecko but fat is not good for any animal. And not even your gecko. Adults on a diet get a few less bugs and not as often till they're at a good weight.
6) SCRUB A DUB DUB. That means water bowls too. I scrub the meal replacement bowls every other day or so, of course, and water bowls once or twice a week. Sometimes they get calcium powder in them, or poop (if there's poop in a water bowl it's an automatic scrub a dub dub) or... anything really. I've found moss, a random escapee dubia roach, a gecko who decided sitting in it's bowl would be fun, or even sleeping in it (make sure your bowls are SHALLOW). I have a couple geckos that like to poop in their water bowl NO MATTER WHAT. Even if I move the bowl somewhere else, change the bowl, scrub the heck out of it, sanitize, whatever. If there's a bowl of water in there, poop will be in there in no time. So scrub scrub scrub. This is also when I whip out my f10 cleaning solution. Not too much, you want to follow instructions on the bottle and make it the right dilution or you could get your animals sick. Toss all your items in there that you just spent about a half hour to an hour scrubbing the heck out of with a toothbrush. Should be sterilized in no time! Leave your items in the solution for at least ten minutes.
7) Mix the meal replacement powder in a squeezy bottle. Uh.. I hope I don't have to explain myself on this one. I also toss food in for feeders right about now. Usually mixing the meal replacement powder, letting it sit for good consistency and feeding my feeders gives me about 10-15 minutes for letting the bowls get sanitized thoroughly. I rinse bowls off pretty well after being in the solution.
9) Fill meal replacement bowls. Count how many geckos I have, count again, count again. Fill up that many bowls, count again. Forget one and have to fill up another bowl. That's usually what happens.
8) Mist everyone. Yep. Everyone gets a pretttttty good misting after all is said and done. I toss food bowls in as I mist my frugivoirs and then mist my bug eaters. I tend to do a double check on babies. It's usually around 9 or so when I finally get done. Sometimes I wait till midnight. All depends on how much dilly dallying I do in between each step, chatting on Facebook, getting distracted by other things because I have ADD and how much I cuddle with each gecko as I mill through everyone's enclosures.
Be sure that you always always always do your quarantine animals LAST. Anything to do with your QT animals should be last--even if that means taking these steps all over again for a completely separate group of animals in another room. Usually graduation from QT makes me dance. I love QT graduation. On cleaning days, things are a bit more extensive. I do about two or three enclosures at a time. And I do all the things to them, pull geckos and put them into a temporary tub or deli cup, pull paper towels, paper towel tubes, furnishings and food bowls. Soak all the things, including the tub itself on deep cleaning days (about once a month or two). I soak everything in my bathtub which is only one door down from my herp room. Makes it nice. After the furnishings and/or tubs are clean, I toss furnishings etc back into the tank, put in fresh paper towels and paper towel roll hides and voila! Stick gecko back in. Mist. Put back in proper rack space. I also go around the room in this fashion in a circle. I start on one end and go around the whole room counter clockwise so no enclosure is missed. Cleaning days tend to take me all day, especially the deep-cleaning ones.
So.. what are some of your herp room stories? Does your spouse, partner, family member or friend understand what you mean when you say "I'll be in the herp room"? Are you a spouse, family member or friend? What do you think?
As some of you may know, we have a few plans coming up in 2015 for breeding a few ladies. I've been a pretty small-time breeder hobbyist for about three years now. I'm ready to dig in my heels and go for the big-time. Well okay, not big time, but at least it's big-time for me. It'll be a full-time job on it's own, I suspect. Would I breed geckos as a single job, you ask?
Why yes, if I could, YES you bet your bubble I would. These animals are my passion, my relaxation after a long day, my little loves who I cuddle, talk to and hang out with more than any person in the world.
Maybe eventually it'll work into that, but for now I'm just keeping it as a hobby. (I say that pretty lightly, as it's more of a lifestyle for me than a hobby.)
Since I'm very into adding up things, counting them and sizing things out with the slight OCD I have, I started thinking about all the supplies I need for 2015. I'll just say this: it's going to be reaaaaaaally expensive. Over $2000 to keep up with all the babies that I expect, and to calculate in extra babies in case of any extra surprises that can happen. It inspired me to make a blog about the dangers, costs, demands and the little things that you don't think about when you want to get into breeding animals. It's no small task. Now, mind. This little blog is going to be fairly blunt. But, if you're serious, just keep on reading.
Money Money Money. Yes, things cost money.
Bringing geckos into the world can be easy peasy! Keeping them healthy, happy, well-fed and clean? That is the real job. So, before you breed, THINK ahead. Think about the SPACE they will take up. Think about the TIME you are willing to give to your animals. Think about the COST of keeping them. Sure, it's easy to keep two animals in a tank together. Doesn't cost much. Maybe, what? Forty dollars initially if you shop around for supplies. Food every month? Around $10-20 per month. Not too bad, right?
Imagine, now. Ten babies. Multiply costs by ten. $100 a month to feed ten geckos with live feeders and meal replacement powders and proper calcium and vitamin powder. $400 just for ten enclosures. For one six-month season that can amount to almost a thousand dollars. That's if you're doing enclosures pretty cheaply. That isn't including vet bills if you get a sick gecko, hurt gecko, or get worms in your colony. What if you get mites? Now you're running out of room to house these twelve geckos you have and money to pay for their proper care. Your sick animals start dying because you couldn't keep up with their vet costs... your trial as a breeder fails.
Of course, that's a worse-case scenario. But very real. It can happen. And it does happen. Don't be that new breeder that gets in knee-deep and realizes that it may not actually be for you. And don't sell off your entire colony to some other unsuspecting individual.
One female crested gecko can produce 10 babies in a year. If you're lucky. She can lay up to twenty if she doesn't cool properly. Then, the next year, she'll probably continue laying even if you take your male out. Retained sperm is a real thing. And females have been shown to retain sperm up to a year after coupling with a male.
So imagine, 20 geckos. You started out with two. Now you have twenty living breathing things that you need to provide care for. And you hope that you can sell them all. Which you may think is easy. All those other breeders are doing it, right?
WRONG. Big breeders aren't just selling their animals. Well yeah, they're selling them. Yeah, they may make a bit more than the average breeder at it--but it's more than just posting an ad online and someone comes along and buys it. They have had lines of gecko projects for years. Those lines have created great-quality breeder animals. Very high-end spectacular geckos that are in still in demand. Breeding geckos is breeding them to pretty much sell to other breeders. Very rarely will you actually sell a pet gecko to someone. The geckos that usually end up in pet stores are not the geckos you want to start out with. They are often times left-over from some breeders that couldn't sell them.
So, if you're really serious about getting into breeding geckos, look for lineage. Look for quality. Find animals with good lineage in them. That is the best bet you have to have a successful shot at breeding and selling your animals. Pay for a couple nice geckos that compliment each other. If you aren't willing to pay for nice animals, you probably shouldn't be breeding them in the first place.
"It's not about the money, though. I am not doing it for the money," you're thinking, right?
I find this a pretty offensive statement from someone I'm trying to give sound advice. (And I really don't get offended by much.) Especially advice that tons of other breeders say every day and have said to me when I first started. Basically you're saying I'm only in it for money. That I'm greedy. That most breeders selling geckos are only in it for money and are also greedy. Nope. It's NOT about the money. If I were in this for the money, that would be one helluva horrible business move on my part. Do I make money? Really make money? Have I made any money off of my animals in the last three years?
My answer: HECK NO!
I've put more money into my colony than I care to admit. Way more than I have got back from them. I don't care about that, though. That's not why I'm writing this blog.
It's not about the money, it's about responsibility to the species.
Don't mush your two petstore quality (without lineage) geckos together and expect to get people oohing and ahhing over the ten pet store quality (without lineage) babies that you brought into the world. Let alone be able to find a good home for those geckos. This goes for any reptile. Any species. Even any mammal. If you want to breed ANYTHING, know the family that your animal came from.
Accidents! I HAVE EGGS! Now what???
Oh my accidents do happen. That's life. Sometimes you just don't think about things, have a brain fart, and then ask for help and get bashed for making your mistake or someone elses' even. Where does that leave you? You, someone who wants to do right by your mistake or by taking on the mistake of someone else. Absolutely nowhere. Why breeders and keepers sometimes bash newbies I don't really know. It accomplishes zero and just makes them look like a jerk. Those newbies are newbies for a reason. Because newbies are LEARNING. I try to stay civil when helping newbies and give good advice. Send all you newbies, who will be the future of our hobby off with the basics and hope that you all take that information and do best by it or even find an alternative that is safe, effective and maybe even BETTER! I'd have to admit that I have had a moment or two where I lose it a little bit with someone who maybe doesn't erm... well.. seem to care about what I have told them. Or negate it and do something that could be harmful for their animal anyway. It's my job as a keeper with knowledge to spread that to everyone else. That's why I'm here. That's my passion--for the geckos that I'm equally passionate about.
So you accidentally got some eggs. Start your research now. If you are reading this, you most likely ARE already. But beware--there's a good chance you're going to be stuck with those babies for a long time. I have a baby that's been for sale for almost a year and a half. No one wants her. That's fine, I still love her, but I also keep in mind that any baby I breed--I may end up having to keep. If I find a good home for it where I trust the keeper, I sometimes will end up leaving it with them. Reptiles don't make good gifts, so please refrain from doing that. No animal should be a gift unless it's pre-meditated by all parties, and the receiver is set-up and ready for proper care.
Something else I say you should do is raise a gecko or two first. Get a feel for the species' care. Love it, feed it, do some research. It's gonna take you about two or three years to grow up a baby gecko to a breedable weight. In that amount of time you should successfully be able to build up your space, supplies, and organization and knowledge on the species in order to successfully get a breeding pair and sell some babies. Talk talk talk talk TALK! Talk to everyone! See what other breeders are doing.
If you are living at home with mom and dad, and especially if you're still in school, it's probably best to wait a few years--for when you're out of school and can be depended on by the animals you're breeding. If your mom or dad don't know what you're doing, or realize what you're getting into, it's really not fair to the animals. Get your family involved. Don't just do it or talk about it in passing to them--what if mom or dad decide you can't do it anymore? Will you just dump all your geckos that you spent forever incubating, hatching and caring for? It's not really fair to the animals, even if it's something you really want to do.
OK OK, so you're tired of me telling you what not to do, to prepare yourself for breeding and be ahead of the game.
Sorry. That's just what I do.
That is about the last bit of advice I have to give, though. Just a basic, heyyy! Wake up and smell the hummus! Breeding is NOT easy!It's not something you should jump right into. Plan it! Figure out your game plan before you toss two geckos together. It's expensive; it takes up a ton of time (I spend about 2 hours a day in my gecko room, and the whole day on cleaning days) and it's something that you should only do if you have the resources, responsibility and true desire to do it.
If you've got all of that--dependability, stability, desire, knowledge and resources.. GO FOR IT! Despite being a time-consuming, crazy, sometimes sad thing to do, breeding geckos is one of the most rewarding things that you can find yourself completely engrossed in.
The last couple of months have been an absolute wonderful time. For one, I opened up my sticker shop for business. LINK Honestly I never DREAMED it would be so successful right off the bat. Drawing has always been something I loved to do, but I fell off the bandwagon so to speak and stopped after I graduated high school. I'm glad I got back into it, and getting such awesome feedback from the amazing people who have purchased stickers from me, watch the page and adore the stickers I've done really jumps my creative outlet.
I am having so much fun.
My last post was about goals. Goals I wanted to reach. Things I was doing. Time management. So far, my time management skills have tripled and my organization is getting better now that I've been really putting in an effort. I've finally started a realism portrait of my (insert embarrassing fan girl status) favorite character, Yue. I'm pretty darned happy with it so far.
If things didn't get any better than right now, I'd be happy with them just the way they are. It's been amazing. And while I feel the strain still of doing doing doing, I've organized my time and energies positively and feel a different kind of stress. Is that possible? It's a happy stress. Happy stress.... Who knew that existed.
Gecko plans are working out awesome. Geckos are getting big, girl gecko breeders are getting to a good weight. They're eating so well on the Pangea Fruit Mix Complete, and our roach colony is also booming on the MS2 feeder chow so everyone gets food food food. Now all I gotta do is find me an awesome RED harlequin male. I would like one RTB, but I know what my odds look like on that one--similar to the Hunger Games. Not exactly in my favor. *wishes anyway*. Who knows. Maybe a special fairy sees my wish and will make it happen. Because my fairies are just that awesome.
All our quarantine geckos have been taken out of quarantine and are healthy members of our colony now, too. :) Everyone is in the same room, and that's really nice too. Not that it was much harder to have a little QT collection of geckos in our living room, just that it's one less thing I have to remember. Do gecko room, go to bed. End of story. No up stairs, down stairs, wash hands between, double check, then bed. Just bed. (I tend to wait till the last minute to do the herp room sometimes, so I'm often times up till 11:30-12 feeding, misting, and cleaning. PROCRASTINATORS UNITE!)
So up to the plate, we're still on for G. hainanensis geckos next season. That's the only pairing we'll have. I wanted to get my yellow Brindie girl on with someone, but it looks like we won't be pairing her with anyone for now. Which is fine. :) She'll be OK without being paired this upcoming season.
We switched nearly all of our geckos out of tanks and changed them to tubs instead. We only have two geckos of ours that are in tanks now. Our herp room is looking pretty good. Still small, but definitely more organized and easier to navigate with everyone in tubs.
My amazing-awesome-cool-best-sweet boyfriend and family managed to make my wish come true for Christmas/Birthday. They totally got me a laptop. So I can comfortably draw, edit, photograph, post, watch movies in high def wherever I want in the house. I am ever grateful to them. I keep on thanking them over and over and over.
Hoping things keep going well for me. We'll be rehoming our sold geckos as soon as weather cooperates, and so for now just hanging on. <3 Now all I gotta do is get a nicer car that won't quit on me anymore! Woo hoo! Journey keep on truckin'!
I will be 100% surprised if anyone actually reads these silly ramblings of mine. More of a personal diary/journal thing.
Here is a list of things I'm doing and or want to do:
-Working full time. (SO thankful for this)
-Caring for 35-40 animals. (also thankful for this!!)
-Trying to get a non-prof up and running well (stressful at times.. and boring at other times heh)
-Working on getting my art back up to par to feel comfortable with doing commissions, prints, more stickers etc.
-Building blocks for a possible photography business and working on a portfolio for this.
-Build up writing proficiency. Write like a mad lady. Also build up common vocabulary for this.
-Opening up two Etsy shops, one for stickers one for earrings for a little extra cash.
-Selling Scentsy products, a business venture I WILL expand! (I love this)
-Attends Motorcycle races six times from May-September, as well as a banquet party in November.
Attends two reptile expos; sponsors, organizes and promotes Snake Awareness Day in Coos Bay.
Takes reptiles to outreaches at local schools, three/four times a year.
Scholarships, scholarships, scholarships. I want to make something of myself through school.
Saving money for a trip to go to Illinois in October next year.
And all this is kinda... wearing on me. I drew up a little planner to keep my time managed properly and it's helping so much. I want to do it ALL. And... I know that I can't, but I try to do it anyway. There are a few things up there that take priority over others. My job being one since I can't do any of the others without it. My animals are second to everything else. They are my life, my joy, my relaxation and happiness. They keep these little threads that make me up bound together. Especially on long tiring days or when things get a little stressful. They love me without any condition, and come to their little tubs begging me for food or cuddles or... maybe just food. But it's good to feel needed by the things I love.
Eventually some of these things on this list are going to be handed off to someone else, or at least done in a cooperative manner. Some I may drop altogether. I cannot do them all, and do them all the time. And I certainly don't want to spread myself too thin that I tear apart and bust every goal I was working for. Winter is a little less hectic without the motorcycle stuff happening all the time, no more babies hatching. And... the desire to be outside with all the sunshine, little tweety birds, hiking possibilities and all that. That's when I do the indoor-worthy goals; writing, drawing, art, more Scentsy stuff. I love Scentsy btw. Love it. Gets me right out in the middle of socializing, something that's always been a little hard for me.
I know once school comes I am going to be extremely pressed. I know this!! I'll only be going part time, so I'm working extremely hard to get my little side-businesses up and running before I get school going for me. You don't get nearly as much funding to cover books, tuition etc if you're only going part-time. If I can do that, and get a little extra money to keep school afloat, go to Illinois and still live... Then that would be amazing. I have some awesome plans for geckos in the upcoming years--and they really are great, so I'm hoping I won't have to shell out as much of my personal funds for vet visits, food, supplies etc if I am able to find great homes for babies that come out of those plans. So far, everyone has been extremely enthusiastic when learning about those plans. I hope it continues when babies start popping up. This year has been a mad dash for everyone wanting cave gecko babies, so I don't see those plans slowing down. At least for the next four or five years since they are beginning to become more popular and more folks will be working with them.
My relationship with writing has been a huge part of my life since I was about eleven. I used to spend hours and hours and hours writing little stories, big stories, any stories and did this more than anything else. I was a cooped up kid, so I guess that had something to do with it. I remember my mother writing always, so that was probably another factor. At the time I wanted to be just like her. Writing was a gift that I got from her side of the family. Although, regrettably the last six or seven years I've let my practice dwindle down to nothing. I haven't written anything in ages. Although it's still much better than my creative writing used to be, it's also suffered tremendously since I've been out of practice. Such a shame. If I had kept on it, perhaps I'd be a great writer by now. It's a huge regret of mine, and I plan to amend it.
Gosh. It has been so long since I've picked up my stylus and really worked at it. So long since I've done a portrait or a realism drawing. And art... is not like riding a bike. You just lose it if you don't use it. Sure I can sketch cute little random lizards and reptiles. As long as they're cute and cartoony. I will do it again. This is a goal for me!! I want to do a realism portrait of my one-and-only truest of true loves Yue from Cardcaptor Sakura. (insert uber nerdy geek fangirl status) Ok he's not really a true-love. But I've had a strong fondness for the character since I was twelve. I think by this point, being 25 I always will. It's not goin' away any time soon. That fondness is probably due to all the fanfiction I wrote and read when I was having big issues growing up. It was the only thing I had to turn to when things were bad.
So. GOAL: Practice a few realism portraits. Practice some animal realism portraits. Paint a realism portrait of Yue. And.. re-learn all those Photoshop shortcuts I used to know.
My personal goals for Scentsy, my stickers and earring shops is just to eventually be able to work from home. Who wouldn't want to do that? Although I am not putting all my eggs in one basket, so to speak with any of those things, I do hope they work well and in the very least bring in a little bit extra to loosen a few tight ends, (Which Scentsy is already doing!!!) and in the most, allow me to be free of having to work for someone else. To be self-reliant.
I don't see these goals happening for a few years. But I'm workin' on it!! :) I also have a few things in the back of my head as far as what business adventures I get in to play. I would L-O-V-E to be a vet tech (schooling to do this), but if another successful business opportunity comes my way I'm gonna take it by the horns and SHOOT for it. I have one in mind, but--that will just stay back there hiding behind current goals until a few other things enfold with that venture. If all comes out to play in my favor, I may just not go to school in the traditional college sense. All just depends.
Phew, I've got that all out on paper now. :) Perhaps this little journal will help me see things a little more clearly. To attain these goals and see where I want to go, what to do next, where I've gone and how much farther I can go. Here's to success! :)
If you haven't yet noticed, I uh... have acquired a few more crested geckos. The only way I can describe it is I tried so hard to hold back and focus on cave geckos and when I found Will and had a plan set for him the very moment I saw him--something sort of snapped. So... Uh... Needless to say, really I guess I'm back on track for a few crested gecko pairings. The temptation was just too great. I mean--look at him. Well, now I have all kinds of crestie parings thought out, and plans to go by depending on how a few babies I have recently purchased grow out. We'll see where this all goes. It's exciting.
The cave plans are still the same. We're looking at pairing some G. araneus in 2014 if they are chubby enough for my liking, and also still doing the G. hainanensis. Ginseng (G. hainanensis) gave me six eggs this last season. She is showing no more signs of being gravid, so I don't expect that there will be any more hatchlings after the last two eggs of the season we have hatch. All the babies are beautiful, though and we even got some nice jungle patterning going on in some of them.
Brown Betty here is a great example of some of that patterning. My girl, Ginseng is... quite something else. She's giving me all kinds of great things. I just love it. Still going on the journey of learning more about the caves. It's a little tough at times, and you just have to talk to the right people. I sort of wish sometimes that I was in Europe to learn more and meet face-to-face with some of the amazing cave keepers there. Alas, here I am in the States. haha. Oh well. I am just happy we still have the privilege of keeping such extraordinary creatures. Next year I plan to get my hands dirty with some G. orientalis. Man. The beauty of those ones. So much love for them. After the orientalis I'm pretty sure I want to get into the yamashinae. They are absolutely my favorite cave gecko. The green eyes intrigue me more than the red eyes of all the genus simply because they are the only cave with green eyes. Welp, here's to future cave pairings! And... also a few cresties too. Not too many all at once, but a few. You can see what plans for me are on my Future Projects tab. I have them out till 2015 at this point.
I have this nice new shiny camera. I've been using it for a few months now. Getting used to the settings. Using it in the dark so I can change settings without looking. At least... trying. I want that camera to be an extended arm of myself. To learn aperture, shutter speed, what the ISO changes does to an image. I love this camera but the fully manual has never been a tool in my hands. And now it is... and it's FRUSTRATING. I've got a few good shots. Some I wanted to enter in the fair. (although my brain lately has prevented me from remembering to do that! OOPS) My gecko photographs have become a little better, though so that makes me happy. Love playing with aperture. And although I love my camera as a stock camera, I really would like to get a lens with a better zoom feature so that I can have the camera farther away from my subject so the depth of field isn't too compromised.
I've also thought that with this camera I can make some good videos. Nothing special, but at least YouTube worthy. Educational videos. Videos of my geckos to post on YouTube for viewers to receive GOOD gecko care information.
For some reason the computer that I use at home has the crappiest video card, lowest amount of memory AND Canon uses a QuickTime MOV file which is IMPOSSIBLE to use in Windows Movie Maker for XP. The video is choppy because the processor cannot handle it... Even when I convert the MOV file to a file compatible with Windows Movie Maker it chops up and bogs down. So many things.... and no results with the computer I have. YAAAAAAY! Not. So, my entire plan for a YouTube channel with education on the gonis is pretty well held-back until we can either get me a good laptop with editing capabilities in a new version of Windows Movie Maker or when YouTube creates a fully editable program online where we can splice video, cut and paste, and insert text graphics for titles. Cause knowing me--I can't do a full-length vid in one shot without sounding like a complete dope. TAKE ONE! TAKE TWO.... Take... eleven....
:) Here's to hoping for a new laptop for Christmas & Birthday... *nudges Jason and all our family* *cheesy grin*
Goodness GRACIOUS. I've had a super busy last few months. Seems like everywhere there has been a road block, too. I lost a gecko, which has been devastating to me. It put my luii project plans behind a couple years. Hoping to find another girl soon. Although, I have excelled in the other areas with the cave geckos. I planned to have an entire website dedicated to the Goniurosaurus genus out and ready to go by the 15th of this month. Hasn't happened yet, but it's still in the works. I hope to have it finished with an in-depth look at cave gecko care, species and also natural history. We also funded part of and worked a ton for the Snake Awareness Day in May for the local herp group, wrote an article for a magazine, and started research on foods and nutrition for frugivorous geckos. Doing a wedding cake for a friend this month and Jason is also racing motorcycles this summer. It's taking a lot of my vacation time and energy.
Juggling all these things are beginning to wear on me emotionally to be honest. I've been in denial about it, but after I simply forgot to enter a few photographs into the county fair I realized that I really am stretching it thin. Took a friend to point it out--I even said, "but I feel fine..." Reality is I'm pooped.
We now have a dedicated reptile room. Still working on it, as it's a never-ending work in progress. We need to get a shoe box juvie rack as soon as we can manage. Just have to get the supplies and do it already. It would save a ton of space.
I've begun to focus less on the non-profit and definitely more on my geckos and changes that have been going on with the hobby. At the moment we are switching up some care of the frugivorous geckos. I haven't been extremely happy with the crested gecko diet food we had been using since there was a switch in the formula of it. Geckos hadn't been eating much and were beginning to lose weight. So, we're trying the Pangea Fruit Mix, which the geckos go nuts over. There has been a lot of talk in the gecko world about food and what is best for the geckos and all that lately. I've kept a little bit low on that discussion, choosing to observe everyone else's findings. I have just been playing around myself with food items by trying what other breeders are doing.
The only trouble with the Pangea Fruit Mix is the fact that it's not complete in nutrition--you HAVE to have live feeders. That is no issue with bug-eating reptiles. In fact, that's great! They eat the PFM like crazy, they eat the bugs, they're complete on nutrition. But I have a few gargoyle geckos that just do not eat the live feeders I offer them.
Do like a few other breeders are doing and create a little roach-smoothie. Mmmm. Smoothies.
Although that sounds horrid to many, I find it easy for me and for my colony. To make it, I calculate how many roaches I typically feed during a roach night, and add 150% of that to my blend. I still feed live to those geckos who enjoy live feeders and I am still offering other food items like the Repashy brand & fruit blends. Papaya and fig have been popular with other breeders' geckos, so I'm giving those a try. The calcium/phosphorous ratio is awesome in those fruits.
Speaking of calcium/phosphorous ratios, I'm looking at getting into some phoenix worms soon. Breeding them, that is. This will be a huge challenge. But I'm looking forward to the trial. We have some mealworms getting ready to get started on their second generation so we'll have roaches, mealies and hopefully phoenix worms. I like the phoenix worm idea since they have a good calcium to phosphorous ratio. Especially when compared to the cockroaches and meal worms. While we don't plan to feed meal worms to our crested geckos, we have several other species of geckos that they are OK to feed including our leopard geckos and cave geckos on occasion. I hope to eventually have all of these feeders available for purchase or trade with my bug-breeding bonanza.
Here's to more growth and learning. And spreading that wealth of knowledge. Hopefully I can get a break here soon and just play with my geckos all day. It would be nice.
It’s been such a long time since I wrote a blog. This year is going to be a great year. I’ve got my cave gecko projects all going well, and I even acquired some other more-rare-than-crestie geckos. I have new set ups and plans. And everything is just falling PERFECTLY into place for me.
Ah, I don’t think many of you know it yet! I’ve been posting about it to friends and other herp folk, but I plan to get out of crestie breeding nearly 100% after the babies I have available find homes. I’ve had several inquiries about my adult and juvie cresteds I have now that I have purchased in the last couple years. They are indeed not for sale. I don’t plan to breed them is all. Any animals I have for sale will be posted as such, so check that out first before asking if I plan to sell my best-looking female from JB. ;) I’m NOT giving her up. I love her too much. Hehehe. In fact, I love all my cresties I own. And I have reasons for each of them to keep them. Mostly it’s because I love them though hehe. If you recall my last blog, I cry when I pick up most of them.
As for caves, I’ve got some super awesome genetics going for my projects. My Hainan cave gecko (Goniurosaurus hainanensis) girl Ginseng is an F2 beauty to be paired with Tenmoku, my boy from DVReptile. They look so perfect together, and I can’t WAIT for eggs. I’m getting ready to pair them in two weeks here, as soon as Ten is out of quarantine. I also have three awesome aberrant patterned Chinese cave geckos (Goniurosaurus luii). Two from different breeders in Germany, who I purchased from Jon Boone, and one from Gary Hamann over at Ridge Valley Reptiles. I can’t wait to get the one from Gary. My little fingers are itching to finally open the box and take him out to see him. On top of the g. hainanensis and g. luii I’ve acquired, I also hit it with a Vietnamese cave gecko (Goniurosaurus araneus). Hoping that one’s a girl, but either way who cares! It’s one from German breeders as well. One of my goals this year was to get on the Reptile Report. A goal I have already attained. It was so surreal seeing my pictures of the g. luii I had just acquired at the time up on the Reptile Report. I was very proud and excited and can't wait for the next time something I contribute to the reptile community is recognized. I cried. Yep. I'm a big bawler when it comes to stuff like that.
I also have some better rack systems going on for my animals. I got an Animal Plastics 6 shelf economy juvie rack that I’m keeping my desert dwellers in, the leopard geckos, knobtails (Nephrurus wheeleri), the viper gecko and pictus geckos all get to stay in there. SO NICE. I can’t believe how much space those things save me. We are going to also build another rack that has dimensions similar to the one I just got. I won’t need any heat for the rest of the geckos I plan to keep, so I won’t need anything fancy. Just something sealed at least, even if it’s wooden. (My scientific name is Billis cheapskate)
We also have our ball python in a tub. One thing I learned as a new ball python owner is: YOU CANNOT KEEP PROPER HUMIDITY IN A TANK! Period. Just CAN’T. You can get a nice PVC cage, you can use a tub, but you just can’t keep humidity right with a tank. Clawed, by the way, is doing awesome. He’s a hefty eater and eats whenever we offer him food, which is about once or twice a week (every 5 days ish). He’s even on F/T rats, which was easy to do, and easier than feeding live for us since we only have one snake and no suppliers who live readily close to us.
Most of my time has been utilized taking care of reptile business. Brindie did great on her first season, almost all her eggs were viable and hatched. Sallymander laid almost all season AGAIN, so she has nearly had two seasons from being paired and separated for most of both seasons. Crazy girl. Unfortunately her last egg didn’t make it out of the egg. It looked a little bad from the start, anyway and began developing but he didn’t ever finish hatching. :( It’s a sad part of breeding, unfortunately.
When I’m not tending to the farm, I’m tending to that non-profit I mentioned in my last blog moooooooonths ago. Western Oregon Reptile Keepers is doing very well! We still need some sponsors, and accept donations of all kinds, but our hard work is paying off! Like us on Facebook, especially if you’re in Oregon! www.facebook.com/westernoregonreptilekeepers
We’re planning on doing another Snake Awareness Day in the Bay area of Oregon. If you are interested in doing a newsletter article for us, PLEASE let me know!! We would be very grateful! :) We already have a great article from John F. Taylor at the ReptileApartment, and we are MORE than excited about that! Thanks John, again. I couldn’t say it enough to you! :) <<Great guy btw.
Even though I know my goals are being attained, I still am surprised by each one I get. I read back on a few old blogs, and seeing the progress I’ve made as a herp keeper is just mind-blowing. I am very proud of me. I’ve learned so much, acquired some amazing geckos AND friends, and it’s just been an amazing wonderful journey. I’d never give it up for anything. After 21 years of life, I can say that I truly found my passion. (Well, now I’m 25, but I found it when I was 21 hehe.) Here’s to a lifetime of Herpetology!
Until next time!
YES. All I can amount to is YES!!!!
I had so much fun at the expo. I was orignially planning on getting a table to advocate W.O.R.K., but then we weren't able to get a table! No matter, I still printed out some pamphlets. Sarah from Lunar Gecko, Steph from Snake Pusher and the CORHerp group all let us put pamphlets on their tables. Sarah has been a huge help with it. As well as Wendy from Henderson Herpetoculture. Thanks to everyone for helping W.O.R.K.. We picked up a cave gecko and in a last-minute-addiction-induced-bout-of-weakness another gargoyle girl.
We expect to focus on cave geckos and gargoyles in the next few years. Keep an eye out. We are getting out of cresties, and this will be the last round of cresties you all can expect. Maybe in the future, since we do have some really pretty ones. We are looking for homes for a couple of our cresties, though so if you have someone who you have had your eye on, let us know. We will be keeping a few, but it never hurts to ask. We need more room for other projects, and frankly, the house is just too small for fifty geckos.
Keep an eye out for new babies!!!
What a last couple of months it has been!
We have more dubias than we can feed off, so beginning to separate by size, and hopefully soon we’ll be selling them. We have a nicer collection. We visited our FIRST expo. We have plans to help out at a table at the next Wilsonville. We have four species of geckos. We bought our first snake. We are STILL getting fertile eggs from our Sallymander girl. Brindie started laying fertile eggs. Our leo has laid eggs. We have TEN crestie eggs incubating. We have started plans on a non-profit.
The highlight of my last couple months was the expo. I saw a fair variety of animals at that expo, helped a crested gecko lover with getting her crestie back up to health, and picked up my two newest babies. Matcha, my male golden pinner, and Balloon, my first gargoyle gecko. Balloon stole my heart from the moment I saw her. She’s a little nervous when handled, but she is a sweetie. I do not know who produced her, and I suppose I don’t really want to know who did, because whoever did fed her baby food, and then bred her. Due to this, she has some serious MBD damage to her hips and tail. Although she now doesn’t suffer from any effects of it, the damage is permanent. So we won’t be using this girl as a breeder ever. She’ll be in a good home with food, and hides, and loves and snuggles for the rest of her reptilian life. After getting Balloon, I do expect to get one or two more gargoyles in the future—just not for awhile.
The Expo!!!!!! OHHHH the expo! We went to the Emerald City Reptile Expo. It was a two-day show, and the first Emerald City Reptile Expo. It was really cute! I expected a ton more vendors, but, I assume that next year they’ll have more, now that more people know about it. At least I hope so! Maybe if they do it again next year, I can be a vendor or maybe help out at a friends’ table. Since it was my first expo, it was so much fun for me. There was a lot going on, and we met a few really cool people. Ihkura being one ;) HI IHKURA!! And Saille. It was really great meeting them and hope to see them again!! (Don’t tell anyone, but they both got to see me bawl like a little baby when I picked up Matcha and Balloon, which was pretty embarrassing and not good for the mascara.) But despite there not being a ton of vendors, I had so much fun! I got to see a ton of animals I’d only seen pictures of, and met these cute little dart froggies. Jason expects to buy a few in the future, so we might be getting into frogs in the next few years as a nice little side project.
For the upcoming expo in Wilsonville, I am helping out a couple who we are friends with at their table. We will most likely have a couple babies on the table, if by then no one sells, and also might be selling some shirts. What are the shirts for, you say?
Well, the shirts are for another little project I have been working on with some local friends. We are opening up a non-profit organization and club. It’s called Western Oregon Reptile Keepers. It’s been keeping me fairly busy. With technicalities, logo design, mission statements, it’s been a whirlwind of FUN! I love it! I am hopeful to do more events this year, and definitely hopeful for at least one by September. If it doesn’t happen that early, I won’t be disappointed, but that is my goal for right now. Getting shirts, designs, donations and sponsors going for now. Just have to focus on that at the moment J But it’s so exciting!! (If you are interested in this non-prof, please email us at email@example.com) We did an event her in Coos Bay for the Snake Awareness Day, but we wound up doing it a little late. No matter, the turnout was great! Check out our Snake Awareness Day page on our website. www.geckosonthebeach.weebly.com/snake-awareness-day.html
On top of the babies we have, and the fifteen geckos in our collection, we have TEN crested gecko eggs incubating. Our Sallymander is super stubborn, and even though she cooled for 3 months, she started laying more fertile eggies. So far, six of them. SIX. Man. That girl can really pump them out, the little baby maker. She has good calcium, and still has a good weight, so as long as she’s safely laying, I don’t mind. The only thing on my mind for that is—where the heck is all this retained sperm coming from!?!?!?! And whoa girl! Where are we going to keep all these babies if you keep spitting them out!!!? She and Brindie are both laying now, so who knows how many babies we’ll actually have this year! Not that I mind, again. We’ll just have to get a few more KKs than expected this year, and some more shelving. Our leopard girl, Baylie has laid 3 clutches this year too. She looks so miserable when she is gravid. We let her eat as much as she wants, almost after she’s laid a clutch. As long as she’s getting her calcium, I don’t really mind. She lays every clutch outside her moisture hide/lay box. Unfortunately two of them had both not made it. We have one clutch incubating, but we think it might be the moisture hide she dislikes. At least, that is what another breeder suggested. Perhaps the coco fiber doesn’t do it for her. Regardless, we ordered some sphagnum moss for her and the rest of our crew as well so that maybe she’ll feel more secure depositing her eggs in there. Hope that the issue is that simple.
We are really hoping for good things to happen this year. Great things! Marvelous things! Every day, I am one step closer to being the best keeper that I can be! And I just love it! I JUST LOVE IT!!