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?