Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Called PetSmart today to inquire about their reptile shipment that was due last week. The manager informed me that though it is expected tomorrow, there was no order placed for any cresty. I asked that they order me one then, by gum! Now I have to wait about two weeks.

Although it seems right that i should get my gecko close to home to reduce stress, two Wednesdays from now, if I don't have one, I think a trip to Ottawa will be in order.

Hawt - Imgur post

I would wife the shit out of her.

original post here: http://imgur.com/gallery/sVL0k

Prepping my Terrarium (part 2)

Step 1: Cleaning

After opening the Exo-Terra Rainforest Habitat kit, I gave everything a good wash-down. The starter kit manual suggested the following :

Soak all plants and decoration with a solution of 1 part bleach to 30 parts water for about an hour once a month, which I did, except for the foam background and the jungle vine. I thought they might be too absorbent.

I find this kind of high on the bleach. One of the PetSmart reps said I could definitely get away with a smaller amount of bleach, but I decided to get Fluker's Super Scrub, which is an organic cleaner that "cleans and sanitizes" tanks, branches, rocks, vines, and bowls. To be fair, I did try to the bleach solution on my first batch of plants and decor, but I left them rinse well and sit for, so far, four days.

A point here regarding the Exo-Terra Jungle Vine (show in the image to the right):
I let my vine soak, not in the bleach solution though, for well over an hour to get the excess dyes out. This would be especially important if I were going to have it in an aquatic environment to avoid discolouration of the water, and maybe even negative effects to the critters.

Once everything was clean and free of the smell of plastic and bleach, I cleaned out the tank with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar (also recommended in the manual). The vinegar smell goes away pretty quick, too.

Weather or not I will continue to use these two home-brew solutions now that I have Fluker's Super Scrub, I haven't decided yet.

Just for the record, this is also when I installed my Exo-Terra Heat Wave, since it adheres to the bottom outside of the tank. (See Step 3)

Step 2: Decorating

So next, I added the Exo-Terra Rock Background in and placed my plants more how I wanted them to be in the final product.

I'd like to point out here that, although I do like Exo-Terra products, the suction cups that were provided for the Exo-Terra Croton and the Exo-Terra Amapallo were pretty useless, which suited me since I wanted to have the stems wedged into the background foam. Also, you have to kind of take all advertisement with a grain of salt; the rock background shown here on their website looks MUCH more realistic than the actual product, which is still nicer than having a picture taped to back of the tank.

You'll notice in the picture to the left, the jungle vine has been removed temporarily.

This is also when I placed my two thermometers and hygrometer. (Step 3)

Also, I want to add how much I really like the Boston Fern included in the kit. All the plants really, I found to look very good for plastics.

The final result was something to this effect:

Notice in the close-up what I mean about the background looking a little less rocky and a little more foamy. Still though, like it!

The last step of decorating was the addition of a small fake branch by All Living Things. You want suction cups? This thing has two, and combined, you could raise the Titanic with these them! I added it to the left-hand side of the tank to assure an artistic look of symmetry that my future gecko will have plenty of things to climb on. I'm not sure what plant the branch tries to emulate but it looks like ivy to me.

Huzzah, the final product! Please note that I will be waiting till the last minute to add the Exo-Terra Plantation Soil Tropical Substrate, which was also included in the kit.

To be continued in part 3 (because it's starting to take too long to upload these damn images into one post.)

Prepping my Terrarium (part 1)

I did my research on these guys. Cresties like to climb. Of course, they're arboreal. They like heat and humidity. You would to is you came from New Caledonia (that's a small, French archipelago off the east coast of Australia; g'day Crsties! or perhaps Sallut le petit Crestie!). Also, they're kind of nocturnal.

I learned some lessons recently. Namely, every person I ask seems to have a different opinion on the care of these animals.

To make a long story short, I should have followed my gut and bought the medium sized kit. It saved me money, sure, but now I'm worried that the soon-to-be-my gecko will out-grow it's tank kind of fast. Or not? Lot's of "professional opinions" buzzing around my head.

In any case, smaller sized kit I bought will definitely fit a jeuvy Cresty, which is what I plan to get.

I went with the Exo-Terra Rainforest Habitat Kit. So far, I really like it! Exo-Terra has some really nice swag in my opinion. And although I can't personally vouch for all of it, the good people of YouTube show it off with fairly good reviews. With the addition of a couple extra pieces, my terrarium is almost up and ready to go! All I need now is for the stupid reptile delivery person to make his call at PetSmart!

(Pictures and methodology to follow at a more decent hour)

Monday, January 30, 2012

First Post Warrants Introductions!

I've decided to catalog my experience in herpetoculture as a hobby, though I do aspire to one day breed reptiles and amphibians for commercial distribution. As a fall-back option, as it were.

So, I should start by mentioning my past experience with herps; it all started when I was a fetus... or not. Probably not.

I've been head-over-heels for animals since as far back as I can remember. My bedtime stories were jsut as much experts from children's encyclopedia of nature as much as fairy tales and such. My first animals were the family dog (rest her bones), and some fish. I soon progressed to guinea pigs and hamsters, but it was always the lizards and snakes that held my attention. Not sure if all boys are just drawn to reptiles or if maybe it was just in my jeans to be fascinated by them. Either way, I was about six when I got my first.

Painted turtle:
AS far as I can remember, I got my painted turtle in Montreal whilst out shopping with my aunt and grandmother. I'm not sure what possessed them to buy me one, but I got one, and that's about all I had; no decent tank, no lamps, no plants. I couldn't throw it in the fish tank; she had no place to sit. So I threw together a small fish bowl and some rocks. I got myself some dried shrimp and was content for a time. Not a long time, obviously. I feel pretty bad now for having kept it in such a silly set-up. I can only hope that she will forgive my childish ignorance in the after-life. Her name was Val, so named for my grade-school crush.

Fire-belly Newt:
I think I was twelve by the time I tried my hand at herps again. By this time, my first cat was dominating the pet landscape, with the cursory living room aquarium, obviously. I was a little more prepared for the newt. My setup was a an old tank, probably somewhere in the twenty to twenty-five gallon range, built up with pebbles, some fake plants... and this big fake log which I later came to hate with a passion. I know with the newt, I did SOMETHING right, since I had him for several months. I would take him out of the tank (of which I was allowed only because the things are so torpid and unlikely to bolt) and hold the little thing in my hands from time to time. It was really the only time I ever saw the little munchkin; he spent every waking (and sleeping) moment holed up ina crook of that damned plastic log! He went missing by then and to this day, I still don't really know what happened. We've moved out of that apartment since then but never found a body. Kind of creepy really.

Collard Lizard:
I was about sixteen when I finally convinced my parents I was ready for something with some oumph, something that didn't just eat freeze-dried bits of... still not sure what that newt ate. I had fun building up the desert terrarium. I had always wanted to buy a heat rock and a basking light. The collard lizard was great; it really initiated me into the true meat of herpetoculture. Sadly, there's only so much a kid can do when face with digestive parasites in a tiny little creature. I certainly didn't have the money to afford vet bills on a lizard. And to be honest, I never really thought there was much wrong with him. He ate plenty, basked regularly, he even seemed lively. I never really noticed how no matter how many feedings he had, he never bulked up. Sadly, he didn't last quite as long as the newt, though I'm pretty sure he lasted longer than turtle. *sigh*

All was not for naught, though. From each experience, I took valuable lessons:

Never buy a pet on a whim.
Make sure you have the right equipment for the right pet.
Exotic pets tend to have delicate constitutions and can be affected by the slightest things.
Crickets are bitches to catch if your cat happens to knock over their enclosure. Also, crickets will eat each other. Oh, and crickets can hide very easily and chirp late into the night.

I just remembered how much sick pleasure I took from watching that collard lizard destroy those infernal things.

All that brings me to this past weekend. I could have spent it with my friend in Barry, relaxing, getting away from the unemployment grind. Instead, I plucked up the courage and demanded that right to ask my father to let me buy myself a lizard once again! No twenty-four year old truley wants to admit that last bit, but things have been strange for me. A topsy-turvey ride of colleges, jobs, careers and changes there-of.
Lucky for me, I have cool parents who know that, like the sea, I can wear them down. I mean, my grand mast-plan is to have my own herp breeding center, but my own appartment might be a more realistic and desired dream for now. That, and a new rep. Something new, something I've wanted since I saw them crawling up the sheer glass walls of their tank all those years back; it's time I brought all my experience to bear, muscled in and tried my hand at geckos. Tropical geckos.

Crested Gecko
Time to rock.