Friday, October 16, 2009

House full of reptiles!

This is a tour of my house full of reptiles! We will start at the top of my house and work our way down.

This is my bedroom where I keep Rex (rescued Oustalet's chameleon). Below his cage is a towel/area where I administer medication and clean his skin with Betadine. You will see his carrier is the container with the turquoise lid which I put him in to take him to the vet. Next to this is his spray bottle that I use to mist him and on the towel is a measuring cup I fill with water to hand water him with a syringe. He is kept here with the door closed away from all my other reptiles because he has multiple fungal infections.

Next is my son's bedroom with his pet reptiles. First is Master Toledo (rescued Corn snake). He is kept in very sterile/easy to clean conditions until he is recovered. My son can't wait till then because he really wants to decorate his cage:)

Next in my son's room is Chad (Grays tree frog). I caught Chad 2 1/2 years ago outside my in-laws house in Ohio.

Last in my son's room is Necrid (White Lined gecko). Necrid is also 2 1/2 years old and the first baby White Lined gecko I ever hatched out from my pair of White Lined geckos( Mr& Mrs Stripe).

This is my upstairs hallway where Michelangelo (Midland painted turtle) is kept. Michelangelo was caught in Virginia as a baby and is 10 years old.

This is my living room where Emeril & Jade (Emerald tree monitors) are kept. They are both under a year old and soon will need a custom built cage at least 6 ft tall(one of my current projects). Below them is their spray bottle and one of my incubators filled with eggs! Sitting on the couch next to them is my daughter. Above and on their cage is 2 digital temp gages and a digital humidity gage. They also have foil across the top to trap in heat and humidity and 2 basking and 2 UV lights.

This is my basement where I keep most of my reptiles. This is one end.
This is the other end.
On the top shelf are 5 chameleon cages. From left to right: Anastasia, 1 year old(female Oustalet's chameleon), Mystique, had for 1 year(rescued Veiled chameleon), Wolverine, had for over a year (rescued Veiled chameleon), Smeagol, had for 6 months(rescued Veiled chameleon), 1 1/2 month old baby Veiled chameleons. Bottom row from left to right: Baby(hatchling) rescued alligators, Mrs Stripe, had for 4 years(White Lined gecko), Daisy, had for 4 months(Axolotl), Andy, 5 months old(rescued baby Savannah monitor).
This is my corner/work station:) All my supplements, crested gecko diet, shed ease, water conditioner, fruit fly cultures and bottled water are on the window sill. On the desk is a rescued baby Chinese Fire bellied Newt (had for 3 months) and a picture of my Cuban Knight anoles. On the wall is a dry erase board with all my reptiles and what they eat and how much they eat weekly. The other is a dry erase calendar with dates of hatching, laying, vet appointments, start and finish of medications, supplementation dates and when I check reptile eggs. I also put on there any important dates relating to reptiles or events I have scheduled about reptiles. Below the calendar is a bag full of my daughter's snake's sheds to keep track of his growth. In my desk and on the side shelves are reptile magazines and books. I also keep records of my reptiles, rescued reptiles and research in my notebook and any other paper work related to reptiles. On the side that you cannot see is where I keep UV lights, basking bulbs and hatchrite. In the closet next to the desk(not pictured) is where I keep spare cages, reptile supplies and my egg laying bin/trashcan for the chameleons.
On this wall are my Crested gecko bins. Some are rescues and some are not, ages ranging from 9 years to 8 months old. Each bin has 1 adult/juvie crested gecko in it. These are the equivalent of a 15-20 gallon tank. They have holes drilled all the way around the top, a cave/shelf, egg laying box(for the females), leafy vines and lined with newspaper for easy clean up. Each lid is marked with that geckos name. On top of these bins are their babies kept in small kritter keepers. In each kritter keeper are leafy vines and lined with paper towel or newspaper. Usually there are 2 baby crested geckos in each one as there are 2 babies in a clutch. Next to this is my Cuban Knight anole cage, ages 4 1/2 years. This tank is decorated with live plants and a lighted waterfall. Above their cage is my lizard playground:) This vine and plant are hung from my ceiling and all the aboreal lizards I have love to climb on it. Next to the Cuban Knight anole cage is a plastic container full of Crested gecko eggs in Hatchrite. Next to them is the bag I use to dust insects and feeding tongs. On the floor next to this is my cricket bin where I store live crickets and gut load them tons of good fruit and veggies. Under the table is first my lobster roach tank and then my superworm kritter keeper where these are also gut loaded before feeding. The full bathroom(next to this on the right not pictured) is where I clean cages and keep medications that can be kept at room temps. I also keep my reptile scale, syringes and extra feeding bowls in there.
From left to right on the top: Ariel & Sebastian (Tokay geckos) one was rescued, over a year old and the other I've had for 6 months, Mr Stripe, had for 4 years (White Lined gecko), Gambit & Rogue, had for 1 year(Giant day geckos). On the bottom is Blue, had for 5 months (rescued Blue Tongue skink). On the floor to the left is my sprayer I use to water the reptiles in the basement.
On this wall is a small tank with a rescued baby(hatchling) Yellow Bellied slider turtle. Under his tank is a heated kritter keeper I had to dry dock him in because he had shell rot. Next to it is the silver sulfa ointment I had to use on his shell. In the corner is a young male Oustalet's chameleon, 1 year old I haven't named yet. Behind the dark leather chair is a room humidifier I keep running down there for all my humid loving herps!
I always get in new rescues so my collection is always changing as new ones come and old ones get adopted out.

And that concludes the tour, come again!

Breeding Veiled chameleons

I hatched out a clutch of Veiled chameleons a little over a month ago. They are so cute and tiny and they are growing like weeds!

The whole experience has been truly rewarding. This clutch of eggs, half of them ended up being laid in my hand. This is the story of the first time I bred my Veiled chameleons and how this ended up happening.

When I decided to breed my pair of chameleons I put them together and was totally unprepared for the rough mating I witnessed! I didn't know how forceful it was going to be and was amazed. The male (Wolverine) practically jumped on my female (Mystique) and they fell through the branches and foliage in the cage. Mystique was trying to hold on to the branches as Wolverine was holding on to her doing his "thing". She managed to get away from his grip and he just grabbed her by the tail and pulled her back to him! When they were done she had little claw marks on her body from the male grabbing her. I kept them together for about 24 hours until she turned her gravid/unreceptive coloration.

This is my Mystique displaying gravid/unreceptive colors.

After she was bred I started supplementing her with liquid calcium instead of powdered calcium to insure she was getting enough for egg production. About a month later she was very full of eggs and had started looking around for a nest site.

This is her right before laying eggs and looking VERY gravid:)

I put a large container filled with dirt in with her and she started to dig. She dug for 3 days but did not lay eggs. I was getting worried so I bought a huge trashcan and filled it over half way with dirt, a big branch with vines wrapped around it and fitted screen over the top. I placed her inside and placed her UV and basking lamp over the top. She went to digging right away and after 4 more days and 3 tunnels later she finally laid her eggs.

This is her trashcan set up.

The 7 days she was digging she did not eat or drink and seemed to be obsessed with digging. At night before lights out she would climb out of whatever tunnel she was in and come to the top branches to sleep. In the morning she would resume digging. After 4 days she started to show signs of dehydration as her eyes were always looking sunken in and she looked worn out. I started to hand feed and water her so that I knew she was getting something because I was worried she might die of exhaustion. On the 7th evening I went down to feed and water her but she was busy digging in a tunnel. So I waited another hour but she was still in the tunnel. I decided I'd give her more time as she usually comes to the top at night and I went to do my night time water and feedings of my other reptiles. I came back after I was done and she was sitting in the opening of a tunnel and looked like she was sleeping. I was upset because I thought this meant she was too tired to come up to the top. I knew I had to feed and water her so I decided I was going to wake her up, feed, water and then put her in the branches where she usually sleeps. I took her out and only carried her a few feet when she looked like she was going to poop. I stuck out my hand to catch it before it went on my carpet and out popped an egg! I was freaking out! I was so nervous because the egg was slimy and I didn't want it to slip off my hand. She then laid 30 eggs in my hand before stopping. Only one egg fell off my hand during the whole time. I was shaking I was so nervous! I didn't know how I was going to get her off my hand and put the eggs in the incubation medium by myself while still holding 30 slimy, slippery eggs in my other hand. I slowly climbed 2 flights of stairs in my house, went to my bedroom where my husband was sleeping and asked him to help me with Mystique in one hand and the eggs in the other! He woke up very surprised! He took Mystique and followed me back down and held her until I put all the eggs in deli cups and dug up the rest she had laid in the tunnel before I picked her up. All together there was 59 eggs. The whole time my husband is telling me to hurry up because Mystique needed me. It was taking a long time because I was so nervous I was shaking and afraid the eggs would slip from my hand or that the eggs I was digging up might get broken. After I was done I fed and watered Mystique and put her back in her normal screen cage. The next day she still looked tired/worn out and I ended up hand feeding and watering her again. The day after that she ate a few insects on her own and started drinking water without me taking her out and offering it to her. After a week she was back to her normal self. Since this clutch she has laid 2 other clutches with no problems. I put her in her trashcan and she digs and lays eggs within 24 hours. She goes back to eating and drinking on her own and bounces back to her normal self very quickly. I often speculate that she had such a hard time the first time because it was her first clutch and because she had been digging for so long without eating or drinking. Now it seems she knows what she is doing, does not waste time and goes right to it.

Here is Mystique the last time she laid a clutch of eggs.

The eggs incubated for 190 days till they started hatching out. I candled them once a week and checked the dampness of the incubation medium to make sure it wasn't drying out.

Here is a picture of me candling the eggs a week before they hatched.

Here is when the eggs started to hatch. Look close and see the green noses of the babies as they are starting to come out:)

It took about a week for all the eggs to hatch out. Each one took about 24 hours after pipping to come fully out of the egg. There were a few babies that died before hatching, about 5 pipped but then died in the egg never hatching out all the way. The babies that did hatch started eating fruit flies after a couple days and drank water every time I misted them. I mist the babies about 5 times a day to make sure they are staying hydrated. I also use a dripper. They are set up just like the adults except they do not have branches. They just have a whole bunch of vines everywhere to walk around on hanging from the top of the cage. I also supplement them with calcium more often than the adults since they are growing babies. They all seem to be active and healthy eating and drinking everyday. So far I have found homes for all the babies except for 4 that I am keeping until they are older. I want to watch them grow up into adults and I will probably end up keeping a pair for myself. Well, not really for me but for my husband:) He told me before Mystique even laid eggs that I HAD to keep a pair for him:)

I hope you enjoyed this story and I will post updates on the babies as they grow.

Here is a random picture of Wolverine I took the other day. It was first thing in the morning when I was turning on all the lights. I thought he looked like a sleeping beauty and felt compelled to take a picture of him:)