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 Post subject: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: November 8th, 2017, 11:56 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 4034
Location: San Francisco, California
Ive thought this as a topic for many reasons, and am familiar with the trepidation that sometimes accompanies notes disclosure. There are many at play; proprietary, scrutiny, controversy.

One thing that is difficult in message board format is nuance and full detail. There is a fear not in having something 'copied' so much in having it copied incompletely or with a gap in form or individual specifics.

Scott's Terms of Usage for this section makes the statement that what we share is what makes the most difference.

So let us invite one another into each other's lair. To keep it moving, commentary limited to method - just to have as many ideas and techniques popping forth. Let it all hang out - nothing is boring in Herpetoculture. Put as much detail as you feel comfortable. Feel comfortable.

I will start with one about my Dubia colony - ok I have 2 bins in as far a distance from one another as possible in my house. The main bin I do most of my feeding from and receives a uniformity of upkeep . The other bin, smaller colony is my experimental bin where I sometimes try different harborage media and foods to see if they work well. The other reason for 2 is if something were to happen with one colony I still have the other colony.


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: November 9th, 2017, 7:59 pm 

Joined: July 2nd, 2013, 9:29 am
Posts: 107
Location: California
I really like decomposed granite (DG) as a substrate. It forms a crust that holds up well for fossorial animals to burrow under. I like that it is not all uniform, but has good mix of fines and coarser particles for variety of tactile stimulation. It's not particularly dusty. It is very easy to spot clean and lasts a long time without needing to be fully changed. It smells wonderful when wetted. It can be found in different colors. It's cheap.

I have used it for snakes and lizards, fossorial and otherwise. My Coleonyx geckos will burrow extensively in it, forming tunnels under the crust with multiple entrance/exits. I also had a desert iguana for about 14 years that dug a burrow into the DG (I provided about 4 inches of substrate) with two access points. She would go into the burrow every night and plug both entrances behind her. During the winter and occasionally during part of the summer, she would disappear into her burrow for months. Then one morning for she would reappear, looking somewhat grumpy, but none the worse for wear.

For snakes and the Coleonyx, I will often make a shallow depression in the DG, then place a large flat rock or piece of wood over the depression, leaving a small opening for the animal to go under the object. They will usually end up making their own access points. Then I spray or gently pour water around the edge of the object, enough so that some of the moisture seeps under the object, but doesn't flood it. This causes the DG to form a seal around the object and allows it to stay relatively humid under the object. I have lifted the objects a week or more afterward to find the soil underneath still slightly moist, but not wet.

For some kingsnakes, I have burried a flat piece of wood at an angle under the DG so that it is completely covered, again, with some of the DG excavated from under the wood to simulate a burrow. Both the snakes and the geckos have preffered the subterranean chambers made in the DG to any other hides provided.

Anyways, that's all I got for now.


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: November 10th, 2017, 12:59 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 11:13 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: Greater Houston TX Area
daniel wrote:
For snakes and the Coleonyx, I will often make a shallow depression in the DG, then place a large flat rock or piece of wood over the depression, leaving a small opening for the animal to go under the object.


I've always heard to be careful of placing rocks on substrate for fear of the tunnels collapsing and the rocks pinning/crushing the animals. A previous enclosure I was given for two leopard lizards (Gambelai wislizenii) had sand as the substrate, and large rocks which had little wooden "stilts" glued to the bottom to provide a minimum of about an inch between the lower surfaces of the rocks and the enclosure floor. That way, if the lizards dug out the sand from under the rocks, they wouldn't get crushed.

I need to put DG into my Coleonyx and Lichanura enclosures...thanks for reminding me. :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: November 10th, 2017, 1:51 pm 

Joined: July 2nd, 2013, 9:29 am
Posts: 107
Location: California
chris_mcmartin wrote:
A previous enclosure I was given for two leopard lizards (Gambelai wislizenii) had sand as the substrate, and large rocks which had little wooden "stilts" glued to the bottom to provide a minimum of about an inch between the lower surfaces of the rocks and the enclosure floor. That way, if the lizards dug out the sand from under the rocks, they wouldn't get crushed.


Great idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: November 13th, 2017, 5:20 pm 

Joined: June 17th, 2010, 4:51 am
Posts: 352
Location: CT
A cheap alternative to thermostats are dimmer switches that you can plug something into. They are under $15 at the big box stores. They have to be monitored more closely than a traditional thermostat, but I have had good luck with them as long as the room temp doesn't swing too much.

I am sure everyone on this forum already has one, but I think a temperature gun is the single most important tool to have.

I use hemlock mulch for everything: tortoises, lizards, snakes, terrestrial turtles. It can accommodate just about any amount of humidity you need and I think it looks nice. Big 3 cubic foot bags cost under $10.


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: November 30th, 2017, 4:47 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 4034
Location: San Francisco, California
I would love to see some photos of your substrates in use, and I really feel a big thumbs up for you sharing it.

I like dimmers too Kfen. I think you mean the lamp type, and i have narrowed it down to one model i like so that it helps make the room look neater, less chaotic.

I think a 'secret' that is definitely one of my favorites and that I miss very much is putting small artifact in my brood boxes when eggs start pipping. Depending on the species I like to put small cork bark chunks or shards, a meshy tangle of twigs or silk plants for arboreal babies, even torn squares of brown bag for geckos to crawl under.

It just seemed better for their first moments of autonomy in the world to have something in there for them instead of just crowding into the interior corners for security.

I hope this thread continues and thank you for your generosity in sharing your methods.


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: December 5th, 2017, 4:17 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 4034
Location: San Francisco, California
I really wanted to sit this thread out as an invitation to everyone and you lurkers, as an open non-critical platform for sharing methodologies and matter, but I cant resist, I gotta share one more thing, cause its useful for the innovative and knowledgeable member body we have here on FHF, about outsourcing husbandry items - this has been touched apon by this and other threads, how hardware stores, landscaping & horticultural supply venues are the way to go for most gear and media.. Im including health and nutrition stores too - for far better grade, quality controlled stuff and its not at all more expensive, in many, many instances.


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: December 7th, 2017, 9:56 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1663
Most definitely. IMO retail pet stores are - really - the last place to go for almost anything herp-related. I'll pop in for airline tubing or the like, if I'm close by. Or flake food to grow out a few WC tadpoles, or live food for a short-term captive. But for anything serious, or routine, I'm far more inclined to hit the nursery, hardware store, etc. Or go online, of course.

An exception might be the rare case that actually takes decent care of its animals and also doesn't stock a lot of junk (actually bad for animals, or just terrible design or quality). I know of one of those in my state. I pop in there now and then, mainly just for a chat. Sometimes I'll buy a few plants or something.

I think an important counterpoint or book-end to these notions, is that we need to support those who do help us do what we do. For example I could fab up some decent DIY misting set-ups. But MistKing is such a great company, with such great products and service, that I choose instead to fill ALL my misting needs through them. Sure it costs some. I don't mind, because the gear will never give me heartburn. If it does, the company will back it up (as long as they still exist).

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: December 7th, 2017, 10:31 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 4034
Location: San Francisco, California
As long as they still exist.. wow youve said it all there. I know so well how cool it was when they did - independently owned stores and the suppliers to them - like a guy that's been doing rocks and woods that Ive worked with for years from Hayward to San Francisco - I love the guy - love his rocks and stuff that you couldnt get anywhere else. Beautiful media straight from quarries, and many eclectic product not seen in landscaping places.

I have seen how sales reps circled in like sharks to pressure a new, much less experienced/assertive owner into really terrible items that are marketed with toyish human appeal - openly strident with discouraging their sale, it caused much frustration between the new owner and I, hurting our business relationship and friendship.

The chain stores ruined it for independents, extinguishing cool ad hock spots or forcing them to transform.

If you have one of those dinosaurs in your area by all means feed it.

Agree with you about Mist King.


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 Post subject: Re: Do You Have Husbandry Secrets?
PostPosted: December 10th, 2017, 12:02 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
Posts: 1146
The only trick I have I got from Kelly. The "Root Lowell Flo-Master Pressurized Pump Sprayer " changed the way I humidify and also changed my relationship with my snakes. Its a really nice, reasonably priced sprayer compared the cheap ones that I had used in the past. The snakes (at least some of them) really respond to the fine mist and seem to enjoy it. Its been a different way to interact with my captives than just feeding them and occasionally holding them.


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