February 2012

february 2012

All the information listed here is based on my own experience, please carry out your own research before attempting to replicate anything on this site.


"Clumsy turtles and problematic plants"

One thing that's always been apparent to me about reptiles, is their resilience to health problems, or rather their ability to fix themselves.

These last couple of weeks I've had to keep an eye on my Chinese Softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) who remarkably managed to get a painful looking scrape on his arm. I say "remarkably" as "Pancake" lives alone in an enclosure with no rough or sharp edges, soft play-sand substrate and a cork basking area. I think it may be the result of him over-enthusiastically trying to bite old skin from his arms. I'm happy to say that his arm seems to be healing well, but although I took the precaution of applying some Tamodine to the wound to aid his recovery, I can't really take any credit.

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As far as health goes, everyone else in the reptilarium seems to be doing well. The three young Swortail fish I introduced into my Red Eared Slider habitat are still doing well, and putting on size. I also managed to find a adult male Swordtail with very little colouration this week, which I've added to my breeding group. There are a fascinating variety of colourful fish out there, but what I really wanted were the "wild type" to introduce to my North American habitats. I also picked up what will hopefully be another fishy breeding project for myself, although I don't want to say too much while they are still settling in. I'll try and get some pictures up in the next update.

Unfortunately, the Pickerel Weed I was growing in my Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) tank has died back, although it continues to thrive in my Common Musk Turtle (Sternothetus odoratus) habitat. I think this was a watering problem, but being a seasonal plant I've had trouble finding a replacement, and have decided to try Bullrush/Reedmace (Typha latifolia) in the planter instead. Hopefully this North American native will prove just as successful.

I also have a few seedlings growing, as well as some cuttings from plants such as the Swiss Cheese plant in my Honduran Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa) enclosure, so the plant section of the store should be available soon!

If you have any questions feel free to contact me,
Paul Edmondson


"Sneak peek, and sneaky geckos"

I've learned a lot over the last few weeks. From missed opportunities, to heart-in-mouth moments dealing with some of the already established residents, it's been pretty mixed!

After being nurtured in the nursery aquarium for several weeks, I decided to see how some of my grown-on Swordtail fry would get on in my Red Eared Slider habitat. I already have some of the fry living with my Common Musk youngsters, but Sliders are a more agile species, and I needed to check that the Swordtails were capable of looking after themselves in a shared tank.

I selected three of my largest fry (3-4cm in length), which I introduced to the aquarium whilst I kept the Slider in a holding tub for a couple of hours, to allow them time to settle in. The fry responded pretty quickly, and began acting like their usual selves not long after being introduced, grazing on the submerged driftwood and exploring the tank. It was a nervous moment when I placed the Slider back in, and watched closely to make sure they knew to keep a safe distance, but all seems to be going well still, several days later.

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One of the more intriguing moments of the last couple of weeks was my first look at the inside of a Praying Mantis eggcase (ootheca). This ooth had been laid by my female Congo Green Praying Mantis (Sphodromantis aurea) a couple of months ago, and although I was certain it was infertile, as she was never mated, I set it up for incubation just like a viable ooth, for the practice, and just in case! By this week I had given up hope, so decided for interest's sake to halve the ooth and take a look at the internal structure. For something so small, I was quite amazed at the number of eggs and the structural detail inside, which hopefully you can see from the photo.

While cleaning the Golden Gecko (Gekko ulikovskii) setups, I thought I'd try and handle one of my two males. This particular male is always climbing the edges of his enclosure, in plain sight, and rarely shys away from attention, but this clearly didn't translate into wanting to be handled! After a brief scuffle trying to stop his bid for freedom, and speedy getaway, I think I have to resign to the fact that trying to calmly handle him is impossible - he can outrun me, and he knows it.

Paul Edmondson

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