May 2012

May 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.

TUESDAY, 22 MAY 2012 >>

"Escapees and troublemakers"

'Busy' does not justify how much work I've been putting into my projects in and out of my reptile room these past few weeks, but by dividing my attention, I've let my guard down, and had a couple of the animals make a mockery of me.

Firstly, how good are turtles at climbing? If you've never owned a turtle, this may seem a bizarre question, but anyone who's ever kept a turtle will have some understanding of just how deceptively agile and nifty these little beasts can be. I've been keeping turtles for nearly 16 years now, and I've been made aware of this by several 'great escapes' over the years, thankfully none resulting in anything other than bewildered and confused turtles which have lodged themselves in the nearest available hiding place after falling out of their tanks.

But once again, I am outsmarted. After carefully designing my Common Musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) basking area, I overlooked the simple fact that turtles like to push the things in their enclosure around, and in this case a piece of driftwood became a bridge to freedom. However, unlike every other escapee turtle I've had, the curious Common Musk in question did not immediately head for cover and hide, but was found 30 feet away, in a slipper. After a quick check to make sure she hadn't injured herself during the adventure, the now aptly named "Cosytoes" was returned, and the decorations firmly fixed in place!

common musk stinkpot turtle sternotherus odoratus odouratus oderatus, planted basking areas vivariums aquariums turtles tokay gekko gecko south east asian planted vivarium birds nest fern asplenium adult colombian columbian rainbow boa epicrates cenchria maurus aggressive defensive bite strike behaviour

The second animal to catch me off guard these past few weeks was my Colombian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus). In the last update I mentioned how I was moving this snake and my Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi) into plastic enclosures which was relatively straight forward and simple. In the process of moving the Boa however, I seem to have misplaced her calm nature.

I've had the Rainbow Boa for 5 years, since she was 8" long. In that time, she has been once of the calmest snakes I have encountered, even as a juvenile. However, after checking on her last week I was confronted by a striking, defensive serpent, which behaved like a different snake altogether. As a result, I've redesigned the plastic housing to incorporate more hiding places, and reduce the amount of light she was exposed to incase these elements were causing her stress, but I am still waiting to see how she behaves in a few days time.

Lastly, I've redesigned my Tokay Gecko habitat to include a drainage layer for some Bird's Nest Ferns (Asplenium sp.), which are native to South East Asia. I do still have some other plants for this habitat which I intend to grow myself and fill more of the vivarium's height, but for now the Tokay seems to be enjoying it!

If you have any questions on this update, or anything else on the site, email me using the link below!
Paul Edmondson

TUESDAY, 1 MAY 2012 >>

"Now in Apple flavour..."

Does the site look a little different?

I only realised recently that because of the software I was using to make the site, it was not appearing correctly on portable devices and Apple products. I have a regular PC, so I didn't spot this, but since I found out it's been bugging me something terrible, and this is the result; a brand new version of the site, written in HTML from scratch. Hopefully it should function the same as the old site although I'm still in the process of moving the caresheets and articles across.

Back to the animals, I've had plenty of parcels arriving this week with bits and bobs, including three Giant Chain Ferns (Woodwardia fimbriata). These are a native to North America, where they inhabit damp forests and grow alongside streams, so I'm hoping they will grow nicely in my Common Musk (Sternotherus odoratus) enclosures.

common musk stinkpot turtle sternotherus odoratus odouratus oderatus, planted basking areas vivariums aquariums turtles common musk stinkpot turtle sternotherus odoratus odouratus oderatus, planted basking areas vivariums aquariums turtles rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa live planted vivarium setup

The Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) seems to be taking hold in my Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima enclosure, which is good to see. I plan to grow this species along the back walls, to hide some of the plywood and give it a realisic forest appearance.

I finally began moving my two snake species into plastic housing. While they're not aesthetically great, they hold the heat in better, and are cheaper to run than glass vivariums. Plastic tubs are a bit controversial as far as reptile keeping goes, as the first thing that springs to mind is "breeder" setups, with nothing but paper towel and a plastic water bowl, however I plan to keep them as natural as any of my vivariums. Although I wont be able to fit lights to the plastic tubs, I intend to decorate them naturally with live substrates and leaf litter from plants native to the same regions as the snakes as opposed to live plants.

Lastly, I invested in some packaging suitable to post whiteworm/grindalworm cultures in. For anyone keeping tropical fish, they're a great livefood and very simple to breed. My culture is doing so well at the moment that I will be offering some up for the cost of postage in a few weeks, keep checking!

If you'd like to know anything else, don't hesitate to contact me:
Paul Edmondson

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