on our next vacation and herping adventure.
on our next vacation and herping adventure.
The new season of Game of Thrones has started. I’m pretty excited as you can see in the photo. Season 2′s last episode was just perfectly played out.
Who would have thought that these little baby dragons were as powerful as they were. I admit, I suppose Daenarys knew right from the start and that was her end game all along. That is, to get back to her little children and have their power save her from evil danger. Love it.
Often times I watch the antics of our reptiles at home and they bring to life the scenes and imaginations in my head of fire breathing dragons sitting on their perches.
I often see other reptile keepers hang a little bit of their imagination out in the open as well.
I think the Mule’s must love dragons and Iguanas as much as we do! Lol. I kinda envy those awesome little dragon wings that Susan redesigned for their Iguanas. She said that they were originally butterfly wings that were reshaped into Dragon wings. Pretty neat and inventive if you ask me!
That’s the fun of life though and the beauty of reptiles, they inspire awe and wonder in our little everyday lives with their individual personalities and genetic traits of their species. They also force their keepers to explore the world outside their own and give them hope and strength as well as ideas to visit far and away places. The reason why I show a picture of a giant red blotch on our green wall is that is actually an electric ceramic heater, similar to the ones they use in South Africa. We got the idea from Linky someone we friended who runs a Reptiles and Parrots forum. And Susan Mule’ above has provided instructions as to how I might make little Dragon wings on my own for my little Dragon Iggie! Well Iggie’s not a Dragon yet until someone sprouts some wings on him! ; )
For now I might have to settle on our little guys being…. Land Sharks…
I hope that you may have a chance someday or currently do now, get a chance to explore some exotic species and average housecats yourself!
In the spirit of the holidays, here are some of our lizards:
Surya (Weber’s Sailfin):
Kwayze (Bearded Dragon):
Iggy (Cuban Rock Iguana):
Sloan (Bearded Dragon):
Lucky (Blue Tegu):
The only lizard missing is Chuck the Chuckwalla. I will try to get one of him soon.
I just wanted to share this website with anyone who has kids that they want to learn more about reptiles:
In May 2011, I wrote an post on reptile cage options and what I was looking for in cages: Reptile Cage Options Still Waiting for Perfection. Over a year later, I thought it would be good to revisit that post and to add updates and make changes based on my experiences this year. I will also add some more images.
Have you ever sought the perfect enclosure for your reptiles, spending hours poring over available cage options and speaking with the companies/owners, and still felt unsatisfied? I have this feeling multiple times a year. There is no perfect enclosure out there yet to meet my needs for my various reptiles. I will consolidate my needs and research below in an act of goodwill to save you time.
To put things in perspective for new readers, I want to point out that I have 6 lizards and 4 snakes. For lizards I have 2 bearded dragons (pogona vitticeps), a cuban rock iguana (cyclura nubila), an argentine blue tegu (tupinambis merianae), a chuckwalla (sauromulus ater), and a weber’s sailfin (hydrosaurus weberi). As far as snakes go, I have a white-sided rat snake (elaphe obseleta), king rat snake (elaphe carinata), jungle carpet python (morelia spilota cheynei), and a california king snake (lampropeltis getula californiae). See “Meet the Family” for more information on our reptile family.
With these particular animals comes a great variety of caging requirements. We have the drier climate species: king snake, bearded dragons, and chuckwalla. Then, we have the more humid climate species: iguana, tegu, jungle carpet python, king rat snake. The white-sided rat snake is somewhere in between. Within each of those groups are different subgroups: large lizards, small lizards, escape-artist snakes, terrestrial v. arboreal ,etc…you get the idea!
What I Have:
Okay, so I have several different types of caging right now. None of these are perfect. All of these have flaws. I will tell you what they are and what I wish I could change about them (or what I might particularly like about them if there is something). Here we go:
(Update: Buttons, the white-sided rat snake is now in a 40 breeder Zilla Critter Cage with the Premium Lid. This was bought in place of the Exo Terra noted in the king rat snake section above. It has all the same advantages as the 20L mentioned in that section as well.)
My Research on What is On the Market for Caging Options
While trying to find the perfect cage to upgrade my iguana to, I researched many cage options, including those already mentioned above (BoaMaster, New Reptile Cages, Showcase, etc). Cuban rock iguanas grow to be extremely large and unlike green iguanas, they are terrestrial lizards. Yet, they seem to like to do some climbing, so the cage has to be tall enough to allow him to sit on a rock or whatnot. Without further ado, here’s what I came across:
- I have to admit that I almost pulled the trigger on a terrestrial version of the aluminum cage that Repti Racks sells. It would have been a completely custom size. I had trouble swallowing the price quoted to me in relation to the fact that I haven’t seen proof of a terrestrial version of this cage and had not read the experiences of others using it yet. I would be happy to hear if any readers have this cage.
- As for the acrylic cages, I just wasn’t interested in them. They look the same as all of the other plastic cages on the market. Read the comments below.
- They appear to sell melamine cages. However, their website is very difficult to navigate and was an immediate turnoff. Sorry, I’m picky. Hopefully you will have more endurance to get through it.
- Melamine cages are generally heavy in my experience.
- *Update as of 1/31/12 Was chatting with Chris Allen, the original bearded dragon breeder and reptile enthusiast who created the ubiquitous vibrant red morp of bearded dragon that everyone sought after before the morph actually bore his namesake. Chris Allen was so impressed with the different line of cages that Critter Condos / Critter Condos designs that he is distributing them at all the various shows. Check out Chris Allen’s facebook page for contact information as to how to order one. Chris said that he will have a website up soon but until then… https://www.facebook.com/ChrisAllenReds So the story is that the Company produces 3 high quality caging systems to appeal to all budget ranges and needs. However the Company prefers to deal wholesale. I guess this is where an expert hobbyist like Chris Allen can probably come in handy to answer any of your needs before ordering. If we had known that one series of the Critter Condos had a wood exterior but a humidity resistant laminate sheet on the inside of the cage, they may have been a front runner for our Jungle Carpet Python caging option!
- Cages seem nice and are made of melamine. As I mentioned above, melamine is heavy and I just don’t prefer it.
- Comes in a variety of sizes from small to absolutely huge. I’d like to hear from anyone who has one of these.
- Color choices are limited. It is likely they could not go in my living room which is where the iguana needs to go.
- Most of their cages are good looking and they have the convenience of an eBay store.
- The cages didn’t appear big enough. The largest size I could find on their eBay store was 60″x18″x18″. I imagine they’d be able to customize the size further.
- These cages seem nice and are very customizable. However, I honestly think they are downright overpriced for the materials that they use. That is just my opinion. Any extras are an extra cost….it adds up fast!
- These cages are gorgeous! What can I say, a girl can dream, right?
- I actually know of someone who uses these for his snake collection and he is very happy with them.
- One thing I like about these cages as opposed to other plastic cages is that it is made of HDPE Marine grade plastic that is FDA approved. Honestly, with the other plastic cages, I question how safe they are and that alone rules them out for me. Do they bow? Do they let off toxic fumes? etc…
- Not a fan of the color options and therefore it couldn’t go in my livingroom!They have a stackable option – I like that.
- Their sizes listed online aren’t quite what I am looking for for a large lizard but if I recall correctly, the owner may have told me that they are customizable. Sorry, I tried looking for the email and couldn’t find it to verify that fact.
- See #2 under Constrictors NW.
- See #2 under Constrictors NW.
- These cages are very unique looking. They have 3′ stackable cages and also 12-48″ cage/rack systems. I know people that have the older version of NPI cages and they swear by them. Back in the day they used to make a 6′ version of the cages. Now, they are limited to 4′ maximum that is just not in-line with my needs.
- Furthermore, you really need to buy the rack which is sold separately because the cages are a bit slanted and have a lip on the bottom.
- Based on reviews by others, these cages are known for turning an orange hue when exposed to the reptile lights.
- Additionally, I question whether a snake or tiny lizard can get out of the front. I also would like to know how you set up the heating in such an odd shaped cage. If you have experience with these cages, please comment below!
- I’m really interested in these cages but not for Iggy. The color choices aren’t really in-line with my living room, yet again!
- These cages have some interesting features that seem promising. First, the 6′ and 8′ versions have removable dividers in the middle. That may save you money if you have two smaller snakes or lizards. Second, they have a slam latch with keylock that seems really interesting. It’s hard to explain so check out the website.
- Furthermore, the cages just look professional. Take a look at the website for yourself. I really have nothing against these cages other than the color.
- *Sigh* – I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out how to make a Vision cage work into my household. I like how they are lightweight and stackable. Additionally, the come in multiple sizes.
- I am of the opinion after conducting my research that these cages have problems. I’ve heard stories of them melting and bowing. The maximum lighting that you can use is 75 watts. Additionally, you have to pay for the light cutouts as an accessory! The UVB tube light strip is positioned in a spot where if the animal is basking under the heat they would not be receiving UVB. -and, you can’t use your MVB to solve that problem because it’ll melt right through that.
- Furthermore, I am not a fan of how short these cages are. They hardly give the animal room to stand up.
- Lastly, I’ve heard stories of snakes getting out of the front sliding doors. The lip by the front would need to be filled with foam. All of this additional hassle just seems like too much work for what you are paying!
- As for the Monster Reptile Cage, I think overall it is a very interesting prospect if you have a arboreal iguana. It is gigantic. However, it is open air and imagine it would be a challenge keeping the humidity on target.
- The Colossal Corner Cage is very tall but not wide at all. Another good one for a arboreal iguana.
*Please note, these are only my opinions of caging options that I have researched for my animals and their various needs. I mean no harm to the owners of the stores represented above. Their cage options are viable for certain species that I do not have.
So, there you have it. This is what my research came down to. There is no perfect cage out there! Will someone just design one and make it reasonably priced, please, oh please!
Hello, everyone. If you will recall, I wrote a post on How to Prepare Your Reptiles and Other Pets for an Emergency Situation right before Hurricane Sandy. Now that the storm is over, power is back and life is returning to normal (at least where I live), I wanted to let you know how everything went.
We were without power, internet, and cell phone service for 8 days. As mentioned in the original post, we have a generator that could support up to 4,000 watts of usage. We had the hot hands packages and the boxes for the animals set up. We also had baby blankets in case we needed them to wrap hot hands or provide some cushion for the animals, masking tape to seal their bins, extension cords to run all around the house, a space heater for heat, etc.
It turns out that we were well-prepared for the storm but there were some things that we did not expect. Our lessons learned are as follows:
1) If the authorities say that you might be without power for a long time, say 7-10 days, plan to be without power for 10 days. This is something that we never really thought would happen and therefore, we only had a few small gas cans. As you may have heard, areas hit by Sandy had gas shortages due to power outages and impassibility on the roads. If I had to do it all over again, I’d buy about 5-10 10 gallon gas cans and fill them up before the storm. Chris and I ended up going out every day spending hours looking for gas. We’d get in a long line at a station and they’d run out and we’d have to go to the next place. It was horrible and cold. Eventually Chris found a Napa Auto Parts that still had gas cans for sale. We were able to pick up another gas can but we still had to go out. When the weather is cold and you have pets, plan on running your space heater in a small, enclosed room 24/7. We were going through about 5 gallons per 8-10 hours with a Champion generator.
2) As noted above, we ended up not being able to use much of our house because it was so cold. The animals were confined to the tubs in our small bedroom with the space heater and hot hands. Each day we would try to run cords to individual enclosures to give proper UVB. However, our animals were more stressed out than we expected and some of them stopped eating, despite having their heat bulbs. The rest of the house was so cold that it was reducing the ambient temperatures in their enclosures regardless. There is nothing that I can really suggest here other than if you think you will be without power for more than a week, bring your pets with you to a place that will not be affected.
3) The hot hands worked really well but here are a few issues that came up. One, they are too hot to the touch so they had to be wrapped with a baby blanket. Some bins needed 2+ hot hands and some needed one. You had to be really careful not to burn your animal, overheat them, or to cause them to freeze. Chris and I found ourselves continuously checking their bins at all hours to ensure that they were not at risk of dying. We had our temp gun out at all times. Another thing that came up is that they caused condensation on the inside of the bins. We had to keep wiping up the humidity for animals that need drier conditions. Additionally, they only lasted 10 hours at most and therefore we ended up going through 2.5 boxes in an 8 day period. Here’s the thing: we only had one box! We never thought we’d even have to open them! Fortunately the store we bought them from opened up after a couple days and we were able to buy two more 80 pack boxes. That was a life-saver.
Here is a pic from the first night without power when we were downstairs waiting for the storm to be over because we thought a tree might land on our house. These aren’t all the bins. Sorry for the image quality and the mess haha.
4) We did not have to tap into the canned foods but I still suggest having them available. We were able to keep a supply of fresh greens with limited stores that opened up.
5) We should have stocked up on firewood before the storm. It gets really suffocating staying in the same room all the time. We used the fireplace a few times with the little bit of wood we had but it was limited. We still could only stay close to the fireplace and couldn’t move around the house much because it was freezing.
6) As noted above, we had to go to gas stations several times. Many gas stations could not take debit cards and some could not take credit cards. As a result, cash was required. We spent about $300 on gas over the 8 days. Plan to have some solid cash on hand to survive.
7) The firewood and space heaters cause the air to dry out. However, the hot hands cause condensation to build up in the bins. This constant going back and forth almost got Surya the sailfin dragon sick. She started getting this wheezing sound, almost like she was coming down with a respiratory infection. Thankfully we were able to provide her humidifier with the generator and could give her a hot steam bath because we had hot water. Many people I know didn’t even have hot water. This is just something to consider…if your animals are without their ideal conditions for too long, they are going to go down hill. The good news is that after a few days she was back to normal.
8) While the batteries and candles proved to be absolutely necessary, a battery powered satellite radio would have been nice. Listening to the news is absolutely necessary because you need to know what is going on around you and what is going to happen. A few times we used the generator to connect to an electric powered radio and that is how we found out how bad things are and what the gas situation was, etc.
Okay, on to what I learned about other people’s situations. Many people’s houses flooded out and the storm surge became very real. Further, massive fires were spawned by burning embers that were forced into other people’s houses by the hurricane winds. People died that could have evacuated.
If you are in an evacuation zone and you have pets, you really should go. Go to a family member or friend’s house out of harm’s way if possible because some shelters don’t take pets. Further, it’s going to be really difficult to grab all your lizards and get rescued in a flood. If you live on the shore, unfortunately, really consider that you are going to lose everything. I mean, this is the same thing if it is some other type of pending disaster, like a wild fire. If you can’t leave your home, at least try to get someone to foster your animals for a week or two and then make arrangements after things start to become more clear after the storm. I really hate to think of all the animals that were displaced or killed in the storm because they were left behind. I don’t want to think about that.
I think it’s important if you aren’t in the line of danger but have friends and family who are, to consider that you should support these people and consider taking in their pets for a couple weeks before the disaster strikes. You could be a life saver.
…and to lighten the mood, now that the storm is over and the power and heat is back on at my house, the kids are very happy. Iggy is happy to have his couch seat back too:
Just wanted to include a quick blog to let you know that all of our animals are safe and sound post Hurricane Sandy! I just removed all of the extension cords that we used to wire up a little 4000 watt portable generator. While Ash and myself froze in our heatless house with no power and my nasal passages swelled because of the cold dry air to the point where I couldn’t breath, we shuttled all of our cold blooded reptiles into a room using small clear containers with holes punched into them. We then placed the boxes in a circle with an electric space heater. Between the space heater and constantly changing the chemical hand warmers in their boxes, we were able to give the reptiles adequate heat to keep them alive through this event. We hope to share more info in the weeks to come. Just wanted to let everyone know that all the animals are safe!
Refer to How to Prepare Your Reptiles & Other Pets for Emergency Weather for more information on how we prepared for the storm.