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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: 4012
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: 2398
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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