Saturday, November 14, 2009


Lilly is my sub adult corn snake. I've had her since she was a hatchling and it has been a blast watching her grow. She now measures close to 3' in length and is slightly fatter than my thumb. Lilly feeds once a week on frozen thawed hopper mice. Frozen thawed is the way to go for feeding your snake. Live mice can attack your snake and cause serious injury. A pre killed frozen mouse or rat has been humanely euthanized and is completely safe for your snake. It's just as awesome to watch a snake eat a pre killed prey item, and it's guilt free! Lilly lives in a 20 gallon long aquarium, I use sanichips as a substrate and she has pleanty of places to hide on both the cool and warm ends of
her tank.


In the beginning of October Lilly escaped. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before and I was completely shocked! I underestimated the will power of our cats. Somehow, the let Lilly out of her tank and off she went to god only knows where. After setting many 'traps' and searching the house top to bottom with a high power flash light we still hadn't found her. Almost a month after her escape, when I had started to give up hope, I went out onto the balcony to find Lilly laying out in the open! She was super cold and had some stuck on shed but otherwise seemed ok. I put her right into the warm tank and let her rest. The following day I gave her a warm water soak to help with her hydration and notticed some scale rot. I scrubbed it with chlorohexadine scrub 3 days in a row, after which she shed and the scale rot was removed with the old skin! Normally, when a reptile gets scale rot it's important to get them to a vet ASAP. This type of infection can quickly become systemic and endanger the life of your herp! This just happened to take place on a weekend when my reptile vet was closed and thankfully, it worked out well.

Lilly is the coolest snake I've ever had. Corn snakes are a fantastic beginner reptile, but they're still exciting for even the experienced keeped. Speaking of experience, I'm not a novice keeper and my snake still managed to get loose. Accidents happen, even to the best of us, and it's always important to be prepared for anything. If I know one thing to be true about keeping reptiles in your life it's that things are never boring or predictable!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Be Bop

Be Bop is a three legged Bearded Dragon I adopted. He came in to my job underweight, in a cramped 10 gallon tank, and with the beginning stages of metabolic bone disease. His two, yes two, previous owners claimed he was aggressive. I have never met a mean Beardie in my life. Needless to say I brought him home.

The lizard was dubbed Be Bop because in order to propel himself he has to bop up and down to gain momentum. He's missing his front left leg, which makes walking very difficult for him. Because he was housed in an inadiquate enclosure and didn't recieve proper nutrition with calcium supplements and UBV lighting his remaining three legs are sligtly bowed and don't have the muscular development you would normally see in an adult Beardie.

Be Bop now lives in a 40 gallon breeder (I would house him in at least a 55 if he were able to get around better). He gets proper heating and UBV lighting. Be Bop gets a diet of dark leafy greens, veggies and some fruits. The foods he likes the most are his bugs. Be Bop lives off of several different types of worms and the occasional cricket. He also gets calcium supplemented into his diet several times weekly.

He is a happy lizard who loves to bop aroundt the house and balcony in the company of his best furry friend Toby.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My First Herps

There came a point where gathering reptiles from the swamp wasn't enough for me anymore. I wanted a reptile I could have in my room with me 24/7.

One day mom had to go out of town and I pounced. Dad was a sucker for my smile and I convinced him to get me a pair of Red Ear Sliders and an Iguana. Needless to say mom was not a happy camper when she came home. The turtles were dirty and smelly, and the iguana had a bad temper. We had made a common first time reptile buyer mistake. We didn't do any research first, we went into a pet store and picked out what looked good. We couldn't have selected two more difficult species for first time herp keepers. Mom eventually put her foot down after several turtle bites and a trip to the vet with the Iguana. To my dismay we returned the animals to the pet store. To this day I hope all three of them found good homes with experienced reptile owners.

My parents made me wait several more years until they thought I was responsible enough to get another reptile.

I did a lot of research both online and in the library and I decided upon a Leopard Tortoise. My parents took me to the pet store and I picked out Henry.

Henry was my faithful companion for many years. He loved coming out of his tank for walks, having his neck scratched and he especially seemed to like getting his weekly bath. Unfortunately, Henry has passed away. One winter we got a terrible snow storm and the power went out for days. I wrapped Henry's tank in a blanket and spent as much time holding him close to my body as I could, but I still couldn't save his life. I miss Henry to this day and have not yet added another tortoise to my her collection. RIP Henry.

My point is, reptiles can be a source of great joy in the life of a responsible keeper. Not enough people research the animal they're getting beforehand and are seriously disappointed when it doesn't work out. All reptiles have specific heating and lighting requirements, many have special nutritional needs. Some reptiles commonly available in the pet trade get enormous in size, others will out live their owners. Do the foot work and look into a pet before you buy.

Why I Love Reptiles

My obsession with reptiles started when I was a little girl. My family lived in a suburb, and we just so happened to have a swamp right behind our house. When I was really little my father would venture down into the muck and bring herps back for me to play with. Bull Frogs, Tree Frogs, Garter Snakes, Painted Turtles and Snapping Turtles were among the treasures brought back from the swamp by dear old dad. When I got older my dad started bringing me with him on his creature collecting adventures.

I can't even tell you how many hours I logged down in that swamp and in the woods surrounding it as I grew up. Even now when I go home to visit my parents, I am compelled to visit the swamp too. Sadly, much of the swamp has now been filled in to make room for more housing. At about half the size it was when I was a child, I hope the swamp still brings joy to the neighborhood kids.

So, thank you dad. You instilled in me both independence and curiosity. Those qualities have led me to a lifetime of happy herp keeping.