Posting the activities in the Supreme Gecko and reptile world on a daily (or almost daily) basis.
Let me know how you like the info, if you have suggestions, or if this is simply your first time here :)
TUE Dec 28
I bet you are saying right now to yourself, Hey where's the last few weeks of the Daily Gecko news. Well, I've been a bit busy in December with The 12 Supreme Days of Christmas giveaway. I'm sure you participated, but if you did not, check out the HUGE # of gifts our wonderful sponsors donated. it has been a blast to giveaway almost $3,000 in gifts!
As a result of the giveaway, I asked you to offer constructive suggestions to improve the Supreme Gecko page. I took these, added my comments, inserted a couple high points of 2015, and also your suggestions for last year and how we did into an article to summarize the year gone by and the expectations of the year to follow. You can read it at Best of 2015, What's Coming in 2016.
Finally, I wanted to share with you that officially, I am over 60,000 words for the 2015 Daily Gecko News! And, best of all, we are over 75,000 visitors to this blog in 2015! I cannot believe the interest and support from everyone. Thank you all so much!!! If you did have a favorite moment from the blog this year, feel free to write it down below.
MON Nov 30
I Got Nothing
No visits to the facility today. Nanette has completely fed the rooms. Ok, I did go down around 2:00am as I have some trouble sleeping once in a while and I enjoy seeing the geckos active with my red-light head lamp.
Anyways, today was the beginning of The 12 Supreme Days of Christmas. I did a video (ok, I was in the facility for 15 minutes), posted to my page, SG page, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, and of course The 12 Supreme Days of Christmas 2015 page.
SUN Nov 29
Down, Down, Down
Why is it that when I rest up after a long, long week, I actually feel worse than if I just get up and do something.
This morning, I spent about 3 hours in the facility. Enough time to move some animals, feed a few, scrape the front glass of some tanks, etc., etc. Nothing specific but needed things to do.
Upstairs at 11:30 to catch up on some Facebook posts and Emails. Finished around 12:30 and thought I would watch a half hour of football.
Well, it’s 8:00 PM and I never got back down stairs. Played with our granddaughter for quite some time, watched my wife put up the Christmas tree. Watch- did not help as she really enjoys doing this by herself and not hearing me curse about pieces that don’t fit. Watched Avatar and called it a night. Did some reading in bed before falling fast asleep.
SAT Nov 28
Clean Up Day After Cleaning
To summarize- clean dishes, bust up tile, move animals, feed geckos
Today started with getting up at 6am to fed the leos, picta, and aussies (and banded geckos). We had to finish by around 7:30 as Jordan needed a ride to work. We finished by 7:10 (thank goodness Nanette led the way and stayed on task). Off to drop off Jordan, meet Tim and have breakfast at George Webb, one of our favorite.
Back home and back down stairs to work again. The crested young get fed live food and the hallway get the same. All is good except that I find one of my Pachydactylus bicolor out in the middle of the enclosure. No idea why she passed. Very sad.
Next busting out the newly purchased tile and literally busting it up. I have several juvenile gecko tanks and a couple adult tanks needing vertical rock hiding placing. I purchased a couple boxes of cheap terra cotta tile boxes Wednesday. Placing the tile on a hammer and using another allows me to break them into quarters easily. Perfect wall hides.
Next, I move several groups of cave gecko grow outs into 2 larger enclosures. 6 enclosures now down to 2 and easier feeding. The geckos are doing great and do not need the extra monitoring.
Good day in the facility other than losing an animal.
FRI Nov 27
Cleaning Day- Freak Out Day
Set out today to clean 30 setups. That is a LOT of setups to clean!
Started first thing in the morning and stayed on task (difficult for me sometimes). These are larger plastic containers (60 qts) and includes changing out hide material, cleaning plastic plants and cork bark, taking out the cardboard egg cartons (I use 2 per container for climbing), and finally cleaning the tubs themselves. Exciting stuff…. Still with me?
So, the very first tub I clean, I take out the egg cartons and what do I find right next to my finger? Yes, you got it, a nice big nickel sized, black furry spider. I freak out, dance around like Beyonce (well, not like Beyonce but you get the picture), finally calm down, and get back to work. With the spider ‘taken care of’, I will off and cleaning the first container.
What do I mean by ‘taken care of’? Well, I have a dustbuster plugged in at all times downstairs just for this reason. I see a spider and whooooooo gone. This is my Sir Galahad sword against these fearsome beasts. No denying, I have arachnophobia to the nth degree.
Why was the spider there? No idea. However, finding one in the first enclosure slowed me down considerable when handling the cartons. Luckily for me, I was touting Mr. Dust Buster the rest of the day.
THU Nov 26
WED Nov 25
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Yesterday, we had our first animals come into the facility in a long time. I have not really been looking to add any animals but could not pass these up. When I saw Goniurosaurus bawanglingensis I have to jump!
One of our 12SDOC donors, John Scarbourough (CHECK SPELLING) who runs Gecko Boa Reptiles (ADD LINK) recently FB messaged me indicating he had a pair of these beautiful cave geckos for sale. I missed the Email and was hoping they were still available. When he replied back that they were, I scooped them up. What a great find!
Well they came in yesterday and are as beautiful as I could have imagined. You see photos on the web and these cave geckos stand out above others with their bright orange coloration. The only other that might have brighter colors would be G. orientalis (yes, they are red!).
So the link to Bawitdaba. Well that is the name of a Kid Rock song. Don’t YouTube it if your kids are in the room. I enjoy listening to Kid just as I enjoy listening to ACDC - energized music gets me going better than caffeine. Having no idea how to pronounce bawanglingensis, I call them bawitdaba. Ok, that makes no sense but it helps me get through the day.
TUE Nov 24
If you’ve read The Gecko News for a while, you know this time of year is when we start our brumation. Today, I adjusted the light cycle by cutting back a half hour on sunrise and sunset (losing 1 hour from total light cycle downstairs). While I wish I could adjust closer to Mother Nature, that just is not feasible for us here. As the gecko room’s (half the facility) lights are all artificial, this kicks in the animals’ natural winter cycle. I will make two more light cycle reductions in the next few weeks.
Also, I started turning down flex watt beneath all leopard, fat tail, and adult picta geckos. This really cools the room down. I leave the heat on the babies and this keeps them just warm enough to still grow over the winter. Again, turning down the flex watt is done in 3 stages to ensure the geckos clear their stomachs and cool correctly.
In the Day Care room (yes, I still call it this from the time I stole it from Nanette), there are two windows with natural light entering. As well, there is little Flexwatt heat tape to heat the room so it cools as the temps outside decrease. As it is in our basement, obviously, it does not get too cold. In the next month, I will break out the heaters and add a bit of heat near the grow out crested gecko enclosures.
Here is a link to an article on Brumation. Brumation- Going Into The Deep Sleep
MON Nov 23
Today, we fed cresties. I am still amazed that Nanette can start the process while I finish up posting on FB or checking Emails. Then, as I work one room, she comes in 2/3 done to help me finish up. She is quick, I am pretty slow. I did get a chance to check eggs and found 2 Paroedura stumpffi and one little Hemidactylus ruspoli. They are so cute. We’ve opened the vent in the bug room for heat. The room is maintaining around 82-84 degrees. Perfect for the roaches.
SUN Nov 22
We’re Off To See The Wizard
Today, I kicked butt downstairs in the morning. From cleaning to moving to picking up to planning, this was a great start of the day. At noon, I settled down with my laptop and began working on a number of tasks related to the hobby. This went on through the afternoon and early evening. I planned to get back downstairs and finish 3 or 4 more tasks on my list. It did not happen.
Sometimes life interrupts us. As Christal our granddaughter came home around 7, we started playing with her. At around 8, as I was flipping through channels, I came across The Wizard of Oz and it had just started. And that was that as far as getting tasks done that night.
You see, Christal is a fan of music and dance. With such great songs in the movie, and the great characters, this was family time and there was nothing that was going to get in the way. Sometimes you have to put aside priorities for REAL priorities.
SAT Nov 21
The final stage of our Fall Construction project has been complete.
Today, I added a couple of braces to the Cave gecko Stand (we added support braces to the gargoyle stand last weekend). Not sure why this was such a large project. I bought the braces for the cave stand and they have been sitting in the same spot unopened for 2 weeks. Finally added them. I think I actually hit the studs too (just kidding- I know I did).
And the last big construction task- The supplies were purchased last weekend. Nanette (because Jordan has been busy in the past few weeks), grabbed the drill while I was at work today and put in a wire shelf in the bug room. This sounds pretty simple but she did a great job lining up the pieces and getting the shelf on.
This shelf will hold 4 hovabators. Perfect for part of our breeding efforts’ egg production. In the winter, this room will stay between 80 and 82. A great temp for our bugs. This will make the hovibators work less as well.
FRI Nov 20
Parting with Old Friends
Today, Kendra came over to pickup and rehome 5 chahouas. This was sad to see these animals leave our care but I know they are going to great homes that will care for them certainly better than I could.
So, why the rehoming? Well, it is a long story but revolves around the time I purchased my first chewie pair around 7 or 8 years ago from a BIG time breeder. They came in healthy but at the time, I knew little about some of the issues with chewies, inbreeding, and over/under bits in this species. Well, after a couple of successful breeding seasons, a couple pair held back for future breeding projects, and several animals sold, I started finding out from customers the issue with this pair. Some babies (not all and not a majority) produced an under bite. Looking at the parents, I started noticing they had one as well… ever so slight at the time.
As the holdbacks grew, some developed the defect, others did not. At this time, I discontinued breeding any of my chewies. The next year, I purchased a new male and female (male was super red of course), and started a new project. I’ve only received a few babies from this pair and they look good so I am pleased to work with them moving forward.
However, this leaves me with a male and 4 females that I cannot use in my breeding projects. After a number of years, I finally decided to let them go…. But to a good home. So who do I call, well Kendra of course. No better keeper to give them the care they deserve.
It was a nice get together with Kendra tonight, even though my mind was a million miles away sometimes thinking about work on Saturday. Letting these geckos go was really hard but it was make so much easier knowing how well they will be cared for from here on out.
THU Nov 19
A Week From Now- Thanksgiving
In one week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. I wanted to take this time to list out my top 10 things I am thankful for (as I hope no one will be reading this blog on Thanksgiving as you will all be spending quality time with your families).
10. Health- That allows me to continue working in the facility, going to shows, etc.
9. Past experience in working with tropical fish- I learned so much that I’ve applied to keeping geckos
8. Facebook- It’s great to see so many cool animals in this hobby (and all the funny videos)
7. Forums- They are still great sources of information
6. My family- for putting up with my hobby and business
5. Other hobbyists- For their great ideas, helpful suggestions, and showing off those great animals
4. Herp Societies- (like Madison Area Herp Society) for spreading education
3. Our Customers- for helping us keep this going
2. The Animals- I’m blessed to keep some pretty amazing creatures
1. Nanette- for her tolerance with everything about this hobby, and her ever present helping hand.
WED Nov 18
Keeping this short again as all my free time is being taken up by the Giveaway.
Today, I come home and have another half dozen people asking to contribute to The 12 Supreme Days of Christmas. The outpouring of gifts and support for this event is simply unbelievable.
There is no way I can express my thanks to these great people. I wish I could. This makes the event extra special to all of us.
Thank you businesses and breeders!
TUE Nov 17
I came home tonight around 7:30 or so, dropped off my laptop (actually opened it to check messages- like someone Emailed me in the 30 minutes it takes to get home), and grabbed warmed up dinner and a glass of milk. I put the plate on the computer desk along with the milk and opened up Facebook.
I anticipated having one or two messages from people concerning questions or actually offering to donate to the 12 Supreme Days of Christmas. I had 10 messages! With a quick glance, I realized right away that we had already exceeded last year’s donation totals.
I should have been excited. My goal this year was to match the unbelievable amount of gifts from last year. I should have been relieved that most of the work to get donations in was already almost done. I should have been happy that I would get part of my night back to work downstairs.
Instead, I became pretty emotional. The intent of this giveaway, as I have said over and over again, is to give back to the reptile community. To offer something back after 11 months supporting me, and other breeders and vendors. I just cannot believe how much everyone is contributing this year.
I cannot thank everyone involved in this event enough for all that everyone does.
MON Nov 16
The first step that officially kicks of The 12 Supreme Days of Christmas started tonight.
Letters/messages asking for donations for the event have gone out. The message explains that this is our 6th year, it is an appreciation giveaway to fellow hobbyist, and that we will be giving away 12 Supreme gifts to fellow reptile keepers (actually this has grown so much that it will be far more than 12 gifts!).
To share the enthusiasm and support of this giveaway, last year we had almost 1000 comments on the web page and almost 40,000 visitors! That is unbelievable support. This doesn’t even take into account the huge response we received on Facebook (comments, shares, etc.).
Why do we do this? Because it is fun for me, fun for the gift receivers, and fun for the gift givers. Last year and this year, we have breeders/companies asking us if they can contribute to the event.
So, stay tuned in the next couple of weeks as we will be kicking off the giveaway very, very soon!
SUN Nov 15
As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, we’ve been building a large, gargoyle habitat (ok, rack and tubs). It will hold 15 30 gallon enclosures. Just enough for our collection.
Yesterday, we went shopping again for gecko stuff. One of or stops included the home improvement store where we purchased the first 12 tubs (bought all they had) a few weeks ago. Well, what do you know, they have a whole pile of new tubs! Score. We grab our 3.
At home, we clean them out, cut the holes, screen the holes, add coco fiber and decorations and move the last of the gargoyles from their current homes to these new digs.
The new stand is done, all the gargoyles are together in one place, and most importantly have plenty of room to scoot around. Win-Win-Win
SAT Nov 14
In our facility, we have about 500 tubs/enclosures. At times many are empty (other times like the spring, they are not). Having this many tanks gives me an opportunity to help other keepers out by housing their animals for whatever reason.
I began offering this option about 10 years ago when a young lady was moving and needed about 6 cresties cared for during the couple months. At times, I’ve held 1 animal for individuals and other times up to a dozen. I have someone that will need about 5-6 animals cared for coming up in early 2016. Right now we are housing animals for 4 different keepers.
I’ve even offered (on VERY limited occasion) to take in female geckos to breed with one of our males. Again, this is extremely rare but has happened.
This is not a service we charge for and it certainly doesn’t take us that much additional time to care for a few more animals. We do this because we have extra room and enjoy helping people out. I have never had a contract, condition, stipulation, etc. around this arrangement and do not plan to in the future.
However, today my worst nightmare occurred. We lost a red female crested gecko we were trusted to hold for a close friend. While we quarantine all new animals, and take special care on these animals, something happened to this one that I cannot explain. She had eaten and was very healthy up until today. There were no signed of injury or other issues on the body. This is not only frustrating to not know what happened, but extremely embarrassing as a fellow keeper.
I do have younger red cresties that I can grow up and try to replace this female. I am sure the keeper, while very attached to this animal, will be forgiving. However, this is a tragic day nonetheless in our facility.
FRI Nov 13
H. tanganicus Move
Why do I do things the hard way?
It’s time to move a small gecko’s babies that are growing up from their micro tub grow-up enclosures to a grow-out 15 gallon glass tank (prior gargoyle tanks). I’ve setup the tank over heat tape and about 25% sits in the low 90 degree range. The substrate is Repti-Sand (about ½ inches deep). Their décor was still to be determined before now.
Well, it is time to determine the décor. I could use rocks, or slate, or cork bark (they don’t live in cork but it is a quick substitute until the right flat rocks can be found). I have no slate or other flat rocks sitting around. I don’t want to use cork bark either, so what can I use.
Walking through the facility, I eye up a possibility- terra cotta plant saucers. Only problem is they need a notch knocked out so the geckos can get in and out. This will be a great living area as the geckos love tight crevices and these saucers are very shallow.
So how to knock out those little notches (about 2/3 “). The easy way would be to go up stairs, grab the hammer and a chisel/larger screwdriver, pop the edge about 6 or 7 times and be done with each. I need about 6 saucers cut out. Total time should take about 10 minutes.
But no, that’s a long walk up one flight of stairs. Instead, I grab a tin snips I keep down stairs and start plugging away on the dishes against the floor. About 30 minutes later, they are done .
It works, the geckos love their new digs, but sometimes I just don’t do the job the right way. Perfect tool for the job? Heck no- Watch this!
THU Nov 12
We feed crested and leopard geckos (among others of course) at least once every 2 days. This gives us a chance to take a peek at the gecko, see how they are doing, how their enclosure looks, etc. But some geckos we open the enclosure, add food to a dish, and shut the enclosure top/front glass. Where are the animals? I don’t know.
One of those animals is Cyrtodactylus peguensis. Their enclosure is a 12x12x20 zilla FLX enclosure (love these!). It is planted with 3 plants (mother’s tongue, pathos, and bromeliad), has 5 or 6 thicker sticks, a couple of rocks, and a full height 6” wide piece of cork bark. This enclosure is setup on a misting system and they are just as comfy as they can be. In other words, they can hide somewhere and would never be found.
Today, I finally broke down and decided I needed to go on a hunt for these two (1.1). Out comes the branches, the two plants (non bromeliads), the rocks, and still no C. peguensis. What!!! Ok, I know where they are now. Sure enough, they are both snuggled up behind the cork bark. I pull the wood forward and they sit there looking at me like “What?” “What do you want?”.
“Sorry, sorry, my bad.” And put back the decorations, shut the glad doors, and slowly backed away.
WED Nov 11
I am sure you are busy too. I’m sure you have pressures pulling you a thousand different ways. I’m sure you are ready to scream (or are screaming right now!). Skip this entry if you don’t care to read about my time issues- because you have your own.
So, today while at lunch, I totaled by time. Up at 5:30. Breakfast, check FB for 5-10 minutes while catching up on sports/news, shower, dress and out the door at 6:30. Work from 7am to about 6am. Home at 6:30 for dinner, play with Christal our granddaughter, and a quick chat with Nanette. I sometimes run down stairs and play around for about an hour (more like cleaning dishes or caring for the critters). Back up to log in and answer messages from our off-shore consulting team (around another hour). A quick check of Email, FB, Instagram, etc. and it’s now 10-10:30 and bed time. I read for about a half hour to hour and I’m gone to the world. 6 hours and the whole process restarts.
Weekends are crush time with shopping, animal tank cleaning, feeding, bug care, etc. Throw in working part or all of Saturday and that is a FULL week.
Not complaining! I love my job and the project I’m on. But…… sometimes it is a challenge.
TUE Nov 10
Who buys books and magazines still? Aren’t they obsolete with this inter-web thing now?
If you go on line, you will find forums, blogs, tweets, vlogs, videos, selfies, chats, and just about any kind of information sharing method you want. Some are more detailed in mature (Forums) and hold great information about species even though they can be a bit dated. While other snippets of info are meant to be short (140 characters-twitter) (6.5 seconds- vines) and not permanent (minutes- snap chat). And still others specific to a delivery method- vines and YouTube videos, snapchat and messenger on FB.
The old man in me (yes, I am still young at heart), while accepting these new fangled Snap-Face-Tube things, still regularly relies on the printed word to do a majority of my research.
Mind you I really enjoy chatting with other keepers concerning a species’ maintenance. Isn’t ‘Mind you’ an old person phrase- sort of like ‘In my day’ instead of ‘Back in the day’? Anywho- there is nothing like getting an immediate response to a question like “How do you keep XXXXX.” And “Can you share a photo of your setup?”. But, I consistently revert back to beginning the process with a book (or magazine). This is always my starting point. Well, actually initial discussions with the breeder is my starting point, but after I get home and forget all they said, I go back to the book.
So, here is a quick hitting list of the books that are within reach
The Eyelash Geckos, Care Breeding and Natural History- Hermann Seufer and Yuri Kaverkin
Day Geckos in Captivity- Leann and Greg Christenson
The Herpetoculture of Leopard Geckos- Ron Tremper
Rhacodactylus: The Complete Guide to their Selection and Care- Philippe De Vosjoli, Allen Repashy, and Frank Fast
MON Nov 9
The clock is ticking. T-minus 3 weeks and counting. What is it? Here are some clues- There are 12 of them…… Fabulous gifts and prizes……. Wonderful sponsors……. SG fan appreciation.
Have you guessed yet? One more clue- this will be our sixth year. Ok, no more clues. If you do not know, you will just have to wait. If you know….. Shhhhhhh!
SUN Nov 8
SEWERFest is one of our largest shows of the year. The show organizers, Shane and Aaron have done an outstanding job growing and promoting this show to the point I would say it is probably my favorite. I look forward to the show every time it rolls around…… except this year.
You see, we have had so many events piling up and work has been so crazy, it just seemed to be another item on the calendar. I could not get up for SEWERFest- until right before show time.
Once the ‘work’ was done- doing labels, packing up animals, getting to the show, setting up animals and supplies, everything seemed to be another task that had to get done.
But, once the show started then it was different. Show means talking to other hobbyists, meeting new reptile keepers, reconnecting with the other vendors…. Oh, and selling some supplies and animals.
Notes from the show-
- We had a new helper. Ariel was suggested from our good friend Brian Stewart. He’s an enthusiastic new keeper that stepped in and contributed immediately to our need- someone to field questions, help sell supplies and animals, and complete transactions- Oh and record the transactions.
- Had a chance to work with a customer that was involved in geckos years, got out due to moves and his young family, and is now just getting back into keeping animals. We chatted about many many things including fish keeping. He ultimately purchased our best gecko but more importantly is getting back to keeping geckos to benefit his young family. Keeping in touch with nature is what it is all about for this young man.
- This was the first show in a long time that we offered pairs of crested geckos for a bit of a discount. These were all great breeders, middle age with several good breeding years left, healthy crested geckos with nice color and pattern. Something different for us. We have holdbacks that will be used in our breeding projects in 2016 and needed some extra room. The new owners were all very excited to receive these nice pairs at a considerable discount.
- At around 1:30, I actually walked away from the table with full confidence in my son Jordan taking control of the sales and communication with the users. With Ariel helping, this was only possible. I got to chat with Brandon Fowler, the MAHS group, and others.
- Great seeing other vendors before and during the show. Barb Gebert gave me a bear hug from behind and made me guess who it was. I first thought it was Ryan but he wears a different fragrance.
SAT Nov 7
Midwest Herpetological Symposium
I am going to keep this short as time and space do not allow me to give this event the justice much deserved.
I signed Nanette and I up a month or two ago. I had no idea what this was all about but knew it was important if Ryan McVeigh was organizing the event. I knew there would be great speakers, informative presentations, dinner, great discussions, and dinner. Did I mention dinner was included?
As today approached and work has squeezed about as much out of me as I could give, I knew it would be touch and go whether we could attend or not. A couple weeks before, we were given a mandate that the team would all work weekends. Ouch! There it is. Done deal. So, today, I signed on at 4 am and started working in hopes to cut out a bit earlier. After several successes in job runs and cleaning up issues, at 10:30 I signed off! I was not going to miss this event. “Damn the torpedoes”.
Off Nanette and I went. We arrived in Madison hungry and a bit early for the 1:00 presentation (one I HAD to make- see more below). We hit a local restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful lunch before making our want to the event location, unfortunately a bit late now for the 1pm.
We slinked in hoping no one would notice but felt every eye turn toward us as we grabbed the only seats available- 2nd table from the front. Thank you fate.
While we missed earlier presentations and a bit of the 1:00, at least we were catching most of Brandon Fowler’s talk. You see, Brandon is doing some amazing things in this hobby. His efforts are changing lives (much like Ryan, Angel, Eric, and the rest of the MAHS crew are doing). Brandon’s focus is on educational presentations- mostly to young people. He gets it. He is reaching out to the kids (and their parents at the same time) and teaching them that nature and snakes and turtles and chameleons and even geckos are all good things. These animals are not something to be afraid of but something to hold and feel and look at up close. He is a leader in showing the public that fearing these animals and not accepting them is not the norm anymore. A reptile keeper can be looked at in the same light as a dog or cat or parakeet keeper. Brandon is out there DOING IT! What an honor to hear his passion and enthusiasm. What a joy to later causally chat with the gentleman.
Additional presentations were provided throughout the day and I will not do them the injustice of trying to recap here. I will only say that you, as a serious reptile keeper, needs to keep this event in mind for 2016 (held in Chicago).
After these sessions, a great dinner/table conversation/keynote speaker, we were on to the auction. I was incredible to see the wonderful gifts provided by the sponsors, headed by Zilla of course.
I will end by saying we had a wonderful time and enjoyed the event entirely. I’m looking forward to next year already.
FRI Nov 6
Well, this will be a short post.
Last week we did the Iowa Reptile show. A lot of geckos were sold but we have a number still to bring to SEWERFest. So, all the cups are already labeled. The animals are identified, and the hard goods are in their boxes ready for loading.
Tonight, I checked the animals, tagged a couple more for the show, and that was about it.
Back upstairs for a nice and relaxing Friday evening before the big weekend.
THU Nov 5
In the last year, our baby crested geckos have been growing at a remarkable rate…. And I know why!
It seemed like, in the past few years, the growth rates of our baby cresties slowed down a bit. I wish I had some scientific study that would have documented this better- exact foods, temps, mistings, etc. It is just a gut feel but they seemed to be growing slower than when I first kept cresties. Something must have changed.
Here are a few facts- my cresties hatch out over many months in the facility, from May to about October. Temps in the facility are very constant through this period- averaging about 72 in the day and 68 at night. I feed every other day with mistings between days. They start out in 6 qt tubs for about a month or so then move to 19 qts. In the past, I’ve fed Repashy (with occasional feedings of Clarks diet). Once a week, all baby cresties were receiving 2-3 crickets each.
Changes 2 years ago- In the past couple of years, I have switched over from Repashy to Clarks and Pangea, as many keepers have. Last year, I really cannot did not see a change in growth rates. I am sure the Clarks and Pangea are better foods for geckos. Nothing else really changed either.
Changes this year- To minimize costs in the facility, I switched over all smaller geckos to dubias. At around 2 weeks or so (just like in the past) I start offering insects- this year dubias instead of crickets.
I believe dubias are a bit slower than crickets so are easier to catch for the younger cresties. But, they are active enough to draw the gecko’s attention. I feed our Supreme Chow to the dubias and REALLY see a difference in our bugs and in the adult animals. I am thinking the quality bug food and feeding dubias this year has resulted in this big change.
WED Nov 4
Speaking of cave geckos (from yesterday’s post) today we have two more cave geckos joining us in the facility. These are Goniurosaurus hainanensis. We are getting very close to the end of the year for egg hatching and have one little pair of cave geckos still to hatch.
Emotions went from frustration to joy in a matter of seconds. I though one of the eggs was not doing well a couple days ago. It just looked a bit ‘old’ and I didn’t think it would hatch out. Well, passing the eggs today, yes they are sitting on a little shelf by themselves, both eggs suddenly looked deflated and certainly not capable of now hatching. A second glance proved the eggs were deflated because the young caves had already hatched! Nice!
Almost 3 full months of incubation time produced these two caves. Temps during this time were mostly in the low to mid 70s.
TUE Nov 3
If you’ve been waiting for a status update on our construction projects mentioned on Oct 17th, wait no more. Tonight, we worked on #3- setting up a couple of cave gecko groups in new, larger enclosures.
The process started several weeks before as Nanette and I began talking about giving the cave geckos more room and a nicer enclosure. As we have so little room available in the facility now, this was problem #1. Problem #2 was what to place in the enclosure to give them more of a naturalistic balance to their environment.
There are so few spaces in our current setup to put together the enclosures I would like to have setup for our breeding groups of cave geckos. This would take over a dozen new setups (at least 18x18x18 in size). This is not feasible. However, walking the facility several times over I finally concluded I could do two new enclosures if I utilized the space right below the current cave gecko stand. We have about 24 inches of clearance on the bottom of the stand. As caves can be kept a bit cooler than other geckos, this would work out perfectly. We’ll keep them off the floor of course but this will still provide enough space to keep them and to work with the tubs. The enclosures will be a plastic 58 qt. sterilite tub with a hole in the side to allow misting but to keep the humidity up in the enclosure.
The key to the setup though will be a ‘rock’ shelf/ledge setup made of Styrofoam. I constructed one recently for our lone exo-terra enclosure in the family room that turned out pretty nice. As the cave gecko project is mostly Nanette’s, and she is much more skilled and patient with this than I am, she built the two structures a few days ago. It is a process of cutting the styro into ledges, gluing the pieces together, then painting the grouping. In all, I think she spent a couple hours in all on the two pieces.
Tonight, Nanette prepared the tank by cutting and screening the hole for each. Using a soldering iron and hot glue gun, she was done in less than 15 minutes. We prepared the substrate (most important part of the enclosure) with dirt, peat moss, and sand at around 1inch in depth.
Next, she added a plastic hide (they love these), mealworm cup, water dish, and of course the ‘rock’ ledge to each.
We decided that each enclosure would house a group of Goniurosaurus hainanensis- one of 1.1 (one male and one female) and the other group of 1.2 (one male and 2 females). Nanette took them from their individual enclosures (15 quart tubs) and placed them together in their new homes. They immediately started checking out their new homes, smelling each other, and soon comfortably settled in.
I’m glad we found this small space to give a couple groups a nice new home.
MON Nov 2
Today, after the big Iowa show, and the long drive back, I have a day off of work.
Yes, as busy as my schedule has been lately, it was such a relief sleeping in until 8:00am. But, what did I do when I first got up? Check work Email and run a couple programs of course.
In no time, I was back off the computer. So, what do I do on my day off? Well it actually became a very full day but with some rest and relaxation time.
The day started with pulling the empty tubs from the show. In all, we sold 40 geckos. Almost everyone was in its own tub so that is a lot of cleaning- wiping the front wax pencil info, dry wiping the container, then washing it out at the sink. Containers go right back into their momentarily vacated spots in preparation for new animals.
Next was basic feeding. Around the room we went feeding dubias and mealworms. This is a chore that takes us a full 2 – 2.5 hours to complete even working together.
Finally, general moving of animals- I had a couple grow out geckos that had to be moved to larger enclosures. I cannot wait to see some of the colors on these geckos.
And last but not least, a short half hour afternoon nap. Usually that is all I need. Then off to play in the gecko rooms again.
SUN Nov 1
I would like to do this post in a TimeLine format if you don’t mind-
2:00 am- Alarm goes off. 5 hours of sleep is just enough for me
2 am – 2:30 Pack the animals in the car, grab the computer, camera, a couple sodas and off we go
2:30 – 5:30 Smooth sailing. I had hoped Nanette would catch a few hours more of sleep but she is as awake as I am.
5:30 – 6:30 Ugggh- road construction. But not too bad. Slowing down to about 60 (from 70)
6:30 – 7:00 Out of construction and flying again around 75 mph. Gas stop, potty break, and a small snack
7:00 – 8:30 Flying through Iowa. Nanette gets some much needed shut eye. I’m fine as it’s now light out
8:30 – 8:45 A quick meal at McD’s and headed over to the show across the street for setup
8:45 – 10:00 Setup, meet long time friends
10:00 to about noon- It is hot and heavy as the customers come in. Several animals are selling. One gentleman who we thought might buy a leo buys about a dozen! Another young man and his mother purchase several adult cresties. I gave them a good deal on the last couple they bought.
Noon – 3pm It was like hitting a brick wall. Whether it was weather or football games, the crowds cut back by about 75%. We had brisk sales but I did have a chance to walk around and talk to people. One group had sold only 1 leo! Ouch.
3 – 3:30 End of show and pack up. We ended up selling about 40 geckos and quite a bit of crested gecko food. Good show! I ended up chatting while Nanette put everything away. I felt bad but we were on the road by 3:30!
3:30 – 9:30 Great trip home. I love the quality time Nanette and I had together. Very special. Some construction again and a great meal from Arbies (highly recommend their cordon blue chicken).
9:30 – 10:30 Unload the car and put away animals. Then bed. I am sure I will sleep well tonight.
SAT Oct 31
Iowa Show Prep
Happy Halloween everyone.
Today is all about prep work for the Iowa show tomorrow. Due to the 6 hour drive, I want all the animals and supplies packed up and ready to go when we get up at 2am to start the journey.
It’s a long day of examining animals, noting the ones that are ready for the show and that we will not be holding back, preparing the deli cups, pricing the animals, and loading them to a spreadsheet. The whole process took us around 4 hours. Not bad but still quite a bit of work.
With supplies all loaded in the car, and geckos all secure in their transport boxes, it is Trick or Treat time. We had a very small turnout due to the weather and ended early. Around 8:00pm, one last check of everything and off to bed I went at 9pm.
FRI Oct 30
As the new gargoyle rack is complete (almost complete- 3 more tubs needed) and the gargs have been moved from their 15 gallon setups (all on a rack holding the 10) (See the post from Oct 27), we have had the 15 gallon rack empty for a few days now. That is a hobbyist sin- having empty tanks!
The plans were laid several weeks prior to today to determine what to do with this empty rack once the gargs were gone. This rack will be used to grow out our smaller geckos (Hemidactylus, Pachydactylus, Paroedura (non picta)). From the micro stand to the 15 gallon stand, this will give them plenty of space to get to adult size.
The first step is adding heat tape to the two shelves. I’ve purchased the heat tape at the last Tinley NARBC show and already have the connectors. I put together a quick wiring and connect the 3” flexwatt lengths to the wiring and ultimately to the dimmer. All set, I test and it holds the perfect temps to keep the back side of the tank to in the low 90s. All this in about 45 minutes time.
The second step is cleaning these glass tanks. Luckily they are within about 6 steps of our day care room sink. Within about an hour all tanks are scrubbed and dried out and ready for new décor.
On the top shelf, I fill 4 of the 5 tanks with about a half inch of sand. The other one is filled with a dirt/peat/sand mix. The sand tanks get pieces of slate and cork bark. The other gets lots of cork bark, plastic plants, and branches. Hemidactylus tanganicus and H. ruspoli babies (two separate sizes of each) go in the 4 sand tanks and a group of 6 Paroedura stumpffi go in the other. This takes about 15 minutes to setup and transfer animals.
Finally, I spend about 15 minutes cleaning the micro containers that use to hold the grow out animals. This doesn’t seem like a long process but in all now, I’ve spent almost 2 ½ hours in this move (I know, I’m slow) but the results are something I’ve needed to do for months and months. This will give these babies plenty of room to grow quicker.
THU Oct 29
Nanette showed me something unusual tonight. It was a deli cup with one lone Hemidactylus tangainicus female. I know they get out of their enclosure once in a while and are simply impossible to catch. One went missing about 2 months ago when I was catching it for a reptile show. It was only around 2 ½ inches. When I opened the enclosure, zoom it was gone. This must have been her- all grown up.
Looking at the gecko from underneath, I could see she was gravid. But that was not the surprising part of the story. I noticed the missing tail and asked Nanette whether the gecko lost the tail while being recaptured.
She actually found the gecko in another plastic tub with 5 grow out Paroedura picta! Nanette mentioned the female was pretty beat up and stressed out. I can only imagine.
The girl was added to her own private enclosure to recoup. How she got in that picta tank I will never know.
Note- she did lay the two eggs shortly after being relocated. They look good and she is eating and drinking.
WED Oct 28
One of the most exciting things for me as a gecko breeder is the ability to work with geckos that are not common in the hobby and ultimately to provide them the optimal conditions that allows them to lay eggs. Then, of course the hatching of these eggs is the icing on the cake.
I’ve had the fortune to hatch out recently some amazing geckos- Paroedura stumpffi, P. ibityensis, P. androyensis, Teratoscincus scincus, cave geckos, Cyrtodactylus elok, and others. This by no means indicates I am an expert at these or any other species in our collection. I merely point out the fact I am lucky enough to work with these animals.
Today, while checking the incubator, I found another “1st time gecko baby”- a Pacydactylus bi-color. I purchased my initial pair from Jon Boone at the 2015 Spring NARBC show but proceeded to allow the female to jump out of the container while taking photos (heartbreaking!). Joe Hupp offered another pair this summer and I jumped all over this one. I found 1 egg around 3 weeks ago. It must have been there for a while. As the egg hatched tonight.
As you can see by the color of this little one, there is a big reason I love gecko babies!
TUE Oct 27
It starts. One of our biggest projects of the year. It involves 1) building a new rack 2) preparing tubs 3) decorating tubs 4) moving one group of geckos and emptying another rack 5) preparing that rack for new animals 6) moving that 2nd group of geckos 7) cleaning the 3rd rack of geckos. I will talk about 1 – 4 today.
Building the Rack: requirements- measuring the space, determining the tub size, designing the stand, purchasing the wood and screws, setup Jordan’s time to build. As you know, I am a design freak so the plans are already done and we have Jordan set for the build. It will actually be 2 stands as the length (@ 100 inches in length) is longer than a standard measurement. This will be a fairly easy build as we will be using 2x2 for legs and shelves. It also will not have true shelves but will only be the frame as the tubs will sit on top of the frame (the dimensions of the shelf are a couple inches in width less than the width of the tubs).
The tubs have already been purchased although we had to visit two stores and still are 3 short of the desired 15 we need to fill the rack. As you remember from the post on Oct 17th, the tubs are 29.25” x 19.5” x 17” (LxWxH) which is 30 gallons in size.
So as Jordan is in the process of building the stand, putting the frames together then attaching the legs, I am preparing the tubs. Each will have two deli cup sized, screened holes in the front. I want to maintain humidity in these tubs so I am limiting the air holes significantly. I use a deli cup to measure and mark the hole size and a soldering iron to cut them out. This takes about an hour. I then cut out screens and hot glue them to the holes (with overlap of screen of course). This is another hour or so.
Next, I start decorating the tubs. I will use a coco fiber substrate for these new enclosures. Wetting the material allows the big bricks to just pull apart. Next, we have 12 new hides (deeper sandwich boxes) purchased for these tubs. Again, soldering iron cutting and the hides are ready for a combination of dirt/sand/peat for the hide material. In they go into the tubs.
Next, I pull the decor from the existing tubs, a quick wash of plastic plants and cork bark and they go into the new tubs. Finally, a set of 12 (still missing 3 tubs so cannot move the last 3 yet) gargoyles are moved to their new digs.
With another mist and a few hours later, I went down to see each and every gargoyle out and about examining their Pent House new homes. I think they like this new arrangement.
MON Oct 26
If you have endured the marshmallow posts on the blog (and I hope you’ve enjoyed them), fasten your seatbelt and hold on as this post will be more meat and potatoes. Please read this whole post before passing judgement.
Who am I?
First, let me tell you who I am not- I am not a hobbyist. I do run a business and must make a profit. The activities I partake in are directly done to promote our business, expose our brand, and to sell animals and supplies. My Emails/chats/FB messages/Instagram posts are done solely for this purpose. I do reptile shows to sell animals. Period.
I am not a businessman. I get a feeling of joy, excitement, and fulfillment with every hatchling we produce in our facility. Keeping geckos keeps me in touch with nature. I wish I could get out herping but physically I just cannot anymore. For the love of the animals, I take pictures of them and show them off on the Internet. I comment on other’s animals because I think they are special and deserve recognition. The shows we attend is all about education and chatting about these great animals we keep.
Contradiction? Maybe. For me it is a razor fine line. While it is extremely important for Supreme Gecko to sell geckos, it is imperative for Wally Kern to teach others in this hobby, and certainly to keep the fire going myself.
No matter how you deal with Supreme Gecko or Wally Kern, you will get an impression of the business and ultimately of me. You may be completely right or completely wrong in that impression.
The one impression I would like you to have is that Supreme Gecko and Wally Kern is one in the same. I drive my business forward with focus, but I also sustain integrity and relentless passion for the animals, my education on them, and the job I have to pass on this information to other hobbyists.
SUN Oct 25
I am currently working with 4 sets of Paroedura stumpffi. Why so many? Because I just love this species.
They are just the right size to maintain in a 10 gallon aquarium (up to a 1.3 group), are still a bit rare in the hobby, and their babies are simply beautiful. Two groups are 1.1 (one male and one female), one group is 1.3 (3 females) and the other is 1.2.
One of the 1.1 groups has been maintained in a 15 quart tub and have done very well. But, they just have never looked comfortable as they constantly hide and are very skittish. So today, I decided to move them from this 15 qt tub to a 12”x12”x20” Zilla flexible critter cage. This is just a perfect sized enclosure for these smaller geckos. The tank is setup with 2 plants, a couple thicker branches, a peat/sand substrate, food and water dishes, and is setup on a mister.
The funny thing is, this enclosure is far more planted and easier for the geckos to hide anywhere they want. But, in this jungle of seclusion, they are out all the time. It is so cool to see them feeling comfortable in their new home.
SAT Oct 24
Time to check the geckos' enclosures and make sure everyone is setup the best way we can.
Today, I focused on our Nephrurus milii groups. We maintain 3 1.1 groups of these wonderful animals. Their hides are 15 qt containers. The tubs have a water dish, some cork bark, a mealworm cup, and a substrate of sand/peat mix.
One change I new I had to make was adding a hide. This is a simple tupperware box (dollar store pickup) with a small hole in the side. It is filled about half way with peat/sand/dirt and kept semi-moist.
We are looking forward to some milii munchkins next year.
FRI Oct 23
Free Feeder Food (apples and pumpkins)
It’s that time of the year. Free food for the feeder insects.
We have an apple tree in the back yard. We use to have two but our youngest son convinced us to cut one down to make more room to play soccer. We don’t do anything special with the tree but it sure is nice to have it in the fall.
You see, we do not harvest the apples at all. They fall to the ground and lay there until the deer come around and eat them. I watched 5 the other day for about 10 minutes gorging themselves on the apples. Fun.
But we do head out there occasionally and fill up a 5 gallon bucket. The apples are then used for the feeder insects- mostly dubia. Free Food! Love it.
And now that it is post-Halloween, guess what. Free pumpkins! This is another great feeder food. Oh, and did I mention it is free!
THU Oct 22
I never take lunch at work at lunch. I usually work through lunch to try to get caught up. Of course, I will take 10 minutes to check stock prices or the latest news or scores from yesterday’s games but I rarely take more than that.
Today, I started thinking about next year’s breeding season. Now is the time, before it is spring and you are scrambling to find males for lone females or vice versa. Plan ahead to avoid those worries.
As you know, I’ve cut WAY back on the leo breeding the past couple of years. I still love working with leopard geckos but I feel there are just too many projects going on and not enough breeders devoted to the classics. I want to concentrate on only about 5-7 morphs and stop trying to keep up with the latest bells and whistles (see what I did there with bells).
Now I’ve focused on my specific, small group of morphs and can spend the time with the leos I really love. I still have remnants of a couple of projects that will be going to shows in the next few weeks. At that time, I will have the animals I really want to work with for next year.
So at lunch, my thoughts started wandering and you know what happened next- the Excel spreadsheet comes out and I am recording individual leopard geckos, males and females, morphs, ages, etc. You know I am an Excel freak!
At home and I am running downstairs to verify my now printed worksheet. This leads me to the point of planning pairs for 2016, which is a whole lot easier as we will have only around 50 animals breeding next year.
I’ve decided, for our leopard gecko collection, quality over quantity and love for the animals matters more.
WED Oct 21
Again, skip if you are not a sports fan-
It is with sorrow that I watch the final Chicago Cubs game of 2015 today. Some will say the season was a success as this is such a young and growing team. I look at 2015 as leaving a big hole- the chance to make the world series was 4 games away and they could not get over the hump that was the NY Mets.
I’ve been a Cubs fan now for 50 years and it has unfortunately been engrained in me to “Wait till next year”. I’ve seen other Chicago championships- a Bears Superbowl, a White Sox WS, 6 Bulls Titles, and now 3 Blackhawk’s cups. Chicago fans are fortunate. But, it is a World Series appearance and victory that I really long to see someday. The kids are close but as you well know, talent alone does not a World Series winner make. I am sure they will make a huge push this offseason for more pitching talent and they have the manager in place.
I can only hope it truly is one more “Wait till next year” for the Chicago Cubs.
TUE Oct 20
We recently pulled a batch of mealworms from the fridge and had less than optimal results for the batch.
You see, we usually order mealworms by the 40,000 batch. I keep some out to feed a couple of weeks but put the others in the fridge. They last a LONG time in the fridge.
But pulling this batch out and feeding dry food found about 20 % dried out and turning blank in the next couple of days. We’ve not seen this before but I believe with drier weather setting in, they may have needed a bit more moisture than we provided. In the future, we will put in the dry feed but also add a slice or two of potatoes or a half carrot.
MON Oct 19
Forums and WebSites to Facebook
It was a slow and natural progression. It doesn’t mean it was the death of one and the birth of another, it just means the community is using one tool now more than the other.
Years ago (10 or so) everyone was using forums to gather their information. If you had a question, you posted on a forum. If you had a photo of your beautiful adult gecko, you posted on a forum. If you wanted to show off your new born new morph snakes, you posted on a forum.
Myspace ‘added’ to this experience (far before Facebook) by offering a great place to collect photo galleries, but it just was not accepted and used by everyone in the reptile community.
Then Facebook hit, and hit hard. Not only was this a vehicle to ask a question and get an immediate response, it was a place to easily post a photo and get a ‘like’. In our instant world, FB soon became King.
Today, forums are still used quite a bit but participation has dropped significantly. People, including myself, bounce to forums to find standard set information (animal care, habitat info).
And websites. It was only recently that I finally made the realization that websites are growing old- from a technology timeline vantage. I enjoy posting on the Supreme Gecko page, we still get tons of visitations and comments about the site from people, but I realize our site probably has a limited lifespan.
Be this good or bad, everyone must realize this truth- and most importantly adjust accordingly.
If you enjoy sharing animal care, perhaps you keep this on your web page but maybe you look for a place to share on FB. If you sell animals, watch how others using FB sells animals. Do you want to do auctions on FB? There is a neat application called Shopify that can be used. Do you just want to setup an Album with today’s animals available for sale, or do you want to use FB’s ads? Lots of options.
Remember, Facebook is like fast foods- In and Out. It’s hard to research and pull back older information. It is setup to share for as long as our now societal short attention span. You must determine the tools you use and to what degree. Invest your time, energies, and money in the place that is right for you.
By no means though am I suggesting you place all your eggs in one basket (sorry for the reptile related analogy). If FB is replaced with another social media tool (happened to MySpace), you will be scrambling for survival. Just plan accordingly.
SUN Oct 18
Do you have more than just one or two enclosures? Are you working with a half dozen or more? Then you need a cart.
We actually have 3 in the facility, one in each main room. Each cart serves 2 purposes- a flat surface and a storage area.
The leo room cart was the first I purchased around 10 years ago for about $35. It is a standard kitchen cart with a woodblock surface, a metal shelf underneath, and 2 metal mesh holding areas below that. I keep mostly the dishes and mealworm cups for the leos.
The crestie cart (middle room) is metal and was obtained for free when a prior employer closed their doors. This is a big cart with a great surface area and one large storage area below. I keep all types of supplies on this one- from scissors, pens, sticky notes, and a myriad of other gecko stuff. This is my junk drawer for the gecko room.
The day care cart (my wife did day care in this room and the name has just stuck) was actually obtained from Nanette’s scrapbooking supplies. I think she gave me the cart (I’m sure that’s what happened). In this cart, I keep tools, paper cup up paper towels for the baby crestie containers, deli cup lids, and a number of other misc. supplies. This cart offers just the right size surface area to load up with about 60 black dishes to feed the baby crestie stand. Perfect! Cart 2
Surface area is for any of a number of uses- packing geckos for shipping, crested gecko diet dishes, working on electrical, putting away gecko eggs in the bead boxes, etc.
Three carts seem to be just the right number and they all come in so handy.
SAT Oct 17
Ok, I will spill the beans for one of the projects. As I mentioned, our gargoyle group needs more room. I currently house them in 15 gallon aquariums and I do not feel that these are large enough.
A lot of research has gone into this but I have found a plastic tub that I think is PERFECT! The dimensions are 29.25” x 19.5” x 17” (LxWxH). I have a space that is 108” x 30ish” x 72”. I can get 15 tubs in this space!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am on finding this size. This tub is 30 gallons so will double the gargoyles’ current space. As this was my very last wall space, this will be my very last gecko rack build (famous last words).
Did I mention I am way excited over the size of these tubs!!!
FRI Oct 16
Tonight was a quick feed of selective animals and then back upstairs to plan. So, what am I planning? I’ve talked a bit about them in past posts but I will give you 4 clues-
1. And this is the main task- Our gargoyle geckos need more room.
2. Our micro geckos need more room (actually the babies need grow out enclosures)
3. Our cave geckos need more room (actually I would like to set up 2 group in bigger enclosures
4. We need to find a place for our soon to be displaced incubators Stay tuned for some exciting changes in the facility. Look for this symbol to follow along.
THU Oct 15
Like Thor’s Hammer…..
Well, it has caught up with me. Tonight, we had Tim and his ‘lady’ friend over for pizza and the Blackhawk’s game. I posted on Facebook and caught up with other Emails. Tim and Mariah left around 8:00. Nanette and I, instead of heading down to the gecko room, started viewing our Facebook accounts and watching the game. It didn’t take long for both of us to be sound asleep.
I think the both of us are just exhausted after all the activity the past few weeks. I felt like Thor’s Hammer hit me over the head. Both of us were in bed at 8:30. WOW!
WED Oct 14
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate crickets. Monday we placed the first big cricket order in over 5 months. 10,000 crickets. I cannot believe we use to order about this many every other week! Not only the expense but the hassle.
We had a few boxes available but had to find/steal tubs and old aquariums from around the facility to have enough to fit the 10K crickets. 10 tubs/aquariums. I didn’t realize how much space this took up.
I would venture to say we took around an hour unboxing, setting up, preparing the food, and putting away the group of crickets. As you know, we switched over to roaches about a year ago. They are so much easier to work with and have saved us so much money this year.
So why the crickets then? Well, I want to provide the animals more food sources in 2016. I felt this would be a great start to that practice. We will see. I hate crickets.
TUE Oct 13
Cubs WIN (non sports fans can skip this post)
Yes, if you are just coming here to check out gecko posts, you can read on my friend. Tuesday was sports night as the Chicago Cubs faced off against their heated rival the St. Louis Cardinals. Tied 2 games to 2 in the best of 5 series, this was the deciding game. It was back and forth through the whole game but a couple big home runs from the Cubbies clinched it for the home team. On to the National League Championship. Go Cubs Go! Go Cubs Go!
MON Oct 12
Fruit Fly Fun
Well, thanks to Charles Schurman, we have taken a big step forward with our fruit flies. You see, last winter, we couldn’t keep fruit flies alive for anything. This was a real struggle. Our little geckos suffered through some hard times as I put together strategies to provide other small feeder insects. But FFs have been the stable of their diet. Charles gave me a few quick pointers and off I went, producing loads of fruit flies. The little geckos are doing well again and we are back on course.
SUN Oct 11
One would guess that I would be so giddy over the newly purchased animals at the Tinley show that I would immediately upon arriving home find homes in our facility for these little 4 legged creatures. Not the case. With traffic and stops, we pulled in around 9pm. Our first priority? Crickets. We purchased a few to hold us over a few days. Well, there’s no way crickets can last long in these little boxes. In they went to a plastic tub with a few potatoes. Gut loading tomorrow.
The only other priority was the G. orientalis cave gecko. This one HAD to find a nice cozy MOIST home in the facility. With that accomplished Saturday night, off to bed we went.
Sunday morning found me digging through deli cups 14 deli cups to decide where everyone went. I knew the Pachydactylus tsodiloensis and Heteronotia binoei were going in two separate 3 gallon cubes on the Shelf Rack. But I had none available. I ended up moving the P. rugosis groups (2 tanks worth) to a 10 gallon. They will love it there. The female cat gecko was easy. I had an extra 12x12x17 Zilla enclosure just waiting for her that is connected to our misting system. A new tub enclosure was used to accommodate the Nephrurus milii pair, the Pachydactylus 0.1.1, and the Coleonyx elegans male.
The Chondrodactylus fitzsimons pair were a different story. I knew where I wanted them- in the 18x18x18 Exo Terra tank in our family room. It held one fan foot gecko but that wasn’t the issue. The fan foot was moved down to the facility. I wanted to FINALLY put in the styro ledge I worked on the prior month for this enclosure so the pair of Chondros had a nice living area. Nanette and I started pulling out the prior décor and background, pushed the sand to the front, pulled half the sand out, then started putting the new styro ledge in. In my best attempt to measure the blob of styro, with paint and shifting, we were off about ½ inch. A quick slice here and there with a sharp knife and a little paint and we were good to go. Moving some sand back around and putting in the ‘stones’ ad the tank was ready for the chondros.
One little crestie from Margaret and I was on to my final animals- Paroedura vazimba. I had one 12x12x17 zilla enclosure on the misting system empty. A few thick branches, a hide box, and a plant and the enclosure was set. In went the P. vazimba trio and off I went to feed some of those crickets.
SAT Oct 10
I have my list and we are on our way to Tinley Park’s NARBC to one of the largest reptile shows in the world.
With stops for breakfast and gas, we are in Tinley Park around 11:30. Show opens at 10am so we miss the first hour and a half but also miss waiting in line forever. Right away we see a couple gecko friends and chat before even heading into the show.
We have brought some food for a friend (Melissa Walker) and start down the isles to find the ‘drop off’ point. I feel more like a drug mule than a gecko breeder. Before we can even make it to the far end, I’m in conversations with 3 other gecko keepers (non-vendors). Fun times.
Finally make it to the other side of the building to start our search for A) vendors I’ve worked out trades with/pre-purchased animals from B) Vendors I want to specifically see C) Vendors I want to see animals from / hardgoods I need. We stop at Phil Tremper’s table first. This was both good and bad. Phil was positioned in the North East corner of the building. He and I chatted rare geckos for a while, I purchased 1 Heteronotia binoei (they are parthenogenic so I didn’t find a need to buy more than one). Meeting up with another couple of gecko friends and we have delivered 1 amazing female Red Harley female crested gecko to John Schultz and with Gary Hamann a pair of H. ruspoli (in a trade and cash considerations) for a 1.1 N. milii and 2 P. rangei. Gary, I love these animals.
With an hour already gone (we planned to stay only until 4pm as I wanted to listen to the Cubs game on the drive back), we were off again. And again, more good friends were found and we chatted some more. This is such a great community! Over to Barb Gebert for our female cat gecko. We chatted for a while and Nanette brought up my list for the show- then ultimately my daily to do list with time- like picking apples from the back yard at .25 hours. Yes, I am that anal. Barb found it humorous.
Out to the lobby we flew to meet up with Gary Hamann to get his animals, Eric Nelson for a male Paroedura vazimba, and with Christopher and Shayne from bug Brothers. Thank you Eric for the male. Perfect health.
Last year we talked to these fascinating folks about bugs, nutrition, and my growing allergies. Well, they brought me an industrial mask to wear down stairs! Did I mention I love this community?
And over to Steve Cemelli. About a year ago, I purchased 3 Goniurasaurus orientalis. Arriving home from Tinley that evening, I found 2 dead! Hearbreaking. Their deli cup was bone dry. So, Steve should have packed them better (actually one of his assistance) and I should have checked before leaving just to make sure. Error on both of us. Steve willingly offered to replace one of the animals. Very fair for both of us. So I have one more G. orientalis baby to raise up for next year. Nice.
As time is so quickly slipping away, we start picking up our pace. A couple of hardgood stops and we have many of the supplies we need. I catch up with Nick Esposito and we exchange a H. ruspoli pair from me for his Chondrodactylus fitzsimons. My first Chondros.
More friends more chats. I wish I could keep up with all the wonderful people we met up with at the show but it is simply impossible. We stopped by Meg, AJ, and Margaret’s table to say hi. Margaret, from an earlier loan program, provided me with a young crestie she was growing up just for me. So happy to have one of her wonderful animals. I cannot wait to see what it looks like in a few months.
As we are getting down to the final hour or so of our short visit, I had to make the run I anticipated all week- First I located Julie Bergman. I have known Julie my entire life (at least reptile life). But we have never met in person. Crazy. She is probably as much of an influence on what I do in this hobby as anyone I’ve met. A hug, a gecko exchange, a far too brief discussion and we were on our way again. Nest was a stop at Nathan Hall’s table. Both Julie and Nathan came in all the way from California. I’ve purchased some animals from Nathan in the past but again, look up to him as one of the key people in this hobby. We have a great time chatting, I purchased a male Coleonyx elegans. I just lost one of my C. elegans. I hope I have the female still and not the male!
Finally, we are headed to Jon Boone and Joe Hupp’s table. I catch Jon first to pickup a pair of Paroedura vazimbas (yes I love the little Paroeduras) and fell in love with a little pair of Pacydactylus tsodiloensis. Jon and Joe are two of the best gecko breeders around so I stole a few minutes and picked Jon’s brain with a couple of questions. Joe, being as busy as we always is, was long gone when I looked up to say hi. My only regret from the show- not saying hi to Joe.
And on the road at around 4:30 with 2 bags full of geckos. I feel so fortunate that I have so many friends in this hobby and that we have such a great show in the Midwest where we can meet together- even if the time is so short.
FRI Oct 9
Tinley Here We Come
We are not vending at one of the largest reptile shows in the world this weekend. My work schedule just could not count on me having 3 days off. Never would have happened. But we are headed down Saturday. Preparing (even though we are not vending) is fun but a bit exhausting. As I am a list person, here is our list of things to think about-
1. Animals to take- I certainly wanted to keep this very short so we will be taking only a handful of high end animals to some friends.
2. Clarks Diet to take- last year I took about 10 bags of food down. That was too much. I know it is difficult sometimes to find Clarks but people LOVE it. Only 3 bags this year.
3. Animals to obtain- I have four lists. First are those animals already purchased (only 4 individuals/pairs this year so far- the night is young). Second are those animals given to me. I cannot tell you how many people contacted me to offer their spare this or that. Fun times. Some I could take and others I could not. Third are animals owed to me through prior trades or whatever (3 animals in total). And finally forth is my Wish List. What’s the top animal on my wishlist? A cave gecko I do not have, some weird pachy or chondro, maybe even a day gecko.
4. Hardgoods to buy- including heat tape (you can never have enough heat tape, isopods and fruit flies and crickets, maybe some bromeliads. That’s about it.
THU Oct 8
If you followed our Pre-Tinley Park NARBC gecko offerings, you might have noticed that I posted a wonderful pair of Red Harley crested geckos last night. I finally got some half way decent photos of the two and put the ad up on our page and the Tinley Park pages. We had immediate interest. Customer 1 mentioned they were getting funds together and would let me know this morning. Customer 2 wanted them too and was ready to make the payment. In a chat around 11:30 yesterday night, I explained that I would give customer 1 a chance to collect the funds (until 9 the next morning). Customer 1 was not able to pull together the money and let us know by 9am today. Customer 2 immediately checked in around this time and asked for a status update. We informed him that the geckos were his with the payment. He then came back with the ‘let me think about it’. When I arrived home at 7:30 tonight to this news, I pinged customer 2 and asked if he had any questions. His response was something like can I get more up to date photos. I mentioned the pics were taken the day before but I would try later after feeding the geckos. He then said ‘I need pictures’ and ‘You must take these pictures’ before I buy these animals. I asked why and he noted that it makes him feel like a ‘winner’.
At this point I was starting to feel a bit suspicious. After quite a bit of additional chat, I informed him that reluctantly I would be not completing this transaction.
I’m not sure why this transaction made me feel so uncomfortable. Not sure if it was the tone used in the messages. I was willing to setup for more photos until his ‘I need’ and ‘You must’ comments.
Reposting to this pair to Facebook resulted in a sale within about 15 minutes. Sent a message back to customer 2 with no hard feelings. All ended well.
WED Oct 7
Baseball and Hockey (skip if you are looking for gecko news)
If you know me, you know I am a huge baseball and hockey fan. Tonight is opening night for the Chicago Blackhawks and the one-and-done playoff game for the Chicago Cubs.
Obviously I am torn on what to watch. Obviously, I will not be working with the geckos tonight.
Actually, I will get home a bit early tonight, heading down and check on babies. Check with some animals I am keeping a keen eye on, and heading back up to enjoy the evening. All cresties were fed yesterday. Leos and other animals today. We are caught up and tonight is my night to shout for my teams. GO CUBS! GO HAWKS!
TUE Oct 6
Today is Nanette’s and my 31st Anniversary. I cannot tell you how important this person is in my life.
No, it is not all about how much she helps me in the gecko room. No it is not about her help with preparing orders and shipping them out and following them up. No it is not about the 1000000 other tasks he steps in and handles for Supreme Gecko.
It is all about how absolutely in love with her I am and how much I cannot live without her in my life.
I hope she reads this but if she does not, please send her a Facebook message and point her to this day.
MON Oct 5
In our facility (in the carpeted former day care room) we have two chairs. They are not for adults. They are more fitted 8 or 9 year olds. We usually use them to reach that highest tub on one of our racks (Nanette uses them more than I).
But, at times, I will just grab one, sit down and start thinking. Why? Because I feel I am in the middle of the action. And, it is so easy to get distracted up stairs- the TV, family, a nice comfy spot on the couch with a soft pillow.
Tonight, Nanette and I finished feeding and moving babies. I grabbed a chair and she did as well. We talked about new cave gecko enclosures and how to set them up. We talked about the new gargoyle rack (12 new BIG tubs). We talked about feeder insects and how to improve our dubia production.
We even talked about the bug room and how to redesign it. We so infrequently get the opportunity to talk about our plans in the gecko facility. This was so valuable to me.
SUN Oct 4
I don’t know if this is getting too routine but today was pretty much like each of the last 4 or so Sundays.
After working most of yesterday, today is a Ketchup (catch up) day. From feeding the insects to feeding every single tank/enclosure of geckos. These days are long- at least 10 hours in the rooms. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot but after working so many hours for so much of this year, sometimes I just want to sit on the couch and watch the Flintstones (no, I don’t watch the Flintstones- it’s just an analogy).
But, this time also give me much thought on what I want to do with my hobby. It gives me time to reflect, think of the things that have gone well and the things that have not. Sometimes this is good and other times not so good.
Today, I think of all the animals I have worked with in the last 2-3 years that I have not been able to breed and have lost due to age. This includes a LOT of micro geckos that have such a short life, sometimes coming right from the wild as mature animals. This makes me sad. I should be working harder to get eggs-babies so I can distribute some of these wonderful geckos to more people. Don’t get me wrong. I am pleased with the animals that we were fortunate enough to have reproduce. I’m happy to work with them and learn from their behaviors. I just need to find a way to spend more time with the animals.
SAT Oct 3
Work and Work
Cleaning tubs is not my idea of fun in the gecko room. Not that I dislike it but I would rather be watching the geckos or moving babies or setting up pairs for breeding. But cleaning tubs is important and must be done.
However, after a full day of work, it’s hard to come home to ‘washing dishes’ so to speak. Today’s task? Clean out about 50 baby crested gecko plastic tubs. Granted, these are only the small 9 quarts. Take out the paper towel and the egg carton, wipe the tub down a bit, take it to the sink and really wash/scrub it down, dry out, then put in new paper towel and new egg cartons.
Turn on some tunes and off I go. I was hoping this would take me about 2 hours and you know what? Just over 2 hours and I am done!
FRI Oct 2
Each time I feed the caves, I am looking for eggs. Well, I am not going to be that diligent in the future.
I still know the spots in each female’s enclosure where she hides them. And I know when to expect eggs. But now and in the future, I am not going to be looking every single time I feed.
I was listening to a Blog Talk Radio (if you don’t BTR, you really should! Check out my list of must listen shows below) with John Scarbrough talking about caves. Learned quite a bit but he confirmed something I had seen this year with mine.
Our first baby caves this year did not hatch out from a deli cup. As Nanette was feeding the caves in the late spring I believe. She called me over all confused. In the enclosure were 3 animals. Not just the female Goniurosaurus kuriowae but two miniature versions of mom. Apparently someone was not checking for eggs. We were both excited to see two healthy little babies right next to mom.
So now I think ‘why go through the bother of putting the eggs in the deli cups and checking on them so often. I may or may not pull the eggs in the future. But if we don’t, no worries.
THU Oct 1
I have been neglectful. I have posted no photos of our baby crested this year. Of course, I have a few less in 2015 than in 2014 but I still should be putting some up to show everyone.
We have several little ones hatching out and growing up here in the facility. I guess it is time to start posting some photos.
WED Sep 30
Remember the ‘shelf’ rack I installed a couple months ago. I had 4 custom made tanks from back in late winter that needed a new home. I also had a little over 3 feet of wall space available in the hallway from one room to the next. 3 Feet that was just killing me! What to do with all this room. Put up another rack to hold 12 additional tanks of course.
Now that it is up, I absolutely love it. Again, it is a simple railing setup with shelves added. Just like you would put up a simple shelf to hold books. Add some heat tape and done!
And what did I put in the tanks? For the 4 custom made tanks, I added a pair of Pachydactylus bi-color to one and a pair of Pachydactylus scutatus to another (thank you Joe Hupp and Jon Boone). The two others hold grow out Pachydactylus rugosus (2 in one and 3 in the other). Also, I moved out one tank of Sphaerodactylus torrei babies and another tank with a pair of the S. torrei.
Still plenty of room to add tanks. This is now one of my favorite areas to just sit and watch the geckos.
TUE Sep 29
MON Sep 28
I have to say, gecko babies are the cutest thing in the world. I guess other than puppies and kittens. And baby elephants. Oh, and baby penguins. And of course human babies. Well, gecko babies are cute.
I purchased a pair of Cyrtodactylus eloc about 3 years ago. This was my first venture into Cyrtos. Little did I know the genus was so huge! There are so many different species, and they are all very different! Different sizes, shapes, colors, patterning, and requirements.
I did the research on C. elok before the purchase and knew they needed a bit of humidity and not too much heat. Perfect. I can do that. I ordered the pair, they came in healthy and beautiful. The female was missing her tail but if I remember correctly, that was fully disclosed before the transaction. She has since grown it back of course. I had their 10 gallon glass tank setup with peat/sand mix on the bottom and sphagnum moss scattered about. When misted daily, this would hold up the humidity well. Plenty of branches were strewn throughout the enclosure and a hide or two located on the bottom. Add a water dish, food dish, and a couple small plants and you have the setup.
The first year was fairly normal husbandry. They both ate much more than I expected. They were also fairly social to each other. However, the female had a real thing about taking off my finger! She was, and still is, a real snot. I just keep my distance when working in their tank.
Last year we got eggs! A bit larger than I had envisioned. We had 4 total. Two never did hatch. The other two did. I believe it was around 4 months or so of incubation. The first baby hatched but died that first hour. Very disappointing. The second baby hatched healthy and did great for us. We traded this baby at about 5 months of age.
This year- after moving to a completely new setup, the pair are doing well. Poking around their enclosure today and look what I find. A single egg. Where is the other one? No idea. Will there be more this season? Who knows. At least we have an egg.
SUN Sep 27
Here is a topic that I RARELY talk about. Money. So grab a seat, sit yourself down, and take note (I bet you are already sitting down).
We have been VERY fortunate to work with reptiles now for over 10 years. Each year we have made a profit with Supreme Gecko. Some years have been very profitable and others, well we have done ok. But, I’ve stuck with a plan and a philosophy and it has worked. I don’t say this to toot my own horn but to point out that we do see profits due to our business plan.
This touch of success has allowed me to invest in our business by building the facility (over 500 enclosures, racks, heating supplies, misting systems, etc.), supply quality foods, and purchase many of the animals I wish to keep. But again, the money flowing out is certainly offset by the money coming in, and that is due to the plan.
So what is the plan? We’ll, I could write a book on this. Actually, there are dozens of books on this topic already on the market. There are also scores of web pages dedicated to running a successful small business. Space does not permit detailing this plan here but if you contact me personally, I would gladly share.
But, there are 3 points that I want to make today that has made a difference for Supreme gecko and could make a big difference for your business. I will touch on them briefly here-
1. Never treat your business like a business. Of course you have to be fiscally responsible. You cannot give away your goods or services. You cannot spend randomly. But, the moment you start looking at your animals as little income producers is the moment when the needle moves from fun/educational/exciting to more of a profit/loss statement.
2. Treat customers as you would like to be treated. That should be a rule or something (maybe a golden rule). This is so simple, but painfully true. From answering messages in a timely fashion, to standing at a reptile show to make it know that you are available to talk about your animals, to answering that never ending question you get every week- (mine is can I keep a crested gecko with a leopard gecko). The three key sub-points here is- Help people, Help people, Help people and you will have customers. Period.
3. Do it for the love of the animals. Years ago we started keeping bearded dragons. We had 5 females that were producing a lot of babies, and we were selling them. I estimated the additional income to Supreme Gecko would be around 3-4K per year (if not more). Again, we sold a lot of beardies for about 2 years. But, I found that every time I walked down to the facility the very last animal that I checked on, the very last animal that I worked with, the last animal I cared about were the beardies. Just not for me. At the end of that 2nd year, we sold our collection and I never looked back. As they say- It ain’t about the money-money-money. Do this because you love to do this!
Again, I could write on this topic for days! There are so many facets on creating a successful business but time and space do not permit. Again though, if you have a question, please shoot it over to me- or post it below.
SAT Sep 26
This will be very short. On days that I have to work (today from 8am-2pm), it is sometimes difficult to break from the ‘work’ mode to the ‘gecko’ mode. Today was one of those days. I met up with Nanette and we did some needed shopping and had some together time. Home by around 6pm and it was time to feed the cresties. Bed by 9. I am pooped!
FRI Sep 25
As you know I am an excel freak. I love working with excel and making lists. Well today I started a new list- What will I do differently in 2016.
We’ve had some success in 2015. As I’ve said before, sometimes my time has been very limited with the geckos this year as I am putting in 70 hours a week or so. But next year I have some thoughts-
Bigger, more decorated enclosures- Gargoyle females will be moved from an enclosure of about 15 gallons to one of 30 gallons. I’ve had limited success with the gargs the past two years and it is about time we get some of these beautiful animals breeding more consistently and in other people’s hands. As well, we will be focusing on providing some of our cave geckos larger enclosures. And, these enclosures will be setup more naturalistic. Maybe not live plants though. That would be crazy talk.
Currently, we are housing over 50 breeding groups of crested geckos. I am getting the feeling this is a bit too much for us. The room to keep this many groups, AND their babies, AND the growouts is a bit much. We will probably scale down about 20% before the 2016 breeding season.
Paroedura picta. I want to work more closely with our groups. While I’ve kept records down one generation, I want to expand this and really understand their genetics better. This will require the use of an Excel spreadsheet. Don’t know if I can handle that.
Feeding- we moved completely away from crickets this year (ok, only ordered about 4 times) by switching to dubias. While there is no way I will be going back to crickets 100%, next year we will order at least once a month as a complement to the dubias.
Finally, we will be working on the lighting for our geckos. I would like to setup more UVB lighting for each and every gecko. Whether this is room lighting or individual tank lighting, I want all animals to have a balanced lighting delivered to this starting in 2016. There are many many more changes coming in 2016. I may post them all at the end of the year. Stay tuned.
THU Sep 24
A Couple Quickie Notes
I am constantly changing up my process in the facility to either improve, save time or money, or make more efficient some process in the facility. The latest is our insect food.
The last few months, I have been feeding a lot of fruits and vegetables. A LOT! I’ve noticed a few more bugs (not the good kind but the tiny flies) in the dubia containers. Not good. So, I started asking around. One thing came up consistently- a good protein dry food is fed.
Hey, I use to do this! I have a 3 compartment plastic container in each of the 6 bins. They were consistently filled with a HIGH quality dry food on one end and water crystals on the other end. The larger middle section is used for veggies and fruits. So why did I get away from feeding all three- It was so much easier to buy a 25 lb bag of carrots and to pick up a 5 gallon pale of apples, to cut them up, and to throw in the pieces in each bin. I’ve seen a bit of a drop in production, not much but a bit. Well, back to basics!
Next, after posting the picture of the Teratoscincus scincus baby yesterday, I was told that these are not the easiest eggs to incubate and had a bunch of questions on how they laid and how the egg(s) were incubated. How did I do it? Well, not knowing I should do anything ‘different’, I set them up over sand, plenty of hiding places, and not hide box. The eggs were found in the sand. Unfortunately one did break as I have been told they are very delicate. I set them up exactly like I do Paroedura picta- eggs are placed on Supreme Hatch Material (or sand) in a bottle cap. The bottle cap is them placed in an incubator (mine is set to 82). It really was that easy but I wanted to share with everyone.
WED Sep 23
Checking eggs today and I was really startled. In the bin of small gecko eggs (Hemidactylus, Pachydactylus, and Paroedura) I saw movement. But not the movement of an inch long gecko. I could see through the opaque lid that this was a mammoth baby moving around. I had to be a frightening 2 and a half inches! Ok, I deal work crested gecko babies ,leopard gecko babies, and even chahoua babies that are certainly this big. But I was not expecting this brute!
I opened the lid expecting a sudden jolt from the behemoth but it just sat there. I had the camera already downstairs in anticipation of taking some crested gecko pictures so I left the lid open, grabbed the camera and started shooting.
The youngster moved ever so slightly with each flash. It was almost like he was posing for the pictures….. And this side…. And now with my tail up…. And now looking right at you. It was pretty cool. Not once did it look like it was going to make the mad dash out of the incubation box.
Finally satisfied I had at least one or two good pics out of the dozen or so I shot, I put the camera down. With deli cup in hand, I skoooched the monster in. And guess what, I didn’t even lose a finger.
What a cutie-
TUE Sep 22
This past winter, I really struggled to have small food items available for the micro geckos. My fruit fly cultures were hit or miss. Sometimes they would take off and I would have plenty, other times they would not. I resorted to ordering FFs at least 6-7 times. Many times they came in bad (due to weather) and I would have to reorder. It was a real struggle.
Thanks to another hobbyist that keeps fruit flies, I was able to produce them consistently this summer. Thank you Charles Schurman. But during the fall, winter, and spring I was scrambling for little food. As a result, I have started several other cultures of small food
- Kenyan roaches- going great and s/b the right size of food)
- Bean beetles- a bit difficult to harvest and pretty hard shelled
- Isopods- great food items but they don’t reproduce fast enough to be a viable option
- Wheat beetles- very difficult to harvest
- Peanut beetles- just started with these and I’m excited to try them
- Meal worm- the young are a perfect size for my animals.
- Crickets- easy to produce, but we don’t order crickets that often
It is fun working with these different bugs but it is also more work. I will probably get down to 3 that I can really rely on.
MON Sep 21
Today is a day to putz around as I like to say. Checking on eggs hatching (none and I am absolutely shocked!). Fed fruit flies to some of the smaller geckos. Man do we have the over population of fruit flies (thanks Tundra Exotics).
The main task is feeding the hallway racks. The fun part is Cyrtodactylus peguensis. I put a few mealworms in their little glass bowl and they sit there (both the male and the female, looking at the bowl from an inch away, like they are thinking “Wow, those sure look good”. “Wish I could have some”. Dumb animals! So, being the caring person I am, I opened the door and threw 2 or 3 on the dirt. They quickly scarfed up the mealworms and then made it right back to their position of watching the mealies in the glass bowl.
The funny thing is, when feeding the Cyrtodactylus peguensis, I put the small, flat container with the 100-200 mealies on top of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis (about 10 inches long) enclosure’s screen top. After watching the little guys, I saw Mr. C. irregularis eyeing up the container. Well, I picked a few bigger meal worms out, threw them on the screen, and watched them slide into the enclosure. Do you think he would take even one? No, back behind his cork bark hide he went. Man are these shy.
SUN Sep 20
I am exhausted, satisfied, but yet not satisfied at the same time.
Today started out cleaning dubia containers. I have found we have a slight tiny bug problem in the dubias. I hate the tiny flies (knats?). Well, I completely cleaned out the 3 dubia containers in the bug room (ok, it was the downstairs bathroom but I have completely taken it over now with 3 66 qt tubs of dubia, 1 tub with small dubia for feeding, and one tub with Kenyan roaches multiplying like, well like roaches. Cleaning these tubs took a full 2 hours, but that is completely cleaning and also harvesting all dubias from the frass. I also cleaned 2 mealworm containers, fed a bunch of enclosures, misted everyone, fed the crested, and fed the other 3 dubia containers.
On to priority 1 task- photos of the crested. Well, I checked several crested that we have misted and fed and have had the lights off for about an hour. Not one is colored (fired) up. After checking more, I am realizing none are. They must be too busy eating! This is a huge disappointment for me and just established even more why I hate taking pictures of the animals.
SAT Sep 19
Saturday has turned into a work in the morning and early afternoon and shop in the early evening… then feed in the later evening.
I am sure you can guess that I bought ‘gecko things’. What kind of things? Well, first stop was Lowes, and I had the tape measure in tow. I found a perfect size container at Lowes- after looking on line at Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Menards, and the Container store. More on this later but as a tease- new stand with 15 new tubs. Did I mention these are the perfect size!?! And, you know while at Lowes, I had to get some accessories- lights, paint, etc.
Next stop, well after a quick lunch at Chick Filet, was Woodmans, a large grocery store. Here, we picked up distilled water for the misting system and the turtle tank. Also, we found a big bag of carrots. How big, well I believe it was 25 lbs. Whew! That should be good for a month for the dubias. Oh, and some cereal and milk and other sundry groceries…. Stuff. Whatever.
Made a trip to the dollar store. I needed 3 more dubia feeder containers. They are like the 3 compartment meal containers. They work perfectly for dry-vegies-water crystals. I also picked up some flat ½ gallon containers for the new beetles (Buffalo and peanut). Hey how did that bag of tootsie roll suckers get in the basket. Well, looks like Christal and I will be enjoying candy tonight.
I am not a shopper (I’m more of a buyer) but what made this late afternoon enjoyable was the time spent talking to Nanette. We rarely get the chance to talk together that much with our busy schedules but this was quality time.
FRI Sep 18
Home from work and I am down stairs deli cupping a bunch of baby and adult red geckos. Someone else likes red cresties! I have an instant friend!
John A. purchased a couple of red cresties from me 2 years ago. We met after a reptile show in Wheaton half way home at a Steak and Shake (I LOVE S&S! so Win Win!). I mentioned that he had a great opportunity to have a pair and perhaps 2 females as I was seeing a good 50/50 ratio of male to female cresties the prior year or so. Well guess what (here’s my shocked face) he grew out two males. Of course! No worries. I would find him a female.
Well, last year, I didn’t hatch out many reds and had fewer females. I had to fulfill my other ‘promise’ list. Some of the females were super nice (and those went to prior customers on the promised list) and some were just ok. I didn’t want to give John a ‘just ok’ animal so we never connected to get that female to him.
This year was the same….. until I took 3 or 4 crested to the WIRE show Sunday. What seemed to be lighter red/pinkish cresties at home turned out to be fire engine red animals at the show. Once at shows like this, my mind completely distracts into a million directions and I forgot all about John’s gecko unfortunately. Good news! His daughter was attending the show and mentioned this. Light bulbs went on and I realized I could get John one of these animals. She took a couple pics and John confirmed his desire for a female (and a male and a youngster if I had one). We arranged a get together at my home and Friday he came up.
We chatted about crested, purchased the female, male, and youngster but more importantly we found about a dozen other interests we shared- like fishing, grandkids, dogs, fossils and tropical fish.
Years and years ago, I was in the Milwaukee Aquarium Society and Wako (Wisc. Area Killie Organization) (isn’t that the best name!). Maintaining over 125 tanks kept me busy until the kids showed up and I had to let the hobby go. Well John and I talked about fish shows, the great people in Wako, and so many other fish related stuff. I tell you, I could have talked for hours and hours with John- my newest bestest friend.
THU Sep 17
Brian from the Nature Center stopped by tonight. We talked about collard lizards for a while, taking extra care of animals purchased from reptiles shows (keeping them out of the sun, keeping them warm in winter, keeping animals requiring high humidity wet during transport), how to loupe, etc. But, we also talked about this hobby being such a close knit family.
Brian is working with some chameleons and does what every person should be doing- he is asking other breeders how they care for their animals. He calls, he Emails, he asks the right questions.
Well, this past week, Brian contacted a chameleon breeder in FL named Eslin Jimeranez of Crazy Red Geckos. They talked about this and that but eventually Brian mentioned that he picked up a top of the line red male crestie and a couple of nice Harley females from us last year and that he has had great success breeding these. Eslin noted that he knew me and that I was a ‘good guy’ (I hope I am quoting him correctly).
It is an extremely small world in our hobby. My point is that it is so important to build up good relationships from a basic husbandry need and from a business need. It makes my day when I hear someone say something like this. It’s not why I spend the time on FB and with Emails as I want to share as much information as I can, but again it is nice hearing good things about Supreme Gecko and what we are doing.
WED Sep 16
The Results of Quality Customer Service
Why do I try so hard? Why do I answer every single Email and message on Facebook. Why do I spend the time following up on hobbyists’ issues with their animals to make sure everything is ok and to find out if they have other questions?
Friday, a friend is coming over that purchased 2 red baby crested geckos from me about 3 years ago. I mentioned that the male/female relationship I was producing at the time was about 50/50. He was hoping certainly for a male and a female. Well, you guessed it. A couple years later and he Emails me to let me know he actually ended up with two males. I had already promised out the red female I produced last year so mentioned he was first in line for females this year. I did wind up keeping a few cresties as holdbacks and they turned out to be nice reds (a couple males and a couple females). He is headed up to purchase one of the females and another male for sure… and maybe others.
For Supreme Gecko, this is NOT uncommon at all. We get a lot of our business from repeat buyers. If you are a breeder and sell your animals, I am sure you do to. If you do not see many people coming back to buy additional animals, check your habits of keeping in touch with your existing customers. It might need updating.
TUE Sep 15
Where do you get your fix for gecko information? Books? Web- forums, FB, web pages (like www.supremegecko.com [blatant plug for our website]), reptile shows, pet stores, or some other means?
One of my absolute favorite sources for information, whether general care or animal information or some of those tidbits that you absolutely cannot find anywhere else (glue small pieces of a sponge on forceps to collect delicate eggs- thank you Joe Hupp), is Blog Talk Radio.
First, here is how I listen- I go to an episode, download it to my computer, and listen at work… DURING LUNCH of course. I use to put it on an MP3 but now I have the laptop wherever I go.
Next, where is what I download- sports talk shows (I am huge into fantasy sports if you don’t already know), Social Media (Facebook-Instagram-Twitter) how to shows, some comedy shows, and of course gecko (reptile) shows.
I find this information invaluable. I have little Tips files on my computer. I there news about a baseball player, better way to look at FB/Instagram/Twitter, or specific care/breeding info on a certain gecko, I am making a note of it.
Now- some gecko shows I download (if you want a list of others- fantasy sports, social media, etc.) leave a message below.
|Gecko Nation Radio||Late Night Leos||Urban Jungle Radio|
|The Other Herp Cast||Reptile Radio|
MON Sep 14
Monday was photo day and crested gecko rack cleaning day. As Jordan was busy, Christal his 3 ½ year old ‘helped’ us in the facility. Nanette and I setup the dozen cresties for the photo shoot then moved on to redecorate and scrub out 21 crestie tubs. Collecting the geckos was easy as I already had them marked for pictures. About every other one came the ‘I want to see the gecko’. If a 3 year old wants to see a gecko, you SHOW them the gecko. In between ‘He’s cutes’ and ‘He’s beautiful’ our corgi Gus Gus found his way under Nanette’s or my feet as he chased a loose cricket or paper towel tube or gecko or something (I don’t care… he was just in the way!)- the art of swearing at your dog without really swearing in earshot of a young one.
As the cresties began firing up, off to scrub tubs. “I want to help”….. of course you do, because cleaning gecko poop and scrubbing crested gecko food stains from plastic tubs is Sooooo much fun. It might have been the fact that she got to use the sprayer and play in water as I noticed Nanette doing the majority of scrubbing (I handled the geckos as she hates this part). And Gus? Well, he was thrilled to again occasionally grab an egg carton meant for the cleaned crestie tub and run off to shred it into a zillion pieces. Thanks for more work my precious dog!
Tubs done, picture taking next. Cresties looked good and the camera was out. And what do you think Christal wanted to do. Yes, our little Matthew Brady took some amazing pictures of the geckos…. Well the wall behind the gecko, the ceiling, the floor, her hand, the tail of the gecko as it jumped, most everything other than the gecko.
So, what should have taken a little over an hour actually took about an hour and 45 minutes. But, you know what, I would have it no other way! The time we got to spend together was priceless.
SUN Sep 13
Reptile shows are for selling- and that it all!!! If you are a vendor and go to a show with this mentality, you are done before you even get there! Reptile shows are for so much more.
Reptile shows are a place to match names with faces- to make a personal connection outside of social media. I enjoy working with FB, twitter, Instagram, and of course Email but nothing beats shaking someone’s hand when they walk up to your table and greeting them with “Hi Steve, how are your 2 pair of crested geckos doing” or “Nancy, great to see you. How is Thor doing” (her ill leopard gecko that we corresponded about). I am THE WORST at making a connection between FB and someone in person (right Steve Miller?). For me to remember a face with a name has nothing to do about how much a customer buys from me or how many times they’ve stopped and chatted at a show. It almost always has to do with a specific ‘thing’ about the hobby or their pets that I can connect with. I’m the worst!
Reptile shows are all about getting questions answered. We do some shows where we are constantly busy. I hate those shows. There is no time to talk to other keepers. Now, there are some vendors that will not take the time to chat with their customers and there are some that will act like they are interested. I feel we are a bit different- I hate the business part of doing shows as I feel it takes me away from helping another hobbyist with their hobby or their specific animal. If you see me handing off your animal and/or supplies to my son or wife to collect money, it is because I want to get to the next customer’s question (and I should have asked you if you had any more questions). As well, I ask questions of other breeders too. This was especially true of the WIRE show this weekend. I have to say with the Packer/Bear’s game and great weather, we really had a low turnout. Well, this gave me some time to chat with Doug M and Adam C. on everything from beardies to the best way to keep dubia. And no Adam, I am not buying a wood burning stove and chopping wood just to keep my dubia warm!
Reptile shows, most importantly are a place for me to touch base with long term herping friends.
SAT Sep 12
Show Prep or Holdback Hassles
Hardgoods- With two big orders of Pangea and Clarks diet, today was the day to unpack, confirm counts, and label. This is a table full of food- and I’m talking 10 foot extension table! Whew, this is a lot to go through- sort, count, label. But every few months we have to do this.
Other supplies (Supreme Chow, SHM, cups, and most importantly candy that we hand out) are checked.
Then it is animal time. Leos, P. picta, and weirdo geckos (Hemidactylus, etc.) are done in a flash. On to cresties. Well, I have about 90 holdbacks right now. I’ve confirmed sex on about 20. I knew this day was coming but holy cow, this is time consuming. As I open a bin, check the animal’s health, sex the animal, establish a selling price, and mark the enclosures, Nanette records the information.
As I moved through the racks of geckos and marked the tanks, I became more and more frustrated. Occasionally, I would look back and the completed tubs and it started to seem like almost every one was marked with a big fat M. Now males are great and everyone needs them but at some point, the business side of things takes over the hobby side of things. I know the importance of quality males. You can pass that great gene to more than one female. But, the general public wants females. If you see two equally beautiful crested geckos offered for sale, most of the time, the female will be twice as expensive as the male. Most of the time.
So, back to work. Once complete, we had a list of about 75 geckos (some were still a bit small to sex). I started counting. One-Zero. Two-Zero. Two-One. Three-One (first number is the count of males).
And how bad did it turn out? I believe the final count was 40 – 35. Maybe one or two females more than that. Not too bad. In my mind though, as I had the loupe in one hand and the gecko in the other, I wanted EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL to be a female and built up the belief that they were all actually males. I’ll take an @ 50/50 ratio.
FRI Sep 11
Always searching for that perfect feeder food, today I ordered two new feeders- Peanut beetles and Buffalo beetles from Cape Cod Roaches. I will not get into the details about care for these two insects but will suggest that you check out their web site. You may even find other insects that catch your fancy.
I will say the Buffalos are suppose to be a great ‘warm’, cleaner beetle for dubias. I will probably break the colony I received into groups that will go into some of the dubia bins I am keeping, and hold one back separate.
The Peanut beetles are interesting. From the Cape Code Roaches site- “one of the fastest breeding small live foods available”. Nice! And- “easy to care for and culture, the adult beetles and larvae do not climb or fly. Score! 2 for two. Finally “The larvae stay smaller than mealworms”. And we have a winner!
I will be setting these up and will provide another report in a month or so.
All Photos credited to Cape Cod Roaches
THU Sep 10
Planning for the Show
Sunday is WIRE. What is WIRE? It is the WIsconsin Reptile Expo... get it (WI R E).
We have been doing this show for at least 8 years and have had a blast each and every show. It is special to us as our good friend Jim Stelpflug from SW Reptile runs it and does a great job.
Well, it is time to start checking animals, supplies, and making sure we are all set for the show. I have my list of supplies that will be used but it is the work with the animals that is the tricky part. Some animals are easy- leos that I've been raising since the end of last year. Adult cresties are not so bad.
But, I also have crested geckos that are right on the verge of being male or female. As well, there are grow out African geckos that need to be sexed. This will take some time. I don't like to do this in haste and make a mistake. If you buy a female from me I want you to have a female! If you are purchasing a pair of Hemidactylus ruspoli, I want you to have a pair.
So, starting tonight and going into tomorrow I am sure, I will be checking out little gecko's undersides closely and thoroughly. Such is the job of a breeder. Here is the LINK to WIRE.
WED Sep 09
Time To Brag
If you know me, you know I do not like to put myself or Supreme Gecko in the spot light. There are some fantastic breeders and wonderful people in this hobby. I would like to put the spotlight on them and point out their accomplishments and their giving back to the hobby.
BUT.... this will be one time I would like to toot my own horn.
Today, we reached 50,000 views on The Daily Gecko News!
I never had a goal when I started writing this daily 'journal' about a year ago. The intent was truly to educate other hobbyist with the good, and the bad things that happen at Supreme Gecko.
With the responses in Emails and FB messages, that goal has been accomplished.
But again, to back up this fact, to reach 50K sets me back a bit and allows me to realize this message is getting out to more people than I could have ever imagined.
So thank you so much for coming back to see what we will do next at SG. I hope it has been a bit entertaining, fun to read, and most importantly educational. Continue to enjoy as I will be doing this as long as you come back to read.
TUE Sep 08
We Have A Runner!
I should know by now. But I don't take precautions. Why, because, sometimes I get lazy, that's why!
I open the lid to the Hovabators. I check into the clear-ish egg containers (bead boxes). If I don't see anything I open up the top.
And what happens? A little Hemidactylus runs out, up my arm or down my leg, jumps onto the carpeted floor, and scoots under a close by rack. I swear and act like I'm a 20 year old second basemen diving for a hot line drive. I miss of course... because I'm not 20 years old.
Next thing, I'm moving kritter keepers and bags of sand around looking for a half inch of pure gecko lightning. Next, I get back up, grab a deli cup and back down I go. I corner the little bugger and in the cup it goes- Over to the micro gecko stand, and into a small enclosure with his little buddies he now resides.
My next action is walking gingerly up the stairs and over to the medicine cabinet to grab the bottle of Advil for my now pulled back.
You would think I would learn.
MON Sep 07
Fruit Fly Time.
I cannot tell you how many I collected from one of the containers. If you ever need good fruit flies, contact Charles Schurman of Tundra Exotics. Anyways- I bet I had 500 flies dusted and ready to feed. I hit the micros, the micro babies, the African babies, and even some of the smaller geckos. The Hemidactylus tanganicus immediately came in to investigate, watched them for a half minute, than scarfed them down! Don’t underestimate / overestimate the food sizes your geckos will eat!
Nanette took off for dinner. I jumped on the opportunity to start the crested gecko diet feed. My hope was to get all the dishes setup (over 225), the food mixed, all dishes poured, and the day care room started with at least 2 racks complete (including checking hides) before she could catch me and come down to help. As I raced through the first room and finished, I realized I may have been a bit too quick on the trigger to begin the feed.
She made her way down exactly as I was putting in the very last dish in the very last enclosure. Score! I beat her. For me, this was a huge accomplishment as she has been so helpful in the room. By now though, I believe the score is most likely about 25 – 1 in her favor.
Collected 2 Hemidactylus ruspoli eggs. They were sitting on top of the cork bark. YES! I have cork bark in an African rock-dwelling gecko’s enclosure. And they rewarded me by placing their eggs right on top of the bark.
SUN Sep 06
It’s Buying Time
Today, I tooled around in the reptile room. Funny, it was pretty much the whole day. I tend to, on days like this, to venture down for an hour or two, come up and work on FB/messages/etc. then head back down again to work on something else.
The geckos are all doing well and I did play quite a bit with the Australians and picta.
But it was also buying day. We put in our orders for Pangea and also for Clarks diet as we were getting a bit low. One would think that I would learn. It would be a good idea to focus some funds from shows and sold animals over to a ‘Diet’ fund so when it is time to buy the diets, I am not writing out the equivalent of a couple of house payments. But NO!!!! Never happens. I have to hope and pray I have enough in Paypal (and haven’t recently purchased that MUST HAVE gecko) to cover the expense. Well, again, I made it, but just barely. I think I only have a few hundred left in the account. Guess it’s time to check Fauna Classified for a gecko or two!
SAT Sep 05
Working on so many things. Checking eggs, I find a H. ruspoli hatched. Also, we have about 6 baby P. picta. I had to setup 2 new 15 qt enclosures to move out two groups of babies as they are growing so fast and outgrowing their 9qts. As my misting system has been a challenge in getting it to setup for second (runs every day for 1 minute and should run for only about 30 seconds), it has started to moisten a couple of enclosures’ substrates too much. So I added some sand to a few enclosures and shut off the mister for now. I think I will run it every other day for now.
Leos, picta, Australians, weird geckos (Aftricans/cat/Coleonxy/Cyrtodactylus/frog eye) are all fed. Caves are fed as well. And finally the micros. Everything is fed except crested gecko diet and that will be tonight. Nanette worked on the leos and aussies and I did everything else. This gives me time to really take a look at the geckos. It seems everyone is doing well…… Except, I lost a Coleonyx elegans.
It always makes me reflect on situations like this. Why did this happen. Something I did? Well, the pair were in perfect shape. They had food and were eating daily. They had water and I feel their tank was setup appropriately. The only thing I can think of is that they may have been an older pair. This was my second year with them. Unfortunately, last year I only received 1 set of dud eggs. Very disappointing but I will work with this cool species again!
FRI Sep 04
Who Has Time For YouTube?
What am I doing? I’ve pulled up 4 or 5 videos on calci-worms, the grub phase of the Soldier Flies. I found a few in our roach bin and I thought this would be a great little bug to cultivate and feed to the geckos.
After realizing this would certainly mean little soldier flies roaming the house at every level, the idea was quickly dismissed. Wipe. Wipe. Wipe.
But, again the A.D.D. kicked in and I was off watching videos on fruit flies, then on dart frogs, then on naturally setup vivariums, then on building your own décor out of Styrofoam, then on African geckos, then on micro geckos, and so on and so on. It is so easy to get derailed on the plethora of available information on YouTube.
But, it can certainly be a “time suck” (I love that saying). If you are not careful, 2 hours can be cleared right off your schedule as if it never existed. Wipe. Wipe. Wipe.
THU Sep 03
Took some photos of some crested. While I was feeding tonight, I noticed some grow outs were really looking crazy. Well, they fired up fairly well for me (not all the way though). Here are a few photos but I will have to take additional pics when I get a chance. Now, to decide what stays and what goes.
WED Sep 02
Meeting a Friend
Got together with a long time Friend tonight- Steve M. We haven’t talked (I mean really talked) in so long. Steve has kept geckos and snakes, in the past. We have shared so many stories. Now that he is out of reptiles, it is a bit difficult. However, he still holds interest in the hobby and asks tons of questions on my animals.
Tonight, we talked about his hectic life, my hectic life, geckos, snakes, and reptile shows. It is always great getting together with a friend. I miss him in the hobby but still immensely enjoy his conversation.
TUE Sep 01
The breeding season of 2015 is coming to an end. We still get some crested gecko eggs, and African gecko eggs, and of course P. picta eggs but for the most part our season is coming to an end.
It's far too early to slap a Pass/Fail stamp on the season but, if you've read the News up to this point, I think you know how it is has gone.
We have produced fewer crested geckos, virtually no gargoyles, few chewies, a very limited # of leos, picta and caves that we were planning. However, things sometimes work out this way. I just have no time to do the number of shows I've done in the past. I cannot imagine having the hundreds and hundreds of cresties and leos again this year and not doing the reptile shows!
My responsibilities have drastically changed at work (for the better) and it has had an huge impact on the year. I do however see a change coming again next year that will ease the workload and free up time, allowing me to focus again on the animals.
Just have to hang in there another few months!
MON Aug 31
You didn’t come here to read that I worked the whole day (and night) and spent no time with the animals. So…. I will offer a joke: As school is starting up again -
Teacher: “Anyone who thinks he’s stupid may stand up!”
Nobody stands up
Teacher: “I’m sure there are some stupid students over here”
Little Johnny stands up
Teacher: “Ohh, Johnny you think you’re stupid?”
Little Johnny: “No…. I just feel bad that you’re standing alone”
Hopefully better posts in the next few days.
SUN Aug 30
Think about it. What is your worst reptile job?
For me it is cleaning crickets. I hate the smell and the waste and the time it takes me to clean which is time I am not spending with the gecko. This was part of the reason we switched to raising dubia a year ago (and of course the cost savings).
But now I have another Dirty Job. Not as bad a cleaning crickets but a bit time consuming and, as I’ve found out the last few months, a bit dangerous.
About once a month, I collect baby dubias. We have 3 big containers (over 120 qts) and 3 medium containers (about 70 qts). We get about 2.5 – 3 pounds of baby dubias! That is easily enough to feed our baby and small geckos (up to cave gecko size). This takes me about 1.5 hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Not too bad. Shake off the egg cartons into 2 big plastic containers (top container has small holes that allow the little ones through). Replace the egg cartons and feed. Done!
But, twice a year, I completely clean out the bins. *** NOTE, dubias hate to be bothered, breed better when not, and love the frass / ‘dirt’ that accumulates at the bottom of the containers. I do this for my peace of mind more than anything. The task involves collecting the babies (weighing and recording lbs), storing the collected adults in another container, dumping the frass, adding more substrate (wheat), then dumping back in the adults.
That does not sound too bad but there is one step missing. How to get the additional dubias, adults and babies, out of the frass. I do not know of any easy, quick way. What I do is setup another container- or 6- to hold the frass, put additional egg cartons on top and collect the dubias every half hour or so as they gather on the cartons. And this take time. Eventually, I give up when I only get a dozen or so and go in to pick the individuals out manually. Painfully slow!
So this makes this a bit of a Dirty Job but worse for me, and a bit dangerous, I am now allergic to the wheat and the frass. Ugggh. So now I wear gloves and a mask during this task. I may not look that great but at least I can breathe the next day!
SAT Aug 29
Everything Relates to Geckos
When I go shopping with my wife, I look at things differently. Spatulas are crested gecko diet stirring tools. Colanders are mealworm/dubia sifting tools. Measuring spoons…. Don’t get me started!
After a very hot summer, temperatures are cooling down. I noticed yesterday that some apples are falling from the tree in back. So, do I think about eating the apples? NO! Do I think about apple slices and cheese? NO! Do I think about apple pie…. Well sure, who doesn’t think about apple pie. Mmmmmmm apple pie ala mode. What the heck was I writing about. Ah, apples.
What do I see when apples on the ground? BUG FOOD! I see another source of nutrition for the crawlers. A new gut load source. And, one of my favorite words. FREE. Fantastic, free feeder food. Life is good.
FRI Aug 28
This year has been tough. Work has eaten up around 60-70 hours per week this year. The facility work and correspondence has taken a front seat to research reading. However, about one a week during lunch at work, I do find myself perusing the Internet for enjoyment. And what sites to I most often visit? Let me break down my #1 favorites by Genus-
Cage geckos- None better than http://www.ms-goniurosaurus.de/ Great photos and just the right amount of information. Owner- Markus Schroter.
Dwarf (micro) geckos- The best! http://www.zwerggeckos.com Featuring Gonatodes, Sphaerodactylus, Lygodactylus, Tropiocolotes, and more. Outstanding species AND setup photos. The care tips are perfect. Information you will not find anywhere else! Owner- Dennis Hluschi Baldamus
Gonatodes- Nice care sheets, but outstanding photos of this group. http://www.gonatodes.wz.cz/ Owner Radim Svechovsky Phelsuma- not updated that often but some excellent reference information (ID photos) on this Genus http://www.phelsuma.org/index.php . Owner Emmanuel Van Heygen
Pacydactylus- Not just Pachys. Great local photos (something you just do NOT see on many sites), great animal phots, and great information. http://pachydactylus.com/pages/english/home.php A must for Pachy owners. Owners- Mirko Barts and Christian Schneider
Uroplatus- For you leaf tail lovers, there is http://www.uroplatus.org/ Nice photos and a comprehensive list of Uros.
ALL- One of my favorite http://jonboone.com/ Owner of course Jon Boone. Information on so many geckos it is amazing. Cannot find info on a gecko you are interested in. Start with this site.
THU Aug 27
Fall in August
No it’s not! It’s still summer. However, after weeks and weeks of temps in the 90s, as I check the temps today and they are in the low 70s, it certainly feels like autumn.
And how are the geckos taking it? Well, egg production is starting to decline, especially with the created geckos. Leos stopped producing eggs about a month or more ago. Caves are still producing as are the Africans. And the P. picta? Well, they are unbiased to seasonal changes. They say “To Heck with you Winter! We will breed whenever and wherever we want to!”. Little rabbits!
But, my mind is already planning. Fall brings cleaning time in prep for the winter. All tanks are emptied and thoroughly scrubbed. Not that we don’t clean poop and wipe down the enclosures during the rest of the year, Fall is just the major overhaul of everything. Hides are redone- older ones replaced and all of the hides are refreshed with new material. In general everything gets fixed, filled, and or ‘fine-tooth-combed’.
With Fall coming, I am also preparing my animal list. I do a major inventory of all adult creatures in the facility. Why? This is for planning. In the winter, I like to day dream of possible color combinations and new projects. I also like to know what animals I may have surplus of, or might need a match for a male or female.
While the Winter is boring for the most part as our animals sleep the days and nights away, Spring is hopping with breeding, and Summer is busy with babies, it is the fall that our sights are set high with visions of new gecko pairings and new color morphs. Fall is for planning and I am a master planner! As they say, “Hitch your wagon to a Star.”.
WED Aug 26
An Itch That Needs To Be Scratched
I love the animals I am currently working with. From the micros to the Paroedura to the leos and crested geckos to the African to the caves. Love them all. But, as is the case with us hobbyist, I have a bit of extra funds that are burning a hole in my Paypal pockets. I have the itch to purchase another gecko.
Would it be a leo or crested? I don’t think so. I am pretty set for next year with the groups/holdbacks that I have.
Micro gecko? I am seeing a few new breeders on the scene working with Sphaerodactylus and Gonatodes. This is exciting, and encouraging. But, I think I am fine with my micro collection right now.
Africans? Well, I would like another pair of Pachys, small preferred. I have my eyes open for a couple species but we will see.
Cave geckos perhaps? My interest is peaked. I have 6 species but certainly would like to add a couple more before the end of the year. I’ll be watching!
The hard part is finding some of these rarer animals that I would be interested in. Where do I go? Well, I start with Kingsnake.com. Surprisingly, in the Classifieds-Misc. Geckos, I find, buries in the middle of pages of house geckos and fat tails, some interesting animals. It’s not a source that has rarer animals all the time but you would be surprised.
Next, I head over to FuanaClassified. Again, checking out the classified-geckos section… and weeding through the crested geckos, I find animals offered from various sources. Be a bit careful with both KS and FC. Check out FC’s BOI for breeder/company names just to make sure.
Finally, probably the best sources is on FaceBook. There are several auction and for sale pages offered for geckos. Also, I check out the Genus specific pages as well to get an idea of who is breeding. And, there is the key….. I ask them. “Hey Joe, got any 8s (oops that’s Go Fish)… got any Pachydactylus?”. “Jon, are you breeding any special Paroedura?”. Sometimes you will be surprised when the breeder tells you that they are and have some for sale. Other times, you can get on their wish list or get a date when they will have them available. Finally, you may get a little insight to other species they may also be working with. Talk to the breeders!
TUE Aug 25
I cannot believe the number of Paroedura picta we are hatching right now. It had been an extremely slow spring but we are boiling hot right now. Every day results in 2-7 babies. I am excited about the color varieties that we are seeing. If you read my post a few weeks ago, you know we are keeping all groups separate this year. I think this will help so much in identifying and keeping these lines straight from birth to sale/holdback. I will have to get some photos of these wonderful animals that we are producing this year.
MON Aug 24
A few years ago, I purchased a couple Zilla Power Centers from Richard of Reptile Rapture. I have been extremely pleased with the system- 2 day time, 2 night time, and 4 continuous plug ins, all on a timer. Perfect! Works great. Until the power goes out. Same with our misting system.
I know, there must be a battery for backup on these. I need to check that.
About 2 weeks ago, our electric went out due to a storm. Actually a kick-butt storm that began as a tornado about 30 miles away. Next day, clocks, etc. had to be reset- including the Zilla Power Center and misting system timer. No worries. Timers set and a day later, no lights and no misting. Grrrrr. Back to work I go. Ah, I had to reprogram. Done and Done. Another day and lights are on constantly and misting system again is not working. Off to reprogram again. Note to self- there is a difference between AM and PM….. and also, between off and on. If you set a misting system to go on at 9:01pm and off at 9:00pm, that is bad! Luckily I caught this only after about 5 minutes so no big worries.
Next day and the lighting is STILL off full time and the misting system is not misting at all, even when I manually turn it on. Now I am just frustrated. Unplugged Zilla Power Center (no, it is not the tool, it is the carpenter’s fault!) and reprogrammed again. I think I nailed it this time.
For the misting system- I went to work the next day thinking of what else I could try. Finally it came to me, perhaps it is out of water. That night I checked and sure enough, it was below the hose line. Filling the 5 gallon bucket up, and what do you know. Misting! Dohhhhhhh. Thank goodness I opted for one of the best misting systems on the market- Ryan Turnquist.
Again, moral of the story, a carpenter never blames his tools. But he can certainly swear a lot at them.
SUN Aug 23
Milwaukee Repticon- The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
As I worked Saturday and had to be online for support Sunday, I could not attend the Repticon show this weekend at all. However, checking FB posts and messages this weekend, it became evident there wee issues.
But first the good. One of the vendors was Adam Christopher. This is an exceptional young man in the hobby and one to watch! He is doing it the right way by researching, gaining knowledge, and adding TOP quality animals to his collection. Very impressive. Well he and Allison setup shop for the weekend bringing African Fat Tails and Crested geckos. I found out after the show that he had a very respectable weekend- comparable to a SEWERFest or Spring Tinley. I will add more about this in the next section.
Next- the bad. The limited advertising had to hurt the attendance of this show. 2-4 weeks ago, all I saw on FB was when is the show, where is the show, I knew nothing about the show. And this is with a well informed hobbyist!
And finally the UGLY- Reports started showing up on the Milwaukee Repticon Saturday. I heard that one vendor, who travelled about 50 miles, had to completely pack up his table as his main product (dubia roaches) was already being sold at the show. Say what you will about exclusivity of products at a show but this vendor was not informed before the show about this issue. They were refunded their shows costs but I just cannot believe this happened. There had to be a better solution. Had to be!
SAT Aug 22
It’s a day at work.
From 8-4. I am bushed. We did hit downstairs for crested feeding and checking for new eggs. 6 sets of eggs from the cresties. Down quite a bit from the past weeks. Are they slowing down? It has been cooler the past few days but we will see.
FRI Aug 21
Well, today for your viewing pleasure and reading enjoyment, I offer you Yellow Sticky Notes Be Gone. Click on the article and let me know if this helps.
THU Aug 20
Update or Article
I’m finding lately that the Daily Gecko News is gravitating more toward small articles rather than updates. In the beginning of the year, the News was planned to be more like a ‘diary’ of sorts. New species bred announcements, baby picture postings, new animals obtained, and of course any issues in the facility so as to help others.
The past month or so, it has migrated away from this format a bit. Why? Well, no new animals. I think I am set right now with what I have. We are getting babies but do you really want to see photo after photo of baby crested gecko, leopard gecko, or picta, or even the rarer geckos that you have already see in prior posts? I want to keep the content fresh so I have tried not to repost the same info over and over again.
So what you’ve seen lately is more of a snapshot of some of my opinions on the hobby, generalizations on the goings on in the facility, and some ‘life in general’ observations. I hope this is a good change of pace for everyone. If not, please leave your comments below on what you would really like to see.
WED Aug 19
Today I met up with a long time friend and made the acquaintance of a new friend. Kendra brought over Lindsey (new friend) to the house to pick up a beautiful male gecko. Lindsey had purchased the animal that I was selling for another friend several weeks ago. She lives outside of Madison, WI so it seemed unnecessary to ship the gecko. But, through a couple of misses, I still have this male. No worries at all for me as he has continued to do well and I have some extra space at the moment.
What Lindsey gained is a most beautiful animal. I think you will agree that this one is a fantastic dark base with wonderful gold highlights and is really a looker!
I gained a wonderful evening of conversation with Kendra and Lindsey talking geckos, our dog Gus, rats, and horses. I miss these conversations with fellow hobbyists and will need to get back in touch with them as soon as possible.
TUE Aug 18
We have a tank upstairs?
Why is it that what is in front of your face gets neglected the most.
I put an 18x18x18 enclosure in the family room about 2 months ago. Our only enclosure not in the facility. I’m putting in a custom, hand carved styro rock formation (no! It is not done yet!) in the tank. I even carved out styro balls to make them look like a pile of rocks.
The enclosure has one lone fan foot gecko in it. The start of the project was 5 back about 2 months ago. These animals came from a wonderful breeder but, as they came in from the wild, we knew there may have been some issues with them and the group took a dive one by one until we are left with this sole survivor.
However, the ledge and rocks sit on the back counter of our dining room, unfinished. While walking past the enclosure tonight, I noticed the water dish was empty and realize I last feed the gecko Friday. But, rather than heading down to get some food, or even taking 20 steps into the kitchen to get a cap full of water, I headed to bed.
Part of the problem is my working hours right now but I really think it is also a result of the fact this gecko is right there for us to see all the time. I know I should be more attentive but am not. Well I will certainly change my schedule and care for this lone gecko better.
(Editors Note- bugs and water was offered the next morning)
MON Aug 17
As yesterday was a mental recovery day, today was right back at it! Nanette already did the big feed for the day so when I got home, I attended to checking for eggs, small maintenance items, and feeding fruit flies to the micros and baby micros.
But, boy oh boy are we getting the Paroedura picta babies! It had been a long wait to see our first but now they are popping out like popcorn. We have buckets of bouncing babies! Our population of picta is piling up. We have plethora of Paroedura. Ok, I’ll stop.
I am completely redoing how we I am raising the babies. Last year, the separation was by date (and sometime outstanding characteristic. So, all the July 2014 babies went into one tub. If one looked exceptional, it went into another tub for grow out. While I certainly knew the parents of the ‘special’ babies, I had no clue what each pair/grouping produced after a few months of hatching.
This year, as we have cut back substantially on leopard gecko breeding, we have plenty of available grow out tubs on our leo racks. I am now separating, like I should have last year, into smaller enclosures to grow them up the first month, then into larger (again separated) tubs for grow out until sales or holdback. I really feel I was missing the boat the past couple of years but am now back on track.
SUN Aug 16
I am mentally exhausted. I promised myself months ago to limit my TV watching on the weekends. I would often find myself working down stairs in the morning , coming up late morning to watch a fishing show, jumping on the internet with the tube still flipping channels, then looking up at 8PM without getting any more down downstairs.
Well, today I was completely and utterly burnt out from work. I could not put my mind on anything at all and focus. I really did want to get downstairs and catch up on a couple of things but, just couldn’t.
I do feel bad but sooooo needed a day. Anyone else have this same thing happen to them on occasion?
SAT Aug 15
I started early and did not finish until around 6 pm when we went over to our neighbor’s house to watch the last DVRed episode of Orphan Black.
On the go the whole day as I feed ALL animals. Of course I am so much slower than Nanette but I did get a good look see at every single animal in our facility… and that is hundreds and hundreds of animals. I also moved a few animals around, cleaned about 10 tubs, and fixed 3 or 4 tub’s screens. About the only thing I did not get to was feeding the dubia. And, checking with Nanette later, found that she had just feed heavily Friday.
Other activities- Setup a group of tubs specifically for raising the picta. More on this later in the week. Also found a couple Paroedura stumpffi and Hemidactylus tanganicus. Will they ever stop hatching!
This was a good day!
FRI Aug 14
Customer Service- If it Weren’t For Bad Luck!
We have had a string of issues with our Post Office. The past couple of weeks, we have been shipping out loads of Clarks Diet. This reminds me we need to order more from the distributor.
One package in particular was a real problem. It went out, delayed for several days (normal delivery is 2), and was finally delivered- per the tracking info on USPS.com. The customer contacted us the next day. This package was shipped to his business and actually marked as delivered. But he did not have his package. Ouch! This was a big bag of food.
So, out went another bag. He understood the situation and reordered. And we waited, and waited. After a week, we had to go back to the PO to find out what happened to the food. They traced, found the package in a back room I guess with a torn label, relabeled, and reshipped. The customer received the package and was delighted that the food was eaten so well by his geckos.
He did get a bit frustrated when waiting on the second package, especially when tracking indicated the label was printed but never delivered to the PO. But, I can understand his concern and we explained the whole situation to him, and he at once understood.
But, it is always frustrating having customers go through this. We have filed a couple complaints about 2-3 issues like this with our Post Office. But it seems they do their job correctly, it is the next PO that is losing/delaying the deliveries. While frustrating, we try to remain positive with the customer.
Anyone at all get the reference in the photo?
THU Aug 13
It is never easy losing an animal. With so many, losing one is inevitable. We provide the best care we possibly can but this does happen. I just hate it though when I know a lose occurs and it is absolutely my shortsightedness that has caused the death.
As I mentioned about a week ago, I moved my Sphaerodactylus torrei out into the hallway to the new Shelf Rack. I separated into two groups- one with 3 babies and the other with a pair.
They were both doing well as I have been seeing them out and about eating and basking. No issues at all. Well, today, I checked the baby tank. I could find 2 of the 3. Hmmmmm. But then I found the 3rd. Sitting in the saucer that holds the extra water from the plant, was about a half inch of water and one baby floating. How horrible. By watering the plant, the excess built up in the saucer and provided a reservoir the little one could not escape from. Terrible news!
WED Aug 12
I get so many Emails and Facebook messages. Many are questions, many are animal inquiries. I should have pre scripted content/dialogue that I can copy and paste into each message. Something to the effect of “Thank you for your Email. While we do not have XXXXXX animal you are looking for, we do have XXXXX. We plan on having XXXXX in XX weeks/months. I am adding you to our waiting list and will contact you as soon as we have XXXXX. Thank you again, Wally”.
I should also write articles on animal care that I could just copy and paste into messages. Again- “thank you for your message. Here is a great article on XXXXXX animal that I wrote some time again. Please take a look and let me know if you still have any questions”.
These simple tasks would save me hours a week of answering Email/FB messages! Brilliant!
Wait a minute! I did write these scripts and pre-recorded messages. I believe I have a dozen for specific types of questions. And, oh yes I do have many many articles on our web site that I could direct people to.
So why don’t I use these scripts? Because I feel they are impersonal and most importantly not conversational / real sounding. I would hate for anyone to feel that we did not want to talk to them. And, more importantly, I DO want to talk to people. I want to stay in touch with other gecko people. Now, I do occasionally point people to an article but I do that to ADD to the conversation or to make a point clearer about what we are talking about.
So bring on the messages. I will continue to answer each one personally! That is just me!
TUE Aug 11
New Species’ Eggs
And this is what keeps me going. Today while feeding and poking around in enclosures, I checked on the Wonder Geckos Teratoscincus scincus. I’ve provided my pair with a 10 gallon enclosure (I know they would be much happier in a 20L). But they have sand, hides, water and food dishes, cork bark décor, and an incandescent light on top to provide heat.
So in I went to check for eggs, not expecting anything. And there they were.
When you are used to micro geckos’ eggs half the size of a pea, and Hemidactylus/Pachydactylus eggs less than the size of a pea, when you see an egg the size of a human eyeball (gross example?) it is shocking. I was so surprised to say the least. These eggs were huge. Dig, dig, dig some more but only the two, but that was enough for me. Unfortunately, placing one of the eggs onto the bottle cap did not end well and it developed a small crack that later turned into a larger crack that then turned into a deflated egg.
MON Aug 10
Cave gecko eggs…. Waiting and waiting and waiting. It seems like forever. Right now we have about 16 eggs. When I head downstairs for the nightly Egg Check, I always wait until last for the caves. This is like my desert for the night- in case one hatches. Our baby boxes are biding their time. There is plenty of room at the inn for the expected.
The adults have been fed extra heavy with crickets and dubias- well dusted of course. I have seen some nice growth on the G. orientalis and the G. hainanensis this year. The G. kuroiwae and G. yamashinae are ready to go. The G. araneus just seem to be doing ok but growing verrrrry slowly.
Excitement is in the air as I wait for these eggs to hatch.
SUN Aug 09
This will be a short one as the family is over, I’m playing with the granddaughters, and I know I will have no energy for anything else today. Priorities, right?
SAT Aug 08
Saturday is my work day. I start with feeding and work my way to maintenance. Today’s feeding began with cave geckos, continues with the baby crested (dubias), then ends with the weird stuff and micros.
I move on to maintenance, incubator checking, and egg checking. Incubators offered no new hatchlings. Egg boxes gave me 4 new Paroedura picta. What would a day be without a baby picta :)
Maintenance- one of the saddest days I’ve had in a long time. We have been very happy with our luck with the pair of Pachydactylus rugosus. Last year, the pair gave us 2 eggs-2 babies. This year, we have received 6 eggs and 6 babies. They are still young but growing nicely. When I went in to check for eggs on the pair however, I felt a little sick to my stomach as it looked like the female had lost her tail. Concern turned to horror as, moving the décor out of the way, I found she was not moving. Not only that, I found the male a short distance away- also passed away. I could not be more shocked.
What caused this? I only have a slight idea as the temps downstairs have raised a tad the past couple weeks. The tank is warmed by a light over the screen. It has been setup like this for the couple years I’ve had this pair with no issues. Could the additional heat have stressed these two? I don’t know for sure but I know I will be watching this closer in the future.
FRI Aug 07
I found with work and with the recent show that I have fallen behind with the Daily Gecko News once again! Sorry folks. Well today, I get home from work and start typing. And typing. And typing. Much of what you read the past two weeks is comment and opinions on the hobby, and not the daily maintenance in the facility. 4500 works typed tonight. I hope it all makes sense and is at least close to spelled correctly.
I will certainly get back to gecko news at Supreme Gecko in the future but I did want to share some thoughts. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
THU Aug 06
While the SEWERFest show is a distant memory from the weekend, I did want to touch on how Show deals happen.
I am certainly different than other vendors, and they are different than us. Everyone has different perspectives on pricing at shows and whether they offer non-publicized deals or not. All I can do is give you a bit of a look into our philosophy and what I see at shows, especially this last show.
I RARELY move prices during a show. The price I set before the show is usually the price I go with. I may adjust a crestie if it colors up nicely. I usually do not walk around and check other tables to see what they are pricing their geckos at. Just not something I do. However, I spend my time on-line between shows, getting a handle on what everyone is pricing their geckos at. I also take a LOT of time reviewing how we did at different shows to make sure we are still in line with where we want to be. I am not perfect in pricing but keeping a close eye on this helps me get better each show.
I have seen vendors start a show 2 hours later and they are putting up a ½ off sign. Ouch. Believe me, I am not a ‘you are killing the market’ preacher. I just feel they are shooting themselves in the foot for future shows.
One thing I do though concerning pricing is adjust per the situation. I usually do not say anything to customers but we offer discounts. When? Well, here are the situations- prior customers, multiple animal purchases, if the customer is purchasing supplies as well as animals, if the customer is a long time friend in the hobby, etc.
Again, the price we have on our geckos at the beginning of the show, in the middle of the show, and at the end very rarely changes. That’s just what we do.
WED Aug 05
Baby geckos are not only fun but they are cute. One of the things I’ve done over the years is make sure I check for babies last when working in the facility. One of those “Save the best for last” kind of things.
Don’t get me wrong. Occasionally, I will eat the pie ala mode before the main course. Just how I roll.
But checking for babies is always the highlight of the day. Even if we do not have any newbies showing up, it is still a bunch of fun. Well, today while checking I found a Paroedura stumpffi. Exciting but nothing unusual as we’ve hatched out a number already this year. But, something looked different on this one. Not bad but different.
It was already out of shed and seemed to be not so intent on dashing across the entire room when I opened the bead box. I got the feeling this one had been in the box more than 24 hours. Checking the individual compartments, I found Mr (or Mrs) stumpffi was actually 3 or 4 compartments away from the one with an empty egg. Also, checking the bottle cap the egg lay in, I found it was sitting pretty high on the SHM. I think this little bugger hatched then hid under the bottle cap for a couple days. Just my thought. However, from this point on, I’m burying the bottle caps a bit into the medium to avoid these sneaky trick.
TUE Aug 04
If you read yesterday’s post, you noticed we picked up some feeder insects for the geckos- yes they are all very happy. Also, we purchased 2 turtles…. For our oldest granddaughter.
But, I left out one special item that I searched and searched for. And, I am VERY excited to find it.
During the show, it is comment for me to check with the immediate area for customers looking for assistance, the crowd walking by, other vendors and the items on their…. WHAT! Looking straight across the isle on the vendor’s table straight across from us, there it was.
I have been looking for a certain ‘present’ for myself for about 2 years. I started keeping cave geckos 3 years ago, banded (Coleonyx) geckos last year, and of course leopard and fat tail geckos for years and years. I’ve been searching for more info on some of these animals that is very hard to find on the internet or even non-existent.
I bet you can already figure out what I was looking for. The Eyelash Geckos, Care, Breeding and Natural History. All these geckos in one easy to read, night stand book. Sweet! So why didn’t I buy it for myself? Well I’ve seen the price vary from $50 - $100 and I wasn’t going to pull the trigger at that price!
Well there it was. Standing against a display case. For sale at my neighbor’s table. I had to ask him the price. But the customers… then his customers. Darn! Then finally an opening for us both, eye contact, a quick gesture - BOOK (palms opening) and PRICE (thumb against the …. Well you know the sign). He did what any 5 year old would do when asked how old they were and responded with hands and fingers extended. Less than Amazon! Score. I checked with Nanette and I was off to quickly grab it before one of his customers. Nice! Now to find time to read it.
MON Aug 03
So, what did we buy at SEWERfest. I know this is on your mind. No geckos!!! Can you believe it? I cannot. I did see some amazing scorpion geckos that I drooled over but there were only a couple and of one sex. Boooo!
I picked up some fruit flies and isopods. Much needed as my cultures were pooping out. Man do I need small food items for our small geckos. So very important to keep the fire stoked with these feeders. Also picked up 3 boxes of crickets (3,000). Sometimes we plan on picking up crickets at shows so we do not have to ship. Much easier.
Oh, and we bought 2 turtles. Wait, What! Yes, for someone that has exclusively geckos for about 10 year (prior was chameleons). Why in the world did we pick up turtles? Well check the last photo on this picture at the end of this day. Yes, that is why!
SUN Aug 02
One of our favorite shows is finally here. Shane and Aaron do such an outstanding job putting this show together! It makes it so easy to get in, setup, and vend at the show. But sometimes there are ‘things’ that come up.
What did we bring- well, we had over a dozen breeder females, about as many males- crested geckos. Also 3-4 juvies as well. We brought about 20 leopards too. And then it gets weird- in a good way.
For the first show in a long time we were really limited in the number of Paroedura picta we brought. One pair! Lots of interest, no sales.
We also brought- 2 pair of Hemidactylus tanganicus and 2 pair of Hemidactylus ruspoli. In addition, we had 2 groups of 3 young H. tanganicus. To throw the cherry on top- 3 young Paroedura stumpffi, a pair of Paroedura ibityensis, and one male Bavaya sp.. The last two were the only ones that sold although people really showed some interest in these different animals.
Leos and crested geckos really sold. Also selling at a fever pitch was The Gargoyle Diet (Clarks diet). We answered so many questions on the diet!
Finally, it was great to see so many of our reptile friends. I really enjoy this time at the show and miss doing over 30 a year (cut back down to about 6-7). A huge thank you to Nanette as well for…. Well everything she does.
Oh, the ‘thing’ that came up? You would think we would have noticed the big pvc poles for our banner were not in the car. Oh no! Missed it so we were banner-less at the show. No worries, people seemed to find us :)
SAT Aug 01
I worked in the morning and afternoon so show prep was left with Nanette (probably best that way). When I got home, we selected the animals, got all the pre orders together, and Nanette printed the tags.
This has really has streamlined over the years. I use to start prep for a show this large (SEWERFest) the weekend before. As animals are well organized downstairs (babies, grow outs, to-be-sold), and Nanette has such a great system for labels and sales sheet, well the system is a well oiled machine… for the most part. I still find animals that I want to add to the list after she finishes it and prints it out. Sometimes she wins and we leave them home and sometimes I win and they go to the show (and Nanette begrudgingly prints a new sheet).
Feeding does NOT occur the day/night before the show. I really believe the animals do much better in the deli cups without a full belly.
Having said this, we did go through later at night and caught some more difficult to catch geckos so Sunday morning (at 5:30) would be easier. I just know those animals will have little surprises for me when we get to the show and start unpacking.
FRI July 31
First the inventory list- 1 pair of G. orientalis and a group of 1.2 G. orientalis. 1 pair G. araneus, 1 pair of G. kuroiwae, 1 pair of G. yamashinae. 1 pair of G. hainaensis and 2.6 in individual tubs, 0.0.2 G. kuroisae from this year, and finally 0.0.5 G. luii. Our rack is about half full now.
But, the cool thing is it is breeding season. Feeding take more time but you always have that opportunity to find a gift from one of the groups/females.
Feeding went well. I offered a variety of sized dubias. I’m always surprised when these very reclusive geckos rush out of their hides and chomp on a scurrying dubia.
And now for the piece de resistance- found 4 sets of eggs. 3 G. heinensis and 1 G. kur. Nice! I will take that! While this is Nanette’s project, I still enjoy finding eggs before she does! Now to watch for babies.
THU July 30
I find myself working in the facility, music blaring and focused on getting work done with the animals. My mind wonders and wonders. I start working on something and my mind already has me working on the next task.
Most of the time, I work downstairs alone. Sometimes Nanette and I join forces but normally it is by myself. So, no one around, my mind going 100 mph and good and bad things going on all around me.
I find an egg and I let out a “Yes. About time you little geckos started producing”. A baby hatches and out comes a “Yes. About time you guys hatched out.”. Well you kinda get it.
But, things don’t always go perfectly well down there. So, a little disclosure here- I found eggs in one of our holding enclosures from a female crested gecko. We found her out of her home enclosure due to a tear in the screen. And there were the eggs. “Oh crap! Why didn’t I fix that tear right away and put her back with her hide”.
One rack I checked today had a bit too much water at the bottom of each tub (30 tubs). I said out loud- “Nanette, we need to coordinate misting schedules”. Nanette of course was nowhere around me.
A little later today, after finding 4 bad eggs from our E. agricole female laid in the plant in her enclosure instead of the wonderful hide I provided, I let out a “ ” Well, let’s just say I wasn’t very happy.
WED July 29
I am mostly on the fence on most topics in this reptile hobby of ours. Other than banning reptiles, extremes in their care, and seeing people in this just for the money, I usually hold my opinion on most matters. Well, today I would like to take a moment to share my opinion on the leopard gecko hobby.
As I mentioned a few days ago, we have selectively narrowed our leopard gecko collection down considerable over the past few years. I am only keeping the animals that I truly want to work with and love. Check the list out below.
I feel the leopard gecko hobby has expanded to the point of being confusing and people are losing interest. There are far too many morphs and hets and crosses out there. Too many to keep up with.
Years ago, I collected baseball cards. It was cool as a young man to have some cards that I really enjoyed having. At the time, there were only 2-3 companies. A few years later, a few more were added to the mix (anyone remember Upper Deck’s introduction with Jr.’s rookie card?). Cool, more to collect. However, within 2-3 years, there were at least a dozen brands and dozens of inserts-specialty cards. It got confusing. No one could keep up! I dropped out right after this. Checking in recently, I see there are hundreds of ‘brands/varieties’. I know there are bb card fans that love this but not the average collector. I bailed and never looked back.
Paging through the Facebook feed when I have time, I run into crested geckos, leopard geckos, and many many other geckos. It is RARE for me to actually stop and take notice of a leopard gecko. I just don’t get excited seeing leos with the same look of other leos over the past 10 years, all having different names but basically looking like some of the leos I started with 10 years ago.
Am I at the point of been there-done that. NO! I still get excited seeing a full reverse stripe or a Tansun with a full carrot tail. I love the classics and always will. I just cannot get excited about all the other morphs anymore. If you can, that is fantastic.
Again, this is my opinion.
TUE July 28
So, you may know Supreme Gecko from our leopard gecko breeding. Or you may know us from our crested geckos (especially our reds). Or perhaps you know us from selling the crested gecko diets.
But we are more. Of course we are still breeding and selling leos and crested geckos and chewies and gargoyles. But our focus this past couple years have shifted a bit to rarer geckos. This has absolutely nothing to do with salability-increased profits.
This has everything to do with keeping what I really love to keep. I still love working with the other geckos. But I am developing a fascination with the smaller geckos like caves, Hemidactylus, Paroedura, Sphaerodactylus, Gonatodes, etc.
I have said many many times to other hobbyist that you have to do what keeps that fire burning. Right now I am keeping the geckos that I really enjoy keeping.
MON July 27
Does anyone else have this problem.
Winter comes and the temps drop here in the Midwest. As my animals are in the basement, our temps drop down into the 60s naturally in the gecko rooms. Great for adults bad for babies that need warmer temps to continue growing. I run heat cable and small area heaters to help. Then Spring arrives and the temps warm up. Adults are happy and start breeding. Babies continue to grow.
But then Summer arrives and temps (here in Wisc.) climb into the 80s or some days higher. I know, for you folks in the south this is like spring temps. But here, we get uncomfortable at 80. And then it happens. I come home from work and the air conditioner is on. Noooooo.
Don’t get me wrong. I am as uncomfortable as anyone else with warm temps. But I know the impact to the geckos when the air is on. In my facility, the central air is right in the middle of our leo/garg room. Ouch. Temps go from around 78-80 down to the more human comfortable temp of 70-72. No crested gecko, it is not the Fall and no, you should not stop breeding! Inevitability a group or two will shut down for the year.
I convince Nanette to keep the doors and windows open for a while in the morning to keep the house cooler, then shut them mid morning. But with the string of mid-high 80, I think this is a losing battle.
SUN July 26
One of the first purchases I made was from a lady in Madison. At the time, my leopard gecko collection was quickly growing and doing well. I had a couple pair of crested geckos but wasn’t really interested in building a huge collection but to learn and understand the animals. I purchased 3 groups from the lady and she mentioned she was getting out of crested due to their huge popularity. Isn’t that a Yogi Berra-ism- “Nobody wants them because everyone has them”. Well, she was wrong as the world of cresties was just kicking off!
At that time, the HOT animals were pinstripes, reds, and creamsicles. Beautiful animals for sure. We arranged the purchase of our first high end animals (yes, Red Bull and 3 lovely ladies including Lucy). Our red line developed. We included a wonderful pair of Full Pinstripes that produced around 90% full pinners for us.
The crestie hobby started seeing more and more pinners, reds, and other high end animals as everyone else discovered the beauty of these animals. The next step came quickly as the hobby started seeing red Harleys, dripping pinners, mocha, and (such a cool name) furry cresties. Suddenly head structure was the thing.
Over the past few years, the quest for something different. Recently we have seen red pinstripes, tri-colors, and recently pied cresties. Everyone still seeks moonglows And recently there have been more and more requests for DARK cresties.
I really think the hobby continues to evolve and we see new and exciting animals showing up every year. I think the end of the crested gecko hobby (because it is too popular) is far, far away.
SAT July 25
Saturday’s are ‘get things done’ days for me…. Normally. Well today Is a work day and I really did not have a lot of time to do anything other than feed- in a frenzy. No checking animals, no cleaning poop, no time to take an extra minute or two to enjoy the animals. In and out. Wham Bam- I am Done Man!
However, I did have some time before hitting the pillow to write a post today and also think about tomorrow’s post. Hmmmm what will it be!
A Step Back- Our Leopard Gecko Collection-
Sherman, set the way-back machine to 6 years ago. A time when Supreme Gecko had 3 full racks of adult leopard geckos (over 75 females) and 3 big racks of grow out tubs to hold babies and juvie leos. What do you get when you breed 60 female leopards? Well, 75 x about 12 eggs per, minus some losses , minus some females producing a few less than 12 eggs will give you between 500-600 babies. I believe our actual count was @ 525! That is a lot of babies. A LOT!
That is a lot of mouths to feed, tubs to clean and dishes to wash. A LOT!!! At the time, I was not keeping the number of other animals I am now. Also, Nanette was just stepping in to help more with the facility. We were keeping up quite well.
We also were doing a LOT of shows- about 30 a year. Sales were good at the shows, but were also very brisk with our on line store. But, 500 leopard geckos is 500 leopard geckos.
Over the past 6 year my interest in geckos has shifted a bit. I still love the leopard gecko as there are some amazing colors to be produced by these animals. But, I knew there was no way to keep up with this many animals.
So, a change was in the wind. I shifted my focus from about 10 different morphs down to only a handful- Reverse stripe, Snow, RAPTORS, Blizzard, Enigma (yes, I said enigma), Sunglows, and of course carrot tails. We are down to about 20 females. And you know what, this feels about right. We no longer breed leos at the rate we did but that is OK!
FRI July 24
In a season, we have lots and lots of eggs. From a couple hundred leopards, 3-4 hundred cresties, about 200 picta, to I don’t know how many from all the other geckos. This is a lot of eggs, at least for our little facility.
Many go into incubators in deli cups, by the 2s (pair from 1 lay). But many go into little bead boxes (plastic tackle boxes). They have little compartments that are filled with SHM (Supreme Hatch Material) or perlite (doesn’t really matter) for some of the bottle cap gecko eggs. The boxes hold about 30 – 40 eggs per, again depending on the type of gecko.
So, if you do the math- 800-1000 divided by 40, carry the one. Divide by two. Well, who knows that that comes out to. Anyways, we have around 40 little tackle boxes going on at any time during the breeding season. That is a lot of eggs and a lot of checking. But, it makes it so easy to check. Drop a box from the stack, open the lid, collect the babies (if there are any), close the lid and grab the next box. I can usually go through all the boxes in about 15 minutes or so a day- and this counts putting away animals. Super easy.
THU July 23
Inconsistencies and non-conformity but me a bit. Not in society as everyone is different. However, I like to see consistency in my supplies, incubators, food containers, and certainly gecko enclosures. I try to organize to the same size and certainly animal care and requirements. Well, I’m breaking habit (not a good thing) as the rack started out as a small African gecko rack. Something very easy to maintain and feed.
Well, recently, I moved out 2 more tanks to the stand (because I only have 5 of the 12 on the stand). The two relocated tanks are similar to the other 5 but one is a little shorter and the other is a bit taller. Do they have Hemidactylus or Pachydactylus in them. Um, no. How about Sphaerodactylus torrei. Planted, heavy decoration, and completely different than the other tanks. Guess I will just have to get over it.
WED July 22
Well the misting system is working out like a champ. I wish I had about 10 of these systems as it would save SOOOOoooooo much time. But it would take maintenance time, that’s for sure.
It is really a pretty cool thing and I wish I would have done this years ago. I am using the system to maintain humidity for a few specific animals- day geckos, cat geckos, E. agricole, and C. elok.
In the near future, I am sure I will be setting up a couple other systems. One misting system runs about 20 tanks. One can set up these misting systems to handle more with additional hardware. But I am not that mechanically inclined so I will just make due with purchasing another system or two.
One thing you really have to watch is the frequency and time you have the misting on. I quickly found that twice a day for 1 minute each doesn’t work for 12x12x18 zilla enclosures as, over the last 3 weeks or so, one of the tanks gathered about a half inch of water. Had to teach the geckos the back stroke!
TUE July 21
I lost one. I didn't try to lose one but I did. I even took precautions.... but I still lost one.
As I open the incubators, it is always an exciting time for me. What to expect. A new gecko that I have never hatched out? A different color/patter/etc.? Just something different? Or, a gecko that I've hatched before that someone else is looking for. Always exciting.
Some baby geckos are pretty sedentary- not moving much even when I go in to retrieve them. Like they are saying 'What do you want!?!". Crested geckos and P. picta are like this. There is always the exception but usually they are calm and easy to harvest from their hatching hideouts.
Some baby geckos are defiant. Leopard geckos will squeal then open their mouths in a very defensive posture. "I'm bad and I am letting you know it". I still hesitate picking one up and moving it, even though their attack is mostly like getting smacked by a 2" fluffy bunny stuffed toy.
And then there are the bolters. i call them bolters because that is their first reaction- to bolt as quickly as possible. Never fails. Open the container and they are G.O.N.E gone!
Such was the case last night. I prepared by putting their hatching box (plastic bead box) into a plastic sweater box. 50% of the time the bolters will walk right into my hand. The other 50%, they will jump from the bead box into the sweater box, try scampering up the sides, and fall quickly back to the bottom of the box.
Oh, but not this one. I opened the bead box and it was into the sweater box, up the sides, on the carpeted floor, and under the crested rack in .0426 seconds! I never had a chance. I set the bead box down, fell on my knees, and frantically moved all the boxes and supplies from under the rack. As I expected, the little one was not to be found.
Do I fear this one is gone forever? Oh, heck no. I expect this one will find plenty of little spiders or such to much on and will turn up again sometime on the side of a wall in about 3-4 months. All the while leaving me will little poop clues to let me know he's still around.
MON July 20
How does the song go? "Rainy days and Monday's always get me down". Mondays for me lately have been 'work late' Mondays and I never seem to be home early enough to do anything with the room.
"How did it go today Nanette?" I will say. "I fed this and fed that and cleaned this and cleaned that" she will reply. Hmmmm what if I were home all day and could putz around in the room. A man can dream :)
SUN July 19
The Same but Very Different-
Nanette and I are the same in so many way- family values, religious beliefs, work ethic, enjoyment of fine foods (sometimes too much fine foods). We are two peas in a pod in many ways. But, we are as different as night and day in other ways. She enjoys a few favorite Tv shows, like Family Feud, the series Outlander, cooking shows, etc. I like to watch a lot of Tv (mostly late late night recordings) like Archer, Family Ties, classic movies over and over (ok, I am a Godfather fanatic). She loves yardwork, I get hives thinking about yardwork. you get the picture.
Today, while working downstairs in the facility, I realized we are very different in how we work. Nanette will start working on something- like feeding the cresties- and not stop until she is done. I need breaks. Two reasons- 1) she doesn't need breaks as she finishes much quicker than I do. I putz around looking at the animals. She is in then out! 2) I get easily distracted. When I feed the cresties, I check hides. Do I need more medium in the hide? I go to add more and find myself 3 or 4 tasks separated from the original task. Why am I setting up a new enclosure for the banded geckos when I came down to just check the incubators? Crazy!
Sunday was one of those days. My mission in the morning- feed the cresties bugs. By the afternoon, I had finished. Yes, the afternoon. But in between starting and finishing, I also watered the plants, fed micros, fed micro babies, fed the picta and baby leos, moved 10 younger cresties to grow out tanks (and cleaned their prior tanks), fed the bugs, chatted on FB about geckos, added animals to the SEWERFest For Sale page, and had lunch. Yes! Yes, my attention is easily diverted.
SAT July 18
Ever have one of those days that are just lost? I am entering this log on Wednesday and I cannot think of one major thing I did on Saturday. Am I getting old?
I took some photos.... and.... um. I know I fed some sets of the geckos and did a couple moves but, wow I cannot think of anything specific.
Well, I will have to chalk this one up to either age or too much work or any one of a hundred other things :)
FRI July 17
Do you know what time of year it is? It is SEWERFest time! That's right, one of the biggest, best reptile shows in the Midwest is coming up on August 2! Here is the LINK for more details. I could go on and on about the quality of this show but I will not. Instead, I would like you to. I would like to create a TOP 10 List of the reasons a reptile keeper (or future reptile keeper) should attend this show. As an incentive, we will give away a gift to the top 2 contributors- Second place will receive 2 free tickets to the show. First place will receive 2 free tickets AND a $50 gift certificate to the Supreme Gecko table! All you have to do is post go to the 2015 SEWERFest GiveAway LINK and add your comment. Read the general rules on the web page.
Good Luck everyone!
SEWERFest LINK for more details about the show (thank you Shane and AAron for the ticket donation)
THU July 16
I cannot believe SEWERFest in only a little more than 2 weeks away. Is this my favorite Reptile show? Maybe. If not my favorite, right there in the top few. I think I have done this show now 18 times in a row. Some of my best memories in the hobby have come from this show. From obtaining a couple of my favorite geckos (I know, I say that a lot)- Gonatodes vittatus and Pachydactylus rugosus (both from Phil Tremper), to meeting some of the coolest gecko people (way too many to mention here), to having some of our biggest shows EVER!
I will not point out all the great reasons one should attend this show as I will have a contest coming tomorrow on this subject. But, I will say that this is a show you do NOT want to miss!
Please, if you are ever going to read the DGN, make sure you read it the next couple of weeks as I will have more details on the show and certainly will be showing off some amazing animals coming to the show.
WED July 15
And, since I set the Way-Back machine (anyone get this?) to a few weeks ago and thanked Nathan Hall for his wonderful group of Coleonyx mitratus, it is now time to thank Joe Hupp for a wonderful pair of Colyonyx variegatus and a pair of P. bicolor (but this will be covered in another post).
Back in early June I believe (seems like years ago now) I responded to an ad by none other than Joe Hupp, one of the top gecko breeders around. He was offering a number of animals and two jumped out and grabbed my attention, the aforementioned P. bicolor and the Coleonyx variegatus. I've been fortunate enough to work with C. elegans for about a year now and wanted to span out a bit on these wonderful western hemisphere geckos.
I replied to the FaunaClassified ad (if you are into rarer geckos, this is the place to frequent) and heard back from Joe shortly afterward. We arranged the transaction then poof, I disappeared. Well, not really. this was the time of Nanette's knee surgery and my appendectomy. I did keep Joe up to date as much as I could and he was more than patient with me for payment and then shipping arrangements.
And now, these two little 'leopard gecko like' critters are doing fine, hiding all day and coming out to eat at night. I set them up in what I had available. They went into a 15 quart rubbermaid container with sand (and a little peat moss) substrate of about 2 inches. A couple of terre cotta hides, cork bark, rocks, a water dish, and mealworm cup make up the decore. Right now, I am feeding medium mealworms and smalll-ish dubias and they are pounding them.
A bit thank you once again to Joe Hupp for this great pair.
TUE July 14
It has been a few weeks. I posted about it but did not really do the justice to this gecko acquisition as it deserved. Well, here are the details.
I posted as soon as I saw the ad on Facebook. Not only as I getting animals I had been looking for a while but was getting them from a great breeder to boot! Nathan Hall offered young Coleonyx mitratus for sale. As Jon Boone was asking for some, I knew I might be out of luck. I made a comment that, for a little $$$ on the side, I was hoping to jump in front of Jon for first dibs. Well, Nathan must have had plenty for us all as he came back right away with an offer for 5 youngsters. I was elated! They are so beautiful. I am fortunate to work with these little gems.
I hope Jon B. got his C. mitratus, but if not..... Haha, I got mine!
MON July 13
Have I said it is great to be caught up with the Daily Gecko News?!!!? Now I can post current events... today! What a concept.
But, I will need to step back a second and post an update on the African Fat Tail pair I am working with (Please see May 4- Adam and Allison C. provided me with the female!). The two are doing well. Have been together all summer. No eggs yet but I basically did not expect any just yet. The point is that this is a beautiful pair and I am very happy to have them (especially the female!)
SUN July 12
I wish I could give everyone a gift. Here are the winners-
1. Saille Schumacher- Gekko Publication
2. Angie Gaal Schwanke- Clarks- Gargoyle Diet
3. Darren Cook- Reptile Magazines
4. Christine Prieve- Leopard Gecko Video
5. John Bohrman- Supreme Chow?
6. Joyce Wright- Supreme Chow?
How this will work- #1 winner gets first pick, on down to #6. We will wait 24 hours between picks. I will try to message the winners on FB. Do not select a gift until the person ahead of you has selected.
And the Gifts:
- Supreme Chow for your insects (1 portion)
- Supreme Chow for your insects (1 portion)
- 8 oz Gargoyle Diet (Clarks Diet)
- Craig Stewart's (Urban Gecko) Your Guide to the Leopard Gecko (vhs) Great Video!
- 5 Reptiles magazines featuring the Electric Blue (L. williamsi), gargoyles, fat tails, and day geckos
- Rare GEKKO publication featuring L. williamsi, Cnemaspis, Phelsum guttata, etc.!!!
SAT July 11
Well, the Daily Gecko News if finally up to date. With surguries, work, holidays, etc. it has been a struggle but I hope work the effort.
Today, was almost all work as we finish off the BIG LOAD of data to our system. So many cleanup issues, rework, validation and time to load. But, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Downstais to feed the micro babies (they look really good), check eggs (2 little cresties, one leo, and no picta), and finally to add sand to 2 of the new 'Shelf' rack enclosures. Once setup with sand, a hide, some slate, a mealworm dish, and small water dish, the animals were added. We are officially using this stand! The geckos we will be keeping here will be mosting small Pachydacylus and hemidactylus.
FRI July 10
As promised, this weekend, I will be giving away some nice gifts to those that keep up with the Daily Gecko News, and leave comments.
Here is how it works: The gifts are listed below. Leave a comment below no this page. Just let me know how you like the updates, anything specific you like, or a suggestion to improve on this.
I will randomly draw names Sunday evening and post the winners. The winners will have their choice on gifts- first come first serve. I will try to post the winners to FB Sunday and Monday as well.
And the Gifts:
- Supreme Chow for your insects (1 portion)
- Supreme Chow for your insects (1 portion)
- 8 oz Gargoyle Diet (Clarks Diet)
- Craig Stewart's (Urban Gecko) Your Guide to the Leopard Gecko (vhs) Great Video!
- 5 Reptiles magazines featuring the Electric Blue (L. williamsi), gargoyles, fat tails, and day geckos
- Rare GEKKO publication featuring L. williamsi, Cnemaspis, Phelsum guttata, etc.!!!
THU July 9
Arrived home by 4:30 today!!! Caught up on a couple Emails and FB messages. Feels good to be catching up rather than falling behind. Fed the micros (babies and adults) and weird geckos (again, what we call weird is anything not in the racks, not in the crested-gargoyle-chewie group, not caves, and not in the hallway (cat, E agricole, gold dust, etc.- that we call hallway geckos). Confused? I bet!
Checking eggs- 2 Hemidactylus tanganicus (rascals raced out of their incubation boxes, right into my hand and just sat there- I like it when they cooperate) and 3 cresties. Two of the cresties are from Red #5. Not to be confused with Red Dye #5 nor Strawberry Letter #23 nor 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. I have to say, as long as I’ve been producing red cresties, these are both outstanding, even as babies. I just love how bright they are coming out of the egg (and yes, I can tell the difference between ‘birth’ red and ‘genetic’ red.
Finally, worked on the heat strip for the shelf rack again. First, I swallowed my pride, drew up a little diagram, and posted on FB. And here is the cool thing about FB. Within 15 minutes I had my answer. In the midths of terms like serial and parallel connections, batteries lining up positive to positive, and voltage and wattage discussions, my oldest son called me and simply stated- take the wire coming off the dimmer that is connected to the lower strip and move it to the top. Done and Done. Now I have heat throughout. Whoop Whoop!!
WED July 8
Just a quick note for those keeping score- the reason for these late posts (they’ve been a week to 3 weeks behind at times this year) is due to major hours at work on a major project. Well, today we finally started the first step in loading data to our new software system.
As most everyone will be clueless to what this means, to me, this is a HUGE stress build up to get the data ready, cleansed, validated, and formatted to load. Pressing the GO button and beginning the load is the very peak of the mountain and from this point forward, my work should start stabilizing and working its way down from 12-14 hour days (and weekends).
Did I just say that out loud? Well, now I’ve done it.
TUE July 7
I hate to talk work and not geckos but, just real quick, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been heaping in hours at work like a crazy man. Tomorrow I should get a peek at the finish line as we begin the process of going live on my big project. Whew! I am starting already to put together a list of weekend tasks!
1. Finish styro wall ledges- needs to be painted and situated in the tank
2. Fix flexwatt on Shelf-Rack. Top line is not heating.
3. Clean baby crestie containers- around 50 right now. I should be able to do this in about an hour
4. Egg search-sand/Paroedura geckos- This is about a dozen enclosures that require a bit of time each
5. Look for holes in enclosure screen. I’ve seen 2 or 3 in the past week of feeding
6. Label ALL geckos- New label maker and I am planning on going to town
7. New light on Teratoscincus scincus (frog eye geckos)
8. Giveaway (finally) for Blog. Finally! Sorry for the wait.
This should keep me busy.
MON July 6
Back after the holiday and there is so much to do. Tonight, we fed and watered/misted cresties/gargs/chewies (over 200 enclosures), the micro babies (20), warm room (@ 125 enclosures), weird stuff (20). Is that everyone? Oh, the micros themselves (another 20). Whew. That is about the full room unless I am missing some. Oh, cave geckos (another 25). Checking for eggs, putting eggs away, and putting babies away. I believe the only thing we did not do (from a normal day’s maintenance, was feed the insects and that will be done tomorrow.
No great surprises today. I make mental notes that some animals still need to be labeled, a couple lights need to be replaced tomorrow, I need to look for eggs in a couple enclosures, and need to check out the misting system (change to be smaller duration mistings but more often).
So nice to be posting gecko stuff and not reading off a medical chart!
SUN July 5
More family sharing as my wife’s cousin and family are up from Chicago since Friday. It is so nice to get together with them. Quick check on eggs and some fast feedings (this is the time when we depend on full mealworm cups to hold over the adults).
Two more H. ruspoli. All the micros are growing up quickly. They look good!
SAT July 4
Happy 4th of July! Our day is filled with friends and family, picnic, birthday celebration, meeting for the first time our son’s girlfriend’s parents, and of course fireworks.
Enjoy the family time!
FRI July 3
Where is my label maker?!?!?!? I try to label all the enclosures (other than leos, cresties, etc.) with a label of the animals’ name. This helps with so many things. It obviously helps with familiarizing to the name of the animal. It also allows me to see which enclosures are occupied and which are not at a glance. Recently, my label maker has gone missing.
Unlike Jimmy Buffett who might say “Some people claim there’s a woman to blame”, I am under the firm believe there is a son involved with this disappearance somehow. If I see one of my labels on one of their tool drawers, Frisbee golf bags, or CD cases, there will be some retribution for sure!
Anyways, it’s gone so I had to purchase another one. Actually Nanette grabbed one while shopping today for $13. Not bad. 4 AA batteries later and I am a labeling machine!
THU July 2
It’s heating time!
Setting up the Flexwatt for the ‘Shelf Stand’. A few days ago, I purchased 12 feet of flexwatt, 8 connecters, and 8 connecter guards. Total price was just under $50.
I tend to overanalyze, as I’ve stated before so the first thing I did today was jump on YouTube and google to lookup connection examples. There are some great videos out there but none that are current, use parallel setup, and a timer (all in one video/diagram). So, I put together my own diagram and down the stairs I went.
This is always harder than it seems with one person rather than two, but everyone else was busy. Holding the tape, electric line, connecters and trying to clamp down to hold everything together was a bit awkward. Best done with 4 hands and not 2 in the future. All in all, setup took about a half hour to connect.
Did it work? Well, after plugging in a few times and working the dimmer (on-off… high-low), I finally got heat. The heat on the lower 3 are fine but the top strip has no heat. Oh No!!! We onto another project until I can figure this one out.
WED July 1
Big feeds on all the animals. Cleaned up a few enclosures too.
We lost our male fan foot. For a breeder, like myself, this is the worst! If you remember, I purchased a pair, received 5 (1.4) and was told they were not doing that well so extras were sent (and payment reversed so the animals came free). I was really hoping they would hang on but it just seemed they were not eating…. Except this one female. See seemed to settle in and is fattening up nicely. I felt if this had anything to do with pair bonding (once I was down to the last animals), that the pair would settle and do well. Not the case. The male held on as long as he could, then died today. So sad.
Now I have this one lone female in an 18x18x18 enclosure with no other animals. The only hope might be to find additional animals from someone or hope the female is gravid.
TUE Jun 30
I have gotten away from a lot of record keeping I did when I started. Not to say I do not keep breeding records but I need to start recording more information on room temps, outdoor temps, animals acquired (from whom, dates, etc.). Feeding schedules, etc. Wait, maybe I can use this blog for some of this. Hmmmmm
Getting back into posting the Daily News after a week and a half without entries. It’s nice to be back and at it.
Escapee!!!! Tonight, around 11, after posting the blog entry, I retired to the sofa to catch up on baseball scores. Sitting in the family room, I noticed a shape moving to my right side and slightly behind me. I knew the motion and shape in an instance. But how could it be. You know how your brain identifies something but just says “No, that’s not right”?
The shape had disappeared behind the love seat and I was off the couch in a second. I move the seat away from the wall and there it was, one of our leopard geckos- a nice bell stripe. How, why, when. So many questions. I captured the sub adult and ran him back downstairs where we house our geckos (well, at least 99.9999999999999% of the time). Back into his empty container and I was back upstairs in under a couple minutes. Hmmmm, I have no clues why or how this one made it up but this is a first for us in 10 years. Thankfully, Mr. Bell Leopard Gecko did not make his appearance in front of a family room full of guests and family.
MON Jun 29
Starting to think about the new ‘Shelf’ stand. Right now there are 5 tanks. The stand (4 shelves 36” long) will ultimately hold 12 tanks. Guess I need a few more made. Ordered the flex watt today from Bean Farm. 12 ft and the connectors. Will hook up to a dimmer switch. Hoping to get to this project this weekend (July 4 holiday)
SUN Jun 28
This is a slow-down day before going back to work Monday. I am feeling the hit from being down stairs so much yesterday. Feeding crested tonight and will only do a couple of maintenance ‘things’ today. Slow day.
SAT Jun 27
Nice to FINALLY be back down to the gecko room. Yes, it has been a full week and I really could not wait to make the visit down. I had so much to check on. In order- Check eggs, babies, food, adults, enclosures. Everything seems to be doing fine.
Had 2 P. stumpffi and a H. tanganicus hatch out. Little babies are so cute. We did lose one small crestie. I think it might have been missed in our misting the past week. So sad. Roaches are starting to have a problem I am concerned about. I am seeing those little flies when I open a couple of the bigger tubs. Not so concerning and there were only 2-4 but I will have to keep an eye on this.
Adults are doing well. I actually had time to check on a couple enclosures and found eggs in the Pacydactylus stumpffi. Good stuff.
FRI Jun 26
Visited a close friend and his wife. They are expecting their first child in less than a couple weeks. As Nanette and I could not drive, my oldest son and his girlfriend (that sounds awkward when he’s 25) made the hour and a half trek down to Illinois with us. The purpose of the trip was to pick up some geckos from them. He has been getting more and more into the breeding of cresties over the last couple of years- to the point that they actually did a show a few months ago and sold some really nice animals. Their focus has always been on high end cresties and it shows with the babies he’s produced. Well, I will be holding onto two geckos for him (one female to0 small to breed) and a stunning male that juuuuuuust might find his way into a couple of my female’s enclosure. Don’t tell my friend! The other 5 animals will be offered up for sale shortly.
TUE Jun 23 - THU Jun 25
It really does not make sense to write the same thing 3 times. I am stiff and sore and have been prohibited from going down to the gecko room. Nanette is doing what she can with the help of the kids to just feed and mist. We will get through this.
By the way, started logging into work Wed. and Thursday but working from home. Thank you for your patience and hanging in there with me.
MON Jun 22
Very sore. Was hoping to come home yesterday but happy to be back today. Guess I am not going in to work this week and hoping to work remotely at the end of the week.
SUN Jun 21
Pain has increased and I just cannot take it anymore. 2AM and I am talking to Nanette about going in to see a Dr. If you know me, you know Nanette was SHOCKED to hear this.
She is as much surprised as I am in pain. Not sure if I can stay conscious much longer. “Does it hurt here?” as the nurse pokes my left side. “Yes.” “Does it hurt here?” as she pokes my right side. “YESSSSS!!!” Can you guess the issue- yes, the appendix. Surgery at 9 am. I am out for the rest of the day.
SAT Jun 20
Did some normal maintenance and feedings during the day. Not feeling very well so I cut the day a bit short. Family night ends around 7pm with a movie. Trying to sleep but cannot get comfortable at all. It’s going to be a long night.
FRI Jun 19
Nanette is doing better but still not able to help much in the gecko room. And that is ok. I will have plenty of time this weekend to catch up. Today was crested gecko diet night and I finished in a record 35 minutes! Of course the dishes were already laid out but still. Pretty proud of myself. More time to tend to the other animals.
THU Jun 18
With Nanette still not able to do stairs that well, I came home, ate, and headed down stairs. Some feeding was done (all animals not fed are all set with dubias or mealworms already in their mealworm cups and have water). I will catchup BIG time tomorrow with a full room feed (including insects).
Checking for crestie babies, we had 3 babies that were all put away. It was sad though as I checked through the containers and found one little nose sticking through the egg. I knew what this meant. VERY rate it is when I find a baby crestie that has partially hatched that has actually made it. It is a timing thing.
Seeing this poor little baby that had perished, I spotted another egg that had started seeping. Well, due to the earlier experience, I was not going to let this one go. I used a sharp razor blade and slowly pealed away at the egg. It only took about a minute and this little one poked its head out and raced out of the egg. A perfect little red crestie.
WED Jun 17
We lost our third fan footed gecko today. Originally, this group was purchased as a 1.3, and I believe that is what I believe I received. They looked a bit thin when they came in but I have randomly seen them eating. They have water and a nice heat spot. As they did come from the wide, and the seller mentioned there were some issues with the geckos (and even refunded the cost for this group), I have eliminated my care as being the cause of death. I think I still have a 1.1 (1 male and 1 female). My fingers are crossed.
Nanette is down and out with her knee operation so I am catching up on feedings. Thank goodness I took today off. I fed the micros and insects. Should have fed the caves but got caught up with work (yes, vacation days are still filled with work duties). Will feed pretty much the whole room tomorrow.
TUE Jun 16
Today is Nanette’s surgery. No matter how small, you always have concerns. I cannot believe the well wishes from friends and family that have poured in today on FB. And, what was she doing first thing this morning? Feeding geckos. Even before I woke up, she slipped out of bed and went down to the facility to feed the leos and picta. She is Amazing.
Found another P. ruspoli baby. I love the looks of these little geckos- all currly tail waiving and all.
Nanette’s knee surgery went well. They repaired her meniscus and cleaned up the patella. I have the day off and will use it to feed the crested.
Just finished the crested gecko feeding- this includes about 225 enclosures. Diet dishes were already out. I mixed, poured and fed in 35 minutes! A new record for me!
MON Jun 15
As I have been a sports fan for over 50 year, I will continue to share a glimpse into our joy that the Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup for the 3rd time in 6 years! This brings back wonderful memories of listening to the transistor radio in bed to Blackhawk games when my parents thought I was sleeping. Great memories. Congratulations Chicago Blackhawks!
SUN Jun 14
Kicked some gecko tail today- fed warm animals in the morning, cool animals later in the morning, and finally, all weird geckos and insects in the afternoon. Had plenty of time to enjoy some of the geckos that came in recently.
SAT Jun 13
It’s about time.
Nanette and I went shopping in the morning.
I over think things. I’ve been planning on a new stand now for about a month (or more). The dimensions, where it will go, the best way to build it, etc. Well, as we were pulling past Menards, I asked Nanette to stop. We picked up 4 34” x 12” melamine shelves, 2 48” wall brackets, and 8 braces. All totaled around $45.
I grabbed Christopher our oldest son to help downstairs. Actually, if I remember right, he volunteered to help! We tore down the big grey stand. It housed 3 enclosures with animals- L. kimhowelli, one morning gecko, and a pair of G. albegorlisi focus. The stand also had 3 empty 10 gallon tanks (went to the attic), and 3 other tall tanks (staying downstairs for future use). This stand is about 34” x 16” x 72”. Down it came in about 15 minutes. In its stead, Christopher helped me put up the brackets and 4 new shelves. Perfect! This new area (34” x 12” x 71”) will hold twelve 12” cubes. Now, what to put in them!
PS- The Chicago Blackhawks won tonight and have a 3-2 lead in the series. Very excited that they could win the cup at home after their next game.
FRI Jun 12
Friday and Nanette has a meeting at church. It is crested gecko feeding time for yours truly. No diet tonight, they get meat! I’m armed with deli cups of crickets and feeling like feeding heavy!
The young geckos should be the easiest. They are not. I like to go into each container and check out each animal. They are all doing very well. I think we have a totals of about 75 babies/juveniles growing up right now.
Next is the adults. Each hide is examined once a week (it’s my turn) for moisture and of course for eggs. More on that in a second. So I like to feed differently. I will get a smaller number of crickets (about enough to feed 10 enclosures and will dust heavily. Once done with these tanks, on to get more crickets. This ensures the maximum amount of dust on each cricket.
Eggs- I normally like to guess at the number of sets of eggs I will find when feeling. Sort of a game. And I always estimate too high. So, before starting the big cricket feed, I guessed at 20 sets. Well, by the time the last enclosure was fed, I collected 24 sets of eggs. Realize we have not collected in about a week so this was a bit more than I expected. Very excited as I found some eggs in some of our more prized animals as well.
THU Jun 11
I am trying something very different with our Paroedura picta this year. Normally, their eggs are incubated at around 82 degrees. I get a good mix of males and females at this temp.
Well, about 2 months ago, we started collecting eggs and NOT putting them in the incubator. So, what temp will they be incubating at? During the past two months, these eggs have seen a range between 70 to about 74 degrees. The basement does not heat up too much, other than the warm room where temps are kept around 80 degrees. But, it does not vary too much either. At the most, it will drop around 2-3 degrees at night. Perfect for most geckos.
I know I may not hatch out as many P. picta this year but I really wanted to try something different for my knowledge and to share with others.
While I do not have results of this experiment, I will certainly provide more information as we start hatching and raising these animals.
WED Jun 10
Down in the hockey Stanley Cup series 2-1, Chicago wins game 4 to tie it up. Way to go Blackhawks.
Just like everyone else, I have good days and I have bad days. Today, I had no ambition to work downstairs at all. I put together a few blog posts, Instagram photos, played a game on the phone, watched the Hawks, and then went to bed. Just not a productive gecko day. Maybe tomorrow.
No idea what the photo has to do with having a bad day but it DID make me smile :)
TUE Jun 9
Had a friend stop by to evaluation their crested geckos. About a year ago, he stopped by to ask about geckos. Seems he cares for a nature center and has kept some reptiles in the past. His goal- to keep animals that would work well with people and that could make a bit of money for the center.
My first (and only) suggestion was crested geckos. I talked about the benefits, the little care needed to be provided, the ease of breeding, etc. I believe we talked for 4 hours. This happened again the next time we met up, and the next. Well, eventually he purchased a few adult cresties. I say eventually as he did his research, asked the right questions, explored the market, and made the right choices.
For adults, I provided a couple of females and one very red male. I mentioned that the red male’s genes would carry through to some of the babies. Not all but some. He understood that many babies would be nice looking but not outstanding but there would be a chance one or a couple of the babies would take the genes of mom and dad and look very impressive.
This past winter and spring, he has had some luck with breeding (actually a LOT of skill and results). Some of the babies he has produced look pretty nice. However, three turned out better than he and I could have hoped for. What do you think?
MON Jun 8
No working on the Rock Ledge as it is raining out and I need a lot of ventilation to pain. Maybe tomorrow.
Today, I found another P. rugosis. Do you know about these wonderful geckos. I love their color, their size, and their behavior.
Their color is light milk chocolate base. On top of this is a blottering of dark Hershey chocolate. Can you tell I love chocolate? This is a gecko that can easily be maintained in a 10 gallon enclosure. They only attain a length of about 4-5 inches. I include cork bark slabs, rock piles, and a plant or two. Add a couple of overturned flower pot saucers (although I never see adults use these hides). For behavior- these little geckos are easy to keep, a bit curious, and adventurous as they love exploring all parts of the enclosure. What a fun little gecko to work with.
SUN Jun 7
Down to the facility early to feed then up to put a full additional coat of dry-lock on the ledge structure. This took about a half hour to fully apply. Now the waiting! I plan to spray paint this work with two different colors- a light yellowish, then a sponge of brown colors to add depth.
Oh, did I mention I also purchased a dozen and a half styro balls Friday? I didn’t think so. Well, guess what they will be? That’s right- rocks! Well I thought it would be a piece of cake to mold these round orbs down to flatter rock looking things. Not so easy. A couple hours later and I had a few that looked no so bad but the rest looked like flattened styro balls. More work and they look a bit better. I think they will be fine once completed.
SAT Jun 6
After feeding the animals and feeder bugs, it is time to start working on the wall. As you read yesterday, I am excited about this but a little not so excited. I am not an artsy type of person. Creativity outside math equations and scientific measurements are not my thing. Give me a drawing and I can recreate. Hand me styro blocks and I have no idea where to start cutting back what doesn’t look like a rock. So, off to google I go.
There are so many great examples of creating reptile rock/ledges on Youtube. Very cool videos. After watching a dozen and finding a few neat web sites (I know- I am the epitome of paralysis by analysis).
The styro I have is a full 1 inch in height and I have a few pieces that are ½ inch in height. I plan for several ‘ledges’ that will raise up to within 4-5 inches of the heat light/uvb light. The structure will take up about a third of the enclosures.
Cutting took very little time. I highly recommend the $3 tool you can find at any home improvement store. Sanding was super easy as well. Each ‘level’ took around 15-20 minutes to carve and sand. In the duration of one baseball game (It was the Milwaukee Brewers so I did not miss much), the structure was cut and ready for the dry-lock.
Using the dry-lock on the ledges is not so much ‘painting’ as ‘glopping’. The big paintbrush simply applied the wet material on the styro. The smaller brush then filled in the gaps.
Two full ‘glops’ today. I will let this dry more for tomorrow.
FRI Jun 5
Well, he did it. I am now building a rock wall for the 18x18x18 enclosure I have in the family room. Ryan M. convinced me to take the non-existent free time I have and create a rock wall.
I have developed my hobby for years based on animals and breeding… not display. I am not saying this is right or wrong. I’m just saying I focus more on making sure the animals are doing well and setup for breeding than having full displays that I, and the animals can enjoy.
Well, tonight we went out and purchased Styrofoam, a cutting knife, dry-lock, acrylic paint, sandpaper, paint burshes (cheapies), and silicone. All tolled around $40. Tomorrow we cut!
THU Jun 4
One post-work meeting cancelled with a friend but Ryan McVeigh stopped by to deliver a tank for our granddaughter. I really enjoy chatting with him and I learn more in an evening like this than reading a dozen reptile books. We talked about lighting, turtles, geckos, other reptiles, the Madison Herp society, USARK, geckos, reptile shows, and on and on and on. A couple hours with Ryan really invigorate me to do more for my animals, for my customers, and for my hobby. USARK donation sent!
Well, a couple take aways from this discussion is lighting and styro wall building. I’ve always been of the believe that the better quality florescent lights will provide enough UVB (in conjunction with calcium with D3) to offer your animals what they need to be healthy. As you know, calcium is needed by animals to build strong bones. But, they need UVB (usually provided by the sun) or D3 to convert the calcium. I have always fed the calcium with D3 and my nocturnal animals have done very well. The diurnal animals have as well. But there just seemed to be something missing.
One thing I did not realize was the importance of UVA as well as UVB. This is a subject I will be looking into more in the very near future. More about the rock wall tomorrow.
WED Jun 3
I know, you came here to check out gecko stuff. Well, the Chicago Blackhawks are playing game 1 of the Stanley Cup and I am keepin’ this short tonight.
Nanette found 4 baby cresties hatched out today. I would call this the official start of the hatching season (June 3!!!!) Weather has been cool and that is causing all animals to delay their breeding/laying cycle. We’ve had sporadic hatchings of leos and crested (and other misc. species) but I see a lot of eggs now coming due for the cresties, gargs, chahouas, and leos so I am marking it official hatching season today.
TUE Jun 2
A couple years ago, a close friend asked me why I no longer have visitors in the facility. We both knew the answer but I think he just wanted to hear my opinion. First, the reason is NOT because I am hiding any trade secrets, special animals, or unique breeding projects. I am not hiding anything I am doing either good or bad. The word ‘transparent’ has been used to describe me many times by those that really know me. Nothing to hide!
Except one thing………… dirt. No, I am not OCD on keeping my enclosures completely clean. I don’t scrape the front glass every day (once a month maybe). How often do I completely clean enclosures (take everything out and scrub down)? Read past the next few sentences if you have a week stomach- once a season! After breeding season (fall) and then as we turn on the heat again at the beginning of breeding season. Everything comes out and a full hot water scrub down is done. I am a big believer in keeping the tanks clean (removal of poop, etc.) frequently but NOT of complete cleanings. There are more ‘good’ aerobic bacteria that get washed away with a full clean.
Instead, twice a year we remove the animals, all décor and scrub off, scrub the enclosure (again with HOT water), scrub the hides, and replace hide material, then put everything back together again. A full cleaning in the facility usually take about 2 weeks, and that’s about 2 hours a day!
In between though, we do cleanings that involve removing poop and a dry, gentle brush down with a paper towel or soft brush. Quick and easy (still takes us quite some time to complete all enclosures.
So, back to my point. As our enclosures are not PERFECTLY clean ALL the time, I am really reluctant to invite people into the facility. I guess that would not be OCD as I don’t care if I see a little dirt in the tanks, I just don’t want anyone else to.
MON Jun 1
My work hours are dipping down a bit and this affords me the opportunity to come home a bit earlier and help Nanette with the crested gecko feeding. I really enjoy this activity as I get to check how much they are eating, how the enclosures look, and the fun part- checking for eggs! I believe we’ve had a fairly average season so far with egg production. Not great but not bad. And it has been cooler this season so far. Last night’s temps were down to 39 degrees! And it’s June 1! Crazy.
Checked the mister. Tim setup the misting system for me. I had asked him if it he could set up a day and night mist. He mentioned he did not think so. Well, walking past one of the tanks this weekend, I noticed about a half inch of standing water (bare bottom enclosure). I knew something was amiss. Checking the timer, I found there are 8 cycles that can run per day. They were all set on one minute per. So each day, each tank was getting 8 full minutes of misting. That’s a lot. I cut it back to one for now to get back a little control.
The background for the enclosure came in (purchased from Ebay last Thursday). That was quick. I took out the decorations (limited right now), pushed back the sand, and put in the background. Of the 4 geckos, 3 are on the background right now.
SUN May 31
I am going to take a pass on adding a blog entry as I spent almost the entire day reviewing documentation for work. Nothing like reading through hundreds of SOP documents. How in the world have I not completely gone blind in the last few months?
SAT May 30
Well the bean beetles are going like crazy! We have 8 cultures setup on the cave rack (first rack you see when coming downstairs). When you walk past the cultures, it sounds like a dozen people standing there crumpling up paper. Freaky.
Cave gecko feeding. Nanette (this is her project) found 5 eggs and was overjoyed. This is so cool when a project like this hits and you see the excitement shared with a loved one. Wait until the first of the eggs hatches out!
More measurements- I am not settled on replacing the grey stand in the leo room just yet. I believe the location in the hallway is the way to go but I keep going back and forth on this decision.
FRI May 29
Blatant product plug in 3-2-1….. Earlier in the year, the Madison Area Herp Society (Ryan McVeigh) put up a contest to compare their enclosures to one of the two other major competitors. As I keep a lot of small geckos, I commented (if memory serves) that I felt it compared well but that the smaller opening in the door was preferable for me.
Well, I won the contest and received the new Zilla Heat and UVB Basking Fixture. It has been sitting in the facility for the past couple months, just waiting to be setup. As you know, this week, I setup the lone gecko enclosure in our family room with fan foots geckos (from Linda Switzer).
Although I have only had this setup now for a few days, I want to say that I am loving the look of the enclosure and especially the look and performance of the fixture. The sandy, windblown (ok, hand made) dunes, rock piles, and rugged looking background all add to a very impressive display. And, the lighting does not take away from the effect one bit!
The heating bulb is extremely small and fits into the oh so tiny footprint of the fixture. It seems to generate just enough heat to make the fan foots comfortable. While I doubt they need the UVB, it is a nice addition and provides just the right about of light. Speaking to Ryan McVeigh I am very pleased with all aspects of this unit.
THU May 28
Blackhawks win an elimination game and are set to play game 7 Saturday. I am just realizing that by the time I catch up with the posts, we will all know if they made it to the Stanley Cup, or even won the whole thing!!!
Checking all the new animals from Linda at Switzer Reptiles. They are all settling in quite well.
WED May 27
Well the Chicago Blackhawks are on tonight at 7pm and it is an elimination game. Hawks lose and they go home. Must get everything done by 7! Hit the facility at 6:10 and started cleaning tanks. Attacked our 12 enclosure crested grow out rank. I believe we’ve been misting a bit more on this stand than the others as the egg cartons are a bit ‘old’. I focused on taking the gecko out, the foam tubbie ledges, the cartons out, and dish out of the enclosure. Working with the geckos really gives me a flavor on how they are doing and what they are growing up to look like. Fun! Nanette is doing the sink duty as the tubs are washed out and scrubbed. Once clean, I add new cartons, the tubbie and dishes, and then the animal. Don’t jump! Don’t jump! Shoot, now I have to change the gecko down.
Finished up in time to check a couple other animals and made it back upstairs in time for the National Anthem. Go Hawks!
TUE May 26
The order is in. Today, I put in an order with Switzer Reptiles. If you have never had the opportunity to work with Linda at Switzer Reptiles, you are missing out! She is one of the nicest, generous, caring, knowledgeable people in this hobby.
Back to the order. Last week, Linda FB messaged me to let me know a shipment was coming in. You know what that means to me! Drool. I immediately picked up a pair of the one special gecko that was coming in the shipment (more on this later). Well, over the weekend, I added a pair of geckos that would be perfect for the one enclosure (18x18x18) in the family room. This will be a desert enclosure and I will utilize the new Zilla lighting fixture I received from the Madison Area Herp society a few months ago. The third gecko is one I’ve picked up from Linda before and only have a single female presently.
So, what are the geckos? Well, you will have to wait until they come in to see.
MON May 25
SUN May 24
The good with the bad- It seems we are losing more leo eggs than we should currently. Checking the incubator early this morning (6:00 am as I turn on the lights) and I find a HUGE issue! The main incubator is plugged into the Timer outlet and NOT the 24x7 outlet. This means that when the lights go off at night, so was the incubator! What a disaster. These are the little things right now that are escaping me as my workload finally is starting to come down a bit and I can start watching for issues like this more. Still feel bad that I missed this. I don’t think it really impacted more than 10% of our leo eggs, but still feel bad.
We tore down the Holodactylus africanus tanks. What a cool little gecko. Two reasons we did this- because we have not seen all 8 animals at one time and, well I was hoping to see eggs. Every animal is doing well and looks super healthy. They were all in their burrows and sleeping away. Sorry little geckos. We resetup the geckos with their hides, dishes, and added water to one side. By the way- no eggs.
Spent about an hour tearing down the morning gecko tank in our family room. New occupants coming soon (more on this Tuesday). The good news, the tank cleaned up real nice. The bad news, only two of the three morning geckos were found. I have a very bad feeling I know where the other one is and I hope it does not show up some time when we have company at the house.
SAT May 23
It’s been so busy lately. I have not provided all the details going on in the facility. I find a few eggs here and there and put them away, new babies are born and put away, normal feeding schedules are maintained without posting here. Please forgive me as it is hard to keep up with the single entries.
However, today was CHECK day- when I go around and check all animals. It’s pretty much an all-day adventure. Sometimes I am surprised with something going on and sometimes not. Today was a pleasant surprise. While cleaning tanks, I of course check for eggs. Found quite a few today. I’m so glad the geckos are being maintained by Nanette and producing well.
FRI May 22
Today was cleanup day and Nanette (then later I) practiced the art of Divide and Conquer. Dishes are in the sink (or in the roach bins), deli cups are all put away, garbage out, etc. The place looks almost ‘tidy’.
Well the misting system has been setup for 9 enclosures so far (as of last weekend). I checked on the tanks tonight and one has a bit more water at the bottom of the enclosure than I would like. It is a bare bottom and the water has nowhere to go. Will either have to solution this or teach the geckos to swim.
THU May 21
With a long break from doing the Daily Gecko Blog, I am back! It’s been almost two weeks! I do keep a log on my computer but it takes a bit to deliver it to the web page. I will start Ketch-ing-Up with 3 entries a day.
What a mess! Sometimes the room just gets a bit out of sorts. You know how it is in your house/apartment- a stack of books here, a few dirty plates there, a pair of pants on the treadmill (or in my case, my whole wardrobe). The gecko room is like that right now.
No, I am not complaining at all! I know Nanette is doing a great job of keeping order while I am so wrapped up in my work project. The mess is an organized mess. We have CGD dishes out that are ready to go in the dubia bins, deli cups out and ready for the next feeding, new fruit fly containers ready to go, and other misc. tasks sitting out (misting system, new stand materials, new lighting for another stand). Everything is in place but for this weekend and, I am hoping will get back to spick-n-span clean by end of day Monday (Memorial Day).
WED May 20
Tonight is the first night in months that I am not monitoring a system or working out issues with our off shore team until the wee hours of the morning. A FREE NIGHT! Nanette has fed the animals and I plan to use the night to relax and enjoy a Chicago Blackhawks playoff game. I absolutely love hockey and so does Nanette.
EDITOR’S NOTE- The hockey game was the longest in history. Instead of 3 hours, it went into TRIPLE overtime and did not finish until 1:20 AM! Yes, I did watch the entire game. My relaxing night was anything but, and I completely enjoyed it but I’ll be paying the price tomorrow!
TUE May 19
Funny- I received an Email today. Actually the person sent the original Email back in September of 2014 and was hoping for a date of birth on a gecko they purchased 6 months earlier. I had replied in September that I needed the code from the cup and a photo if they could provide one.
We generally label any animals being sold with the following code- AAYYXXXX. AA is the animal type. It might be CR for crested gecko, CT for leopard gecko (sometimes this varies by morph), PI for Paroedura picta, well you get the picture. The YY is the hatch year (14 would be 2014). Finally, the XXXX is simply a sequential # so we can keep them geckos uniquely identified. In addition, we usually provide bloodline info (Parents names if applicable), some type of special description of the animal, and actually the hatch date .
Today’s Email (another 8 months since the first one) provided a number- 003, with a photo. Well, I know it is a CR (crested gecko). I can also guess at the year we produced the animal as 2014, but checking back at the records, this just does not match at all.
This is frustrating for me as much as disappointing for the customer. I keep extensive records on our geckos and their breeding and enjoy providing any info I can to the customer when they ask. I would suggest, when you purchase an animal ask as much information as you can up front, at the show or pet store, or within the next few days. Oh, and keep the number on the cups for reference.
MON May 18
I know, I know. Forums seem to be taking the back seat to , well phrases like back seat. They seem to be stagnant, non-interactive dinosaurs that have had their day but had to step aside to social media super sites like twitter, Instagram, and… hmmmm what is the name of that third one?
However, I believe there is a place for a tool like this. I can see Gecko Enthusiast building with important care, habitat, breeding, and perhaps availability information. Think of it as a one stop shop for photos and valuable information to help us better care for our animals. There certainly is a future for this type of ‘forum’. Here's a LINK to Gecko Enthusiast
SUN May 17
Nanette is up early! Did I just look over and see 5:30! WTH! Well, I know she will not ask me if I want to get up and help her feed so, up and looking forward to a wonderful day. Down to the facility we go. Feeding the warm room (leos/aussies/picta/and a few weirdo geckos (see Nanette’s earlier classification of weirdo geckos). They all look great and are doing well. 5 picta eggs and 4 sets of leo eggs. Expected more leos but that is ok. By 7am we are done and Nanette was soon off to church.
Sunday mornings are my time to really get away from work, facebook, feeding the geckos, etc. It doesn’t mean that I don’t do some of these things, but it means that is not my main focus on the morning. I take this time to really examine the animals, set up new pairs, move animals (especially babies to bigger enclosures), and, well enjoy the animals. This is MY time.
SAT May 16
Today should be spent completely working with the geckos. Nanette has been so diligent in keeping up with the animals. I need to spend way more time with them when I can.
However, the family is up by around 8 or so- 2 oldest sons, their daughters, and Nanette and I. So off to George Webb I go. Had a great breakfast. I really enjoy their food and we always leave a nice tip for the folks.
Why is this important for you now know? This has nothing to do with geckos! Ok, here is the secret (and hopefully why you come her when you can). About a year ago, we were eating breakfast at our local GWs and noticed they were throwing away a bunch of egg flats. As we are regular customers and know the folks quite well, we asked if we could have the egg flats. These are great for cricket bins, dubia bins, even baby crested geckos as décor (as well as other small geckos). Not only were they kind enough to give us the stack of about 10, they offered to save them for us. Well, over the next 6 months, we have accumulated enough to almost fill half a room!!! It is amazing how many we go through but it seems we never put a dent in the stacks and stacks and stacks and…….
FRI May 15
Blast from the past- so, you want to know more about micro geckos and are not sure where to start. The first problem is that there are so many places to get good information. From Lygodactylus to Gonatodes to Sphaerodactylus, there are so many fascinating animals to work with.
A couple years ago, I put together a slide presentation for the Madison Area Herp Society. You can find it on SlideShare by clicking here.
Finally I created a LINK page on Supreme Gecko to share the best I know. Go HERE to see some great pages!
THU May 14
While we have a wonderful adult pair of Goniurosaurus orientalis (see prior post about purchasing a male at the NARBC show fall 2014).
I have been in negotiations on a trio with Frank since last fall. The animals have been too small to sex and he did not feel comfortable enough to ship. Weather in the Midwest had been anything but accommodating this winter as well- my fingers are just now thawing out enough to type!
I think many of you know the obsession I have for red geckos. My crested have to be red- or pinstrips. It’s just something that drives my selection process. Well, G. orientalis has some of the most beautiful orange – red of any gecko. They are so neat looking, as well as being extremely docile. Quickly becoming one of my favorite geckos
WED May 13
What does that mean? Just ask Nanette. One of the things, oddly enough, that drives me in this hobby is the thought that I am never done. I’m never done learning. There is Soooooo much information available. So many expert gecko people to talk to. I am far from done obtaining and breeding new (to me). There will always be ‘wish list’ and just ‘want list’ animals out there. I will NEVER be done teaching others and sharing my passion! And I will never be done trying to redesign my room(s).
A few months ago, Charles Schurman created 5 beautiful 12x12 inch tanks with escape proof lids (so important). I have a stand in our hallway (between the crestie room and the original reptile room) (was the day care room and we still call it that) that is holding only 4 enclosures right now. The space is 40 x 16 x 80. Only 4 enclosures!
Well, as I mentioned the tape measure is out and I am designing the space to hold 12 enclosures. This stand will be right next to our rack that already holds 8 12 x 12 Exo Terra type enclosures and is setup to be misted (more coming later on this). This seems to be the perfect space for a the stand and will be built I hope in the next 2-3 weeks.
TUE May 12
I cannot imagine a cuter baby gecko. I know little Nephrurs wheeleri, all looking like miniature fantastic four The Rock and all are major cure. Or tiny bug eyed Paroedura species, looking up to you like you are mommy/daddy.
But, when these little Pachydactylus rangei hatch out they are something else. Their eyes are almost Independence Day – Alien like. The slender likes on their body are so elegant and pristine. But look at those web feet! Oh my. Now that’s what I am talking about.
MON May 11
(author Nanette) Misted early this morning and fed the inside room by 8:00 this morning. Later I went back down and fed the micros, the weirdo’s ( I call all the odd groups the “weirdo’s”), checked the incubators for hatches.
Then early evening I fed the crested geckos – it’s a challenge I take to get them fed before Wally gets home from work. I like to have it done so he can do the other stuff he wants to do downstairs.
SUN May 10
(author Nanette) I did not go downstairs to the facility today – it was Mother’s Day!
Wally checked for hatches, took pictures, fed the dubia bins ( I had cut up the food yesterday). Moved some of the animals around.
SAT May 9
(author Nanette) Up early with Wally to feed ALL the geckos today ( I enjoy working down there with Wally). I worked on the leopard geckos first, wait I think that is all I fed today. I was a little slow moving for some reason.
Normally it is Wally who is slow (in my opinion) when it comes to feeding. I like to get in and feed quickly – he spends time checking out all the animals.
Today I spent some time cleaning up enclosures, moving males, and collecting eggs. I then fed the picta and collected a bunch of eggs there too! Wally fed all the crested geckos, collected and put away eggs, did some cleaning, filled water bottles and teased me about being slow. Oh, I did also feed the cave geckos too! We worked for about 2 ½ hours and then he took me out for breakfast.
FRI May 8
(author Nanette) Entered the facility with the lights off this morning and as I walked to the sink I jumped a couple times with the scurrying of geckos in the enclosures. I really think they do it on purpose to just make me a little nervous not knowing right away what I am going to encounter. I like to think I get even when I spray water into the enclosures.
I have chopped up 2 pounds of carrots and some zucchini for the dubia. Let me tell you this has taken me awhile to get used to. I was not excited about the roach colonies when Wally started them, but I am getting used to them. Crickets and worms as well. This way all foods will be ready to be fed to the geckos on Saturday.
I also checked the incubators and found a few baby picta had hatched.
THU May 7
What is the saying? The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. So what does this say about me?
I feel I am financially frugal. I tend to shop around for all options and prices. While I will not purchase the cheapest product on the market, I will not purchase the most expensive either. So, one could say I am willing to spend money on quality, but am unwilling to overpay.
Ok, now that that is settled, what does it say when I steal my wife’s silverware to be used in the reptile room? Recently she had this wonderful, large-deep spoon with holes in it. My immediate thought was ‘This would be perfect for separating small dubia’. I knew I would be in MAJOR trouble if I plundered my wife’s Tastefully Simple utilities. Off to Ebay I flew.
In 5 minutes I found a similar one, but in green. Purchase! And…. While I am on Ebay, I checked out wash bottles and found a 500ml bottle. We’ve been using 250ml bottles successfully to fill water dishes but they last about half a rack. If one works, why not buy 4. Purchase! Done.
WED May 6
The animals have arrived. This is a pretty big day for us as one of the animals on our short wish list will be going the Supreme Gecko facility. It is Cyrtodactylus peguensis.
These are a smaller gecko (not micro) and are simply amazingly patterned. Such a cool little gecko. In addition to their beauty, C. peguensis are known to be very vocal.
These were purchased from Frank Calacicco and I would like to thank him over and over again for his patience. This transaction has been in the works for 7 months!
Also in the group, a trio of Goniurosaurus orientalis. Yes, we now have two groups. I picked up a male to match to my female from the Spring NARBC show and now a young trio (cross your fingers). They are a year away from breeding.
As may recall, I’ve lost 2 Paroedura vazimbas recently. I added a pair to the order when I found out Frank had a set available. I love these animals and need to keep working with them. I’ve been looking for Morning geckos for some time for a tank upstairs. Frank had 3 and I added them to the list. Score! Very excited about the new animals and more photos will come later.
TUE May 5
Insects- In the past years, we have ordered crickets. Lots of crickets. Last year at this time, we were ordering at least 6,000 every two weeks. If you’re not Pythagoras, here is the math- that’s 144,000 crickets a year! At a cost of around $2000! Ouch.
And, if you know crickets like I do, not all purchased crickets make it to the dinner plate for the geckos. While it seems the main reason seems to be escapees (they always seem to be chirping in the corner of the room- somewhere out of site), loss per batch seems to range between 5% to 30%, with an average of around 10% if held for about 2 weeks.
I wish I could give out some pointers on keeping them as healthy as possible and to minimize loss but every time I think I have this figured out, they beat me again with a high loss. Of course they need good foods, plenty of space, some moisture, and lots of hiding spaces.
The one thing I do know is I hate working with them, but must as they are so easy to feed and a great source of protein. When dusted, they are the perfect food. As you know, I’ve setup 6 large tubs for dubias and have already cut my food bills by more than 75%! However, we will continue to bring in crickets, especially in the spring to get those females fat and sassy.
MON May 4
You know, a good boss/spouse/coach/friend is one that knows when to kick you in the butt when you need a good kick in the butt or, a pat on the back and an “It’s OK” when you need that too….. and know the difference between the two.
Several years ago, I purchase 4 different groups of African Fat Tails. One group was simply spectacular (amel) and was the pride of my collection. Doing plenty of research, I found it fairly easy to set these groups up and quickly started getting eggs. Success! Well, that success was short lived indeed. Results from the first year- I must have received at least 40-50 eggs. Babies…. ZERO!
Years 2-4 were exactly the same. On the final year, I hatched two. One baby died at hatch and the other after a week. Major frustration. I knew I met my match and I was done with AFTs.
A couple years ago, I met a wonderful couple (Adam and Allison). They were fun to talk to and very enthusiastic. They were also having success with AFTs. I was excited- for them and to hear success info on these wonderful animals. Well, they must have seen the dimmed flicker of a light in my eyes light up with the mention of AFTs. They knew I would never take the leap again myself.
So, when Adam and Allison offered a female Oreo fat tail to me (for free!) they knew I would bite, and knew before even offering the girl that without his generous offer, that I would never get back into AFTs and this would bother me forever! So, were they giving me that gentle pat on the back or hard kick in the tush!
I will have to get a good photo of the AFT Adam and Allison gave me as it is really looking outstanding!
SUN May 3
Not really much to report today. Not only am I working around 14 hour days (or more), I had to put in a full day of work today. Weekdays are one thing but weekend should be for catching up with family, friends, and animals (in that order). By 8pm tonight, I had no energy at all to do anything in the room. I am so fortunate to be working and to be on such a special project. But, I do miss so many things this year with the animals. I can sit here and think of 100 things in the facility that should/could be done. I can think of 100 things that also could be done online to help boost the web page or share info on FB.
Just not enough hours in the day.
SAT May 2
Busy day in the facility. The dubia bins were all checked and partially cleaned (taking out orange rinds, potato skins, and any dead dubias). It is really important not to completely clean out your dubias too often. The babies thrive with the chaff on the bottom of the tubs. They hide in this.
Normally our feeding of Crested Gecko Diet is done in the evenings but when we feed crickets, we do this during the day. So the timing has to work out just right. Normally we will feed CGD on a Wednesday night then skip Friday night to feed crickets early Saturday morning (or Thursday night CGD feeding for a Sunday morning cricket feeding).
Finally finished feeding dubias carrots and Supreme Insect Chow and then crickets to the geckos. Now time to put away eggs. It’s still a bit cool here in Wisconsin but I was hoping for more eggs today. We are putting away 15 sets of eggs. By this time next month, I would be hoping to put away twice this every week or so. Sets include crested, chahouas, and gargoyles.
FRI May 1
So what do you listen to when you work with your animals? This is a big thing for me. Music has always been such a big influence in my life.
From my Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin days to my Willie and Waylon days to today as I listed to a plethora of different music. But, when I am downstairs and working with the animals, it has to be ROCK! Lately, I’ve tuned into Pangea and created a Foo Fighers station that includes Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Linken Park, etc. The selection is great and is fairly fresh.
On the weekends, my facility visits are usually made up of 2 to 3 hour stints. That is a lot of listening. It makes the day go faster but more importantly, really pumps me up to get the work done- whether it is feeding, moving animals, or simply washing dishes. I have to have my music! I wonder which artist the animals like to listen to best.
THU Apr 30
Ordered Animals! The order is set! It has taken 7 months but money has been sent and animals will be on their way next week. If you are in this hobby and love getting animal shipments in, raise your hand. Hey, that was everyone. Me too!
I’ve either refreshed/looked up on care requirements of all the animals and/or checked with the breeder. Everyone’s different with their care. If one can get the information straight from the breeder, DO IT! This is the best source of care and breeding information you can find. And most breeders are very willing to share as they want you as the customer to be successful in your care of the animals.
I’ll hold onto the names of the animals for now so you can read about this next week but will say there are 4 groups coming in! And all are VERY DIFFERENT from each other.
WED Apr 29
I will skip the details today and jump right to the DOHHHH moment. Our last task in the room - make two more fruit fly batches. We have one batch that Charles S. that is going CRAZY! Without starting two new cultures, this one will crash, even though we are pulling LOTs of ffs out to feed. Dry powder in, water in, mix, coffee filters (we need to buy some excelcior this weekend). Perfect. Tops are ready to go on. One Two Three- GO, transfer flies. Tops back on the 3 deli cups. Good to go. The new cultures are even a big heavy as again, there are so many in the established container. The three cups (one established and 2 new) go back on the shelf. Perfect. Wait, grab that established again, pore some in our Fruit Fly container with calcium, and start feeding some of the micros as they can always use a small bite to eat to fill them up. 5 minutes later and we are done and ready to head back up stairs. The established culture goes back on the shelf as we head up.... WAIT! FFs all over the place!!! We check the lids of the two new containers and they are secure. BUT, there are air holes in the side of the container near the top. These cups were used for geckos at one point.
Quick scramble and we had tape over the holes, collected as many of the escapees as we could, and the mended cups were back on the shelf. You know, it is always something :)
TUE Apr 28
No sporting events on, no driving to tim-buck-too, no family commitments, home by 7:00pm. Should have plenty of time to work in the reptile room. Well, I crashed! Play with Christal, dinner at 730, and asleep by 8:00. Woke up at about 9:30 and to bed I went. I think everything just caught up with me. Hate losing a whole day like this but I think my body was just telling me enough is enough.
MON Apr 27
Occasionally I have a complete memory melt down. Yesterday, preparing for the show was one.
We started packing animals around 5:30am, finished up and were on our way at 7:30. Everything was setup by 10:00 am and it was not until around noon that I realized I had forgotten an animal that a young lady purchased a couple months ago and had arranged to pick up at WIRE.
What a terrible feeling. I knew she was traveling about an hour just to pick up her chahoua that she was patiently waiting for all this time. When she stopped by our table and announced her name, I was as honest and quick to the point.
For Customer Service issues, when you mess up, this is the best approach- period! She certainly was not pleased with the news but was very polite and hid her disappointment very well. The resolution was offered- we would ship her gecko Monday for a Tuesday delivery, and agreed on. Again, she was extremely patient with the situation and accepting of our apologies.
Well on our trip home from the show, I decided, as they were only an hour drive from our home, that we would hand deliver the chewie Monday night instead- saving a day wait for the customer in receiving her animal, saving us time and energy in shipping the gecko, and by far the most important point- saving any undue stress to the gecko.
So, getting home at around 6pm, packing up the gecko, making final confirmations on “The Drop” and off we went. An hour later, we met up with the customer and she was very pleased with her new pet. So- a couple of keys to remember 1. Admit your mistake and your remorse 2. Come up with a resolution quickly and one that is fair for both parties 3. Deliver on the resolution as quickly as you can!
SUN Apr 26
Show day. Up at 5:30 am. Animals are packed by 6:30. Car is packed and we leave at 7:30. With a quick fill up for the car and for us (breakfast) we are off on the hour trek to Madison, WI.
We pull in @ 8:45 and in plenty of time for setup. As soon as I walk in the door, Adam C. meets me and asks if we need a hand. I point to Nanette and mention I brought the muscle! The point though is he knows physically this is the hardest part for us at the show and was willing to offer his help which was so nice! In between setup, we get to talk to a number of long term friends from Madison. A big hug from Cindy B. It is so great seeing her doing better. Speaking of looking great- Jim S. has lost a lot of weight and looks great! Terri K. meets us and is as wonderfully feisty as ever. Boy do I miss this. Bill was his wild exciting self. Love his enthusiasm.
With setup complete, doors open and customers come flying in. I am surprised as there is construction all around the area and I really thought show visitors would be light. Surprise! Viewing is brisk and purchasing is steady. The hot items- Clark’s Gargoyle diet, Paroedura picta, and leopard geckos.
This is now the second show in a row where leopard geckos have sold as well or better than our crested geckos (I always compare these two when reviewing sales $). Why? I believe the market is a bit over the multitude of leo morphs. What many are looking for is nice, clean, pure, fairly simple morphs. I am included in this group. I am working with about 6 different groups and that is it! I’m down from the 12-15 different morphs I was doing 4 years ago. I just cannot keep up. And I believe the leo hobbyists are the same.
Of course the best part of the show is meeting the new and long term customers. One of the points that frustrates me every show is not having enough time to stop and chat with everyone. Very frustrating. It was great to see Ralph and Sue. Thanks for driving up. Nanette really spent time with you. Sorry I was so busy with others. Janet-Kendra-Angie all made the journey from Cream City. Bob stopped by and debated and debated and debated on buying the best animal on the table. He eventually relented and nabbed it minutes before the closing bell. Too many others names to remember and faces that I cannot put a name to (sorry) to mention here. Great to see other vendors- Chad and Nanette, again Adam and Alison (sorry if this is not spelled correctly), Laura and Kassey, Mike, Chris, Ashley (you have amazing talent), Jen, Doug, Richard….. who am I forgetting? I know, a lot!
I saw a lot of vendors selling animals. I have to hand it to Jim S. for putting on another great show! Want to send a special thanks to John D., Charles S., and Melissa for all their patience and help with my highly-published-by-now issue with Fruit Flies. They offered so much information! This is what makes this hobby so much fun!
SAT Apr 25
The day started with a full feed of insects. They are really picking up as I already see lots of babies in the dubias even after a full collection the week before. It is the food!
Lost one female P. androyensis. No idea why as the other two are looking great! I know they have short life spans and this one came from the wild but it is always frustrating. Waiting a year to acclimate and to see them start breeding then losing them so quickly is not easy. Micro gecko feeding.
We have 15 tubs setup right now, including 3 for H. ruspoli, 3 for P. stumpffi, 1 for P. rangei (one little baby), 3 for H. tanganicus, 1 for a breeding pair of Paroedura androyensis, 3 for Pacydactylus that I purchased this last NARBC, and one for a lone P. ibityensis. Collected two egg from the N. wheeleri female.
FRI Apr 24
Lost a female Paroedura stumpffi. She was super gravid. Maybe egg bound. Sad. We spent some time cleaning up the room. There always seems to be washed tubs-dishes-etc. to put away. I finally went through all the animals on the store page and removed any that have sold. I need to be more diligent with this. Nanette and I also walked through the room and identified all the animals heading to the show Sunday. We will have a lot of animals so I hope we have a good show.
THU Apr 23
Coming up this weekend- the WIRE show. We are reviewing our geckos to determine what is staying and what is going. Never an easy decision. I wrote an article a few years ago this subject called What Stays? What Goes? How to Decide. Check it out.
WED Apr 22
Coming up this weekend- the WIRE (Wisconsin Reptile Expo) in Madison, WI. This is a smaller show but is a very good show from the perspective of very good animal availability, finding deals, and being able to talk to the vendors.
I wish everyone had an opportunity to vend at one of these shows. It is such a great experience. I love finding new people to talk geckos with, meet up with long term friends, and see other’s animals. Vending at reptile shows also requires that you really know your animals and their care. If you do not, potential customers find out quickly.
TUE Apr 21
After receiving an order for almost $400 from the store, I realized I have not updated the animals sold listings (available to sold) since our NARBC show.
My apologies to the customer and of course a big refund from PayPal. This needs to be a added to my weekly check list. I hate disappointing customers.
MON Apr 20
Today was feeding day for cresties.
Two points- First, I cannot believe the difference in just a month. With the warmer temps, the crested, chewies, gargs, and day geckos are tearing up the food. Many, many empty dishes. As Nanette misted last night late, the food softened up and many of the geckos probably had another meal. But, I believe they are putting on additional weight for a big push to the breeding season.
Point 2- as the temps warm, the flies come out. Now, I did not see ANY hovering around the room, but there were 4 dishes that had some little grubbies running around. For most people this is a HUGE nuisance. For me a small one as I take the dishes and add them to the micro gecko tanks! This is GOLD for me as these little wigglers are jammed packed full of the complete CGD diet! The geckos gobble up the gooy gut-loaded grubs. Good Stuff!
SUN Apr 19
Cleaning day. Again?!?!? As you are probably realizing as quickly as I am, once we finish cleaning tubs/tanks, we are starting over again. It is a never ending process. Not an issue as I do enjoy cleaning tubs (as strange as that sounds) as it gives me a chance to handle the animals, make sure they are healthy and lively, examine their enclosures for any issues, and generally stay ‘close’ to the animals.
Finished 10 tubs of chahouas. They all look really good. Fed the cave geckos. All are looking nice. I was hoping for some good eggs as they all have been introduced several times in the past month and a half. Only found 1 bad egg from one of the G. hainanensis.
SAT Apr 18
2-2-2 days in one. Day 1 from around 9 to 12:30 consisted of mainly cleaning up, moving animals, checking lighting, feeding the leopard geckos, picta, and australians. One of hte necesary evils in the reptile room is keeping up with changing burnt out lights. It just seems like this is a constant job. I also feel it takes away time to work with the animals. I know, it needs to be done but I have to look more into LED lighting!
Did a dubia collection. This is NOT a dubia cleanup but simply shaking the egg cartons into a set of 3 plastic tubs (top 2 have holes (medium sized holes in top tub to hold adults, and smaller holes in 2nd tub to hold medium dubias- the smallest fall to the bottom tub)). Collected almost 2 lbs of baby dubias! That will be enough to feed for about 2 months and save about $400 on crickets. Nice! Oh, we also cleaned crestie dishes and fed the micros. The micros are doing really well.
The second part of the day 2 tasks I wanted to get to but due to my inability to focus when I am working in the reptile room (I bet you have this too!) I finished a few other tasks. Primarily I wanted to make new fruit fly cultures- ended up with 8 new cultures. 6 cultures of Drosophila melanogaster (the smaller fly) and 2 Drosophila hydei cultures (the larger fly).
Then it was off to a larger, display tank that has been patiently waiting new animals for about 2 months. Here, I added a number of branches in expectation of a new pair of very special animals hopefully in a few weeks!.
Water bottle filling was next. While not on my 'must do' list, I was all the empty water bottles and was easily diverted. We have over 20 water bottles that are filled at a time (standard spray bottle size). This is usually is good for one full feeding in the entire room.
Oops, a big spider has started a web on the side of one of the racks.... off I go to grab the dust buster and.... scooooop it up. Focus man, Focus!
Finally on my last task- time to feed the caves. We are up to 20 enclosures of caves. Everyone is doing well, Found one bad egg in one of the female's tanks. Just means there are starting to lay! Good news.
FRI Apr 17
I wanted to write a quick update on the Goniurosaurus orientalis pair. As you might remember, last year I picked up 3 G. orientalis. The breeder failed to wet the paper towel and I lost 2 on the way home. So unfortunate (and expensive!). This year, I was so fortunate to find a male at the NARBC Tinley Park show.
After a period of 30 days to quarantine, the pair was recently introduced. They are doing great! I will give them about a week and then separate for a while before introducing again.
THU Apr 16
I am really surprised at the success we are having with the Hemidactylus breeding groups we have going (ruspoli and tanganicus). Four H. ruspoli and four H. tanganicus have hatched out this week. They are so cute. With the introduction of different live foods, the babies are growing quickly. Now the problem is finding grow out enclosures for them.
WED Apr 15
If you read earlier in the week, we (ok- I) lost a new gecko to our collection. Still have not found the little gecko and my hopes are almost gone. Tried a couple of different methods to collect it but no luck. So sad. This one really hurt because of my carelessness.
Nanette is currently keeping up with the feedings and I am again working 12-14 hour days. So grateful for her help.
TUE Apr 14
Spring is an interesting time of year for breeding. With Spring, anyone breeding will see swings in activity in the animals in their care. This activity can be aligned with several factors- barometric pressure (storms), heaver feeding and mistings, and interestingly enough- a full moon!
If you are planning on introducing males to females, watch the weather reports. If you have an even coming up (full moon or big storm), make sure you introduce the day before and really feed and mist your animals.
MON Apr 13
Today’s Time Saving Tip- If you have more than a small handful of geckos this one is for you. The key word is uniformity. Years ago, I started this practice in the room to try to save time and to be able to assist anyone helping with feeding, cleaning, etc.
Uniformity involves doing the same thing over and over. Yes, this sounds boring. Yes, this sounds mundane. Having all your enclosures looking the same, all the food dishes exactly the same-in the same place, having all enclosures with the same décor saves time and offers several other advantages.
When I feed and water, I know exactly where to find the food dish, the water dish, the hide, etc. in each enclosure. For my racks, I open a whole row at a time, watering each tub, putting in the same # of mealworms/crickets/dubia in each dish, and mist/water under the hide. By feeding the same, I can quickly tell if an animal is eating or not.
For diskes, I buy CGD dishes hundreds at a time to save money (and to be able to sell on our store page at a nice discount to the customers). What is not used for sale- I have half the supply in the enclosures with food in them and the other half either soaking or already washed and waiting the next feeding.
SUN Apr 12
All over the place today. From feeding micros and caves to feeding the insects to moving animals. Nothing real exciting other than to share the new male Goniurosaurus orientalis we picked up at NARBC Tinley park show this spring. He has been with us for a month now and has been introduced to the female. My fingers are crossed as right now, this is one of my favorite geckos.
SAT Apr 11
Perhaps back into a semi-normal routine as Nanette and I visited a local coffee-sandwich shop and talking and working on our computers. I caught up a little on my to do lists and wrote a couple entries in the Daily Gecko News. Nice to feel like I am back in the swing of things.
Photo time. Took some pics of some of our new geckos (will be posting more tomorrow). Moved some animals around and found a baby P. stumpffi. That's the good.
While taking photos of the animals, I dropped my guard- but for a mere moment. I had purchased a pair of Pachydactylus scutatus (photos coming soon I promise) and a pair of Pachydactylus bi-color. The babies of both of these small animals are simply outstanding in color. After shooting the P. scutatus, and opening the small enclosure holding the P. bi-color, I moved in with a finger to nudge the little gecko away from the tub wall and up and out it flew. I could not believe how quickly it took off. I am usually better than this and far more cautious. After 45 minutes of poking and moving and squatting and cursing myself, I finally gave up. I know the odds drop dramatically after the first few hours of not finding a lost gecko, especially one that is only about 2 inches long but there are so many hiding places and I have lost the flexibility of a 20 year old to look in every nook and cranny. The search will continue tomorrow.
FRI Apr 10
First time in the reptile room in over a week. If you've been looking for updates, my sincere apologies. As you probably already know I have been completely absorbed in work. Not just the 12-14 hour days but, right now that is the only thing on my mind as I work through one of the most significant projects of my career. I promise there will be more time in the near future for the animals and for sharing information back to you. I feel like I am repeating myself, but it bears repeating, thank goodness for all the help Nanette puts into this hobby/business.
Only a quick walk through as we were on the run to diner with my oldest son and his lady friend. All the animals look wonderful. I am starting to see the possibilities this year with all the babies already. We will have our very selective leos and crested babies start hatching soon but are also seeing eggs from some of our other gecko species. Very exciting.
THU Apr 9
One of the things I love to see is an Email from Nanette when I am at work. Don't get me wrong, we don't sit on Email all day and chat about this and that. It's more about catching up and planning our family lives. There just is not enough time in the day to only catch each other in the evenings.
Well, today checking Email at lunch, Nanette had left a message stating only that "She had a surprise for me concerning the geckos". Surprises, I hate surprises. But, after another long day at work, I couldn't wait to hear what had taken place with the gecko. I strolled in around 8 at night, sat down to dinner, and casually asked 'So, what's the surprise'.
Nanette, with a gleam in her eye quickly jumped on the computer, pulled up the file manager, clicked a couple times, and turned the screen to my view.
I recognized the animal and the event immediately. She was showing me a baby Pachydactylus rangei, a little web footed digging gecko. What a cutie! It is news like this that really keeps me going in this hobby!
WED Apr 8
If you have followed the blog, you know that we recently placed a significant order (for Supreme Gecko at least) of geckos recently that resulted in a horrific shipping experience- the box must have remained outside at FedEx for an extended time and came in with all the geckos frozen. After slowly warming them up, of the 10 geckos 7 revived and seemed like they were doing very well. The geckos included a 1.4 Cyrtodacylus intermidius, a 1.1 C. consobrinus, one C. pubisulcus, and a pair of cat geckos.
Today, Nanette handed me a plastic back when we walked down stairs after dinner with all but the one male cat gecko. All deceased. One animal survived of the 10. What a downer! Not easy to get over this one.
TUE Apr 7
Days are getting longer and longer as my project at work consumes my time day and night. Wish I had more time for the geckos but for now, I need to focus on work.
MON Apr 6
A few of you may know this but I am a HUGE baseball fan. I grew up on the border of Wisconsin and Illinois. With only 6 or 7 channels (yes, I am that old!) WGN out of Chicago was the place to catch sports. I remember watching Cub games with my mother back when I was only 6 years old. That's a LOT of games and a lot of years without seeing them in the World Series.
I have a tradition for more years than I can remember of taking a vacation day on baseball's opening day and watching as many games on TV as I possible can. I use to go to opening days but it just was not enough baseball for me.
Well, this cold has nasty clutch on me and, while I did catch a few innings of baseball here and there, I slept most of the day away. I hate being sick. I feel like there is so much that could be done but doesn't get done.
SAT - SUN Apr 4-5
Happy Easter everyone. I find myself with a terrible cold. No energy, coughing. Just feel awful. Bed for me the entire weekend. No computer, a little TV but mostly sleep. Not much of an update but this is about as much energy as I can bolster.
FRI Apr 3
Wishing everyone a blessed Good Friday today. I will keep this very short. With so very little time these past few weeks, today is a day to spend with the family. Nanette and I spent a little time downstairs. Many babies! Put everyone away and back up stairs to share quality time with everyone.
THU Apr 2
Finding many babies lately. Today was a smorgasbord. How many can you identify?
WED Apr 1
Well with the struggles we had this winter in getting small feeder insects in due to the cold and the inablility to raise our own fruit flies, I am trying a couple other types of micro foods. I picked up a couple Bean Beetle cultures at the NARBC show a couple weeks ago and they are really exploding! I setup 3 new cultures with black eyed beans. This should satisfy some hungry mouths!
TUE Mar 31
By now you know the tragedy we had with a shipment last week from Jordan Russell. NOT HIS FAULT at all! The package was left out in the cold I am sure by Fed Ex and we lost 3 animals (thought we were losing all 10!). Well, Mr. Russell has gone above and beyond to make sure I am satisfied with this transaction. Without hesitation, he has sent me a group of Goniurosaurus luii.
These animals are beautiful to say the least. I am so impressed with the animals and Jordan's high standards in doing business in this reptile world.
I have to publicly thank him again for this group of wonderful animals!
MON Mar 30
Did not even get downstairs tonight. Answered a number of questions from Email and Facebook but it has been another very long day at work. Did speak to Jordan Russell and have a surprise for tomorrow! Don't miss the exciting news!!!
SAT Mar 28
Down stairs almost the entire day. Filled with feeding and cleaning. Not very exciting but this is what we do at Supreme Gecko. A lot of our time is in the facility is maintaining the animals and enclosures. Fun work for me but again, not so exciting to write about :)
SAT Mar 28
Worked the whole day. With few people in at work, I can crank though and get so much done! Saturday night was a bit of catch up as we put away a couple baby Hemidactylus tanganicus, checked on the new animals (they all look great), and checked on animals. Also, caught up on the past week with the blog. I hope to keep up to date with the Daily News but some days are tough!
Did get some time to check on the misting system. We will be installing this in the next week (Tim, my youngest son will help with this). I am hoping this improves care greatly for the 20 tanks it will support.
Will be working tomorrow so trying to get as much done as I can tonight.
FRI Mar 27
What a day. I have the wonderful opportunity to work from home on occasion. Last night- worked until 3:30 am. Today, I slept in until 9:30 am and then signed in from home. By 10:00 someone knocked on the door and there it was. I had ordered several animals from Jordan Russell. The species coming in? Cyrtodactylus pubisulcus and Cyrtodactylus consubrinu- both 1 male and two females. Also included a 'scratch and dent' pair of cat geckos. How incredibly excited I was to be able to work with these animals! Boxes opened and to our horror, all DOA! All of them. Not one breathing or moving! The box was absolutely ice code and the heat packs, after less than 24 hours were completely non-functioning. I was mortified. I immediately contacted Mr. Russell and he confirmed my thought that someone had allowed this box to be outside for an extended period of time. I was crushed. Jordan offered condolences and a full refund before I could even think about that issue.
I asked him to give me time to examine each animal to make sure there might be one or two that somehow might have some type of chance. Deli cups were taken out of the box and slowly warm up.
After an hour, I rechecked the animals. Could it be? I saw the first one move when I lifted the cup. Examining the through, I could see movement. Each of these animals are fairly methodical in movement and at this point were not moving at all but, they were breathing. Examining each animal, I found I found all breathing, including the cat geckos... except 3. There was absolutely no life left in these.
Another could hours later and I had to share my news with Jordan. The geckos were moving and looked ok. Not great, but ok. I misted slightly and a couple actually lapped up the water.
Moral of the story- Never ever assume the worst when dealing with animals that come in very cold. This was our second horror story (first was our very first purchase of 2 pygmy chameleons that came in and actually had ice on them from the paper towel they were on!).
THU Mar 26
First cricket order in a long time. Sets me back to years ago when every two weeks we ordered around 8 thousand crickets. Yes, it is nice to not have to worry about weather (cold and hot) to get full shipments of smelly, dead crickets. No more! We are almost fully relient on mealworms and dubia roaches. Almost. It was nice though feeding through the ENTIRE facility with freshly dusted crickets in only about 2 hours. For me (Nanette is battling a stomach virus) that is QUICK!!
I do plan on ordering crickets this Spring at least once a month just to get these females fat and sassy. The female cresties all seem extremely healthy and the leos all have fat big tails.
WED Mar 25
Big shipment of geckos coming in. No, wait, not coming in. Shipper's plans changed. Shipping Friday.
What's coming in you might ask? Well, before the last Ice Age we just survived, I ordered 3 groups of geckos. Two are fairly obscure and the other more available. Through Jordan Russell (yes, I am very excited about finally receiving animals from one of the several hobbyists I truly admire and look up to, I will be receiving a pair of cat geckos, a 1.2 Cyrtodactylus pubisulcus, and a 1.2 Cyrtodactylus cousobrinus. I have a bit of experience with the Cyrtos but look forward to working more with this unique group of geckos. Lots to learn!!!
TUE Mar 24
Well, you can tell it is breeding season. We are finding crested gecko eggs, some garg eggs, and finally some leo eggs. Picta have never stopped laying of course but now are producing more then ever!
One important question- How moist should your lay box (hide) be? We like to use a variety of different mediums in our hide boxes for the different species we work with. However, it is always a challenge getting the moisture just right for the mediums. It's never good to find eggs denting up due to dry medium. However, if the gecko has to swim through the medium to hide her eggs, you may have a worse issue. The best way to handle this is to setup the medium to be barely moist enough to squeeze and get only a drop or two of water from a handful. And, the most important part...... make sure you check at least once a week. She will be thankful that you did.
MON Mar 23
It's hard to relate exactly what all is going on in our lives. Family and personal experiences certainly take up a huge chunk of Nanette and my time. But lately, I find myself deep into work and at times, struggle to both keep up with the facility and animals and to keep up with the social media requirements to keep Supreme Gecko visible. Well, Nanette has really picked things up and really helped keep everything up and running. I cannot even think of where we would be without her help.
However, there are so many projects on my plate that I was hoping would be complete by now. I know they will happen but I really wish I could move them forward quicker to provide more information, products, animals, etc. to everyone. Well, I hope April frees up a bit of time to allow me to move some of these forward. Exciting times are ahead, I only hope they are in the very near future.
SAT & SUN Mar 21 & 22
Here is why I love this hobby. The entire weekend was spent with the animals. So much to do after the show and after shipping so many animals. We had over 100 empty containers. What does that mean? 100 tubs to be unmarked (we write in the # of the gecko, hatch date, weights, sex [M/F], etc.) with a wax pencil, 100 tubs to be cleaned out and washed, 100 tubs to dry, and 100 tubs to resetup (new decorations).
Next, it was moving day. All younger animals are moving to new, larger enclosures. From baby containers to grow out containers- from grow out containers to adult containers. Sub adults are checked for sex. Males and females are compared and moved to breeding groups.
This is quality time with the gecko. I really enjoy working on this type of activity with the animals as it really makes a difference with the animals.
FRI Mar 20
Headed down today to check things out. I cannot tell you how 'cluttered' it seems to be in the room. Not messy or dirty, just not organized. Tomorrow will be a BIG cleanup day. Put away, vacuum, organize. Need to put some plants away still from Tinley. That will be fun. Two orchids and 5 bromiliads.
Added a new question to the Q&A article. Thank you Candace. See the question here - LINK.
Found a little Hemidactylus ruspoli today. Love seeing animals hatch out before the breeding season really kicks in!
THU Mar 19
Shipping out one gecko today- a beautiful highlighted crest crested gecko. It is hard to let these animals go but again, you cannot keep all your animals.
Feeding off a LOT of wingless fruit flies. The small geckos love me!
Planning for the weekend. Have my 3 big projects I am working on and should have a lot of time to work on all three this weekend.
WED Mar 18
An extremely long day at work. All animals are fed (thank you again Nanette). I doubt I can think of anything tonight other than vegging out. One of those days!
TUE Mar 17
Down to the facility and catching up on a couple of animals (feeding). Everyone looks really good. I have some planning to do as this weekend would be wonderful to work on one (or both) of 3 task- 1. Move incubator tables and build BIG rack (30 70qt containers) 2. Setup misting system. I've now had this for a month and a half and it is still sitting in the box. 3. Determine where I can stick one-more-stand. This one will be for 11" cubes (@ 6 gallons). I would like to have 5 shelves of 3 each (15) of these for small, dry, warm geckos (Pachys/Hemis). Where can I fit another stand!
Nanette caught up with cleaning tubs. How many now-empty tubs? I believe we sold around 80 geckos at Tinley this past weekend! And that is a LOT of tubs to clean. All spick and span and back on the shelves ready for this 2015 breeding season.
MON Mar 16
Today is ALL about catchup. As we have not been around the geckos for 3 days, today was feed, feed, feed, mist, and check out the geckos. Everyone looks great and we had no issues over the weekend. All new geckos are doing great and look good!
Still so much to do to catch up, but we will gradually get there this week, and finish up over next weekend.
My mind is now working on something new. I should be able to put some plans together this week for yet another stand!!!
SUN Mar 15
Last Day at Tinley NARBC- Chance to sleep in and I am up at 5:30 again. Time for a shower, shave, check on the internet, and relax.
Nanette and I are off for breakfast but decide to grab the buffet at the hotel (very good). Down to the show at 10:00 as the doors open and we hit some of the vendors I did not catch yesterday. Bromeliad and a couple orchids for the planted tanks, bean beetles for the micros, and back to the booth to clean poop and water the geckos. We are all set for doors opening at 11:00 but I am off taking photos of the Zilla booth!
While I spoke to many people that said Sunday was busier than Saturday, I felt just the opposite and had a chance to talk to some great people while Nanette sold food, supplies, and animals (Yes Pat L. she was doing all the work again!).
Tear Down- 4 PM came way too quick! Nanette began the tear down and I was off looking for that one last animal to purchase. No luck. 45 minutes later we had everything back in our little car and were on the road, looking at a 2.5 hour drive. Speaking to a number of people, I know there were vendors and hobbyists that had 8, 11, even 20 hour drives awaiting them!
Back Home- As this was such a good show, we had very few animals to put away. The leo room’s baby racks look deserted. That is great as we should be producing leo eggs in the next week or so. Brand new geckos are put away and quarantined. I do a quick feeding of micros and babies. Everyone is hungry but they look good! Bed by 10:00pm knowing there is a lot of work left downstairs for us tomorrow.
SAT Mar 14
Vendors can get in at around 8. Doors open for the public at 10am. While most vendors are frantically getting everything setup at this time, we are doing some final touches on the geckos (clean poop and mist), then a final wish of good luck to the other vendors. Doors open and I am off at the Zilla booth chatting with Ryan and the group. I hurry back to our table and the customers trickle over slowly at first then in waves. Sales are brisk! Supplies and geckos are finding their way into customer’s bags. We have very little time to chat as the questions are flying at this time- from how to I care for these geckos to what lineage are they from. We are lucky to have so many reptile friends as they stop by and say hi.
End of day at 5pm, Nanette and I head out for a nice dinner for her birthday. The prior couple of days catch up to us as we get back to the hotel, catch a couple conversations, head up to the room, check on Emails and FB, then off to bed at around 10:30. We must be getting old. Where did those 3am NARBC days go!
FRI Mar 13
Off work today to get ready to leave for the show. Doors open at noon. Plan to leave around 10:00.
Started catching geckos around 7:30. All deli cups already marked with animals’ information, inlcue paper towel, and placed next to stands- ready to go! Nanette cups the cresties and I get the leos. 1-2-3 and we are done with around 200 cups in less than an hour! That is hustling.
8:30am to 9:30am I make a last run through to feed insects, mist, and feed micros and babies. This is key as they need food constantly! I fill up their cups with micro mealworms and feed heavy with fruit flies. This will hold them until we get back. Nanette if finishing up the last of the labels, packing the clothes, etc. We leave around 10:30- no worries.
12:45- We are told we have no tables! Wait, special arrangements have been made. Whew. They have one for us. Whew. Wait, one? We paid for two. No you didn’t, yes we did, here’s the confirmation. Ok, on to setup two tables. Wait, in the space of one booth! Well, this isn’t going to work but it will have to as we are already an hour and a half delayed in setting up! What are you going to do.
By around 3:30 pm, we are basically setup and ready to take a swing through the room. VIP tickets allow customers to walk through Friday during setup- before the show starts! Great deal! A customer stops by and buys almost HALF OUR LEOPARD GECKOS! We do a little Pawn Stars bartering and we are both set on a price. Nice to have the show completely paid for before the show even starts!
Jon Boone and Joe Hupp stop by. I’ve pre-ordered two geckos from Jon. So pleased to find these. Nanette and I walk around and pick up Fruit Flies from Josh’s Frogs. Great discussion with Zach. We are both wiped! Head out to dinner, Potbelly sandwiches, back in and hit the sack around 10ish. Whew what a day.
THU Mar 12
Last minute prep for Tinley. Tomorrow is all about execution. We finalized on the last animals going down. Nanette types up all the labels.
Thursday gecko feeding- This will be the last until Monday next week (except micros and babies tomorrow morning). Everyone should have fat tummies today but they should be eager for a meal Monday morning.
All supplies are packed in the car. Whew they all fit WITH room for the 3 gecko boxes! Never saw that coming. Could not fit in another deli cup!
I go over my lists one last time and settle on the fact that at least I will not be forgetting anything of major importance.
NOTE- the package that did not make it as expected yesterday, arrived today. Young customer is very happy with his gecko. We exchanged a couple Emails about care and I hope to see photos in the future.
WED Mar 11
Posting on the Facebook pages with a couple of animals we have available and will be bringing to the show. Also posting about the Clark’s Diet.
Another disclosure- While we only sent two packages yesterday, we had a major mixup. A customer ordered an animal numbered CR14067, a young crested gecko from late last year’s hatchings, I actually put CR13067 on our sales sheet. I did mark the geckos enclosure with a SOLD tag and the customer’s name. Nanette picked the number on the sales sheet like she should have. The customer will be getting a very nice, mature male crested gecko! Next week, we will ship out this customers ordered gecko (no charge to the customer at all!).
Finally, the other shipment that was sent yesterday never made it to the customer. Nanette dropping everything, called the customer’s mother (found out the customer is a younger hobbyist) and was spoken to pretty abrasively. She even mentioned she had a feeling Supreme gecko was a “shoddy” organization. While I feel proud of our hard work with the animals, I feel we do our very best to support our customers (and any fellow hobbyist). It is difficult to stay calm while being spoken to like this but I give a lot of credit to Nanette! We will be tracking this package even tomorrow while we prepare for the show.
TUE Mar 10
Well it is official. We have all the bulk supplies we need to make the Supreme Chow (this is the first you are hearing about Project #3! We official enter the Insect Chow arena with a premium, high grade, proven, product designed especially for the gecko (reptile) keeper’s feeder bugs. In an hour and a half, we have made about 80 lbs. Enough to take down to Tinley, have stock for the web page, and have enough to use ourselves the next few weeks. We are still perfecting the mix but I think our latest batch will go over well with everyone’s bugs. Very excited! Shipping two additional animals.
I intend this blog to be as honest as I can make it. I don’t think there will be anything that I do not disclose (other than projects that I do not want to mention before they are ready). Well, from shipping out so many animals, yesterday, we had two issues. One- the package was delivered to the person’s home, no one answered the door (no knock or doorbell- or the person did not hear this), and the package went back on the truck so the route could be finished. This is a disaster. With the animals staying on the truck (and especially in FLA where the temps were in the 80s/90s), there is no opportunity for the temps in the box (coming from 37 degree weather with heat pack added) to go. The customer had to pick up the package from the PO 4 hours later! While the customer ordered several different animals, the two Paroedura picta closest to the heat pack did not make it. Even though I note in my terms that the animals MUST be signed for, I will be replacing this pair of geckos. Terrible situation to lose animals!
Issue # 2- the customer received 3 adult picta and their tails were all off. They also commented that one of the ‘adult’ females I sent was actually only a hatchling! Finally, they were concerned about a Hemidactylus ruspoli that had a fully regenerated tail that I did not disclose. They were not happy at all! After several emails, we concluded- 1. Gecko tails occasionally fall off during shipping. Picta tails grow back. I understand the concern but our terms cannot cover missing tails. 2. The animal they thought they were getting was the common skunk gecko (I sent- and designated the genus and species name in emails sent before purchase) a Gonatodes vittatus (also known as a skunk gecko). 3. The regen tail on the ruspoli is, while noticeable not a significant concern considering the rarity of the gecko and the ‘add in’ bargain I gave on this final gecko. I should have mentioned this but with so many shipments, just completely forgot. Again, I will be taking care of this customer with their next shipment.
MON Mar 09
If you are checking on this week’s activity with anything other than seeing posts about the NARBC Tinley Park show, you will be coming up short. This week is all about getting everything ready for the big show. It’s not all about the animals we take down. We also provide supplies for the gecko keeper. The money we make on these supplies is minimal but we carry them to support the hobbyist so they have a one stop shop to find exactly what we use! Very important for what we do.
Shipping day!!!! We have waited 3 months to ship! Our orders stacked up. I am sure this caused me way more frustration than the customers. Today they ALL go out other than 2 packages. I am so happy to get these animals to new homes. I do not mind caring for them at all but want to make sure the customers are happy with these animals.
SUN Mar 08
Picked up the Clark’s Diet. We ordered enough for the show, to fill orders, and to carry us through our next show. Big order! Also making the rounds and picking up some misc. supplies for the gecko room and for the upcoming show (labels, candy, etc.). Animals are getting special attention as I know in a short work week, they will not be looked at for 3 days! They have to be at their tip top condition.
SAT Mar 07
Today was an all out assault on the gecko room. This is in preparation of the big show. All geckos have been feed and checked out. I have a really good idea of which animals will be going and which will be held back. There will be more going than I have ever taken to a show. We will be bringing cresties, leos, picta, H. ruspoli, H. tanganicus, and P. stumpffi.
FRI Mar 06
To Do list is complete and I am ready for the weekend. This will be a full one as there are so many things to prepare for. Tonight, is an insect feed and moving the males around. Quiet night after a very long day at work.
THU Mar 05
Breeding season is commencing as I am finding more and more crested gecko eggs. Picta are kicking in and it will not be long before the leos are going. I am really hoping the chewies and the gargoyles take off this year. Last year was an off year completely. It has to be better than last year.
WED Mar 04
The flu has hit me right in the gut and completely shut me down. This will be a short note as I am either sleeping or in the bathroom. Sorry folks.
TUE Mar 03
Not feeling very well at work and just know I have the flu. I’ve spent a little time downstairs but after a long day at work, right to bed. Hope this isn’t what I think it is.
MON Mar 02
There is certainly something in the air as I am completely drained. Work hours are catching up to me. I am getting home so late in the evening, Nanette has already fed the animals and I hit the shower then bed. Maybe I am just coming down with something.
SUN Mar 01
Happy March. Today is a busy day. Feeding, shopping, feeding some more. I am not going to spend too much time on the Blog as I am knee deep in preparing for the show in a couple weeks.
SAT Feb 28
Breeding season is cranking! Males are moving through the females- from one tank to another. I think we may be in line for a very nice year. Fingers crossed and incubators plugged in!
This was a family day as we took our two youngest granddaughters to a local place filled with air filled-bouncy play things. They had a blast.
Putting together a plan for the upcoming NARBC in Tinley Park. We have so much to do to get ready. Next weekend will be the big couple of days of prep but now is the time to make the plans. While the Tinley spring show is the smaller event, this is still a very big show.
FRI Feb 27
Today was a planning day. I am realizing the year is already slipping through my fingers. I had hoped to have more done by now. I was hoping to have more contests (like the 12 Supreme Days of Christmas. I have a BUNCH of BIG projects for this year. However, the geckos call me every night and say ‘Hey, we need attention too!’. While I love to be on the net and talking to my reptile friends on line, I have to focus this year on the animals. So with this, I will knock off for the night and get back down there to do some misting.
THU Feb 26
The males are traveling. From female to female, they make their rounds. I usually keep the males in with a female for 2-3 days (nights) then move them on to the next female. For leos, it's usually a 1 to 5 or 6 ratio. For cresteds, it's never more than 2-3 enclosures. For gargoyles, fortunately I held back enough to have about a 1-2 ratio. Finally for Paroedura picta it's around 1-4 or so.
Feedings are hot and heavy as everyone is putting on weight! We are going through a ton of mealworms and dubias right now. The Rhacs (cresteds, gargs, and chewies) are eating a lot of the diet and I can see the females packing on the weight. They are all just a bunch of little piggies!
WED Feb 25
And here we go again. The fruit flies are not taking off. I thought I had determined the cause being too much heat and also the use of apple vinegar instead of white vinegar. However, tonight, as I saw a WHOLE thriving culture go down, noticed a huge population of something (not FF larvae) moving at the bottom of the culture. Yes, you guessed it. Mites!!! The dreaded 'M' word. The one thing anyone trying to culture FFs fears the most.
We are off to the pet store to purchase 3 cultures right now to get some more started but will be taking steps to dispose of the existing 6 dying cultures (ouch) and cleaning the entire area. I'm hoping we can start new batches tomorrow and really get these going again. So do both the micro geckos and my wallet!
TUE Feb 24
I love taking photos of the animals..... most of the time.... some of the time...... ok, I usually hate taking photos of the animals. It's just not my thing. This is one of the reasons you see so few updates on the web page.
The animals will not stay still, I don't have the proper lighting, they are not fired up, and THANK YOU very much for licking your eye or blinking right when I snap the photo. Thanks!
While it might seem, due to all the photos I share of the geckos, that I pull the camera out, click click click and immediately post on Instagram or Facebook, this is not the case. Even taking one or two photos of the Paroedura picta from yesterday's pictures, takes me hours and hours to shoot, crop, and post. Well, maybe not hours but it feels that way!
MON Feb 23
Recovering from the weekend. Sometimes I feel that I go into work to relax from the weekends. I love my job, I love my family, and of course I love working with the animals. It just seems like all three at times competes for every second of the day. This weekend was no exception as I had to get un-buried from a bunch of reports from work. However, there was plenty of time to catch up on gecko tasks as you saw in yesterday's posts.
Included in all the feeding, cleaning, moving etc. was a quick photo shoot of animals. It's always tough holding pictures back (as I don't want to inundate everyone with hundreds of photos all at one time), I really like the way this one turned out. Enjoy a Paroedura picta T+ in all his glory.
SUN Feb 22
3:41 am, make that 3:42 Time just keeps rolling on while I’m here stuck like glue. (Mercy Me- Say)
t seems that when Nanette is off on her retreat, I don’t sleep. Fell asleep Sat night at 10:30pm as I didn't sleep Fri night other than 3 hours. Up at 1:00am Sun morning. Fell asleep again at 6am and back up by 7:30. That should be enough. A quick bagel and on the computer.
All the work to format photos for Project #1 yesterday was for naught as the size was wrong. I thought I checked but, as they say, measure twice, cut once. Ouch. Another 2 hours and I have the photos formatted correctly. On to the pages. I cannot wait to see this project completed. I love working on it but it is frustrating sometimes as I feel technical issues get in the way of creativity and sharing info.
Posting on Project #2- Crested Gecko Trait FB page. Over 175 members in one day! Holy cow! This is coming together quicker than I thought. Downstairs before the Chicago Blackhawk's game. Fed micros, insects, and caves.
Nanette gets home just before the game starts at 2:30pm. We talk a bit, settle in on the couch. We both fall asleep at the end of the first period. I wake up in 15 minutes and that is all the sleep I need. Back on the computer but the score jumps to 4-1 and I am off to the facility again while she sleeps. Feed cresties in 1 hour! Record I believe for me! Back up stairs, dinner, posted an answer to the Q&A article on Supreme Gecko, answered a few questions on FB.
7:30 and Nanette head back down again to mist and move males through the females. Done in 15 minutes and back up just in time for our granddaughter Christal's arrival. Now it’s lego time!
SAT Feb 21
Hitting the leos, aussies, picta, weird geckos, and finally insects. Eggs- 6 P. picta eggs and 1 P. stumpffi egg. Found both sets of N. milii with dehydrated eggs. 4 bad eggs! Not too worried as they were bad from the start but we will need to keep the lay area damp. Also, found 2 bad eggs in the Coleonyx elegans enclosure. What the! Again, I believe they are going through that ‘first egg lay’ syndrome. I’ll be worried if all 3 groups do not produce good eggs by mid/late March.
Devastated to find one of the P. vazimba geckos dead. No clue what happened. So sad. Setup a new mealworm colony. We have basically used up all the small mealworms so now’s the time to restart. This has always been my back up plan. However, fruit flies are taking off again and with the Kenyan roaches, I am hoping for a few ‘just in case’ options if I run out of micro food again.
FRI Feb 20
Well, I made it home a bit early today and started the crested gecko feed. What normally takes Nanette an hour took me 2 and a half!!! I did add water to hides, checked all animals (and hides), and moved a few geckos around. But that was a big difference!
Started the Crested Gecko Trait page. Invited a number of great breeders. I am hoping this really takes off and offers a great resource for people to see and understand the differences of the crested gecko traits.
THU Feb 19
Nanette is off to her much needed woman's retreat. this means I am on my own tonight, Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday. Big feed tomorrow night on crested gecko diet. Let's see how long it takes me compared to Nanette. Tonight was a clean up night. Feeding insects (reverted to the dry powder, water crystals, and veggies). We are burning through the dubias right now and need to produce more little ones. Have 6 tubs going now and that just will not be enough this season.
WED Feb 18
Got my butt in gear with the two projects I'm currently working on. Project #1- started formatting photos for pages. This is a pretty long process. I'm also finding out over the years, I've taken many many photos and have lost many many photos due to computers dying or memory sticks frying out. Ugh! This is a problem as one of the keys to this project is having good photos. Looks like I have another busy weekend.
Project #2 (Crested Gecko Traits Facebook page- a bit less of a mystery) 'almost' officially kicked off tonight. I put together the FB page, put together some definitions and rules, and a plan for launch. Ultimately I'm hoping this page will provide a great source for beautiful crested geckos but also a definitive guide for new, intermediate, and advanced breeders to understand the many color, pattern, and structure of crested gecko traits. Very excited!
Nanette fed the diet but did not check for eggs. I am hoping we continue seeing the same results Friday when I feed and check.
TUE Feb 17
If you are looking for special animals, please please let me know. I am realizing that over the years, animal sales at Supreme gecko have shifted dramatically. We still do a fair share of sales at shows (even though our show attendance has dropped sharply due to the time and resource committments) and off the web. However, it is word of mouth, facebook, and returning customers that drives sales today. I cannot tell you how many animals are sold simply off our wish list- way before they get to facebook, the store page, or to a reptile show. It's sometimes difficult to tell someone that is looking for a red crestie that I just sold one to someone else on our waiting list. I would certainly like to produce more animals and have other outlets available but again, we are not one of the large breeders and are still limited to the amount of space in our facility- although I worry Nanette every time I pull out the tape measure.
Micros and caves were fed (just because I may not mention this every time we feed, don't assume we are missing feedings on any animals. Generally, we feed every 2 days. Occasionally for some animals we may feed every 3 days.
MON Feb 16
Nanette again fed the cresties as I made it home after another 12 hour day. Today was a Misc. day for me. We did a lot of little things around the room. Some of the little things that we do that just takes up time but has to be done- change out the night lights, clean all fronts of enclosures (we record egg lays on each animal's enclosure so we can keep track of which animals are breeding, which are laying good eggs, time intervals between lays, etc.), setting up new fruit fly containers (setup 6!), watering plants (this seems like such a small task to most but takes us about 15 minutes to hit them all, prune, etc.), and the never ending chore of washing the dishes. I wash-I dry, and there are still more dishes!
SUN Feb 15
What a great day. Started early (6:30am) feeding leos and picta. From there, I fed the insects then right back into the leo room. Selecting out Paroedura picta breeding projects, moving leos for breeding, and moving all sold animals to their own rack (yes, we haven't been able to ship for a month and a half!).
Had a chance to take some photos and add some animals to the Facebook For Sale page. using.
Started 6 new fruit fly cultures. Man, I hope we get this right soon! Real struggle!
Nanette jumped in and mixed about 10 lbs of insect chow. This should last us around 2 months. Man to they love this new chow we are
Oh, also found 11 picta eggs.
SAT Feb 14
Clean up day. Sometimes we work on projects in the facility and just let things pile up- not garbage but tools, deli cups, etc. Well, we started the day picking everything up so we could move around the room again.
Live food feeding of the cresteds, chewies, and gargs. Egg checking. Found 6 sets of eggs. It just seems a bit early to be finding so many eggs already.
Cleaned and checked for eggs in the Hemidactylus and Paroedura stumpffi tanks. Oh My!!! Hemidactylus ruspolii = 16 eggs, H. tanganicus 8 eggs, P. stumpffi 12 eggs! What a day!
FRI Feb 13
Planning for the weekend. Tons to do. Had a wonderful trip to Madison (1.5 hours) to give a talk on geckos- How I went from leos and cresteds to some of the more advanced geckos. What a fun group the Madison Area Herpetological Society is! They had to kick us out after the meeting as we sat and chatted for another hour or so.
Had a great time with Nanette on the drive there and back as we NEVER get a chance anymore to just talk.
Oh, brought home a culture of Kenyan roaches to try on the little geckos. Thank you John D. Really exited to work with these guys. Also, Ryan M. saved the day with some fruit fly cultures.
THU Feb 12
It's weird stuff feeding tonight. We call them weird stuff as I just don't have another name to call them. This includes the Hemidactylus, cave geckos, Lygodactylus/Sphaerodatcylus/Gonadodes. You know, all the weird stuff.
We also fed the micro gecko stand. Again, this is really the grow out stand for the babies of the above animals.
Finally, I had a chance to do a bit of research. I do so little of this! Much needed.
WED Feb 11
Some days are more focused in the facility and some days are more focused on other 'Supreme 'Gecko' activities. Today was extra heavy in Emails and messages on FB. I love this part of the hobby. It keeps me in touch with the hobby. I feel I learn as much from these exchanges as share about our animals.
I very rarely post negative comments, especially about other hobbyists but one incident really got me today. I received an Email from a fellow I have never met (at a show or social media). He had a basic question about a crested gecko- can you provide weight, age, feeding of a specific female we have on the store. The Email came in at around 1:00 am. While I do check my Email occasionally, today I checked around noon. I replied that I work during the day and would send him another Email after work with answers to his question about the weight of the animal (although I did look up the animal and provided the age that is already listed on the page) and a bit about our feeding schedule.
Later in the day, realizing I would be working late, I asked Nanette to do a quick weight on the animal. Around 3 or so, I replied back to the individual with the information and thanked them for their patience.
Finally getting home around 8 that evening, I Emailed back again to ask if there were any other questions I could answer. A quick reply (5 minutes later) and I was informed the person purchased another animal and was inundated with criticism for my lack of responsiveness, up to date information on the web page, and my poor business skills. I was assured that my bad name would reach every Facebook page in the whole Facebook world and I would regret the day I mistreated this customer.
While I did start typing one response that ultimately was discarded, I sent back a note thanking the person for their time and their feedback on the situation. I again informed them of my work schedule but asked them to contact me with any questions they may have in the future about geckos.
Moral of the story- it does not do any good to get in a battle of words with someone when you feel confident in your position. State it once, twice if you need to, thank them for their time and feedback, and MOVE ON!
TUE Feb 10
Sad news. For the first time in about 4 year of breeding Paroedura picta, I had a baby hatch out with something wrong. First, the tail was very odd looking. a bit bent. However, the main issue was the fact the animal could not move off its side and had some type of shaking issue. Very sad.
I'm not a fan at all of not giving an animal like this a chance to live but, as I mentioned, this one could not even use its legs at all. There are only a few options available with this situation but I decided to take the 'circle of life' route. Another animal will benefit from the sacrifice of this little animal. Not easy!
As we move forward with the breeding season beginning, today was the day we moved male gargoyles in with females. Very excited about this as we have some amazing animals and I cannot wait to see the results of this year's breeding.
MON Feb 9
A quick update. No time for a facility visit. It was finally announced at work today that I have been promoted to the SAP 'Center of Excellence' in CRM position. The position is basically an IT business analyst with a specialization in a specific field of expertise. Work has been hitting heavy of late and has taken a bit of time away from the hobby. The opportunity will allow me to focus on what I love best in the business word and I look forward to this big change.
SUN Feb 8
And a better day. Up early and right to work. Felt a LOT better, thank you. While I was able to catch up on some feeding, the main goal of the day was to setup the crested geckos for breeding. Of course many are kept together but there were many that did not have mates- girl groups without males, grow out animals, singles just looking for the right partner. I believe I moved around 2 dozen crested geckos. This might seem like an hour or so to do this but I will tell you I am a slow, methodical person when it comes to matching up animals. Also, all moved geckos' bins were cleaned and resetup. And the fun part, seeing all new tags on new breeding groups. Very excited this year.
Later in the afternoon, Nanette made it back after shopping (I know, more shopping). In tow, she brought in (with help) cinder blocks, sand, new florescent lights, and batteries. The sand and blocks were for our 55 which will be used for our new arrivals shortly.
Finally, was able to find the young Sphaerodactylus torrei out and not hiding!
SAT Feb 7
Today started out nice with Nanette and I working the leo room (where we keep leos, australians, picta, and a few micro geckos). Put the cave geckos all together for breeding.
Fed the insects.
I took a few photos, picked up a couple of things, and we were ready to head out to shop a little and catch a quick lunch before heading back to really get a ton done. The best laid plans..... I had a great burger but by the time I got home, I found out the hard way the bun was made from whole wheat. Ouch. Down I went (or I should have said into the washroom!!!!). The whole day gone!! Sleep, bathroom, bathroom sleep. Felt well enough in the evening to watch a movie with Nanette. Then right to bed. Bad day.
FRI Feb 6
Spent a very little time down stairs. Did a quick walk through and checked the incubators. Found one little P. picta baby. More importanly, found our first cave gecko eggs of the season. Very egg-cited.
THU Feb 5
Well, really late work night as Nanette hit the MRP and fed all the crested geckos. I basically answered some messages and went to bed. Not the most productive night. Some times, it is like this. Work 12 hours and not much left to do many other things. Thank goodness for Nanette!
WED Feb 4
Breeding Day, 2015 quickly approaches. I spent the eveing walking the room. I have 3 bins that I could use for pairs. They are holding 'grow outs' right now. So, moving the growouts to other bins provides for room for these breeding groups. One set moved and I quickly filled the vacated bin with a Dark Mocha male (you know I love the Mocha line) and a VERY dark girl from the Chocolate Mousse line. I will calling this group Hersey's Special Dark. Photos coming soon. I'll be checking this weekend to fill the other 2 bins.
Found 2 baby P. stumpffi and one baby P. picta. Off to the grow out bins they went.
TUE Feb 3
Nanette and I fed cresteds and other rhacs. I checked for babies (of course I get the fun tasks) and found 2 little P. picta.
Also, have a support ticket in to our web site developer (added Saturday) as I am stuck on an issue with Project #1..... waiting.... waiting....
MON Feb 2
I learned a valuable lession today. I am allergic to wheat. We use wheat in our dubias as a bedding. While most of the wheat is turned into dubia droppings eventually (frass), I am still allergic enough that it almost stopped my breathing Monday. Silly me. I should have known better. Lesson learned. No, the dubias are staying! I will wear a mask when woking on the critters in the future.... and look for a better substrate for them.
One thing leads to another. checking on animals (before the almost-dying episode) and deciding to dig through the Pachydacylus rangei tub, I found one bad egg and one that lokos a bit questionable but still in tact. I will be incubating this one of course.
SUN Feb 1
And it starts.... up at 5:30 am to run some jobs for work. 6:00 am and Nanette and I were downstairs cleaning leo tubs (washing out/scrubbing), weighing, filling hides/calcium dishes. Finished one rack by 7:30 and Nanette was gone for church. I began feeding P. picta/Aussie racks. Around 8:30 I started on the BIG crestie rack. Again, scrub, redo all decor, feeding insects. Done by 10. Onto one crestie juvie growout setup. Again, compltely cleaned out replaced decor, and fed. Done at 12. Whew! Lots of cleaning and 2 sore feet. Nanette gets back at 1pm, down to the facility we go again and finish up the 2nd leo breeder rack. Done at 2:30. Then, around the room to pickup/put away/clean dishes/etc. And up at 3:00pm. Good day downstairs. Feel like we got a ton done.
SAT Jan 31
I have so many ideas going on for the Supreme Gecko page. I also have projects moving forward as well. I cannot keep up with the development or the fixes. that is why I use the service Fiverr (I am not paid for this :) They jump in, make changes, and jump out. I'm not saying every single fix/add is 100% without issues. But, for $5, they really work well for my needs.
Shopping day, had to pick up a number of item for downstairs. Found carrots. Big bag for a buck. We bought 10. Cashier just looked at us like "Really, 10 bags?!". I'm use to it now.
Nanette took off for the night and I fed cresties. What normally takes about 1 hour for the both of us, took me almost 2 1/2 hours! Why, well I redid all hides, checked animals, and collected 3 sets of crestie eggs (found 1 bad chewie egg and 2 sets of bad garg eggs- it is laying time!!!).
FRI Jan 30
The photo on the left is what a reptile room SHOULD look like. NO!!! This is not mine. This in fact is completely NOT mine. I enjoy my setup and it works well for me and my need to 'collect'. But my room does not facilitate the ability for me to completely enjoy my animals. This room DOES offer that viewing pleasure. This room belongs to Janet Margolowsky. She is featured in the January 2015 Meet The Hobbyist. Enjoy.
THU Jan 29
I did what I enjoy doing Thursday. I had a couple of friends stop by and we spent a couple hours chatting about our hobby. What a wonderful evening. I need to do this more.
WED Jan 28
I, like most of you, have the ability to multi-task. I think everyone has this to some extent. However, TV in the family room, granddaughter playing hide and seek, work on one Email, customers on another Email, FB bleeping at me, and the radio blaring in the kitchen was too much tonight. I answered a couple quick queries on FM and mail, got work going, and down I went to the facility to tool around a bit. At 6, the house was empty as Nanette took Christal to AWANAs and the two boys were out the door. Time for me to focus!
Head down, devices off, Email/FB closed and off I to. Sometimes I need to do this, sometimes we ALL need to do this to get something done. Something for me was the Project #1 (this is my main project for SG that I am hoping to finish by end of March). It has been a LONG and painful path to get to this point- having the right format and a web page that works! Now to build. Last night, out of 70 (or way more) pages I will be building, I finished 5 pages last night!!! One small step for web page design, one giant leap for Project #1.
TUE Jan 27
I will keep this short- Project #1 focus! Working on more of the formatting. Getting close! Also, defining crested gecko morphs. We will call this Project #2.
MON Jan 26
There will be several posts like this one in the next couple months. Project #1 was worked on tonight. Lots of research. Lots of photo editing, lots of testing with the page. So, for now, we will call this Project #1 and know it should be ready for introduction probably around end of March or so.
We did spend some time downstairs. One baby Paroedura stumpffi. They are so cute with their red tails! We have a number growing up right now and hope to be able to offer some pairs this summer. One of my favorite species. Insect feeding! Made up some 'homemade' brew (insect chow) for the hordes. They are loving this stuff and I am seeing some real differences in the # of babies we are getting in each bin. Added potatoes and crested gecko diet dishes for them to clean off. Nice balanced diet.
SUN Jan 25
Busy busy day. Finally confirmed the last changes to a completely new set of web sites. Will have to give this project a name eventually. Everything looks good to go. This project was started back in June of last year and encountered problem after problem. Finally found a developer that gets it! Started setting up a couple of pages. Still see some tweaks I would like to make to the page but it is looking good. Now to add content. Lots of content!
Tried out the new scale. Purchased off Ebay for $9. Threw in batteries and it works great- down to the tenth of a gram. Now I can weigh baby cresties :)
Started another project- Crestie Morph. Posted to FB asking for a list of crested gecko morphs. I think I received over 50 responses. Now have a good list to go after. Next step, ask people for photos so we can document our morphs.
Watched the NHL All-Star game. 17-12.... 29 goals! I heard next year, no defensemen would be drafted, the league will just put 2 pillons on the ice :)
Did you know a post-it note weighs .7 grams :)
SAT Jan 24
A day in the life:
7:00am Nanette attachs the leo room, feeding all tubs (@130 tubs and over 300 animals). I took on the dubias and completely cleaned 3 big tubs. Feed all dubias, fed micro gecko stand, fed weird geckos, added substrate to our 5 new Zilla enclosures. But and put in branches in the new Zillas. Fed out some Fruit Flies. Finished around 10:30
11am Off to do some shopping. Batteries for the new scale, plants galore, bucket for new misting system, hides, dirt, new hose... and had a nice Chick-Fil-A lunch around 2pm
2pm Down to the reptile room again, adding plants to the new Zillas, marking a few sold animals, measuring the bug room for insulation.
3pm Up and checking out YouTube videos, answering more messages, sending out a few messages, and updating the web page. Add in one 1/2 nap in the computer chair. Recharged!
6pm Off to our neighbor's house to have dinner and watch a series (Orphan Black).
9pm Back home and watching a couple more YouTubes, a couple more messages answered, and off to bed- but to watch the NHL Skills competition, chat with Nanette, and write this blog.
Midnight finally, sleep time.
FRI Jan 23
Checked on babies (although there are so few eggs right now). Found two baby P. picta. Yes, we had a stellar year with hatching P. picta. if you are looking for something special in P. picta, please let me know.
We had a friend over and had a great time chatting. Answered a bunch of Emails and FB messages.
Posted a couple of videos, finally. One is a look at our micro gecko (featuring 3 pretty unique geckos. View it HERE
Another video shows how we incubate our non-leo/crestie eggs- Featuring Paroedura stumpffi. View it HERE
THU Jan 22
As Nanette caught up with all the gecko feedings and waterings, Thursday night was date night! We sat down and watched Saving Mr. Banks (the Disney movie about making Mary Poppins). Good movie, not great but good.
I did take some time to take some videos and begin the process of preparing them for YouTube. You see, as anal as I am, I start and stop the camera so many time, post production take a lot of time cutting and pasting in everything to come up with a finished product. It's fun but takes some time. I should have the video(s) on YouTube by tomorrow.
WED Jan 21
Fruit Flies are exploding! Four containers and each are filled to the top with little morsels of micro gecko food.
I have to get away from the peeks and valleys of raising fruit flies! So, today, we added these plastic things in the containers to give the flies more crawling room. I think they are used in the kitchen for some purpose, I wouldn't know.
We also started 4 new cultures. I believe in 2 weeks I will start two more to attempt to have fruit flies 24/7. Fingers crossed.
TUE Jan 20
Finally pulled the trigger, after reviewing, watching YouTube videos, asking questions- you know the basic analysis paralysis that I typically do with any larger project- I pulled the trigger. Coming in later this week is a 20 nozzle misting system. I am not opting for the RO unit for now but this is a huge start. Cost is around $350 but this will be so very worth every penny. Not only with this save us some time on some of our more humidity needy animals as we will no longer need to mist them once or twice a day but it may give me some confidence to try working with a couple animals that I have been concerned about obtaining in the past. Very excited to work with a misting system and will update with photos this weekend.
MON Jan 19
Caught up in feedings as Nanette did CGD before I got home. I had time to just tinker around in the room. As I went from enclosure to enclosure, I really was amazed at all the different animals we are fortunate enough to work with. From all over the world, I have the privilege to work with geckos from N. America, S. America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. From tiny Sphaeros from our neighbors south to cave geckos from half way around the world! Today I feel so lucky!
I also feel that some projects will be coming together very shortly- both in the facility and on our web site. I finally purchased a misting system- WAY OVERDUE- and look forward to playing around with this by the end of the week. We are turning our downstairs washroom into an 'insect / incubation room' and will be fully tiling the ceiling then insulating the whole room hopefully by this weekend. Moving the incubators will free up the final wall and I have BIG plans for that 108 inches of wall space!
On the web site, I am sure you've notices some small changes here and there. We have a couple bigger changes coming shortly as well.
SUN Jan 18
Sunday afternoon and evening was spent with the family. Sunday morning was major feeding. Dubias were fed heavily. Dubias and mealworms and wingless fruit flies (yes, they are finally taking off again!). Young cresties, cave geckos, young leos (not so young anymore), picta, micros, and Australians were all fed heavily. All the animals are doing well. Cannot wait for this winter to end and the breeding to begin in 2015.
SAT Jan 17
Thoughts and prayers for our nephew Josh. We spent Friday evening-Saturday early morning in the hospital. He was ill during the day. An MRI reveled a potentially serious issue. The family is obviously very concerned. More tests coming some.
FRI Jan 16
Working on one of our projects this year. Any guesses?
THU Jan 15
Lots planned, nothing done. My son's car's engine blew out a couple hours up north. Nanette and I had a nice drive up to get him. Cresteds are fed thanks to Nanette hitting this before I even got home. Just have to Keep truckin' along I guess.
Tomorrow's lunch will be planning for the weekend. Look out Excel spreadsheet ToDo List for a major overhaul. A couple major tasks will be to clean up a couple of things on the web page, write an article (way over due), perhaps beginning building the BIG rack. More on this to come.
WED Jan 14
Busy busy! I've added a new feature called Gecko Questions and Answers. Please take a visit and add a question. I will answer them all (this may even have something to do with the 12 Supreme Days of Christmas- hint hint).
TUE Jan 13
So much happening but so little happening. Middle of winter (17 degrees outside), all the animals are cooling down, yet I am workiing through my planning for 2015.
However, special day sort of- yesterday we found our first crested gecko eggs of 2015 (or should they be considered the last of 2014). today, our very last 2014 baby hatched out. I just think that is interesting how we crossed over a whole year with crestie breeding from '14 to '15.
I have some animals coming in as soon as it gets a bit warmer. Setting up a 55 for 2 of the females. Yes, you guessed it, they are NOT micro geckos. The male will be setup in a 30 gallon. It hurts so bad that I will have 3 geckos in the space that I have about a 4-5 micro gecko enclosures :)
MON Jan 12
As Nanette fed the cresties today (juvies with mealworms, and all with diet), I had some time to tinker in the room. I moved the Cyrtodactylus eloc from their 10 gallon to their new Zilla enclosure. The female loved her new digs while the male lept out the first chance he could and I had to retrieve him and place him back in the tank. He's such a spaz!
Fruit Flies have been such a hit or miss lately. I have 4 cups just overrun with larvae but no flies right now. In two days I will be fine but it is time to pick more micro mealworms for the micro geckos.
Ok, why is the tape measure pic on this post? Well, I need more enclosures. As I mentioned below, Nanette and I were talking about setting up the gargoyles differently. I pulled out the pencil and paper and am drawing up the plans today. I will have 12 new 96 qt tubs set up, hopefully in the next 2 weeks. But, I walk backwards with all the changes to other areas of the reptile rooms and know I will have my hands full this weekend! More to come.
SUN Jan 11
Finished up fixing about 550 pages on the web site. Not difficult, but boring as anything. My ADD kicked in as I read through some of my older posts and realized the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Big day down stairs as I fed micros, weird stuff, crested babies, etc. I also collected dubia babies. I cannot believe the number of babies I am getting right now. I set up 3 new bins a month ago and am hoping by summer they are going as well as the 3 existing ones. Fruit flies are about to explode as well as 4 cups are almost all larvae.
Had a great brainstorming session with Nanette. I love this time together as it gets us both on the same page for the hobby/business. We sat downstairs and chatted about our gargoyle geckos. This coming breeding season, I would like to give them more room. We worked out some designs and believe we have a way to utilize the very LAST available wall space downstairs. (did anyone else catch that last word- downstairs :)
Big purchase (for me at least). From Jordan Russell I will be bringing in the following- a 1.2 Cyrtodactylus pubisulcus and a 1.2 Cyrtodactylus consonbrinus. Very excited to work with these very neat geckos.
Actually took some time and enjoyed a couple sporting events on the Tv- Packers vs. Cowboys (boy do I hate that rule!) and Blackhawks' 4-1 win over the Wild.
SAT Jan 10
Long and busy day. However, before I woke up, Nanette was up and feeding the leos, aussies, and picta. No idea how she does this- gets up without me waking up. When I finally got my lazy but outta bed at 7:00 am, I was able to inventory the gargoyles (setting up males and females for this year, move some animals, fed the micros, and took some photos of some animals. Opened the Zilla 12x12x20 enclosures. One had the screen pushed in so we will have to return that one. Next, started working on the web page (cleaning up a link that is on EVERY page- 550 page updates!).
Then, met Nanette for lunch Quarry Coffee for a chilli lunch then chatted with the owner on helping him with his web page. Back home for a couple hours to work on the web page. Early evening and I was on skype as the guest at the Bismark Herpetological society speaking on crested geckos. Had a short time to slow down and watch The President's speach (great movie!). Finally back to the web page to clean up some of those bad links. Got tons done!
FRI Jan 9
"A good day at the ranch". While Friday has been a catch up day, getting ready for the weekend, there were several events that really make it a nice day at SG. First, Nanette took a trip to the wholesaler and picked up 5 12x12x18 enclosures, a UVB bulb, and about 40 lbs of sand. The tanks look great. I am planning to setup a whole shelf of 'Exo-type' tanks. Thought about this at work and already have them all filled up! Crazy.
Next, checking babies, had a nice day- 1 Pacydactylus rugosus, 1 Hemidactylus ruspoli, 1 Paroedura picta, and 2 Paroedura stumpffi. Who said winter is dull! Our micro stand is a buzzin' again. Click on image to see a larger picture.
THU Jan 8
Today, I did not even make it downstairs. However, the warm room (well, pretty cool right now) was fed and watered, the micros were fed, the weird stuff was fed. Everything basically except the insects and cresties. How did this all get done? Nanette of course. I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for all her help. The past two evenings have been filled with work. Home at 5, dinner, signon and work till around 10pm. I'm not complaining but letting you know I am blessed to have a partner that supports my dreams SO much.
I did get a chance to spend a little time on the Suggestions for 2015. This is the result of the question I asked during the 12 Supreme Days of Christmas (How should SG improve?). What a great response! I take this VERY seriously. I've added last year's suggestions with comments whether they were accomplished or not. Then I added this years suggestions. Did you offer one? See how I responded here- 2015 Suggestions Link
I am already making big plans for the weekend.
WED Jan 7
I always come into the Daily Gecko News wondering "What am I going to talk about today?" But, I find, when I am done posting that day's entry, I actually had plenty to say. Funny.
Today, I wanted to comment about a question I just received on FB. The person asked, should I trade my XXXXXXX animals for their XXXXXX animals. First, there is no indication of sex of the animals, age, color/morph, health issues (assuming noone would never trade a none healthy animal), if they are both setup to house the other's animals, or any other details on the animals. Without this info, how could anyone make a fair assessment. My reply back had nothing to do with what I just mentioned. I simply stated, if the trade is fair for you, and is fair for the other person, then do the trade. Simple as that. Was I being too short with the person? What do you think?
TUE Jan 6
Today we had a Hemidactylus tanganicus hatch out. My oh my are they fast. As I keep them in the bead boxes for incubation purposes, I open the box in another plastic sweater box so I can catch them and move them to their grow out enclosure. Well this one did not want to cooperate at all. When the bead box was opened, it skipped right into the sweater box as anticipated. However, when I set out to retrieve it, bare handed, it quietly jumped into my hand. Interesting, and not expected at all. Here's where I could not leave well enough alone. You got it, I had to open my hand to take another peak. Opportunity seized! The micro sized baby scurried up my arm and settled on my shoulder. Like a hockey goalie making a glove save, I quickly reacted and scooped up the little bugger into my other hand. I methodically walked into the other room, opened the lid of the grow out container, and slid this little scam right in. No harm, no foul.
MON Jan 5
Installment 44 of the Most Underrated Gecko has been posted. Thank you Travis Kuhse of EnigmaticReptiles.com for your addition on Uroplatus phantasticus. Travis has done some amazing work with this species! This is a must read if you are into the rarer geckos.
I started keeping geckos 10 year ago. Uroplatus phantasticus was one of the first I kept. I know! Go for the gold right away! I believe I purchased a pair for around $80 from a big wholesale reptile place. Well, while I did all the research (that was available then) I still only kept the pair about 1 year before I finally lost them. They are beautiful, beautiful animals but oh so delicate! We need hobbyist like Travis to work on a wonderful animal like these 'satanic leaf tails', then share the information to bring more success for everyone involved in the hobby. Again, thank you Travis.
SUN Jan 4
Sundays are generally my busy day. They usually start out with a major feed of the warm room (leos, aussies, picta), moving animals, photos, and then putzy stuff around the rooms.
Well, not this Sunday. I fed the cave geckos then misted, then nothing. Why the lazy day? I don't know. Perhaps this was my ONE day after all the activity from the holidays and The 12 Supreme Days of Christmas to just unwind. I did spend some time on FB and Email catching up. I did a little reading and visiting other's gecko sites. But that was it. Maybe since the animals are all asleep, I thought I would take the day off too!
FRI Jan 2
Found 3 little Paroedura picta today. Yes, we still have eggs incubating! No leos or cresteds but plenty of picta and some of the rarer geckos. Please hatch! Please hatch! With the weekend coming up, I have plans to check everyone out, do a big feed, and check out leos and cresteds again to confirm breeding pairs (groups) for 2015. Should be a very productive weekend.
As well, have to take some photos of male leos. Have a customer that is looking for something special for their female.
THU Jan 1, 2015
Happy New Years everyone. It's so exciting to start a new year! New goals, new adventures, new tasks, new animals, new expectations.
I have already updated Stats for 2014 so I can compare to 2013, and again when 2015 ends (# FB friends, Instagram fans, likes, comments, etc.). This helps me guage how I am doing every year. More on this later. Also, finished up the 2014 Accounting. I keep all sales and expenses in a spreadsheet. I like software aps to do this but have been using a spreadsheet too long now and have it where I like it.
Animals are all doing well. As you know, this is the boring time of year- but is a time for planning. What will breed with what next year. I feel like I change my mind every day though :)