Saturday, February 20, 2010

Substrate- An Article About Nothin'


Should we use SAND on the bottom of our gecko enclosure? Should we use PAPER TOWELS? How about WOOD CHIPS? Or PEAT MOSS? We get this question about once a reptile show. Read on to find out what we do.

One of the biggest controversies you will find on the Internet is whether one should use sand as a substrate in their gecko enclosure (specifically leopard geckos). Want to start a "flame war" on any of the leopard gecko forums? Mention that your leopard gecko is sick and that you have been keeping her over sand for the past 6 months. If you post this.... DUCK! as the post will start coming your way!

So, you are asking, is sand bad? Well, my response is 'it depends'. For baby leopard geckos, never start your young animals on sand. Youngsters have smaller digestive tracks and are more susceptible to the sand causing impaction.TIP ALERT--- For adult leopard geckos, keep a small bowl of a quality calcium in the enclosure. Leopard geckos lick their substrate for trace elements (including calcium). A calcium dish will DRASTICALLY reduce the leopard's need to find other sources- including the sand. 

Now a word about wood chips - orchid bark.... DON'T! Do not pass GO, Do Not Collect $200! Any type of wood chip is BAD. They will somehow make it into your geckos' mouth and they will get caught in their digestive track! Some customers insist that their wood pieces are too big for the geckos mouth. Over time, big pieces become smaller pieces and one day you will see your crested gecko lunge for a cricket only to come up with a mouth full of small pieces of wood (otherwise known as splinters). Just DON'T  :)

Now for the better options- Peat Moss and Paper Towels. Both are good options for your geckos- paper towels for babies and adult leos, peat moss for adult crested geckos. The purpose of both is to hold humidity and they will do this. The reason we do not use either is simple- they can be hard to manage- they either dry out too quickly (especially in the winter) or become too wet and for peat moss, this means mold.
Again, not bad options, they just need a bit more management.

Since we have quite a number of enclosure, we try to balance making things as easy for us but also as comfortable for the animals as we can. So your question now is what do we use in the crested and leopard gecko enclosures at Supreme Gecko?

We use Nothin'!  Well, that is partially true. For adult leopard geckos, we prefer a bare bottom tank. For baby cresteds and leopards we keep the bottom bare but will crumble up a full paper towel and throw that in the corner of their enclosure. When we mist, we hit a couple extra pumps on the paper towel to soak them pretty well.

For adult crested geckos, we prefer a different approach. As we have humid hides in our adult enclosures (crested and leopards) we will leave the crested enclosure bottom bare but will take cheap plastic plant strings with big leaves that you can purchase in any $1 store and cut them up into 4-6" sections, then scatter them over the bottom of the tank. As you will be misting the enclosure every day/every other day, you should never have an issue with humidity anyways. The advantage to this approach is many- it's very inexpensive, makes for a decorative enclosure, cresteds like to hid under the leaves, and this is super easy to clean- just throw the plants in a bucket and let them soak overnight.

I hope this shed some light on how we have adult and baby geckos setup in our facility. Leave us a comment if you have any questions or would like to start a Flame War  :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

NARBC- Tinley Winter 2010

Do you know what is involved in doing a show like this? I bet not (unless you are already selling at one of the NARBC shows). While there is nothing so exhilarating as setting up to sell animals and supplies at one of the largest reptile shows in the world, it does come with a cost.

First, let me say that I look forward to these shows- meeting up with other vendors like Matt and Garrick, meeting new vendors like Charles and Brian, and talking to long-term and with new customers. I enjoy seeing the new animals that others are working with.

However, we start preparing for a show this large weeks in advance. Supplies need to be checked, Emails written, orders organized, and animals checked and marked for the show.

This weekend, we left Friday afternoon at 1, drove to Tinley Park Illinois, and arrived at 3 pm. Settup took about an hour and we were off meeting other vendors. Shortly afterward Christopher my son left for dinner and then up to the room to do some gaming. Me, I was back to the show for the USARK/PJACK discussion.

Saturday was all show. Saturday night with a bunch of fun talking to other vendors again (like Charles and Brian) till... well Sunday morning.
Sunday more show. I love these shows as we get such great customers with such great questions!
Show finished up at 4pm. We were packed back up and on the road by 5. Home by a little after 7. Animals were put away by 8:30.

One thing that really hits is that when we get back from a show like this, all our attention goes to the animals. Monday and Tuesday was pretty much feeding, cleaning, and checking the geckos. Lots of fun but no time for Emailing other hobbyist and no facebook time!

So much to do with these shows but I wouldn't trade it for anything! I cannot wait for Tinley in the Fall!
All photos by Cindy Bensaid

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blog Talk Radio- Aussies!

This is a must listen to if you keep Australian Geckos, or are a fan of Marcia McGuiness- This Friday night!!

Blog Talk Radio Link

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How big is Tank, our largest leopard gecko?

Last year Tank weighed in at 84 grams. That is a tank!!! He has certainly grown this past year but let's see how much. We are hoping that he pushes over the 90 gram mark.  Cross your fingers and check out the video.
Tank over 90 grams?