Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Dubia Roaches

I have a 55 gallon tank in my garage that holds my dubia roach colony. In the winter, I keep it warm with 3 heating pads and an overhead black light. In the summer, it stays warm enough on its own. 

I feed my roaches the veggie & fruit scraps that I used to compost: watermelon rinds, ends of lettuce, vegetable peels, etc. I used to supplement with rat block and/or cat food. They didn't eat it as well as they eat the veggies so I stopped. In the winter, I'll buy collard & turnip greens bunches and let them eat those since we don't have as much fresh fruit & veggies available. 

Every summer my colony explodes and I end up giving away a lot of roaches. Their breeding slows way down in the winter which is when I feed fewer roaches anyways. I need to start swapping out the egg crates now. I do that once a year and get rid of the dirty ones. 

Right now, I bet I have several thousand roaches. Yeah. Time to downsize. 

Once a week, I fill up my cricket keeper with roaches to keep inside to feed my beardies (especially the babies). I like to use toilet paper rolls for them because then I can pull out the tube and shake it into the tank to get the roaches out. Very easy to do! 

In my cricket keeper, I put calcium cricket water to keep them hydrated and to gut load them more. 

Roaches used to creep me out. Now they don't even phase me. I'm used to them crawling on me. Roaches have a higher "meat" ratio than crickets and worms-- more protein for the price. And roaches actually smell better than crickets. Their tank smells like an earthy compost pile if it smells at all. I once had 500 crickets in a box and the smell horrified me. 

When I've had a lot of baby beardies, I will buy worms to supplement their feeding so they don't wipe out the tiny roaches in my colony. 

I'm not much of an expert on roaches. I'm not sure what the best ways are to start a colony, or what the optimum make to female ratio is, etc.. There are a ton of great websites out there for that. I like the fact that the roaches don't smell and don't have to be babysat all the time to grow. I ignore them and they grow. It's awesome. :) 

If you have a favorite roach website, please share in the comments. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

3 Years with Lil Foot/Baby Foot

These two pics showed up in my FB newsfeed yesterday. Hermy with a very small Lil Foot. 

Today I attempted to recreate the pics. Lil Foot (who we call "Baby Foot" to avoid confusing him with the bigger Lil Foot) did not want to hold still. 

Lil Foot was fairly sick when I got him. His shell was soft and had shell rot. His eyes were goopy and he was just not very healthy. 

He's still rather stunted and his shell will never be shaped normal, but he's very healthy and active. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


One of the question topics I get asked about the most is Poop. 

Today poop is especially on my mind because I've cleaned up poop in 5 different beardie tanks. So let's talk poop. 

How Frequently--- 

It depends on the beardie. I have daily poopers and weekly poopers. My big boy Max normally poops every 2 to 3 weeks. Don't assume that healthy beardies *must* poop daily. 

Babies are the most likely to poop daily or more than once a day. Older beardies may poop less frequently. The key is to pay attention to your beardies. Over time, you will see what is "normal." 

How is it Supposed to Look-- 

A healthy beardie poop should be formed with a distinct white part, urates. Urates are the waste products that come from the kidneys. Since beardies don't pee, the urates collect in their guts and come out with their poop. It's the same with most reptiles. 

Here's some examples of Good Poop-- 

See? Solid, distinct white. Sometimes there will be extra fluid, sometimes not. It depends on how much the beardie has had to drink recently. 

Here's some examples of Bad Poop-- 

Blood. This one made me call the vet immediately and take in this sample!

Unformed. Diarrhea. 

Partially formed. 

Blood tinted liquid. 

Some Causes of Bad Poop-- 

The key with poop is you have to wait for at least a couple poops. You need to see a pattern. Even with the poop with blood tinted liquid, I'd wait for two poops. 

1- What they ate: new foods, extra fruit, etc often cause loose/runny poop. This is one of the reasons I wait for multiple poops. 

2- Stress: a change in location, a trip to the vet, the power being out, a sighting of another beardie, or anything else stressful can make a beardie's poop liquid. 

3- Parasites: the two most common parasites in beardies are coccidia and pinworms. There are other problems including nematodes, Protozoa, giardia. All of these are diagnosed by a fecal test (a fecal float and/or fecal stain). You can buy the supplies and train yourself to do them if you are willing to buy a microscope for around $120. Parasites are most likely to cause stinky, runny poops. 

Note- most beardies have some amount of coccidia and pinworms and are asymptomatic (they don't have any problems with it). My reptile vet prefers to not treat for parasites unless there is a problem (like diarrhea or weight loss). Your vet may have a different opinion. Parasite treatments are oral meds that you give for a couple days and then repeat in 2 to 3 weeks. Easy treatment. 

4- Sickness: there are some sickness that cause diarrhea in beardies. The biggest & most common is the Adenovirus. These have to be diagnosed by a vet and treatments vary. Talk to your vet. 

No Pooping Causes-- 

A beardie who is too cold or too dehydrated or too stressed won't poop. After several missed poops, a beardie's guts can become impacted and constant pushing & straining to poop can rip the delicate tissue of the intestines causing the beardie to bleed to death. That's why it's important to keep track of poop. 

1. Heat: you must have a basking spot of 95 to 105 degrees during the day and an overall temperature of 75 degrees or above at night. If your temps are too cold, fix them n

2. Water: dry pellets, no drinking, dry food can dry out the poop making it harder for a beardie to push it out. Offer daily baths and wet veggies (like squash) until poop happens. 

3. Sand and walnut shell: these plug up a beardie's guts! BAD! BAD! I know "calci sand" is supposed to be helpful. It's NOT.  Use a solid substrate. Don't agree with this? Feel free to find another beardie blog. I will not argue about it. You will never convince me that sand/walnut shell is okay. The list of beardies I've lost because of sand impaction is over a dozen. I've had too many beardies die on me from impaction and it's a terrible way to die. 

How to Help Cause Pooping-- 

Offer baby food prunes or applesauce (about a teaspoon for an adult, half teaspoon for juveniles) every day until poop happens. 

Give daily warm baths, 10 to 15 mins at a time. You can even do twice a day if you want. 

Give your beardie a few drops of olive oil. Just once a day until pooping. 

Take your beardie to a vet. A reptile vet can give an enema to help cause pooping. 

Let your beardie run around. Activity can help induce pooping. 

When in Doubt-- 

As always, if you have a question or concern or emergency, contact a reptile vet! I'm not a vet. This is just what I've learned over the past few years. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New Etsy Items

Dragon Bracelet Fundraiser-- 

Link to my Etsy shop HERE

Dumbo, rescue 149

Remember the last post that said I wouldn't ever rescue another red ear slider turtle? Uh huh. Remember the two posts before that when I said the same thing? Uh huh. 

I have another one. 

This one was dropped off at my vet's office after someone found him in their neighborhood. The sides of his shell are cracked and it seems pretty likely that he was run over. :( 

So now Dumbo is at my house in a dry dock tank while his sides heal. He's allowed to get in his water bowl for a bit when he wants to. He usually only stays for a few minutes before going back to hide in his box. 

Once he's healed up, I'll find a pond for him to go in. :) And then I'll say again that I won't ever take in another RES turtle. 

And y'all can laugh at me again. :D 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Get the Buffalo!

Teddy! This is why we can't watch nature shows or cartoons sign horses or movies with horses or movies with animals! Teddy tries to chase them all down and you can't hear the movie over his barking. 

Good thing he's so cute! It makes up for the fact that he's a dog of very little brain! ;) 

We LOVE our Teddy dog-- even when he's being a dork. 

Following the Leader

I'm not sure what it is about my red foot tortoises, but they love to follow each other around very, very closely. 

Here's Otis right on LilFoot's tail. This is one of at least a dozen photos of this. 

Today I let Baby Foot and Georgie walk around the kitchen for a little bit. When I turned around, I saw this. 

Baby Foot had to hussle to keep up with Otis, but he stayed right on him. Otis, who was always following all the other tortoises WAY too closely, was not happy with this. I had to laugh at him. 

By way of updates-- 

Heidi & Derp are happily in their home in Montana. 

Half Pint & T-Bear are adored in their new home in California. 

LilFoot is hanging out with a friend of mine this summer. 

My buddy's big torts went back. 

That takes me from 11 tortoises to 4. So much easier to manage. Far less poop to clean up. 

Tortoise Roll Call


Baby Foot-



Beardie Roll Call

Here's all my current beardies.