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The Trouble with Hatchlings

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. Honestly there hasn’t been much new to report in snake land since the move. Everyone’s been eating, shedding and pooping right on schedule. Until now (dun dun DUN). Now I have something to talk about.
 
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I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the little stress head ache ;)



Woooops

Wow, February? So much for blogging once a month. In my defense, things have been a little nuts! I was house hunting for awhile, then moving, which takes a lot of time and energy: who knew?

Now I’m nice and settled in my new place which is complete with a big, spanking 6x15 storage closet with overhead lighting in the master (my) bedroom which has absolutely no purpose yet. Gee, I wonder what I could possibly do with the space...

Anyway, the only downside with the room is that it has no ventilation and tends to get a little hot. My bedroom is on the third (and top) floor of the new house and it can get warm up there if I don’t run the ceiling fan 24/7, but if I keep the closet door open it usually doesn’t get over 85 even on a hot day, which is what some people keep their snake rooms at all of the time. It’s not optimal. I’m planning on getting a nice fan to put in there this weekend which should help keep the temps down a little more. Here, have a pic. Just keep in mind that I moved in like a month ago and this is still a work in progress. Hence the random luggage and 5 billion purses and boxes.
 

IMG_2941

I’m actually standing on the other side of the door, where there’s a tall shelf and room for another rack.

Anyway, like I said, it’s still a work in progress. I just ordered a 4 shelf rack from Animal Plastics that should be here early September, which should help things along . I ordered the matching Iris tubs from Reptile Tubs, which should be here next week! Honestly Reptile Tubs had the best prices that I could find, so if I ever need a bunch of big tupperware for actual non-living creature storage, I might give them a call, hah. The people I talked to from both of these companies have been nothing but cheerful and helpful, which makes me extra glad I gave them my business.

I did debate making my own rack, but I had to be honest about my handiness skills and admit that if I tried to put something together my snakes would end up either fried or gone :-|. It’s definitely more expensive this way, but totally worth it.

I’ll be glad to move Wade into a tub. He’ll be sacrificing some square footage, but I know humidity levels are much more reasonable in tubs and Wade cannot shed well for the life of him. I had to soak him and peel a bunch of skin off of him last weekend from his latest shed even though I misted his cage once a day and the snake closet holds humidity much better than my old bedroom. Grr. In addition, Wade’s always been a little more timid, so I think having him in a nice opaque tub with darkness on three sides will help him chill out. I might put Aida in his cage. She likes being out and about. She was all on top of watching me clean Wade’s cage earlier today.


So the math whizzes among you may have realized that I ordered a 4 shelf rack when I in fact only have 2 snakes. Why on earth would I do this? Stay tuned!
 

By that I mean, I don’t know myself. I have a few feelers out for some snakes, but I won’t know for certain what I have until the end of August/September. I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up or name them or build a 10 year breeding plan around them or anything. I CAN’T WAIT! Luckily I have vacation to distract me!

I’ll leave you with the latest from Wade and Aida:

Tada!Collapse )

 

And just for future reference,

some pictures of my house!Collapse )

My friend, the snake king

Wade: 72 g
Aida: 43 g


Hahaha, so I had a doctor’s appointment today and who should be signing people into the building but my old friend the snake king!


I love it when this guy’s on duty because I can always talk snakes with him. He breeds pythons and boas (he’s actually breeding a pair of Dumeril’s this year!) and he has such obvious affection for all of them.


We talked a lot about feeding. He’d never heard of slitting prey items before feeding, either as a way to make snakes grow faster or to entice stubborn feeders. He feeds all of his snakes f/t except for one stubborn albino boa who refuses to take them. I asked if he’s tried prekilled, but she’s eating rats and he said he wouldn’t be able to kill them himself because he really likes rats (he breeds them as pets). He did tell me a story about a time when he was first starting out in snakes and was still feeding live ("before he knew better" he said) and he had a snake that would only eat rats, even though she was way too big for them. He put a rabbit in with one of his colonies to scent it and the rats killed it! They killed the rabbit! He said it happened really fast too, like as soon as the rabbit touched down. That is crazy man. Rats can be scaaary.


He also said that he gets a lot of strippers who ask to come to his house and pick out a snake to use in their acts. The hilarious part was that he acted super annoyed that this happened, like they were invading his privacy.


I told him about my very early breeding plans and he was excited for me! He knows absolutely nothing about corn snakes except that the one that he had was really mean and liked to bite a lot. We both talked about how weird that was, especially since none of his really big snakes are mean (he has them all hook trained). Crazy corn snakes!


Anyway, in Wade and Aida news, they’re both bumping up a prey size! Wade’s going up to hoppers as soon as he sheds, and Aida’s going up to fuzzies :D. Wade is getting reeeally big. I don’t notice how much he’s growing because I see him so much, but yeah, he’s getting big. The past few weeks especially, he’s been packing on weight like no one’s business!


In mostly non-snake related news, I might be moving soon! I have an appointment to look at a couple of places right off of Rittenhouse Square in Philly. If I see a place I like, I could be moving within the next few months. Hopefully I can arrange things so that Wade and Aida will be shuffled around as little as possible. If I don’t end up moving, I may be looking into expanding my little family a bit :)

Light tent!

So photographing snakes is pretty difficult, especially when your scaley kids are little. I have taken many, many... many blurry pictures of my hand with a little blur of red / purple on it. Honestly, the first secret to great herp photography is to clear our your memory card (ok, well first get some kind of digital camera) and be prepared to take a million +1 pictures until you get a good one.


The second secret is that the macro feature is your best friend. Also if you have a Manual Focus option on your camera, that is also your friend. And hey, if you have a way to adjust the shutter speed on your camera, having a high shutter speed is definitely your friend. Oh man, you’re going to be so popular.


Lighting is also an issue. Using your flash can make the lighting too harsh, and while not using a flash can give you more true to life colors, good luck getting that bad boy to focus unless you have really good natural lighting (i.e. outdoors in the middle of the day with a little cloud cover).


What you really need is a diffused source of lighting. How do you get this, you ask? Very easy! Just put together a quick and easy ’Light Tent’! This is pretty much a box lined with white paper, holes cut in the side and covered with a white muslin cloth. I made one using the directions found here: Check it out! When you use a light tent, you don’t need a flash, and the white backdrop really helps accentuate your snakes colors (unless you have an opal or a white out or something, in which case, substitute black paper for white).


After I put my light tent together and was ready to go, I used the ’flower pot’ method to get my snakes all nice and coiled up to be photo ready. The method: Have your snakes curl up in a hide inside the light box, wait a minute or so, take the hide off and snap a few pictures before they get going again. Voila! You’ll have some great shots of your snakes in no time!



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Woooh, 50 g!

Wade: 50g


Aida: 20g


So Wade hit the big 5-0 (grams) last week, hooray! He celebrated by immediately going into shed. I’m totally going to have a congratulatory photo shoot when he’s done, which I’m sure he will totally appreciate.


Aida also went into shed the other day too. I really, really need to remember to check my snakes for signs of blueness before I thaw out their mice. Yeesh. At least Aida’s still on pinks, which I have plenty to spare. Hopefully she’ll shed as quickly as she has been so I can get her next meal in her. I’m still not as happy as I could be about her growth rate.


Welp, that’s all that’s really going on snakewise. I kept having these weird stress dreams that they both died in horrible ways last week, it was kind of weird.

Wooops, posting, right.

Wade: 40 g

Aida: 16 g

Haaah, I am a bad, not-blogging person, but here I am! Wade and Aida are both doing fine: eating, shedding and pooping. I’m kicking myself now for just buying big pinks in my last order to The Mouse Factory. After a few weeks, Wade was ready to move onto fuzzys. I placed another order last week: 50 fuzzys and 50 hoppers. I figure at the rate Wade’s going, he’ll be ready for hoppers in no time!

So another order from The Mouse Factory meant another drama with Fed Ex. After I placed my order, I realized I wouldn’t be able to run home and grab my order during my lunch break, so I tried calling to change the shipping destination to my office. No dice. Apparently only the shipper can do that. But Edna didn’t get my email in time, so there was nothing we could do about it which was pretty frustrating. Edna seemed to think the mice would be ok if I picked them up at the service center that night, so I went over there after work. The Fed Ex service center is closer to me and a lot less of a nightmare than the UPS service center is, which is good to know. ANYWAY, apparently, the Fed Ex guy had already delivered my package to my house. I was kind of confused to hear that, because I’d been sitting right by the door watching TV (not too loudly) with the lights on and hadn’t heard anything. I guess he didn’t bother to, you know, knock or ring the doorbell or announce that he’d dropped off a package even though the house was very obviously currently occupied. Thank you, FedEx ninja squad. ARG. Whatever, the point of this story is that I have fuzzys and hoppers now, voila!



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The hand was mostly so I could compare the fuzzys' width to Wade's. He had his first one just now. He’s getting so big! I feel bad for poor Aida because whenever I look at her I always think, ’Oh man, there must be something wrong with her; she’s way too scrawny.’ Wade was a few grams heavier than her when he was about her age, but I’m not too concerned. Snakes grow at different rates, and as long as she’s putting on weight, I’m going to leave her be.

Speaking of Aida, she continues to be a total weirdo. I started her on double pinks today, and because she’s usually too picky to take food from feeding tongs I just laid them down in a line and let her be while I went to feed Wade (which took 30 nanoseconds, the hog). I checked in on her a few minutes after that and she’d only taken the one and didn’t seem too interested in the second one. Neither of the pinks were especially big because I didn’t want to risk giving her too much, so I definitely wanted her to eat the second one. I reheated it and tried giving it to her again. She was sniffing it and seemed keen but wouldn’t take it! Then I remembered that last week I’d seen her take her pinky butt first, so I tried offering her the butt end. Bingo! She took it right away. In conclusion, Aida is a weird butt-first eater. They are like the southpaws of the snake world, hah.

In addition to being a butt-first eater, Aida is also a stealth shedder. Now, when Wade sheds, you can see it coming a mile away. His blue period is like, 10 months long and I have to mist his cage a bajillion times a day to make sure he gets everything off in one piece. Aida shed last week, but I had her out the day before she shed to check her over and I swear she wasn’t in blue. I was really checking too: like looking really closely at her eyes to make sure they weren’t dull, etc. etc. The next day when I went to change her water, bam! Shed. Last time she shed I could see she was in blue but she shed barely a day later, so who knows?

So that’s it! I’m really glad both of my snakes’ eating schedules are working out with my travelling. I’m going out of town on Tuesday, but I’ll be back on Saturday just in time to feed them again. Woot!

I'll end with a little photo shoot of both my squeaky shed snakes. Enjoy :)

WadeCollapse )


AidaCollapse )

The curious case of Wade and Aida

Ok, so it’s not so much Wade and Aida that are the case here, but the SnakeBytes Snake Measurer. According to that thing, Wade and Aida both shrunk an odd inch over the past week. I have tried everything to figure out what the problem is here: I’ve changed the unit length, recropped the picture to make sure the measuring line was completely straight, handled both snakes ahead of time to make sure they weren’t too bunched up (thanks for the suggestion, Suzy!), redone the actual measuring, used different frame of reference pictures, and nothing! The only thing I can think is that last week I over-measured them. I remeasured Wade last night and he came out to 18 inches (almost 2 less than his last measurement). I’m going to measure him again when I get him out to feed him on Wednesday and we’ll see what I get. There has been much gnashing of teeth over here.


In other news, Wade has officially been bumped up to the next biggest prey item :). I’ve been following the Munson Plan so far, and according to that chart, Wade’s big enough to be bumped up to fuzzies. However, that plan specifies ’small’ fuzzies, which Mouse Factory doesn’t offer. I asked the folks over at cs.com and they pretty much agreed with me. The kicker was one girl who’d tried switching her corn over (he’s about Wade’s size) to regular fuzzies and had him regurge. I ended up ordering the ’big pinks’:

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For some reason I thought Mouse Factory shipped via USPS, but they use FedEx (which makes more sense for them). That would be fine, except that the FedEx people are kind of dumb out here in Philly. So TMF told me they’d arrange for FedEx to leave the package at my door so I wouldn’t have to sign for it. I was going to be home super late that night, so I took a long lunch to run home and put the mice in the freezer so they wouldn’t melt (gross). Except when I got there: no mice and no attempted delivery slip. Which means there was no way I could track down my package and pick it up from a service center. Ugh! Luckily my roommate was home sick that day, so she was able to meet the delivery person during their next attempt and put my mice in the freezer for me. Wade was very grateful :). Anyway, it was this whole big thing and it definitely wasn’t this dramatic the last time I ordered from them. I totally blame FedEx.

I leave you with some pretty, pretty picturesCollapse )

Wade shed!

I swear my little wormlets have a little sibling rivalry going on to out-wow me. Last week, Aida gave me a perfect shed (see my last post), which I thought was amazing! Wade went into blue almost immediately after Aida shed, and this time I was ready for him! He’s had problems shedding in the time I’ve had him, so I’ve been misting his cage like crazy for the past few days to try and get the humidity up.

Then about an hour ago I heard some suspicious knocking noises coming from Wade’s viv. I took a peek in his direction and he was actually shedding right in front of me :-) :-). The shedding process is one of the things I find so amazing about snakes, so I was incredibly excited to be able to watch it as it happened. Of course I had to grab my camera, too. Here’s a few clips of him doing his thing. The first clip is about 1 minute, but it’s mostly him staring at the camera trying to glare it out of existence. The second one is about 5 minutes and be forewarned: I am not exactly in line to be the next Jacques Cousteau.

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And here is the finished product! I was able to pull the shed out right after he was finished, and I had to unroll it a bit. It was still wet and a little sticky, but I was surprised by how strong it was. It’s pretty dark in my room right now, so these are the best shots I could get:

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I’m going to give Wade a day to chill, then feed him tomorrow night. I’m definitely looking forward to reweighing him!

First shed from Aida!

Wade: 17 in, 25 (!!!) g

Aida: 12 in, 9 g

Aida had her first shed with me! I was set to go home for the weekend last Friday, and decided to check in on my wormlets to make sure everyone was in order before I left. Lo and behold, Aida was in blue!

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Of course. I’m going out of town on business this week, and wanted to feed them both before I left, but I wasn’t about to risk feeding her while she was in blue. I misted her cage, covered it with plastic wrap and left it at that.

When I got back on Sunday, I checked in on both of them and fed Wade. By the way, I’m going to have to reweigh him. No way he gained 5 grams in 5 days! That’s just nuts. On the other hand, he didn’t gain any length, so maybe he’s going to grow out for awhile before he shoots up. I also had my closet shelf, so I put it together and moved Aida. Tadaaa!


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I turned off the lights and let her adjust in peace. This morning she thanked me with a nice, fully intact shed :).


Aida's shedCollapse )

I noticed she was awake when I was taking out her shed, so I warmed her up a pinky to see if she'd take it. I moved the scale into her closet and voila, she took it! Well, not before sniffing every inch of it twice and poking it to find the peeerfect place to chow down. Such a delicate eater ;).

Keep on rollin'

Wade: 20 g; 17.7 in.


Aida: 8 g; 12 in.


So everything’s going along just swimmingly here. Yesterday was feeding day again. Wade was on the prowl the entire time I had him out for feeding, crawling like mad around the scale bowl like I’ve never fed him before, the little pig! He nearly fell off when I fed him the first pinky. Then he kept sniffing around for more after he’d eaten both! I know they’re opportunistic feeders, but Wade’s generally been pretty chillax when it comes to feeding.


Aida on the other hand continues to be a flaily princess. She refused to eat in front of me (even though she did last week), but an hour alone in her deli cup was enough to entice her. She gave me a bit of a scare when she didn’t snap her food down right away! Wade has totally spoiled me. She’s still way more jumpy than Wade, but I’m not too surprised. Wade was pretty laid back for a corn hatchling, which are pretty well known for being squirmy. Aida flips out and throws herself all over the place unless I’ve got her cupped in my hands.


I also moved Wade’s viv! In the initial excitement of getting him set up (see my first post), he ended up on my scrapbooking desk. Not a problem for Wade, but it kind of put a dent in my scrapbooking. So I finally got around to moving him to my other desk (which is too high for me to sit at comfortably). Plus I added a little vine to each of their vivs. Now it looks all naturalistic! Wade seriously enjoys his vine: he crawls over it constantly! Well...except now, because he’s sleeping off his pinkies.

Wade's VivCollapse )

Aida could like her vine, but she’s still too shy to come out when I’m around. Once I get her shelf set up, I’m moving her into my closet.


Oh calm down, it’s not like a regular closet! I have this big ole walk in closet, and I cleared out a bunch of stuff so I could move her in. I replaced the bulb with one of those daytime UVA jobs you see for lizards. Not that snakes really need a light source per say, but this way I can give her a pretty good day - night cycle. Plus the closet is the least trafficked area in the house, and has the most constant temperature (no windows and a good distance from an AC vent). The ’least trafficked’ thing is the kicker though. Maybe it’ll help her calm down some.