Stella And Jo's Gecko & Terrariums

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stella1979

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I hides... but Mom finds me.:snaphappy:
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Here's the mister set up.
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stella1979

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Sooo... what brings me back here already today? It's been a sad weekend my reptile buds... illness started spreading through my orchid collection and I've lost one (my beautiful Peaches), 3 are ill, and one of the three had a huge setback negating the year of care I have given it. Had lots and lots to do outdoors today to treat the sick, prevention for the rest, and disinfect everything. Phew... it's hot out there too so when the work was done, a nice cool sit down was needed... and what to do while resting? Fishlore, of course!

Wow!!! Lots of alerts! And... I was here already today, early this morning. What do I see? Lots of love from a good friend who was apparently lurking around my posts this morning. Thanks for the big grin and the warmed heart on this sad day @Ohio Mark
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Naturally, Pan brings joy and a warm heart too and a quick check in on her revealed that she's decided to sleep the day away... in her water dish, likely comforted by the familiar leaf of the same pothos that's in her growout.
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I think I forgot to show you guys this little plant, of which, there are several rooted cuttings attached to the background. It's been happy... hopefully, it grows. How do y'all like Stella's String of Turtles?:smuggrin:
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So... nothing much new to report here. Pan is still skittish as can be and though she doesn't get as crazy in trying to escape being handled as she used to, she (he? idk yet), will still take every opportunity to get away. Does that make sense? It's like she's not so terrified anymore but still wants to get away from us. She's only handled twice a week when it's time for feeding live insects and we've been trying to wait for her to get bigger for more frequent handling... but this leaves us feeling like we're making zero progress in taming her thus far. It's not like we want to take her out to play, but yeah, it'd be nice if we could have just a little together time and for crying out loud, lol, get pics!

My buddy @Nart has had great success in taming Ducky, his little crestie. In that effort, he started using tongs (either wooden or coated so as to be gentler) to feed insects, and now Ducky comes running when she sees the tongs. Sure, maybe it's food motivated, but don't we all want a pet that's happy to see us? So, I got these tongs,

and I hate 'em!:shifty: They are not capable of grabbing or holding tiny crickets with their rounded tips. In fact, I killed more than one cricket in the attempt last week.ops: Also, Pan does not appear to like them, though I know that she'd need more than one exposure to get used to something new.

So, Pan eats Pangea most nights, 90% of her insect diet is crickets, though she's enjoyed Phoenix worms as well as wax worms also. She's removed from her terrarium twice a week for insects and we gently, slowly approach for a light touch a couple of times a week without picking her up or taking her out. I think I'm doing all I can to tame her but it does feel like I'm banging my head against a wall. Any tips folks?

Got a pretty decent one when she was on her way to bed in her current favorite plant, a Limelight Dracaena. She sleeps in it every day and will soon have a Sansevieria to provide a similar situation on the other side of the tank. That plant is already here but it was only recently washed and repotted to get rid of synthetic fertilizers and any chemicals on the plant... so, it's hanging outside for a while until we can be reasonably sure that any residuals are gone. Ermm, yeah, it probably should go in plant qt but I don't have the space to always have a plant qt going and, derp, there's already fungus gnats in the terrarium. Gotta get some yucky bug tape to deal with that.:yuck:
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BReefer97

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We had/have an issue with fungus gnats too. Do you have them in your house plants?

They were so bad in my chameleon’s majesty palm you couldn’t possibly believe it. It looked like the soil was alive. It got so bad because the chameleon’s dripper was over watering the plant and it started to rot. But it was quickly taken care of by repotting it and doing a hydrogen peroxide bath. But the thing that has by far helped the most would be Mosquito Dunks (or Mosquito Bits). The dunks are donut shaped blocks used to put in stagnant water to kill mosquito larvae. The great thing about it is that it’s totally safe for humans and animals, even frogs! And since frogs have permeable skin that absorbs the surrounding toxins, I think I can safely assume it wouldn’t harm other reptiles/amphibians either. It works so well because it’s a bacteria called B.T.I. that the Mosquito (and fungus gnat) larvae feed off of and subsequently die from. It doesn’t kill adults so they need to be dealt with differently, like with the strips. I break a piece of Mosquito dunk off and add it to a large pitcher of hot water. I’ll let it sit for a few days and I’ll water my plants as they need it. I’ve used it for my chameleon’s majesty palm with no ill effects, and he actually eats the dirt sometimes. I don’t use it all of the time, just when the gnats seem to be coming back and getting worse again. Let your enclosure dry out really good and only mist the glass and some leaves for a few days (so Pan can still drink, but leave the substrate to dry), that will help a lot too. They’re such a pain in in the rear end, I’ve tried apple cider vinegar traps and the likes but the only think that’s helped us was the dunks.
 

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If your feeling it you can get the metal tongs from Petsmart, but if your me you use the plastic red ones lol. They pinch perfect (Until they break... oops)
 

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Pan is so stinkin' handsome!!!
Ducky just waits for food in the front now when she's hungry. its funny when she goes crazy seeing the tongs i'll have to get a vid of her.
Here's Ducky spider manning out lol.
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience with BTI soil bacteria @BReefer97 Just last week I saw a popular houseplant YouTuber recommend it saying that it was safe with humans and pets... but it sure is nice to hear it from a reptile and amphibian keeper. I do not keep plants in the house other than what's in the terrarium, just know a little about what most would call houseplants because they grow outdoors here. Most of my plant collection is one the porch, or out front in the blaring sun. Either way, the gnats aren't bothersome out there, but yes, they do survive around some of the orchids whose pots stay slightly moist, and I very much enjoy seeing them caught in the clutches of my Sundew/Drosera. I want more carnivorous plants and to make a tiny bog garden out of a square planter that currently holds a few succulents. Btw... Rex was droopy as heck this morning, so gave him his first watering since watering him into the terrarium about a week ago. Keeping my fingers crossed!

I was able to make the inferior tongs work last night... but only because I picked up a small, narrow, but semi-deep glass jar from wally world over the weekend, now used especially for dusting crickets. This space is nicer to pull from than the old plastic container, easier to see into even when dusty, and it's sure nicer working with a hinged lid rather than a tupperware lid. Still couldn't get the crickets by the legs so had to be super careful not to squish. Idk... just not loving this tong thing and I've resolved to use only tongs made from rubber-coated metal or wood. Kinda wanting to hit up Solid Gold to see which ones she uses.

Anyway... the point is, last nigh Pan ate from the tongs three times and hunted two more small crickets in her feeding bin among her old fake leaves. I like giving her this enrichment and she seems to enjoy it as well, but... perhaps tongs will work as a lure in my effort to tame her.
 
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It's been a while so, here's Pan, the Partial Pinstriped Harlequin Crestie. She currently weighs 9 grams.

Eating a waxworm last Sunday. After moving to the Exo, she got freaked out the first time going back in her clear shoebox bin for feeders, so we used cardboard boxes for a little while and... well, that got old because you can't clean them properly, so we got the darkest dish bin we could find. Hence, the red. Dust everywhere because... waxworms are so squishy.:yuck:
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Back in the Exo after eating waxworms.
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Couldn't find Phoenix worms last time so she'll get crickets tomorrow. Insect feedings are always Sunday and Wednesday and very rarely, Friday too, ...only if we're trying to get rid of insects before losing them because they either get too big or die off.

I want to order feeders from Rainbow Mealworms but yeah... like @JackA99 has said, when feeding only one gecko, we don't want a lot and it's tough to get them in small amounts. So, another question @BReefer97 and @Nart ... How many insects in a single feeding? Imagine S to M crickets for a gecko just under 10 grams.

So far, 10 or so Phoenix worms from a big box store are no big deal to use up over a couple of weeks but it's a waste of money because half the container is dead upon purchase, (buying them in groups of 25), plus, online feeder vendors are just cheaper per bug. I'm still having a hard time buying 50 live Phoenix worms at once because I only use 20 per month max.

As far as crickets, at 5 - 6 smalls or 3 - 4 mediums, and with Phoenix worms and the rare waxworm worked in, well, it'd take me 4 months to go through 100 crickets and they die off kinda fast. I'm thinking about moving the cricket container to the porch since I've read they last longer between 80° and 90°... but then again, doesn't heat over 90° or so start killin' 'em too? The porch is slightly cooler than the yard but we're talking hot as heck SoFlo here. Geesh, this feeder business makes me want a beardie, but I don't have the room, and... we're hoping the next reptile (not any time soon) is a Western Hognose.
 

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Hey @stella1979 I just re-read through some of your posts on this thread.
For taming Ducky or just getting her more used to being handled. I pretty much started gently catching her out of the enclosure, 2 weeks after getting her. Since then, I catch her out every other night and sometimes in the morning hours too. It's still cat and mouse when my hands go in to catch her, I just use both hands, front and back and she'll crawl on it and I move her out. I stay in a very dim lit area and monitor her breathing afterwards, and she's pretty relaxed and hangs out on our hands. Other days when she's hungry, she's very food/tong motivated. Climbs right out now if I have the doors open with tongs in sight. But yeah, I've read a lot of articles, threads, and talked to some breeders. I've heard all sorts of different perspective and opinions about handling or shouldn't handle your gecko. I just chose what worked comfortably and safely for Ducky and I. She's not completely tamed, but she tolerates handling very well. I usually keep her out 5-15mins at a time, depending on if she's relaxed or squirming around.
Look, even my mom can handle Ducky
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As for feeding, you know how tiny Ducky was prior to eating insect feeders.
Back in early May when she was weighing just 5 grams, we gave her anywhere from 3-5 small dubias in a single feeding. I always made sure I swirled the feeders in Pangea mix and now have also incorporated Calcium supplement thanks to you Other days, i'll switch it up to like, 2 waxworms and about 3 small dubias. Even in early morning hours when she's right upfront of the glass i'll tong feed her 1-2 dubias/waxworms. She's now worked her way up to medium size Dubias and usually by the 3rd dubia she is done and ready to chill out on our hands lol.
But yeah, May 30th I had logged in her weighing 6 grams. Fast forward, on July 18th she's now 15 grams.
Here's the happy Ducky now:
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Hope this helps M!
 
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Awesome! Yes, thank you, it does help a lot. I love Ducky!!! Love seeing her chillin' on the couch and especially hangin' with your Mom.

They are just so small and seem delicate and scared... which makes us reluctant to freak Pan out. We also made a deal with ourselves based on advice from Pan's breeder, (Tiki's Geckos.) Until she reaches 10 grams or more, we would not handle her more than the twice a week insect feeding times. We're almost there! She's a little calmer at 9 grams than she was at 5 or 6 but still very reluctant to be in our hands... so yeah, we 'catch' her with both hands too and she cannot wait to get out of hands. Last week, she scampered right up my arm and seemed to calm on my shoulder where my hair probably made her 'space' seem small and secure. Progress? I think so, and I'll take what I can get.

I should just admit it here in public... eeek! I think I like reptile keeping better than fish keeping. Pan did that for me. Although she sleeps all day and time with her is limited, I very much enjoy terrarium keeping, (I mean, come on... plants!) I love Pan to pieces, thank you @Nart for making me jealous enough to take the plunge, and anyone who knows me will know that the next project is far in the future because I plan, plan, plan and worry, worry, worry but... a reptile who'll be awake during the day is already on my list for the next 'tank' set up. We WILL have a Western Hognose snake one of these days.
 
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