Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Packing for the big move...

If it looks like food, it can't hurt to hunt it!!!

The lovely coloration that is developing on his neck

Some footage:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Richard's 2nd and 3rd Pinkies

Warning: the following videos contain footage of Richard eating live pinkie mice. Please watch at your own discretion. I have decided to stop feeding him live pinkies. But this is still an important part of his life, so it's on his blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A week of Firsts

Yesterday, Richard met his dad, and today.... he ate his first pinkie. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I defy you...

... to raise a finer specimen. Richard is nearly flawless.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Snapshots from a not-too-distant past

I've been thinking a lot about Richard's early life. I know he hatched from an egg, and that he ventured out into the world. He had his first meal once. He had to hide from predators. He was captured. And his journey to Petco was probably very stressful, considering water dragons arrive in the mail... Not a lot of lizards make it that far, much less mature into healthy young adults. That is a saddening thought.

But enough of the gloom! I'm happy to have Richard, and I love watching him get bigger and bigger each day, even if it makes me miss his tiny former self.

When I look back at the past, I wonder what the little guy has seen. I wish he could tell me!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Richard!

It has been ONE year since Richard came into my life :-) To technically, it's not his birthday or his hatch-day. It's an anniversary. But it's more fun to celebrate birthdays!

Richard likes to watch his Aunt Tiffy do her homework.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don't hate him because he's beautiful

I knew something skinked.

Richard's legs, toned from all that climbing he does.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

They grow up so fast....

When you first get them, they look like little aliens with spindly legs. Ten months later, they are genuine cricket-murdering monsters! :-)

Cricket update: most of my crickets are now medium to large, in terms of pet store classification. Richard is averaging 15 to 20 crickets a day, as you can tell by his ever-expanding waistline. I have added baby rice cereal, alfalfa, and crushed spirulina tablets to my gutloading repertoire.

This is a real adventure. Everyone should have a Richie Boy, as my sister calls him. :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Literally, just a snapshot of my collection of insect prey.

Monday, July 21, 2008

At 10 cents a piece, crickets can get expensive, especially when you take their mortality rate into consideration. That's why I decided to try breeding them.

Luckily, there's quite a decent amount of information concerning this endeavor online. After quite a bit of trial and error, I was finally successful.

Rather than rehash my method, I will share the modifications I made to the tried and true techniques of others.


  • The crickets were allowed to lay eggs for a couple of days before being moved into the gutloading chamber. A few males were kept in the breeding chamber so they could do their business. The rest of the males were fed to Richard first because they were noisy.
  • Paper cups were trimmed so they would be shallow enough for the crickets to easily climb into. One advantage of paper cups is that they can be stacked in tiers. (Please see Incubation for more details on that). The cups were positioned at the corners of the breeding container so they would be in the crickets' path as they walked the perimeter of the container. I found that doing this increased their chances of climbing in and laying eggs.
  • The largest females are closer to the end of their lifespan, so I pulled those out for gutloading before others.
  • The adults were provided crushed guinea pig food, gutload, and orange slices.

  • Every couple of days, the paper cups were transferred to a 10-gallon incubation tank. Packing tape was placed at the corners so the baby crickets wouldn't crawl up the silicone sealant.
  • The paper cups were stacked in tiers to save space. Stacking them also prevented the soil from drying out quite as quickly.
  • A moistened paper towel was placed on top of the cups daily.
  • To prevent other insects and spiders from infiltrating the chamber, cheesecloth was doubled over the top held down by the mesh lid of the tank. The cheesecloth was eventually replaced with a kind of filter material that my parents use for our reef aquarium. It resembles padding.
Rearing the young
  • Extra moistened paper towels were provided to help the baby crickets shed. Orange slices, gutload, and crushed guinea pig food, as well as egg cartons were made available.
  • A small electric fan (purchased at Wal-Mart for around $6) was placed on top of the lid. Because ventilation decreases mortality, I thought it was more than a worthy investment.
Just a handful of the baby crickets. There's plenty more where these came from.

So far, so good. It looks like the baby crickets are thriving very well. I find that the tiny exoskeletons they leave behind are an encouraging sign. Some are growing extremely fast.

In short, for a girl with no end in hobbies, breeding crickets serves multiple purposes. It's a way to feed a growing water dragon and a hands-on approach to learning the cricket life cycle!

And it doesn't hurt to know that I'll be saving money, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's a jungle out there...

My sister found this teeny tiny little guy on our back patio. We invited him in for a brief photo shoot. He told us his name was "Emile." We rolled our eyes.

Our rude little guest fell asleep! He was probably exhausted from just hatching.

This is the huge anole that also hangs out on our back patio. I dubbed him "Philip."

Philip, once more.

And here we have Richard, who is bullying the chess pieces in this photo.

Sometimes Richard likes to watch his grandma working on her puzzoh (puzzle).