Wednesday, August 26, 2009

At the Vet's office

Yesterday, we took Richard to see the vet. He's the only vet in St. Louis with a lot of reptile experience, according to herpetology enthusiasts.

The tip of Richard's rostrum looked sore over the weekend. I noticed what appeared to be whitish goo between his front teeth and the front of his face. We treated him with betadine and Neosporin, which I had previously read about for use on lizards.

By Tuesday, Richard's snout was looking back to normal, but since the appointment had already been made, we figured it would be a good time for Richard to have a check-up. We needed to be absolutely sure that Richard was in good health. For lizards, it's often too late to help them if they really start to LOOK sick. We didn't want to take that chance.

When the doc entered the examination room, Richard shuffled away from him at first. He gently picked Richard up, had a look at him, and then proclaimed that Richard looked great. He used a stick to keep Richard's mouth open, and said we had nothing to worry about.

What was remarkable was the way the vet held our lizard. He had Richard in one hand, upright, and Richard merely dangled there with his hands on the vet's thumb. I couldn't tell if Richard was totally relaxed or too petrified to retaliate.

Our vet anwered my questions and sent Richard off free of charge. Of course, I am hesitant to say that because I don't want people to think that they can have their lizard looked at for free if they see this vet. It's just how our visit turned out that day. And that's why I am not posting the veterinarian's name on the blog. :-)

I'm really grateful to him for easing my fears, and I think it was very generous of him to not charge us. Richard doesn't know what's going on, naturally. As far as he's concerned, we took him to a strange place and subjected him to examination by a random human.

Hahaha. :-)

I also forgot to bring my camera so we could capture Richard's helpless dangling for all eternity. It was priceless!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The usual antics

"Oh, this thing looks like a tree! Never mind that it's short. I'll climb it, anyway!"

"Do I look like I'm ready to have my photo taken? Can't you see I'm trying to shed?"

"This could be delicious even though it's just the floor."

Close-up of Richard shedding his back:

A Dubia cockroach (not the same species as the one I featured before). This one just molted. Their exoskeletons harden and become darker after a while. I purchased a bunch of these from a breeder and am trying to grow my own colony.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Superworm pupa

Here's a photo of one of our largest pupae. Superworms (Zophobas morio) are similar in appearance to mealworms. They are larger, faster, prefer warmer temperatures... and according to Richard, more delicious than mealworms.

Breeding superworms was an interesting adventure for us. Unlike mealworms, they must be separated from each other and left without food or water. Before this can be done, the superworms worms must achieve a large size.

Pupae are somewhat freaky. If you harass them, they try to wiggle away!

The most striking difference between a mealworm pupa and a superworm pupa-- other than size-- is the fact that mealworm pupae "hold" their arms closer to their body.

Our insect menagerie has increased to three species! We now have dubia roaches, discoid roaches, and superworms. Richard doesn't seem to care of acknowledge this effort. :-)