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RandomWiktor

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Myia, TBH I rarely use heaters, so I probably chose a lousy one (though it did work fine for four years). Most of my fish are in my nice toasty herp room, which stays between 78-82. Never again with the heaters, though. To me, it's worth just keeping one room warm enough for all of my fishies from now on, at least until they die out (I plan on getting out of tropical fish for the most part after my current ones are gone, we'll see how well that actually works out). This is my second heater related death, the other being due to a malfunction that spiked the temp up over 100. That was, incidentally, my first Chinese Algae Eater. Bad juju with this species for me, I guess, which is a shame since they're one of my favorite species (more than bettas!). Oh well. I'm sure some day I'll find another person getting rid of one, since virtually everyone who has one eventually wants to get rid of it once it matures.


In less severely bleak news, Fetus is doing AWESOME *throws a little party* I've been feeding him lots of varied, probiotic dipped prey items, administering calcium glubionate, and giving him electrolyte soaks every few days. He's supporting his own weight, has a good feeding response, and can even hop a little without flipping onto his back.

I'm paranoid about how he'll do while I'm away in Alabama this weekend, but I've definitely left my frogs much longer than three days before, so I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed. If I get worried enough, I can probably convince my dad to feed him once or twice. My mom normally pet-sits while I'm away, but she is HORRIFIED of the horned frogs ever since one of them leapt past the feeding tongs and turned my hand into a bleeding mess. She now thinks that they are "creepy, mean, and awful" and can't wait until they move out.

My mom is a little ignorant when it comes to animals. She "loves" them, but I think she "loves" them in the way a doting grandmother thinks its OK to feed her grandkids endless candy and never discipline them. She doesn't know how to do what's best for animals, especially if its something the animal doesn't like. Perfect example: the other day, our family kitter Leo needed to have his teeth checked, and this became a HUGE ordeal for poor mum.

Leo is vicious at the vet office; one vet told us to never come back with him after he very badly attacked and bit the vet and several techs during an exam (to be fair, we warned that he was fearful and aggressive and they didn't take us seriously). Our existing vet office also had horrible luck with him during his hospital stay for a blocked urethra, so when we said we wanted his teeth thoroughly examined, they gave us 10mg of Ace and said to give him half a pill. We gave him half, and he didn't seem remotely drowsy. In fact, he was HYPER! So they said to go ahead and give the other half, as he's a big cat.

Well, of course, this got Leo quite doped up. He had the whole droopy third eyelid drunken staggar going on. He also had some uh... loose sphincter issues. The vet told us to let him rest somewhere secure and quiet when he got home. But my MOM, oye! She was freaking out because he kept wanting to hide in the closet, doubtless doing what animals do when they feel vulnerable by hiding. She became convinced that he was "running off to die" and that he was "terrified," so she kept dragging the poor sleepy beast out of hiding and trying to make him sit on her lap. He wanted nothing to do with it.

Now she's been wailing nonstop about how the cat "doesn't trust her anymore" and how "traumatic and terrible" being mildly doped up was for him. *Giant eyeroll* Yeah, because I'm sure needing to be man-handled by a team of vets while fighting tooth and claw, peeing all over the table and being yanked into compromising restraint poses would have been WAY less stressful than a day of being mildly sleepy and having his teeth examined while he placidly sat on the table dozing off.

Now she says we're *never* sedating him for a vet visit again, which I'm sure is going to go over great with our vet next time he needs something delicate examined. I know her heart's in the right place, I just wish her head would follow suit.

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Here's a pic of the big wicked beast. Don't be fooled by how sweet he looks: he's certifiably nuts. As in, will come charging across the room to leap half way up your leg and imbed his fangs and claws in your thigh for no reason. And god forbid you dare to oblige his "pet me" pleas, because at some point, he'll either decide he's done or that you're NOT done. And you will get bit, badly. Kitters got major issues, and so far all of the different behavior modification strategies have failed. The thing that works best is keeping him on a very rigid, consistent routine - but man, all it takes is a day of having company over, or a hectic work week, or a missed mid-day feeding while we're out of town, and it's like having an angry friggen tiger as a pet.
 

Myia09

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Wow, what a great photo. He is beautiful.
I can't imagine being with such a crazy cat!
But I agree..sedation would have been a lot better.
 

RandomWiktor

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He's very, very hard to live with. We have to be very careful when we have company over and need to lock him up when kids are in the house because he's a liability. And some people he actively hates and attacksthe second they walk through the door; he has a fricken vendetta against my sister and will come tearing out of the back room to launch himself at her the second she walks through the door if he's not locked up.

Our vet checked out possible health causes and suggested keeping him on meds to control his behavior, but when we tried it really irritated his pre-existing urinary problems, plus he gained weight like mad and got big, sore, swollen nipples. So that was out and we're mostly stuck just trying different behavior modifications and staying very familiar with his body language to avoid injuries. I honestly think he's just a little kitty nutjob; working in shelters I've run into a few dogs/cats that are just very unpredictable and aggressive and don't seem to respond well to behavior therapy. I guess like people some critters just have "off" brain chemistry, or something.
 

undergunfire

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*sneaks in and pokes Ren because she kind of has a question for her that she asked in her last blog posting*

:p

Oh and Fivel and Frank are just adorable! How are you able to keep 2 male mice living together?

 

RandomWiktor

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Question? I only saw the one about the wood, which I responded to in the 139th post. If I missed a different one, I'm sorry! :)

I really don't suggest keeping two males together TBH. Mice from British lines have been selectively bred for reduced male/male aggression and many people keep them communally, but in the US we generally still have aggressive males. These two came from an interesting situation and had been living together for close to a year since birth. They are very bonded, always sleeping together, grooming one another, etc. so I am tentatively allowing them to stay together. It might be a poor decision, but I am monitoring them for signs of aggression and hope that having such a "busy" cage will give them escape routes if they fought, as well as a lot of distractions to hopefully KEEP from fighting. I also never seperate them; I handle them together, bring them out for cleaning in the same container, put them in the enrichment area together, etc. So far, knock on wood, it is working. But it's really not something I would suggest casually trying. And if I see the SLIGHTEST sign of aggression - even just chasing - they'll besplit up in a heartbeat.
 

Dragonrain

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Kitters sounds like my old cat. She was a beast. My old pet sitter had to wear thick gardening gloves just to put food in her bowl because she would attack her hands. She was the meanest cat I've ever dealt with and nothing we tried changed that. She had a soft spot for me and my dad though, meaning she only attacked us about 40% of the time instead of all the time. I miss that crazy cat!
 

RandomWiktor

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This will probably be my last entry before my trip to Alabama. I have some good news, and some very, very sad news.

Let's do the good news first:
1. My foster leppie sounds like she has a great home lined up with RO user JadeIcing, and is starting to eat very well and get up to a good ammount of fat storage in her tail. Quite pleased by this turn-around.
2. The black rat snake, now that s/he has calmed down, seems to really be thriving (we were initially worried because of some of its behavior). Hopefully in early May s/he'll be moving over here with me!
3. I upgraded the schenider skink to a 20g long as well, and it looks pretty awesome - I'll post pics if I have time tonight. I really dig seeing both of my skinks in bigger tanks.
4. Thanks to a generous tank donation, Ulrik the leopard gecko is being bumped from a 15g to a 20g. He is kindof just a tragic helicopter of a gecko so initially I thought the 15g would be enough space, but... now that he's learning to navigate it better, it's just not. I'm going to do a tile and ground textured bottom so he has better grip, but keep decor very simple still as he does things like flip and get stuck in his hides and the like. So, no fancy backgrounds or underground tunnels like Asha's nearly completed tank.
5. Now that I've recovered from the sadness and shock of loosing Harar Goldeneye, I'm working on sterilizing his tank to give my little tiny convict cichlid Scofflaw a MANSION.
6. I've started wedding planning, as it looks like Steve and I may very well both soon have the jobs we need to get a place and be wed! :D

Now the very, very bad news.
A friend of the family's son has died as the result of police brutality. I don't want to give details in case legal proceedings occur (I hope so; the family is very poor but I'm thinking a human rights group would consider footing the bill if they heard the story). This poor kid has suffered so much in his life, so to think of the awful, painful way in which he died just overwhelms me with grief. I am an atheist, but sometimes I really hope/wish there is an afterlife so people like him would have someplace good to go and people like the men who did this to him would have a place to burn for what they did. :(
 

RandomWiktor

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Ok, off to Alabama I go! I'm leaving you with a few pics:

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Schneider skink upgrade, though after I took this picture I thought it too sparse and wound up adding another piece of cholla wood (lol). And yes, he does have heat/uvb; I hadn't set it up before I shot this quick photo.

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Does he like it? Well he's already burrowing!

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My only current wildlife patient, the snapper, is moving into his pre-release enclosure soon. His tail is all healed!

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Finally... Oedipus is very creepy when he wants to be. lol.
 

RandomWiktor

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I just got back from Alabama a half hour or so ago and will be posting plenty of pics once I get a little rest (I got about two hours of sleep last night).

A few highlights, however:
- Steve and I are hopefully, providing everything pans out like it ought to, going to be purchasing a business some time over the next month or so down there.
- I threw up french fries all over my shoes while looking for a popular birding spot. That's not really a highlight, it was just funny, and answered Steve's question of "why did you feel the need to pack two pairs of shoes?"
- We got to see and help relocate a copperhead :D woohoo!
- There was an *awesome* wildlife rehab facility in one of the state parks that renewed my zest for wildlife rehab (and hopefully quelled some of my enthusiasm for the money pit that is exotics rescue, hah)
- Our prejudicial northerner views of Alabama were largely expelled; the only "crazy south" antics we saw was a wacky guy at Walmart screaming at everyone about salvation. To be fair, the same happens in NY minus the cowboy hat.

Stay posted for ample picspam of:
- The Birmingham zoo
- The Birmingham botanical gardens
- Wild flora and fauna of Albama :)
- Oak Mountain Wildlife Center
- and a lucky behind the scenes look at one of the country's biggest, most successful captive breeders of exotic lizards ;)
 

RandomWiktor

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Pic Time! I took about 100 photos and don't post them all. But here's some highlights from my trip to Alabama! The image quality sadly got butchered a bit by Facebook, grr.

First, Oak Mountain State Forest. REALLY cool place. It had a state of the art wildlife rehab center for birds, tons of hiking trails, and educational farm, and a conservation education center.

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Purdy forests

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Tons of wildflowers - I saw at least a dozen species there.

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Lots of wildlife! We saw a ton of birds, lizards, snakes, bees & wasps, butterflies, spiders, millipedes, etc.

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Awesome wildlife center, with indoor enclosures for songbirds, outdoor enclosures for birds of prey, one-way glass for viewing the bird nursery, etc. They deal with something like 3,000 patients per year or something nuts like that. They also set up a native plant garden for butterflies, an artificial chimney for swifts, a bunch of gourd nests for swallows, and wood duck nest boxes.

Next, Agama International. We went there specifically to visit this place -we are earnestly hoping to be its new owners if everything pans out like we're hoping!It's the world's biggest breeder of several exotic lizard species, and was build by hand from nothing by an amazing individual whose contributions to the reptile hobby are unparallelled; we're talking the first person to realize and make it widely known that UVB was important to the health of many species! They currently have over 200 breeding animals on-site, including many CITES-2 species.
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Here's just a glipse at only a few of their cages.

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Here's an Australian water dragon; Agama International is the only place in the UScaptive breeding these.

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A chinese crocodile lizard - a rare and declining CITES-2 Species.

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Wild eastern box turtles thrive on the 7 acre property - here's a new hatchling!

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So do copperheads! We had to help move this guy.

Next, the Birmingham Zoo. I took a LOAD of pics but here's just a few:

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Playful bobcat about to pounce on his buddy off camera. They had the best bobcat enclosure ever; it was all set up like a mountainous forest. The only thin, fit, playful bobs I've ever seen in captivity, no lie - and I've worked with bobcats!

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There were tons of waterfowl

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The macaws were all outside on this huge tree playgym. This guy fell as I took a photo (oops) and blushed bright red!

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There was a Lorikeet aviary with three species

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Gators, of course.

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Some smaller reptiles

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... Plus some natives loose on the grounds!

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And what's a zoo without a BIG FISH?

Lastly, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens!
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It was spring, of course.

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... I liked the wildlife more than the flowers I think.

Great trip with so much hope and potential for Steve's and my future. I really hope everything works out as I definitely fell in love with Alabama!
 

Myia09

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Beautiful photos.
It looks like the trip was amazing. I love the Lorikeet..beautiful beautiful birds.

I love the gator photo..with the "No swimming" sign! Classic! Your such a great photographer!

I can't imagine owning that! What all has to transpire for it to happen?
 

Dragonrain

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Love the pictures! Reminds me why I hate living in the city so much. I miss seeing sights like that!

My favorties are probably the bird pictures - especially the one of the macaws.

That would be incredible if you got to buy Agama International!! If you get it, all the animals are included? Are you going to continue the breeding there, or do something else with it?
 

RandomWiktor

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Thanks everyone! The pertinent financial statements, tax information, etc. should be arriving tomorrow, at which point we'll be meeting with an accountant and attourney to make sure it is sound before making an offer. If our offer is accepted - though frankly we'd probably pay full price we love it so much - it's basically a matter of drafting a contract and getting the loan (we already talked to the bank and it should be no issue) in order. It's not *definite* yet but at this point it's lookinggood enoughthat I think we'll be sorely disappointed if it doesn't pan out, haha.

One thing that's kinda dreadful is that, if this business thing pans out, Steve and I need to get married quickly. This would be easier if I could plan it 100% myself, because I have every intention of a laid back barbecue style wedding, but his mom and my mom are driving me nuts with their unwanted suggestions. Everyone seems to say two things to me: "This is your big day so plan it however you want!" and "Oh but by the way, do this, and this, and this, and this, and that." *eye roll* To make a point to our parents, I'm going to make a brief outline of exactly what my intentions are with a nice picture of godzilla in a bride's veil, captioned "Bridezilla demands cheap, uncomplicated, non-wasteful wedding!"

I am uploading them right now and hope to post them in a bit, but: I went through and organized my old photos the other day, and found "the ghosts of rabbits past" - old pets, fosters, wildlife patients, etc. I even found a picture of me holding my first rabbit (we had one before than but it was considered my sister's) as a little kiddo! So I took photos of them and uploaded them. They're not great quality but it's kindof neat anyways. Some of them make me a little sad - the rabbits of my youth were cared for in the lousy traditional fashion of an unenriched wire bottom cage. But some of them also bring back happier memories, like dressing out fat old rescued dwarf rabbit like santa and bringing him to the nursery school to teach kids about bunnies.

I don't have much "Ren's rabbits" news right now. The weather has been beautiful so the buns have been out all day, every day grazing, basking, playing, etc. They're very much self-entertained critters since neither of them are overly fond of me, and both really seem to prefer the outdoors to the indoors, so I don't really wind up with cutesy pictures of my rabbits runnining and playing and snuggling like so many of the blogs here. Kindof makes for a boring bunny blog, sorry! But, I did run to Micheal's today now that I know the willow balls sold there are safe, so I'll try to get photos of them checking those out.
 

Myia09

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Well I really hope everything pans out. It sounds great. I will have to visit and maybe volunteer to help you out?!

Maybe you could get your license and plan the wedding later for the loan purposes? My mother is already bugging James and I to wed; even though niether of us wants it right now.

Can't wait to see the photos!
 

Dragonrain

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Aw I hear ya on the wedding stuff! Chris and I have been engaged for almost a year now and especially my family is driving me nuts about it. One of my grandmas even went so far as to tell me that she took the liberty of picking out my wedding dress for me, without even consulting me about it at all.

Yeah, like I'm going to let that happen. Anyways, Chris and I both agree that we don't want to make our wedding a big deal - we just want to have a small ceremony of some sort outside somewhere.
 
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