Friday, January 05, 2007

Hibernation time

Sorry for the lack of updates. All the animals are "down" for the winter in hibernation. Haven't had much time to go looking for salamanders, either, as all my coworkers are taking time off for the holidays, leaving me behind. But soon I'm going to head out and see if I can find a rubber boa (again) or a Pacific Giant salamander. Updates on my progress as it, uh, progresses.

By the way, none of the baby alterna have eaten on their own, so they too are being cooled down for the winter. Hopefully when I pull them out this spring they will take to pinky mice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vertigo madness

A few years back I developed a bad case of tinnitus in my left ear (a high pitched squeal not unlike a smoke detector). After a few months of the very maddening sound, I started to experience slight vertigo, until one day I could hardly stand up. After a few days both the vertigo and the tinnitus disappeared, leaving me with partial hearing loss in my left ear. Now, after over a year of peace, the vertigo has come back with a vengeance (but no tinnitus this time, thankfully). I've been told by my relatives that this runs in the family, and as far as they know there is no medication available to help me regain my sense of balance. If anyone has any ideas to share, please let me know. I've now missed two days of work, which I cannot afford, and I'm also finding it very difficult to care for my reptiles in this state. Arg.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A new season starts...

Summer's over, and that means no more snakes for a while. But while one season ends, another begins. With the first full rain of fall today, I found an arboreal salamander in my front yard. That's the great thing about salamander season - I don't have to travel very far to find critters.

First Aneides lugubris of the salamander season.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I luvs Halloween

My favorite holiday by far is Halloween. Just thought I'd make that clear.

Here's the jack-o-lantern for this year.

The babies haven't eaten yet. Mice, hamsters, lizard scented mice, lizard scented hamsters, I tried them all. I force fed them some mouse tails just to keep them going the other day. Will try lizards next, if I can find enough small ones.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The family portrait

Here they all are...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Last three gray-banded eggs

The final three hatched today. Looks like the best were saved for last...


Whoa... VERY nice.

Holy crap.

I'm certainly keeping the last two. The trouble with gray-bandedes is that they can be very picky eaters right out of the egg. Most often they will only eat very small lizards, which is not something you can buy in bulk at the pet store. As such, most breeders resort to force feeding them mice, which is very stressful and traumatic to the snake. As a result, many die. I'm planning on feeding mine lizards if they refuse mice (or lizard scented mice), however. I can get small ones, it just won't be easy. And after they gain enough weight, they should switch over to mice (maybe in a year or so). To be sure, some will eat mice right off the bat.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

First baby gray banded kings (ever)

Well, I can finally call myself a snake breeder now. The first gray-banded king of mine came out of it's egg last night, and two more have their heads out (with a fourth piping). HOOOO-RAY!

Here we see the first alterna is out, with two on the way and a third piping.

The first one out. This one I'm gonna keep, as he is also the first snake I've ever hatched out. Nice looking, too. Can't wait until it's first shed to see how bright it's gonna be.

I'm undecided at this point as to whether or not to go to work tonight and check the eggs again, or wait until tomorrow (the eggs are being incubated at work). The two in the photo with their heads out should be ready to go in a few hours, and maybe even the one that is piping.

Update 10/5 6:00pm

Went back to work, a second snake was out of the egg. Two more with their heads out, and four eggs with no action at all.

Lampropeltis alterna number two.

Update 10/6 11:00am

Three more snakes are out, all stunningly beautiful. Three more eggs to go. Two are opening now, the last is still closed.

Lampropeltis alterna number three.

Lampropeltis alterna number four. This one is very nice looking.

Lampropeltis alterna number five.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The eggs are opening

It's almost Christmas for me. The gray banded eggs are starting to slit open (piping we call it). Well, at least one is, anyway. Should be about 24 to 48 hours for them to finish hatching. The anticipation is KILLING me. Not only are these my first snake eggs, but the father, Triumph, is a long time pet of mine, my favorite snake. Will be awesome to have some Triumph juniors running around. More photos coming as progress is made...

The egg in the center is slit open. The others *should* start later today. Notice the "bad" egg toward the left. It may yet still hatch.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Black headed snake, if only just.

While cruisin the other night, Jerry and I found (he found, really) a black headed snake. These snakes are quite rare, they hardly ever come to the surface. Jerry has never seen one before, and he grew up out here. Sadly, the specimen had either just been hit by a car or nailed by an owl. There was no blood, but it was moving very erratically. It most likely didn't make it through the night. At least it was still alive when we came upon it, so we can count it as a catch.

Tantilla planiceps

We also found two baby cal kings that night, but both had been hit. Road cruising can be more depressing than fun sometimes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gophers a poppin', and some glossies

Went road cruising with Jerry again on Sunday night. Never saw so many baby gopher snakes in my life. Sadly, most were DOR (dead on road), but we did manage to get about 8 or 9 live ones. One was exceptionally nice, too, with a diamond pattern on it's back. A real stunner. We also found three glossy snakes (one dead, two live), a new one for me, and something Jerry has never seen this far north. Kind of hard to tell the difference between glossy snakes and baby gophers.

Arizona elegans occidentalis, a glossy snake. Notice how similar they appear to gopher snakes. The main difference is the belly, glossies are pure white, gophers are checkered.

A very nice juvenile gopher snake. Notice the diamond pattern on it's back.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More road cruisin' fun

Made a couple of road trips these last two weeks. On the first trip I finally found my own long-nose (didn't see much else though). On the second trip (last night), I found another long-nose (not as uncommon as I thought), a bunch of DOR gopher snakes (and one live), a DOR cal king, a baby rattler and a BIG rattler (alive). Jerry and I also ran into Sam, another herper, out on the road. We pulled over to talk for a few, and then as we drove off, Sam found a baby cal king about 10 feet behind Jerry's truck. A good night all in all.

My second long-nose snake.

Sam's baby Cal King.

A big Northern Pacific rattlesnake found on the side of the road.

Oh yea, I also got my first rubber boa. I didn't find it, however, it was given to me by a friend who breeds them. Still nice to have it, though. They are amazing snakes.

A rubbery boa.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Jerry has a long nose

No, his nose ain't big.

Went road cruisin' with Jerry last night, found some great stuff. A couple of NorPacs, my first nightsnake, and a lifer for both of us, a long-nose snake. Very common down south, VERY rare up here. Also saw some DOR's, including a nearly 5' long gopher (very, very sad). Still, a great night. Jerry was really excited to find the long-nose, as was I. Now I need to find my own. Although that will be tough, this may be the only one either of us ever see up here.

Rheinocheilus lecontei lecontei, a long-nosed snake.

My first nightsnake!

A nice big Northern Pacific rattlesnake. The second one we found was too grumpy to have his photo taken.

We also found a green praying mantis. According to Jerry, green ones are kinda rare. All the others we saw last night were yellow.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fat hog

Jerry, here's the picture of the fat hog you wanted me to post...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Alterna eggs

Here's a shot of all ten alterna eggs incubating. I'm a little paranoid about them. Notice the blue spot on that one egg? Mold? Arg. Must not think about it right now, I'm gonna drive myself nuts.

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