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Reptiles – On My Terms!

A few years ago, my husband Wally had an interest in keeping geckos and I agreed to allow them to come into our home- as long as they were in their own room and I did not have to touch them at all. This hobby started out with just a “few” animals. I knew from previous experience that it would grow into many animals over time (you see he had kept fish about 20 years ago as a “hobby”- the hobby grew into about 130 tanks of fish). He had raised and bred fish for years and made a great business out of it as just a “hobby”.

The process started with building a small room within a room in our basement. It had to be lined and insulated to keep the humidity and heat in for the animals. He built a rack to house the containers that would be home for the geckos. The big day came and he made the first purchase of geckos. He was very excited with the animals he had brought home. They were pretty animals with yellow, white, and orange colors throughout their bodies. He pointed out to me how important it is for the tails to have lots of orange. This is a carrot tail leopard gecko. When it breeds, the more orange in the tail the more valuable the animal. WAIT a minute,,, reproduce!… I knew exactly where this hobby was quickly heading. Now the real plans are coming to the surface. He started breeding the animals and had success the first time around. The eggs are collected and put into an incubator for hatching.

After about 2 months the geckos started to breed, the eggs started hatching, and out came cute little babies to add to the “hobby”. Well, that is where I came into the plan. When the babies hatched they needed to be moved to another container. I would pull the small deli cup from the incubator and make it a science lesson for my daycare. I never held the leopard geckos because I’m just not comfortable with them. As long as I could move the baby from the deli cup by tipping the cup or tapping the gecko with the top I was fine. california king snake for sale

Over time, I am sure Wally was hoping I would get over my fear of geckos. I would go into the room and watch him work with the animals and chat with him. I had it in my head that there was NO way that I would hold or help with the animals- it was his hobby and they are lizards! EWWWW- They eat live crickets and mealworms, the gecko containers had to be cleaned on a regular basis, and eggs had to be collected. In order to do these things the animal have to be moved around to get the job done. Sometimes, one of us would stop at a pet store to purchase supplies for the animals. That I could handle because all I would have to do is bring it home and leave it in the room for Wally.

Eventually, the “hobby” grew to a point that we had to start to ordering crickets (1000’s at a time) to feed the animals. You can imagine what I thought (and the UPS guy as well) when the first order of 5,000 LIVE CRICKETS arrived on my front door step! I could not imagine where they were all going to be stored. Wally came home and had to put them in large plastic containers with food and water to keep them alive for the animals to eat. I was worried that crickets would be everywhere and was very nervous whenever he asked one of our boys to help with them. The containers of crickets had to be cleaned during the week and he really doesn’t like that job. I eventually decided that was something I could do. Well, needless to say now when the cricket orders come in I take care of them. I have had crickets climb up my shirt or jump down my shirt. I still get jumpy when they start to jump or crawl when I am working with them.

Along the way I decided that maybe I could even feed the animals to save a little time for my husband. All was good, until the day I knocked over a large deli cup with about 50 crickets onto the floor while I was feeding. There I was crawling around the floor of the leopard gecko enclosed room trying to catch crickets.

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