Monday, November 7, 2011

To The Zoo! Plus: Photos of our New Animals!

I had a crappy week at work, so my husband took me to the zoo yesterday! We bought a year-long combo membership to two local zoos. So we can go as many times as we like this year :) I know there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding zoos, but the two zoos in our area are very good. One of the zoos (Northwest Trek) contains local animals only. I love going on the tram and watching the moose and elk! All of their animals are in excellent, realistic habitats.

But yesterday, we visited Point Defiance Zoo. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

This is a red wolf. He doesn't look like much (I listened to numerous tourists complain that he looked "just like a big dog") but believe me, he is really cool. Red Wolves would be extinct if not for the breeding program at Point Defiance Zoo. They established the first captive breeding program for theses amazing animals. They were also the first zoo to successfully breed them. I told you this zoo was awesome :)

 This little guy was camera shy. He turned his head every time a camera came out! I think he doesn't like the flash, and he turns his head to avoid the light, even if the camera's flash isn't on (I think he may be smart enough to recognize what a camera looks like).

Happy Polar Bear playing with his jug :)

An aardvark named Tilly eating yogurt out of a tube.

This guy was playing peek-a-boo with me :)

And here are the photos of our newest additions. Both were "rescues".

Our Russian Tortoise. We still need a name for her! You can see Dib's feet in the background :)


Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Russian Tortoise!

So my mother-in-law's co-worker wanted to get rid of their female russian tortoise. We gladly accepted their offer to adopt her...about a month ago. We made arrangements to pick her up. Then they lost her. The owner fell asleep while the tortoise was wandering their home, and they couldn't find their russian for a week. When they finally did find her, it took awhile for us to make new arrangements to go get her.

We brought her home last night. I will post pictures of her later (including pictures of our "new" corn snake, Merlin). But in the meantime, we need a name for her. Any ideas?

I really hate to make depressing posts, so I started with the good. Unfortunately, in addition to our "new addition", we lost a dear furry friend last week. Millie Mouse passed away. She was over a year old. Her parents and great grandparents only lived for about a year (remember, I worked in the facility that bred her), so I wasn't surprised by her passing. I loved her as much as I could love a mouse. She was a great pet, and she will be dearly missed. RIP Millie.
Millie as a young mouse. About 1.5 months old. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Chickens

So after my last two posts, I thought I would post something fun. Halloween Costumes! Josh bought a chicken suit last night. We decide to dress Dib up, too. He already had a chicken hat, so we thought it would make a good photo op. Here are a few pictures.

Happy Halloween Everybody!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Humane Society vs. Reptiles

I know my last post was incredibly depressing, but I really feel this is important.

The Humane Society of the United States is very good at making the public believe they are about fluffy things like supporting local shelters and keeping animals off of the streets. In reality, HSUS and your local Humane Society shelter actually share very little in common. HSUS is actually very similar to PETA. They are both animal rights groups.

Now comes off a little strong for my taste. But they do have a very valid point: The HSUS is really not about animal shelters. It is about animal rights. And as we all know, while animal-rights organizations like PETA and HSUS can have good intentions, some of the things they support are a little crazy.

Take, for instance, the HSUS view on keeping reptiles. They have been trying to ban reptiles as pets for a very long time. Here is a link talking about how they want the White House to ban the keeping of constrictors. Ironically, no reptiles were involved in the Zaneville incident. But why do they bring it up? It is the same reason why they fail to bring up that more dogs kill people in this country than captive snakes. Politics, my friends. HSUS is an activist organization. They use rhetoric just like any politician or political group. Just like PETA. Remember that the next time you see one of those "for 50 cents a day, you can save an animal" commercials.

For reptile lovers, HSUS is not your friend. Here is an article from HSUS talking about the dangers of owning reptiles. One of the HSUS favorite tactic is trying to scare us by saying that reptiles are a huge salmonella risk. I have owned reptiles for a while. Guess what I have never caught from them? Salmonella. Guess what animals have made me sick? Mice, cats, and dogs. The fact is, you are way more likely to catch something from a mammal than from a reptile (we are mammals, after all). But the HSUS doesn't tell you that.

Don't get me wrong. The HSUS has some good beliefs. They are against animal abuse. A good portion of their funds go towards lobbying for animal rights laws. Sometimes that can be a very good thing. But not always. Next time you think HSUS, remember PETA. They are much closer than you think.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tux Passed Away :(

I feel really depressed right now. I apologize for making such a depressing post. Tux passed away last night. He was my favorite snake. He was perfectly fine last night before we went to bed. He didn't seem to want his dinner but he ate less than a week ago so I thought nothing of it. I went in this morning to check on everyone and he was gone. 

The horrible thing about it is that we don't know what was wrong with him. In order to find out what was wrong with him, I would need to bring him in for a necropsy within 24 hours of his death. There are very few competent exotic animal vets in the area. The ones that do exist charge extravagant amounts. And the closest one is over an hour away. 

I am worried that whatever he had could pass on to my other animals. I have heard horror stories of "silent" viruses that sweep through reptile collections, slowly picking off every herp in the home. Unfortunately, reptile diseases are not well understood. Even those "competent" exotic animal vets may not be able to do anything. And they would charge me thousands of dollars just to tell me they will do nothing (don't you love that?). 

But he might have just passed away without any real cause. He wasn't out of what I call the "danger zone". He was still a baby (he was only 16in long). And baby herps are very vulnerable. Sometimes they drop dead without warning. Adult herps can do this too, but they are less likely to. I am terrified every morning when I walk into our reptile room because I know that there is a chance that someone may not be alive. Mammals can be cryptic when they are sick. But they usually don't just "drop dead" for no apparent reason. It is very unlikely that Dib will go from being my happy, healthy kitty cat to a corpse. Most mammals show some change in behavior, some warning that they are sick. With reptiles, sometimes they will have a noticeable change in behavior, but not always. It is usually very subtle. They stop eating, shedding, or pooping. Or they may become lethargic or lose weight. But Tux didn't do any of those things. 

So I am sad. I want my snake back :(  Tux was so sweet. I was raving about how awesome he was yesterday. Most cal kings are snappy as babies, and have trouble eating pinkies (because they eat lizards when they are little in the wild). Tux ate like a champ, and he wasn't snappy at all. He was amazing.

RIP :(
But there is nothing I can do to bring him back. All I can do is hope that none of my other animals will meet the same fate :(

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Please excuse any typos/choppy writing. Today I worked an 8 hour shift at Petco only to go straight to the vet clinic for a few more hours of work. But I am determined to make this blog post even though I am afraid I am going to fall asleep on the keyboard.

So my husband and I turned 21 a few days ago (yes, we have the same birthday). So to celebrate, instead of going out and getting so drunk that we vomited all over the place, we decided to go on a little road (day) trip. Oh, don't get me wrong. We did drink on our birthday (we went on the trip the day after our birthday). I got to try my first drink in a bar. It was a Caribbean Cosmo (soo yummy). I also had a huckleberry lemon drop served in a glass made of ice. Mmmm! See? I told you I was going to be all over with this post ;)

Back to the main story...Oneonta Gorge is one of my favorite places to go looking for "snot lizards" (AKA salamanders) and other amphibians. It is just down the road from horsetail falls and the famous Multnomah Falls. It is well worth spending 8-hours in the car. Especially when your husband's company gives you a company vehicle and pays for gas :)

We started at the base of Horsetail Falls and hiked along a trail to Ponytail Falls. My legs (and entire body) were very sore from work, so I wasn't too happy about hiking up a steep trail. About halfway up, I stopped and sat down on a rock. When we were ready to resume our hike, my husband pointed out a little Northern Red-Legged frog sitting on the rock next to me. Here are a few pictures of the little guy.

So cute!

Me holding the frog. See my new haircut?
See why they call them red-legged frogs? He wasn't too happy with me in this picture.

Fortunatly, the trail leveled out pretty quickly. After a nice hike, we reached Ponytail Falls.

Behind the falls

 We found a ton of amphibians here. 2 Dunn's salamanders, at least 10 Torrent Salamanders, 2 larval giant salamanders (like Pig), and a bunch of red-legged frogs. Including this giant girl...

Remember that picture of me holding the cute little red-legged frog? Well here is a picture of me holding this monster.

For some reason, I have never seen a red-legged frog this big anywhere outside of the Oneonta area. She meowed at me when I picked her up! That's right. She MEOWED! Like a little kitten! I love when they make noises at me :)

So here are a few pictures of the other slimy critters we found...

Cascade Torrent Salamander

Dunn's Salamander with unusual coloration

Another Torrent. He is walking away :)
So after we were done snapping away at the pretty snot-lizards and monster red-legged frog, we continued along the trail.

Another Dunn's salamander 

 My husband looked over at a tiny pool of water and found this adorable little guy.

A larval torrent salamander

We hiked back down and drove to Oneonta Gorge (just down the road). There we found too many larval giant salamanders and little red-legged frogs to count.

A larval giant salamander (same species as pig)

I was following my husband along the creek. He decided to start climbing on th log jam to look for Giants. I didn't feel like climbing, so I just waited for him at the bottom. I got bored and turned a little bit to look at the rock face next to me, and I saw a terrestrial giant salamander (the same species as Pig and Reptar, and the same stage as Reptar).

He was just hanging out on the rock wall. At my eye level :)

Me holding the giant. I kinda has the crazy eyes in this picture. o_O

He has crazy eyes, too :)

If you climb over the log jam and hike through the chasm, you will reach a neat waterfall. But you have to hike through really cold water (in some places, it can reach your hips during low-flow). The waterfall is practically impossible to get to most of the year. It has to be late summer so that the water flow is low enough that you can walk through. It also has to be a really hot day so that you can stand the freezing cold water. It was waaaay to cold to hike up to the waterfall.

After that we hopped in the car and started our journey home. We stopped at Multnomah for a little while to enjoy the gift shop and heated restrooms. Once in Washington, we decided to make a "quick" stop at an Applebees to use the gift card I got as a birthday present. It took them an hour to bring out my Lemon Drop (which tasted like rubbing alcohol with lemon. Eww) and it took them another 45 minutes to bring out our potato skins. Note to self: "Applebees" and "quick" do not go in the same sentence unless the phrase "is not" is put in between them!

Anyway, that is it for our little birthday trip. I should update with more posts soon. I still have to make a post about the newest member of our family...Merlin the corn snake! He was rescued from a friend. But more on that later ;) See ya!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding Invite Christmas Ornament

So I am going to do a non-animal related post (gasp!). A few weeks ago, I found this on pintrest. I thought, "what a wonderful way to use up an old wedding invitation"! So I decided to make my own "deconstructed invite ornament". There are awesome instructions here but I thought I would post my own anyway.

  • Pen or pencil
  • Wedding/Bridal Shower/Baby Shower/whatever invitation
  • Empty Christmas Ornament (glass or plastic)
Total Cost: About 80 cents. I used a plastic ornament I bought from the craft store. Everything else was "free" because I already had it.

  1. Deconstruct the invite. Take off all of the bows, ribbons, vellum envelopes, and so on
  2. Cut the invite into quarter inch strips, preserving the words if possible. I cut some of my strips a little bigger just so that our names would be whole onto a strip.
  3. Wrap the strips around a pen to make the strips curly
  4. Insert into the ornament. I used a plastic one because I am clumsy and because I have a cat who may decide to play with said ornaments. I don't like having glass ornaments on my Christmas tree (at least not ones that I care about).
  5. You can insert various ribbons, embellishments, whatever into the ornament. I added a bow with a little rhinestone (I originally wanted to add it on the outside but it looked weird). I also cut some of the vellum into strips and inserted it into the ball.
  6. That is it! You can add embellishments to the outside of the ornament if desired. I took a piece of ribbon from the invite and tied it to the ornament to create a loop. If you want, you can stick the pen into the ornament and stir it around to distribute the loops.

 Here is a picture of the finished product:

Not as pretty as the one that inspired me to do this. Still, I like it :)

 It isn't the most amazing thing ever, but it cost me around 80 cents and it only took me 30 minutes. Oh, and I got to use up one of the dozen extra wedding invites.

And because I feel guilty about posting something that isn't is a picture of my leopard gecko sleeping with her head leaning against her hide rock. Yes, she is using her hide rock as a pillow :)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Owen Beach

So my husband and I took a lot of little trips this summer. One of the places we went to was Owen Beach on the Puget Sound. We found a lot of little critters on this trip.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge

A Harbor Seal out in the water. He was watching us :) 

A little crab

We also went looking for Western Fence Lizards.  You can also find them on southern-facing sandy beaches by the Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Here are some pictures of the one lizard my Husband caught.

Look at his pretty belly! I love that blue color :)
So there is my short post on our trip to Owen Beach. I can't wait to go back and find more western fence lizards :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Story of Us

My friend Missie over at Death by Chocolate Martini came up with an idea to post old and new pictures of us with our hubby. You should go check out her blog. It is awesome :)

So for those of you who haven't read the "about us" section, my husband and I met when we were very little kids (about 8 or 9...I can't remember exactly). I don't have any photos of us when we were that little.

This is the oldest picture of us I could find. This was before we were dating. I think we were about 13 years old. I am the one in the skirt and my husband is the guy holding the girl in the hoodie (my sister-in-law). My brother is the guy off to the side.

This is the first picture of us from when we first started dating. Homecoming 2006.

Labor day 2007. I was helping him paint his aunt's barn. 

Our senior prom (2009)

This was taken on a family road trip with his family. This was shortly after we got engaged in 2010 (we had a long engagement). 

May 15,  2011
This is a photo of us from our wedding. Look at how far we have come! From little kids to adults :)

I don't think there is much of a difference. Here is a picture of us acting like kids again on our honeymoon.

Disney World!
So that is the "story of us". I wish I had an animal version to share with you but I don't have any pictures of my husband and I holding animals together. Usually when we are out herping, it is just the two of us. So to avoid that cheesy "myspace" pose, my husband and I take photos of each other, not with each other.