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!