Friday, March 8, 2013

Tales from the Tank #31

Dear Friends and Followers,
I've been a little remiss.  There is one member of our "tank" family that has gotten very little attention in this blog.  His name is Loki. He is not a fish.

Loki is a spotted leopard gecko and came to us via our son Matt, who adopted/purchased Loki a couple Christmas seasons ago when he was home on break. When moving Matt back into the dorms a year ago, he said, "Can you take him home - trying to get worms is hard (no pet stores in Pella), and I just am not going to have time during football to really care for him properly".  Because I am such a great Mom, I said "Yes, of course!  What do I have to do?" 

(I think I have the word SUCKER tattooed on my forehead - it's only visiable to my children - and husband). LOL

Loki lives in a 10 gallon tank (yep fish tank people), no water required - except in his food dish, and then it should get a squirt of this blue stuff - to lesson the amount of fluride/chlorine in the water. UGH- wait ... that's no different that treating the water for the fish - just a different chemical.

He has a nice rock to sleep under, and a "matching" water pool and a couple of fake plastic plants for "atmosphere".  He used to have a green mat (called a substrate), but I have removed it for the time being (more on this later).

All we really needed to do was change his water and feed him worms and crickets. feeding.  Ok, so after the first few worms, it wasn't so bad.  I get to use these giant tweezers (about 12 inches long) and I don't have to really touch anything.  At one pet store we were told that crickets were like the "potato chips" of the lizard world, so you don't want to feed them just crickets.  Other pet stores tell you to feed them crickets...blah blah blah. Really?  can anyone ever have the same opinion?  So where does one turn to for more complete and concise information? YEP, the internet. Because we believe EVERYTHING that is on the internet right? It can't be there unless it's true.

The great thing about the internet is that eventually you find a blog that will seem as though that person is having the same problems you are!

Problems you ask? What problems?

Everything has been going along swimmingly (pun intended) with Loki - he would eat in the evening, sleep during the day, drink a little water, shed his skin every few weeks, and poop just enough so I'd have to clean the tank....Rinse and repeat.

Until a month or so ago.  He stopped eating.  No matter what I tried, he just wouldn't eat.  So the research began.

1. He's probably bored with his food - give him more crickets.
2. That means twice weekly trips to the pet store - because I am NOT going to buy a cricket keeper, cricket food etc., just to keep from going to the pet store. I was NOT bringing bugs into the house. Yep I found my pet limit.
3. He could be full - because I found out the hard way - they eat their shed (translated  = they eat their skin after it falls off). GROSS
4. Matt - "as long as he has a fat tail" he's ok. That's where they store their fat and they can live for quite a while off their fat stores.  WHY doesn't that work for me?
5. He could be impacted - code word for constipated (really? and here I thought only fish and people got constipated). This can happen if they eat food that's too large. (Crickets anyone?)
6. So you go out and buy this powder stuff - called "Repti Boost" which you feed with a syringe, because you don't want this gecko to die on your watch- cause your kid will never forgive you.
(and let me tell you - trying to feed a gecko with a syringe is NOT easy).
7. At least he's not slimy to hold.
8. He could be in "Brumation". which is another fancy pet word for hibernation (and they don't eat during brumation) - go figure.
9. Apparently they can sense the change in seasons. Come on spring/summer!

Of course, when asking the pet professionals, their recommendation is to visit a pet health professional.

I am NOT taking a $30 dollar lizard to the vet.