Friday, March 8, 2013

I love it when a plan comes together!

He's-a cookin' something up!
Cue A-Team soundtrack. Just do it. It'll be fun.

This is chiefly a photospam post, in which I'm going to talk a bit about pets, a bit about strategy, and just a little tiny bit about being a bother.

Also, I'm contemplating a haircut. Anyone thing that the longish top, buzzed sides, a la 1940s europe might be due to make a comeback? I've always enjoyed it but sometimes I can't decide if I look stupid or not.

Then again, most of the time, I can't decide if I look stupid or not anyway - thus my previous hallowe'en costume.

Ohm mani padme hum.

The veiled-tailed chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) are back! Personally, I love the little guys - they typically seem like little zen masters reincarnated into lizard bodies. Every motion is precise and deliberate, and their impressive (though often overstated) colour-shifting abilities are usually worth a few minutes of quiet admiration.

They're more delicate than the more common pet lizards - your bearded dragons and leopard geckos and so forth, but just like any pet, a few hours of research and carefully following the recommendations you come up with are more than sufficient to take care of them for their entire natural lives.

I don't let my boss stock things that can't be kept alive and healthy. It's just not done.

They've got humps so I know they're
 We've brought in a few P. scalare Angelfish at a much larger size than we normally get them in - something approximating the reports of adult size I've heard, though it seems to me that there's still room for them to get bigger yet, if adequately kept.

They're a wonderful fish, P. Saclare. and ones I should probably do a fish profile on soon. (By the way, did you know that my article on Synisphilium Cichlids is my most viewed article of all time? It even beat out the post on the current state of the Canadian slave trade!) Relatively hearty in the right size of tank, they're typical of South American Cichlids, to which they are related. Very docile for a cichlid, they should still mostly be kept with other large fish as they are known to get nippy.

They're also among the easier cichlid-class species to sex, with the males developing a hump on the "forehead" once they hit a certain size. Breeding is reasonably simple to accomplish with appropriate precautions taken.

Very, very nice fish. I've been thinking of taking on a couple.

A Ghost, or Fun with Photography

Did you know we've been playing host to a television star for the last few months? True story. We brought on a Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis) - the very same species than inspired the appearance of the famous (and unusually wet-looking) Geiko gecko!

He's a smash hit, being one of the glass-climbers, and so elegant looking. I really hope we can get him to a good home soon, however, because he's taking up some truly premium real-estate, which is where I really want to put one of our other new aquisitions, a Mexican Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigrita) which I, negligently, have yet to photograph.

He seems to eat well as well, taking a diet of dusted (usually gutloaded) crickets, lettuce, bok choy, crested gecko diet, and the occasional silkworm. Having said all that, he's beginning to look a tad chubby to me, so it might be best to cut back on the worms.

Very elegant little pet that someone should come see me about.

Pet me damn you!
 In a photograph that sadly looked a lot better last night you can see one of my favourite snakes that we carry - after the Hog Island Boas and the Hypo Brooks Kingsnake, this Sunset Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus guttatus) is easily one of the best looking, most-affectionate serpent we carry. I don't fall in love with animals easily but I do have a fondness for him - he eats frozen without complaint, enjoys Riding Time (wherein he becomes a fashionable neck-tie for a few minutes), is never shy, and rarely complains much at all about the nature of his life.

By which I mean never, of course.

Corn snakes are great snakes for beginners - they pretty much all accept frozen, are docile, and what's more top out at three or four feet - about this guy's size. You'll never need to feed it anything heart-rending - some of the snakes I like (and carry) would eventually take a rabbit or G.P. - and you'll never have to clean his cage more than once a week.

Feed weekly, clean weekly, and love daily. Pretty much an ideal pet for anyone, and docile enough that a reasonably-calm child could handle it, with adult supervision of course.

This particular pink-tailed characin is hard to identify and even harder to find information on. They're eating tropical flake at the moment and positively thriving at a 6.8 pH and 79F, so we must be doing something halfway decent.

A staid little fish, they have that somehow-attractive plainness about them, with black outlines around their scales. As a relative of the tetras and raspboras I imagine they would be a schooling fish - their behaviour suggests it, so I recommend them in groups as accent fish.

Mutant Bastard!
This is a fresh-water Parrot Fish - no relation at all to the actual parrotfishes of the Scaridae family (thoroguhly marine), indeed, no resemblance. They came about as the mule-like hybrid of two other species, and therefore have no scientific name. There is a proper parrot cichlid, Hoplarchus psitticus, but that's an entirely different animal altogether. Though a fertile hybrid, they are believed to have been obtained by breeding sevrums and red devils together.

There are but two natural colours of these fishes - the golden beast you see to your left, and albino white. In addition, a number of artificially produced Parrot Fishes exist in all colours of the rainbow, and we will never stock them. If we ever did stock them, I would never sell one to you. The process of artificially colouring fish happens in one of two ways - tattooing or acid-bleaching. Either method is traumatic and abusive. This is the same reason we never carry any "painted" glass fish. The naturals are fantastic, relatively placid S.A. cichlids that I am more than happy to find good homes for.
Epic dragon? Epic Lighting!

Bearded Dragons (Pogona, and in this case, P. vitticeps) are always popular, as I said before, and we happen to have quite a few. In particular are our cute little baby dragons, only a few months old at most, that really do need a caring home as pairs or singles, rather than the community tank in which they are currently living.

Having them in smaller numbers makes feeding them easier, and they will live longer, healthier lives for it.

While we're sold out of our very helpful bearded dragon kits, I'm inclined to let you know that our snake starter kit, with a couple of additional items, is actually perfect for the little guys starting out. I strongly encourage anyone with a fear of reptiles to come through and get to know our beardies better - they'll set your mind at ease right sharpish, and, if you're anything like me, you'll find their snobbish antics about as amusing as possible.
 This last tale isn't of pets - it's not even work related, but I've come up with a new breakfast food. Prepare a largish batch (I used sixteen eggs) of your favourite scrambled egg blend, pour into oiled muffin tins, top each with a teaspoon of salsa, bake for 12-15 minutes, let cool, and then freeze.

They freeze very well, and reheat readily in a toaster oven, making them perfect for my current living arrangement and habits, where I prefer to exert as little energy as possible the very first thing in the morning. One of these with a nice biscuit, some cream cheese, jam, and a piece of fruit, and you're good to go. Since the ones I made are fairly spicy I like a strong tea to go with them - my Phoenix Mountain Dan Cong.

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