Archive for the ‘Lizard’ Category
Sonny had a very exciting day yesterday! After months and months of brumating, he was finally perky enough that I decided to take him out for the day (“perky” being a relative term for a bearded dragon — he was keeping his head up most of the day).
James saw a “no exotic pets” note on the lease, and had been concerned that our new apartment complex wouldn’t allow bearded dragons. When he called up the leasing office, though, all the staff demanded to meet our glorified pieces of furniture, so that was settled. Sonny got to run around and do some human business with Mom for a while. He likes being in the car.
First Sonny visited our current leasing office. He sat on my shoulder while I signed our 60 day notice. The leasing manager didn’t even seem to notice him.
Then Sonny got to sit in the warm car for a good long while as I bought gas* and then drove to our new apartment complex. Or should I say townhouse complex, because we’re getting a toooowwwwnnhooooouuuussssee.
The leasing agent greeted me as nicely and professionally as she had done before, and then she noticed Sonny sitting on my shoulder. She went nuts. She went nuts over how tiny he is. She went crazy over his harness. She picked him up and tried to put him on her shoulder, but he settled more comfortably on her boobs, which made her laugh. Then she brought Sonny and I into the leasing manager’s office. The leasing manager was talking with a maintenance guy. As soon as Sonny was there, though, the conversation immediately switched to borrowing Sonny for a prank on one of the residents. They all cooed over Sonny and asked about the proper way to pet him. The maintenance guy asked me questions about how old he is and how long he is and stuff like that.
Sonny was perfect and sat still and took in all the attention. He sat patiently on my lap while I went and signed the lease. The townhouse is now ours!
Because he was so good, I took him to Petsmart afterwards and got him 20 crickets instead of 10. I probably would have gotten him 20 anyway. He’s looking a little skinny after a long brumation. Time to fatten him up for spring!
*I stepped in a small puddle of what I assume was gas, and then had to do a little dance to try to get as much of it off my shoe as possible. Now I’m scared to wear those shoes.
Last night I came across the North Carolina Herpetological Society. They’re a Raleigh-based organization dedicated to, like, the study of reptiles. They didn’t sound like they rescued beardies per se, but they sounded like a great resource nonetheless. So I emailed them.
Hello! I rescued a sick bearded dragon, and I cannot keep the bearded dragon. I’ve been trying to find a new home for the beardie. Does your society have any recommendations on how to find potential rescues?
They actually replied! The webmaster had contacted a few folks, including their “husbandry chair” (they have a person dedicated to reptile husbandry!) but needed a few more details, so I replied back with a few more details.
I work for a Petsmart, and Sinbad was one of the beardies on the salesfloor. He was bullied by the other beardies in his tank, so that he couldn’t eat; they also sat on him all the time. He developed Metabolic Bone Disorder. He still is not the best eater, I give him 10 crickets 3 times a week, and he sometimes doesn’t finish all 10. He is also undersized; I don’t know exactly how old he is because of that, beyond “juvenile”. He doesn’t really use his legs to support himself, although he does try to sometimes. He doesn’t like being touched on the back. He has improved a lot since he was separated from the other dragons, though. He’s trying to use his legs more often and he’s grown about two inches (he’s about eight inches now). We’re located in Morrisville.
Then I included a picture, because the more that people see how cute Sinbad is the more the world is a better place.
I also contacted a different rescue directly, Midgard Serpents Reptile Rescue and Sanctuary. Their testimonials indicate that they do a good job in spite of how their website looks, so I emailed them about Sinbad as well.
I’m feeling optimistic. Sinbad could have a forever home in time for Christmas!
Sonny is…okay, guys. Just okay.
He had a big poo today, and I had to give him a bath afterwards. He started acting odd as soon as the bath started. He made himself as wide as possible, and started drinking heavily (bearded dragons drink by sticking their head underwater and licking, but only in the bath). This is pretty typical, but he normally only does it for a minute. He did it for several minutes, until I finally splashed enough water on his face and back to get him to stop. Then he sort of floated, still as wide as possible. He wasn’t really playing like he normally does. I got paper towels and started wiping poo off his tail and foot, since he was being so weirdly calm.
After I got done, I threw the paper towels away and washed my hands. Then I turned and looked at him again, and noticed gray stuff around his mouth. Concerned that I may have dropped a towel in the bath (although I didn’t remember doing that), I picked him up and started wiping around his mouth.
Then he straight-up vomited crickets. Entire crickets.
I put him back in the tub and freaked out. James rushed in and started cleaning up, assuring me that everything was fine, he probably drank too much, etc etc. Combined with Sonny’s weird behavior, I knew something was wrong. I called the first exotic vet Google listed, made an appointment for 45 minutes later, and then picked up Sonny and left. James offered to come with me; I went back and forth on the issue and decided that I didn’t really need him, not even for moral support.
I found the vet alright. Funnily enough, the person in front of me also had a pet named Sonny, although that Sonny was a parrot of some sort. After the parrot was seen, my Sonny and I talked with the nurse. She weighed him (he’s 370 grams, on the lower end of average) and took an account of the last few hours, the feeding schedule, and Sonny’s tank setup (specifically lights and substrate — a heat lamp, UVB, and stone tile). Then she left.
A minute later, the doctor appeared. The doctor inspected Sonny, wiggling his limbs, poking at his belly, and trying to get Sonny to open his mouth. She asked me more questions about the feeding schedule and the events of the last few hours. She also asked if I had a temperature gauge gun. I said no.
The results of the visit are this:
Sonny is skinny for his weight. The nobs behind his eyes are sunken, his spine sticks up, the fat stores near his back legs are nearly gone. He is not being fed properly, and since we don’t know the temperatures in his cage, he might not be processing food correctly. Since I didn’t have a fecal sample, we couldn’t test for parasites. But it was most likely that, with the odd feeding schedule, he was probably impacted. I feed him too many crickets at once; he can’t process all of them; he doesn’t digest properly. Likely the big poo that prompted the bath was the body releasing the impaction. The stress of bathtime caused him to need to release his food the other way.
So I need to adjust his feeding schedule. Less crickets, more vegetables. I need to start measuring the temperature of his tank. I should start giving him a bath once/twice a week, to give him regular chances to poo. In a month, I should bring him back to the vet, to see if he’s gained any fat.
James and I are preparing to go to Petsmart to prepare for these changes. Actually I’m holding up the move. I will end the entry here. A less disgusting post next time, I promise!
Sinbad is still with us! He will be with us for the foreseeable future. I had selected a rescue to surrender him to, and had even emailed the rescue.
I have a young bearded dragon that I rescued from a pet store. He has weak legs due to malnourishment, but he is otherwise a healthy beardie who has been eating well since we isolated him. Unfortunately I do not have the room to keep him to adulthood. Would I be able to surrender him to you?
Here is a picture of how cute he is. I have named him Sinbad.
Moments after sending the email, I got a form letter back. The gist of the letter was: they would not take Sinbad in. “We are no longer accepting animals in need of new homes. While we advocate for the appropriate placement of reptiles \& amphibians, we no longer are able to continue taking in simply-unwanted animals. Due to the current condition of the economy, lack of resources, and overall adoptions in the past several months, we are ONLY accepting animals on emergency conditions.”
Unfortunately, Sinbad is in a loving home being cared for by veteran beardie caretakers. I even said in the email that he was well-cared-for.
“If you inquired about our surrenders program via email, we recognize and view your emails, but we also believe that you are capable of posting such inquiries to Craigslist, Pet Finder, and other similar websites.
I admit that I read that and felt mildly insulted. There is a bit of sass in that sentence. But fortunately I kept reading.
Many forums for herpetofauna hobbyists exist, and they are a fantastic place to look for help. We understand that many people are wary of the clients that may be associated with PetFinder \& Craigslist, claiming that they are concerned about the appropriate placement of their animals in new homes. We understand! But please remember that you are perfectly capable of determining the animal’s new home. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, interview potential new owners, and ensure that their practices are both safe and practical for the animal they are interested in.”
If they hadn’t followed up that bit of sass with some advice and encouragement, I would continue to feel slightly put-out. As it is, I feel no different than before I emailed this reptile rescue. Nervous. Wishing I could just keep him. Uncertain I could find him a home on my own. Wishing I could hand the problem off to someone else.
So last Friday I had probably the closest thing to a mental breakdown that I’ve had in a long time. I had gotten Saturday off, the day off for the first time in a long time, and even better, James had the same day off! Except that both my jobs asked me to come in and cover shifts for people. And then I cried, and then I cried some more, and I couldn’t stop crying, and then I couldn’t stop screaming, and then I realized that I was screaming because I didn’t have anyone to tell that I had Feelings. I tend to get over Feelings as soon as I tell people that I have Feelings. In case anyone is still wondering, that is why I vagueposted “I really need someone to talk to.” Thankfully, I was able to talk to people eventually (thank you, Leandra and Lacey), and when James got home that night I kind of sobbed into his chest for about two hours.
Still, it was close enough to a mental breakdown that it took me the better part of a week to get over the Feelings. This would have been a terrible week for me to make major life decisions.
Recuperation was slow. I nearly started crying again when I started talking to one of my managers. I was dealing with a bearded dragon with an infection foot; someone had had the bright idea of prescribing oral medication to a beardie. As she waggled a mealworm in front of his face, trying to get him to open his mouth, we started talking about Sinbad, who was chillaxing in his cage under the hospital aquarium. She referred to him as “the retard” and said that Alex had suggesting euthanizing him, and that she was in favor of it.
I panicked. I didn’t say anything, but I plotted. And yesterday, I was finally able to take Sinbad home. His bone disorder has rendered him “unadoptable”, so I got him for absolutely free.
He’s not here to stay. James has made his position very clear. He likes Sinbad just fine. Sinbad is a charmer. His silly walks, his horrible attempts at climbing, and his little bit of beardie sass all combine to make a wonderful, unique beardie. It’s not that James dislikes Sinbad. No, we just have no room for Sinbad. Right now, Sinbad is in a makeshift tank: the old frog aquarium with some leftover tiles and Slinky’s heat lamp (Slinky is starting to brumate, so he doesn’t need the light as often as he normally does). We’ve shoved the tank in the corner by the dining room table, because we just don’t have anywhere else to put him.
So on Monday or Tuesday, I’m going to hand him over to a reptile rescue. I just have to decide which one. Right now we’re giving Sinbad some space; he definitely has Relocation Stress, refusing to eat crickets. I’ll try again tomorrow. The important thing is, he has a chance at a real life now, instead of hiding in a too-tiny tank in the back of a Petsmart, surrounded by sick guinea pigs and anorexic geckos.
Other pleasant developments were chatting with a woman about Italy while I made an iced coffee for her. She wanted the largest size available. I told her the largest size was a Venti, and then corrected myself: for iced beverages, the largest size available was a Trenta. She laughed and shook her head and said that they really were “trying to force the Italy thing, weren’t they?” and I said yes, totally and rattled off a few more instances of fake Italian that Starbucks uses, and suddenly were were discussing Prosciutto and I told her about the Piramide in Rome.
I DIDN’T MAKE IT UP. THERE IS A LEGIT ROMAN PYRAMID IN ROME BECAUSE OF A RANDOM EGYPTIAN CULT DURING AUGUSTUS CAESAR’S TIME MEANT THAT SOME RANDOM PERSON SPENT MONEY IMPORTING A ROMAN PYRAMID AND NOW ROME CAN’T GET RID OF IT AND FINALLY SOMEONE OTHER RICH PERSON DECIDED TO RESTORE IT AND ALSO THEY NAMED A METRO STOP AFTER IT BECAUSE WHY WOULDN’T YOU IT’S THE ONLY OTHER THING AROUND BESIDES THE PROTESTANT CEMETERY AND A MEXICAN RESTAURANT.
I also get along fine with the girls at Starbucks. I have to suck in my breath and just take it whenever Manny, Cheryl, or Matt is around, but Makala, Alicia, and Shandy are totally awesome and I love working with them. It makes me happy that not all of my feelings about Target are negative.
And also, tomorrow Lacey is coming to visit!
Two days ago, the Pacman Frog showed signs of an eye infection; it was brought into the Quiet Room, and its eye was dosed with medication twice a day. I closed last night and opened this morning (I was covering a closing shift for someone else). Last night, the frog seemed…well, frog-like. Still. Pensive.
This is a Pacman Frog by the way. source
Last night, a man came into the store with his dead betta fish. He wanted to exchange it for another betta fish. I said that I couldn’t test the water if the fish was in the water. He asked what that had to do with anything. I explained that, per our policy, before we did an even exchange for fish, we tested the water. He exclaimed that no one had told him that. I said that it would be no problem, if he just brought back another water sample. He said something about how he had had the fish for two months and then it suddenly dies — Two months? I said. Because that even-exchange policy for fish only lasts for two weeks.
Long story short, he spoke with the manager, who corroborated my story. The fish policy is only for two weeks. The man left, sans fish, furious. The manager gestured at the fish in my hands and said to throw it away.
I went into the back room and held the fish cup over the trash can. I looked at the dead fish. He was a blue crowntail-plakat, with a blue body and head, rimmed in rainbow colors. He had been a beautiful fish.
This is roughly the body shape I’m talking about. source
I thought that perhaps I ought to say a few words. It was a dead creature. He had probably lived a short, horrible life, full of cramped spaces and too little oxygen. Probably overfed. Probably cold. I hadn’t known about him for but five minutes, and he had been dead the whole time. Still, some respect was due.
All I could come up with was, “You were a beautiful fish.”
Then I dumped him and the cup into the trashcan with the kitty litter, used tank filters, and hamster food, and then went on my way.
This morning, the Pacman Frog was dead. I didn’t react as strongly as I had to the leopard gecko that died last week. All I did was take out a pair of tongs and poke it a few times to make sure that it was dead, before I wrapped it in a paper towel, put it in a fish bag, and wrote down the date, my name, and the Pacman Frog’s UPC code on the fish bag. Then stuffed the whole shebang into the freezer. Then I went about my day. Feeding animals. Sanitizing water dishes. Medicating the living sick animals.
I’ve seen a lot of dead animals lately.
Well I don’t know about you, but I had a thoroughly dull evening planned — fried chicken and Doctor Who, maybe some tidying up around the apartment? But I’ve been playing phone tag with a manager for Harris Teeter the last few days and we finally managed to get in touch, and suddenly I had an interview.
I have a tentative offer for Harris Teeter, to work as a Starbucks barista and maybe sometimes as a bakery clerk. The pay is exactly the same as what I currently get at Target, but. Here are the important parts to me:
-I’m going to receive complete training
-Like, a set number of hours of training
-In something I’m already partially trained in
-Also, I think Harris Teeter might have better benefits
-Harris Teeter also appears to have more opportunities for personal growth. I’ve talked to a lot of Target employees who have complained that they want X position or would like to be trained for Y thing or promoted because they’ve worked for Z number of years. I get the sense, from James and from the hiring manager, that it’s a lot easier to grow at Harris Teeter. While I certainly don’t see myself working in a grocery store for the rest of my life, a masters degree ain’t free, and neither is room and board while pursuing a masters.
The actual hiring process takes like a week, so we’ll find out for sure later, but I am tentatively a barista at a Harris Teeter!
SONNY IS SO CUTE