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E.Shell

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Hello All,

I just signed up and have been thoroughly enjoying reading back through the many informative posts.

I'm located in eastern/mid-Atlantic USA and have had many native reptile pets over the years, usually Hognose Snakes, Black Rat Snakes and various lizards, but I have kept a variety of racers and kingsnakes, and even a foul-tempered Northern Water Snake. Nothing venomous though, keeping venomous is not permitted in my state, although many states here do allow it. I had a baby Burmese Python until she reached about 11 feet and became too large for me to handle alone. The python was very tame and peaceful and I often let her free range my apartment with no issue sat all, until I tried to stuff her back into her enclosure. I couldn't get her all off the ground at one time and as soon as I would stuff one end in, the other would fall out. She really wasn't 'fighting me', just doing the 'go limp' passive resistance thing, LOL. Unsurprisingly hard to find willing helpers, so I eventually sold her.

I developed an interest in some of the more "exotic" animals and got a pair of hatchling Moroccan Uromastyx that have done very well, but are extremely boring. They have no real food response - plants and flowers don't run off and will still be there if/when they ever get into the mood to move. Very pretty lizards, but not much different from the photograph as far as action goes.

I got a heavily discounted young Ackie monitor a couple years ago, my very first, sold to me as a male red by a local serviceman preparing to ship out. Named him 'Ralph', but now not sure it's male and really not sure that it's even got much "red" in it. After seeing some photographs of native reds here at this forum, calling any I've seen here "red" is a bit of a stretch. As pointed out to me by 'murrindindi' on another forum, stateside reds and yellows are pretty much mixed anymore and I think he's right. He has become fairly tame, willing for feed from my fingers and sometime step on my hand to reach the treat, but greatly dislikes any sort of lifting or handling.

I recently built a large terrarium (150cm x 90 x 172) tall with him in mind, but then ran into a local guy who was selling a bunch of baby, mostly "yellow", ackies and ended up getting sidetracked with three that were about three weeks old. I met someone looking for an Ackie and wants to buy my guy, so I changed direction and installed the little guys in the new digs. He needs about two more paychecks to complete our deal and I can quit feeling guilty about not giving Ralph the new quarters.

I have the little guys together in the new enclosure and all is going very great thus far. I realize things can turn bad as they mature, but I am hoping I can get a compatible male/female pair out of it, if not a 1.2.0 group. At this point, they are 10 weeks old and we are all getting along very well. They all eat from tongs and two are starting to accept food from my fingers, and one of those even ventures out onto my arms now. I stuff food in their faces every time they crawl out of their hides and they're growing like crazy. They do spend a lot of time 'hiding' (actually more like sleeping off a food hangover), but I keep temperatures pretty warm, so they really aren't driven to bask out in the open very much. The best basking areas surface temps are at 135oF and exposed surfaces lower down gradually reduce to 115, then 105 and lower. Ambient temps at the top area are just over 100oF. Ambient air near the bottom and the substrate core temp are around 78oF. The most used hides are in the 85-95oF zone and none have cared to dig into the 30cm of substrate.

They have just gone to 'large' (2cm) crickets and I am amazed at how much they can eat. They are around 25cm right now and can slug down 4-5 large crickets each before staggering off to sleep awhile. They are getting dusted crickets and dubia roaches daily, with waxworms every other day, and scrambled chicken eggs (I nip a little off my breakfast for them) and raw/soft-boiled quail eggs as bi-weekly treats. They are hilarious eating raw egg from a teaspoon - they can't decide whether to lick, gulp or bite it. The larger Ackie almost ran over me when I offered him a chopped up pinky mouse for the first time last week, but the little guys didn't seem interested at all.

I seem to gravitate toward the Australian monitors and may eventually get a slightly larger species if/when I can build another (hugely expensive) enclosure, but for now I'm having a blast with the baby Ackies.

Anyway, I am learning tons of stuff here and very much appreciate the vast knowledge pool and local experience. Thank you!

Ed
 

Sdaji

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That's a pretty good introduction! Most people just say 'Hi, I'm new here, can't wait to talk to you all' :p

I love some of the American species and have enjoyed working with some while I've been abroad. I'd love to see some American monitor setups. When I started keeping small monitors virtually no one in Australia could even keep them alive and it was considered virtually impossible, yet the Americans were breeding them like flies, so I figured I'd do that the Americans do, bought myself some monitors, and not surprisingly I was immediately breeding them like flies, which Australians found difficult to believe. Australians seem reluctant to learn from foreigners, but I wrote some articles for the Australian magazines and shortly after that a couple of other Australians who had apparently also learned from foreigners did so, and everyone caught on.

It's great to have a foreign perspective here :) Welcome :)
 

E.Shell

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Thank you Sdaji, I appreciate the welcome!
I'd love to see some American monitor setups.
I have some pics of my recent build and will attach if I can figure it out, which I think I have...hope they appear in order.

#1: My friend and glazier, Doug, installing the doors (test fit phase). The opening is 112cm wide and 79 tall. The doors are about 10mm thick and are on commercial grade self-closing hinges. Once they are open to about a 45 angle, they will stand open.

2020-10-a.jpg

#2: Ackies installed, one is sitting on top of the stump. for a sense of scale, that Ackie is about 18cm.

2020-11-c.jpg

#3: All three, enjoying the hottest corner.

2020-11-a.jpg

#4: All three, taking a pause in the other corner.

2020-11-b.jpg

#5: After putting 75 kilos of substrate in, with submerged logs and stones, they don't dig and insist on finding the tightest crevices up on the wall to sleep. I used scraps of foam insulation to make temporary hides for them in the deeper narrow ledges.

2020-10-b.jpg

#6: Ralph, The Elder.

Ralph-01.jpg
 

Sdaji

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Ah, you've gone for the fancy pants home style enclosure, live plants and all! I'm more of a bare bones pure pragmatism, zero aesthetics consideration type guy, but it's cool to see what everyone does and pretty enclosures are certainly more popular.
 

E.Shell

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Haha, worse yet is to be 'forced' to be a fancy pants!

Without decent 'utility grade' space, I have to make the stuff tolerable for the Living Room. If I had a nice garage, it would be littered with cobbled together enclosures that serve the purpose.

Not sure how the plants will fare in the long run. The snakeplants (Dracaena trifasciata) are very hard-surfaced and slippery - tough to climb and very durable, they will likely be the last ones standing.

I don't think the Aloe will be getting enough light down there and the bromeliad (misted daily) will probably get too much if it doesn't dessicate first. The climbing vine was accidentally broken off from the main plant and will likely die anyway, it's already lost a few leaves.
 

Sdaji

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Ah, I see we're kindred spirits. I sympathise with you and can imagine your pain, but if it makes you feel any better, I'm not currently in a position where I can work with any monitors at all, so I guess you win! Hopefully the effort put into making it look good is being appreciated!
 

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