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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Reptile Supply Recommendations

Just a few reviews on some good reptile products I've used over the years.

Animal Plastics racks are my favorites. They're low-priced, sturdy, and they have great customer support. They've held up through several moves, disassembly and reassembly several times, and they hold heat well. They're easy to clean and disinfect, and they look good.

ZooMed's Naturalistic Terrariums are my favorite for geckos. They're less expensive than the similar-looking Exo-Terras, but I like their design better, particularly for keeping small geckos contained. You do have to examine them closely before purchase, if you're going to be keeping tiny animals (such as hatchling day geckos) in them, because the door is not attached evenly on a few, but those can be avoided.

I use Flexwatt for heating most of my racks, but Big Apple Herp Supply makes a flexible heat cord that has become the handiest heat source I own. It's lasted for years, and I've used it to provide heat for quarantine bins, to heat displays at reptile shows, as temporary heat when some other heat source failed, etc. It was really inexpensive, and it's held up to a lot of manipulation and abuse, and still works great. You can buy it in a variety of different lengths.

I have a ZooMed Repti-Fogger, which works remarkably well for the small device that it is. Keep it clean, and use distilled water, and it should operate for a good long time without issues. Perfect for raising humidity in any enclosure. If there's any complaint, it's that I wish it came with a splitter so that you could use it with more than one cage.

HerpStat is my favorite thermostat. Slightly less expensive than Helix, but just as reliable, with plenty of options. It can be used as an analog or proportional thermostat, and most models can control either heating or cooling devices, and can be programmed to drop the temperatures at night if you wish. I use herpstats for my racks and my incubators. They're made by Spyder Robotics.

Repashy Crested Gecko Diet.
Most commercial reptile foods leave a lot to be desired, but this one seems to be some sort of wonder-chow. It's readily accepted not just by crested geckos and other rhacodactylus geckos, which thrive on it as a sole diet, but also by day geckos and many other small arboreal lizards that enjoy a bit of nectar or fruit in the wild. It's made caring for my dwarf geckos and mourning geckos much simpler, and their health and color has improved quite a bit on it.

Provent-A-Mite. This product is really the first and last choice for dealing with snake mites, though I would be cautious using it with very small lizards. It's not available in all States any longer, but I recommend keeping a can on hand 'just in case'. (Mites can be tracked in on pant legs, come in on bedding or items from a store that has an infected animal, etc, so, you never know!) It's the only product FDA approved for use in reptile enclosures.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-31-2012, 06:28 AM
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Is it hard to maintain a gecko? I was thinking of having one. Aren't they endangered species?

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-31-2012, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Geckos are a broad family of animals in the order squamata (which includes snakes and lizards). Geckos are, broadly, types of lizards. Most geckos have no eyelids, but have a clear scale over their eye like a snake, which they keep clean by licking it with their tongue. Many geckos also have adhesive lamellae covered with microscopic hairs on their toes, which use Van Der Waal's force to enable them to stick to vertical surfaces, and even run across the ceiling.

The most popular pet geckos include the crested gecko, which is a fairly typical gecko, and the leopard gecko, which is part of a group geckos called eyelid geckos, because they do have eyelids and their eyes aren't protected by a scale, like other geckos. Eyelid geckos are also terrestrial, and do not have adhesive lamellae on their toes.

So, basically, talking about geckos is like talking about parrots--there are a great many different species, in different sizes, from different parts of the world.

Leopard geckos are not endangered in their home range, which includes Pakistan and several neighboring countries.

Crested geckos, that's a bit more difficult to say. They come from a truly endangered habitat on the island of Madagascar...all of Madagascar's habitats are endangered, now. Fortunately for the crested gecko, it proved to be a hardy captive once its dietary needs were figured out, and it's numbers in the US and Europe are much higher than its numbers in the wild. Crested geckos are currently being assessed for CITES protection and endangered status. It's no longer necessary for any of these animals to be taken from the wild at this stage--they are very easy to breed, and the captive population is enormous.

Both species of geckos come in a variety of color mutations, and are being selectively bred for form and color as well. They are polar opposites in their care requirements:
Leopard geckos need a dry cage with a hard surface flooring, a small hide for humidity, and another dry hide, shallow water dish, and temperatures of 80F with a 90F basking area during the day. They eat live insects only.

Crested geckos need a mesh or partially mesh cage with high air flow, high humidity (use a fogger and mist often for water), and vertical space with branches and plants for climbing. They cannot tolerate temperatures over 80, so instead, they should be kept at room temperature, with just a low wattage bulb for a small basking area of 80F. (Obviously not a species suited for someone who doesn't have a good air conditioning system). They eat a dried powdered formula that is served mixed with water to make a 'porridge'. In the wild, crested geckos eat insects and overripe fruit--getting the proportion correct in captivity was a challenge until the formula was designed.

Both species are docile and tame well. Both species live around 20 years.

There are many other species of geckos available, those are just the 2 most popular.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 11:10 AM
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Lucky Reptile Thermometer

I now own two of these thermometers and am likely to own more as I get more snakes!

They're perfect for use in a reptile enclosure because of the two sensors and fairly large expanse of wire you get between the probes and the base unit. We use our two to measure both ends of two 4ft vivexotic vivarium - one per viv.

We use these as well as thermostats because the stats' readings aren't very accurate whereas these are. They're very good thermometers and the batteries last ages, would recommend them to anyone. I spent a lot of time searching for a store and now have found a great one that sells a huge supply, delivers free and also is cheap too. I got mine from
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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I misspoke, by the way--of course, Crested Geckos come from New Caledonia, not Madagascar. Ooops. >_>

That thermometer looks good--similar models in the US for that price usually have only one probe, though they read at the base unit as well. I just get the indoor/outdoor digital thermometers from WalMart, for around $12.
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