General Animal Care:

We also have started a volunteer AC team! This team will be composed of ONLY people who have previously seen to completion an animal exhibits internship with us before. The purpose of this team is to simply get animals out of tanks. Even with the hard work of our AC team, the animals do not get out of their habitats as frequently as I would like so the volunteer team will do both autonomous and facilitated handling back stage with them and will do floor demonstrations and act as a source of information on the floor for patrons to get their questions answered.


The girls are doing splendidly! Both girls are eating more than I have ever seen them eat, they have both gotten their hides and climbers back and are being very active. They are having regular, healthy bowel movements and neither seems to be in any pain when moved. I have not seen any twitching in Dot nor any wrist walking. Dexter’s mouth has healed up very nicely and she is eating.

Dot’s gallbladder had grown bigger than her head. Cholelithiasis, or the state of stones building in ones gallbladder, has been seen in beardies and is attributed to a high fat diet. (We have cut way back on our protein units hoping this will help). What the vet has never seen before, are gallbladders swelling like they have in our girls. She has not found that in the literature either. As you recall, she sent out samples and we are still waiting on those histology reports. When I have them, you will have them.

If you recall, Dot was getting spayed because she exhibited symptoms of pre-ovulatory follicular stasis, meaning follicles get deposited on the ovaries but never get passed through ovulation and so buildup and spread, causing issues like severe trembling and the inability to walk. In Dexter, there were so many of these follicles that they were detaching and attaching elsewhere in the body causing necrosis of those areas. I am trying to get a photo of her surgery. Dr. Swisher (our regular vet) says that the photos that were on Dr. Lennox’s phone were not of great quality. I asked to send one anyway as I would like a comparison.  All in all, the girls are doing very well and I am very happy with the progress they have both made.


Brumation season is upon us. Brumation is similar to hibernation. It is a period during which ectotherms slow their activity and metabolisms down to make their winter’s easier. Even though captive animals live in climate controlled environments, some individuals still go through this period so please do not be alarmed if some snakes are not as perky as they usually are. They are just conserving energy for winter. Mocha is one of those snakes that slows down.


We had a rather large break out of Big Headed Ants, about half of the colony, escaped from the AC room. Almost all were re-collected and disposed of properly. No larvae were seen to have been moved and the queen is still present, meaning the possibility of proliferation is fairly low. We have contacted our permit authority and informed them of the situation. They have thanked us for our transparency and no action will be taken by them. The break out was caused because the lid fell in causing a bridge to the outside world. This lid has since been re-fabricated so this cannot happen again.


The stunner caused a scare in me today. Some cyanobacteria grew over one edge of it and I had to cut almost 10 cm^2 off. It has done so well though honestly, I am not sure anyone will be able to notice where I cut. We will be watching for signs of infection of the cut site and for signs of cyan on other corals.

Get Excited!!!!! We will be getting some new friends for the tank in November! I have contacted a local distributor and requested some species. I do not want to divulge this list right now before we see firstly, what they are actually able to obtain and secondly, how much of what they do obtain is healthy enough for me to bring back here. I will give you a finalized list of the new inhabitant when I have heard from them and seen their stock.


We had our cull recently. In order to keep populations in check, we have to do planned, calculated culls twice a year. To cull these individuals, we deep freeze them for 72 hours. We did not want to continue needlessly killing roaches for the exhibit so, the bodies are now taken to WildCare and donated as treats for the animals they have on site. No animal’s life shall go to waste under our team’s watch!

If anyone has anymore questions or comments please do not hesitate to find me.


Sam Couch
Animal Exhibits Manager