Meanwhile, Back at the (Roach) Ranch, by Kel

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I’ve decided to write the third and final installment of Kel’s Roach Ranch now instead of keeping my readers in suspense. Life will start getting very busy as swim season is winding down to championships and Little League season is just ramping up; we may also be moving at just about the time I had planned to write the third article. I also decided that I’d add more information about Spock and bearded dragons in general.

The roaches are doing well; they are actually thriving. I’ve seen lots of babies, and over the last month I’ve seen quite a variety of sizes of juveniles, which means more babies are being born. Tonight I even had the luck to see another female with an egg sack and was fortunate enough to get a picture of her. It’s not the best picture but getting them isn’t easy as they like to hide when the bucket is open. They are roaches after all, and like the dark.

I’ve changed their diet up a bit and weaned them off of dog/cat food. I have started giving them oats, Cheerios (a favorite of theirs), apples, collard greens, carrots, oranges, and any other vegetables I have lying around.

We’re not at the point where we can start using the juveniles to feed Spock because they aren’t quite big enough to fill her up without having to give her hundreds of them a day. So in an effort to be a good Empress to my colony, I’m letting these guys grow up so we can end up with more adults, thus having more available to reproduce.

Hmm, you may have noticed that in that other sentence I said “her,” and not “him,” when referring to Spock…that’s right, It’s A Girl! The exotic pet store in town had offered to help us figure out if Spock was really a boy or a girl, so one day when we were running low on feeders, we packed her up in her handy little plastic tote and brought her along. She wasn’t very fond of the car ride but loved the attention she got at the store. They confirmed that she was in fact a female, and told us we had “One good-looking Dragon.”   Annika took the news in stride and responded with, “Good thing I didn’t name her Sheldon,” which had been the other name in the running back in May when we purchased her. Spock seems to have had no ill effects from learning that she was indeed a girl and has adapted well to being Grandma’s Pretty Dragon now instead of my “buddy.”

About a week ago Spock took a nice bath, then decided to find a nice quiet corner of her tank to brumate. This lasted just one week, but was interesting, nonetheless. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, brumation is basically a reptile version of the hibernation we see in mammals. All dragons will brumate in their own way. Some will find a nice dark area and sleep for weeks on end; some will sleep for a week, get up, have something to eat, and then hunker back down; some will just stay in their dark hiding spot for a while just hanging out; and others won’t brumate at all. They really don’t need to brumate if they are captive dragons, as we owners provide everything they would ever need: heat, plenty of food, and adequate UVB light. For Spock, brumation seems to have ended when her mama, my daughter, took her out of her hiding place to give her a nice warm bath so she didn’t get too cold, and to make sure she stayed hydrated.

Dragons very rarely drink water from a standing water source, because they actually absorb water through their vents (a.k.a. their bum) by lying in water. It is very important to make sure that they stay hydrated when they brumate, and some will actually have to be held so they don’t accidentally drown while bathing.

Our little girl is doing well. She’s about 10 months old now, and is now 15.5 inches long and weighs in at a whopping 292 grams. That’s a far cry from the 4 inches and 7 grams she was when we got her!

I hope many of our readers here at Sandbox to Socrates found these articles informative and interesting.  I know I have enjoyed writing them.

 

Kel is a military spouse of almost two decades to her husband Matt and mom to her three children who range in age from elementary to high school that she’s been homeschooling for almost a decade. She is keeper of the two dogs and a cat, and grandma to one bearded dragon. She has a needle art business, and also blogs at Fawkes Academy.

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