Adventures in Biopod



Here at The Reptile Zoo we love our animals and are always looking for better ways to care for these amazing creatures. So when Biopod, which was born on Kickstarter then designed and developed over the past 3 years, invited us out to their headquarters we were immediately on board. On arrival, we met not only the awesome Biopod team but also fellow keepers and enthusiasts from both the US and Canada including (L-R) Dayyan of Reptiliatus, Keith of ReptilesRuS, and Paul of Vivariums in the Mist.




Entering the Calgary headquarters, I was immediately inspired by the variety of beautifully scaped Biopods. These incredible works of art looked so perfect I didn't think there was any way I could build something close, but the team assured me this was one of the great benefits of the Biopod design. I quickly learned the Biopod team has carefully considered every aspect of the design and maintenance of their micro-habitats to make it as user-friendly as possible. One area of the facility is dedicated to the original Kickstarter Biopods which have been functioning with little to no maintenance for over 2 years and are still thriving and as beautiful as ever.

 



Still I wasn't fully convinced with my minimal background in full vivarium design would be enough. Co-Founder Tom Lam and engineer Dr. Apple walked us through the mechanical design of the current iteration of the Biopod literally piece by piece showing where improvements have been during the last few years of development. The beauty of the Biopod is it's all-in-one capability. The system brings together state of the art misting, filtration, heating, lighting, aeration, irrigation, and ventilation everything needed to mimic the most naturalistic habitat possible. Not only do these aspects work in unison, but Biopod has taken precise control to the cloud allowing you to monitor and alter your environment from anywhere.

 




Armed with this knowledge, and a more than capable partner Keith, I was ready to take the plunge and start designing my first Biopod. Keith and I decided we would take an animal centric design approach starting first by selecting species, then designing the ideal Biopod to meet their needs. Immediately our thoughts went to our shared love of geckos, then inspired by the desert scape created by Biopod co-founder Jared Wolfe we settled in on the idea of designing our Terra, which is about equal in size to a 20gl tank, for a gecko in the Nephrurus species.

 



Now that we had a species and it's unique care requirements in mind we headed out to gather the substrate, accessories, and decor that would make up our final design. This had to be the most difficult aspect because there were just so many directions we could go. We ended up completely filling a cart with Zoo Med Excavator Sand, loose sand, several sizes and colors of pebbles, a few beautiful pieces of wood, cork bark, leaf litter, and hides we would later use to build up and add dimension.

 




Once back at headquarters we had the opportunity to shop in the Biopod nursery full of unique plants from around the globe and various climates. Again, faced with what seemed like limitless possibilities we grabbed a few of our favorites and started getting our hands dirty. Part of Biopod's incredible design is the ability to completely control every aspect of the cage environment which Keith and I took advantage of by coiling the modular heating element and assorted cables in our desired areas which would later be built up with basking and hiding spots. Next, we started on the irrigated living wall by tightly stuffing with sphagnum moss and laying our first level of gravel to allow for a water table at the base. It was at this moment I knew we were on track for something cool because these simple elements, when combined with the sleek design of the Biopod, was already developing into a beautiful display.

 




Encouraged and excited we started to bring the Biopod to life carefully placing and pinning a variety of climbing plants that will continue to fill and grow as time passes. Once complete we moved onto our most exciting layer of substrate, the Zoo Med excavator sand, first placing a layer of mesh to protect the water table level, then developing high and low spots as well as areas for our soon to be added plants. We had to work quickly and precisely building from the outsides to center which we would later layer with a smooth sand where the geckos could enjoy their natural burrowing. We built on and around wooden elements creating a layered look which doubled as hiding areas throughout the temperature gradients within the habitat. From the base, we then added mainly succulent varieties in our carefully tucked away pockets placed in areas that could easily enjoy the regularly scheduling misting. Just a few finishing pebbles for texture and visual variety and like that Team Terra had done it! It was such a rewarding experience to see our final piece complete and ready for a little critter to call it home.

 

 



The most amazing part of this experience was that while Keith and I were enjoying scaping what we coined The Red Planet; for a desert species Paul and Dayyan were building one of the most beautiful paludariums I've ever seen in the Aqua Biopod. Our designs couldn't have been more different, but that's the beauty of the Biopod. It is completely customizable for desert, tropical, aquatic, even for growing your own groceries with sizes available from the Eden to Grand.

 




After such an incredible experience, it was hard to leave our Terra behind, but even when I'm back in the sates my Biopod is never that far away. At any moment, I can check in on how our little scape is doing by logging into the Biopod app to check temperature, humidity, and even watch a live webcam!

 



With the US launch of Biopod slated for later this fall here at The Reptile Zoo our minds are spinning at the variety of habitats we can add on display for our guests. What species would you like to see in our Biopod? New amphibians, geckos, aquatics, an amazing arachnid exhibit? What would be your dream Biopod? In the not so distant future we’ll have a chance to make these dreams a reality and we're positively excited for the possibilities!

 

Wanna learn more? Check out this awesome video from our buddy Dayyan at Reptiliatus, go ahead and give him a sub while you're there you won't regret it!

 


Video Link

 

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Adventures in Biopod

 

Here at The Reptile Zoo we love our animals and are always looking for better ways to care for these amazing creatures. So when Biopod, which was born on Kickstarter then designed and developed over the past 3 years, invited us out to their headquarters we were immediately onboard. On arrival, we met not only the awesome Biopod team, but also fellow keepers and enthusiasts from both the US and Canada including (L-R) Dayyan Saylany of Reptaliatus, Keith Benjamin of ReptilesRuS, and Paulie Dema of Vivariums in the Mist.


 

Entering the Calgary headquarters, I was immediately inspired by the variety of beautifully scaped Biopods. These incredible works of art looked so perfect I didn’t think there was any way I could build something close, but the team assured me this was one of th e great benefits of the Biopod design. I quickly learned the Biopod team has carefully considered every aspect of the design and maintenance of their micro-habitats to make it as user friendly as possible. One area of the facility is dedicated to the original Kickstarter Biopods which have been functioning with little to no maintenance for over 2 years and are still thriving and as beautiful as ever.

 

Still I wasn’t fully convinced with my minimal background in full vivarium design would be enough. Co-Founder Tom Lam and engineer Dr. Apple walked us through the mechanical design of the current iteration of the Biopod literally piece by piece showing where improvements have been during the last few years of development. The beauty of the Biopod is it’s all in one capability. The system brings together state of the art misting, filtration, heating, lighting, aeration, irrigation, and ventilation everything needed to mimic the most naturalistic habitat possible. Not only do these aspects work in unison, but Biopod has taken precise control to the cloud allowing you to monitor and alter your environment from anywhere.


 

 

Armed with this knowledge, and a more than capable partner Keith, I was ready to take the plunge and start designing my first Biopod. Keith and I decided we would take an animal centric design approach starting first by selecting species, then designing the ideal Biopod to meet their needs. Immediately our thoughts went to our shared love of geckos, then inspired by the desert scape created by Biopod co-founder Jared Wolfe we settled in on the idea of designing our Terra, which is about equal in size to a 20gl tank, for a gecko in the Nephrurus species.

Now that we had a species and it’s unique care requirements in mind we headed out to gather the substrate, accessories, and décor that would make up our final design. This had to be the most difficult aspect, because there were just so many directions we could go. We ended up completely filling a cart with Zoo Med Excavator Sand, loose sand, several sizes and colors of pebbles, a few beautiful pieces of wood, cork bark, leaf litter, and hides we would later use to build up and add dimension.


Once back at headquarters we had the opportunity to shop in the Biopod nursery full of unique plants from around the globe and various climates. Again, faced with what seemed like limitless possibilities we grabbed a few of our favorites and started getting our hands dirty. Part of Biopod’s incredible design is the ability to completely control every aspect of the cage environment which Keith and I took advantage of by coiling the modular heating element and assorted cables in our desired areas which would later be built up with basking and hiding spots. Next, we started on the irrigated living wall by tightly stuffing with sphagnum moss and laying our first level of gravel to allow for a water table at the base. It was at this moment I knew we were on track for something cool, because these simple elements when combined with the sleek design of the Biopod was already developing into a beautiful display.


Encouraged and excited we started to bring the Biopod to life carefully placing and pinning a variety of climbing plants that will continue to fill and grow as time passes. Once complete we moved onto our most exciting layer of substrate the Zoo Med excavator sand, first placing a layer of mesh to protect the water table level, then developing high and low spots as well as areas for our soon to be added plants. We had to work quickly and precisely building from the outsides to center which we would later layer with a smooth sand where the geckos could enjoy their natural burrowing. We built on and around wooden elements creating a layered look which doubled as hiding areas throughout the temperature gradients within the habitat. From the base, we then added mainly succulent varieties in our carefully tucked away pockets placed in areas that could easily enjoy the regularly scheduling misting. Just a few finishing pebbles for texture and visual variety and like that Team Terra had done it! It was such a rewarding experience to see our final piece complete and ready for a little critter to call it home.


The most amazing part of this experience was that while Keith and I were enjoying scaping what we coined “The Red Planet” for a desert species Paulie and Dayyan were building one of the most beautiful paludariums I’ve ever seen in the Aqua Biopod. Our designs couldn’t have been more different, but that’s the beauty of the Biopod it’s completely customizable for desert, tropical, aquatic, even for growing your own groceries with sizes available from the Eden to Grand.


After such a fun experience, it was hard to leave our Terra behind, but even when I’m back in the sates it’s never that far away. At any moment, I can check in on how our little scape is doing by logging into the Biopod app to check temperature, humidity, and even watch a live webcam!

 

 

With the US launch of Biopod slated for later this fall here at The Reptile Zoo our minds are spinning at the variety of habitats we can add on display for our guests. What species would you like to see in our Biopod? New amphibians, geckos, aquatics, an amazing arachnid exhibit? What would be your dream Biopod? In the not so distant future we’ll have a chance to make these dreams a reality and we’re positively excited for the possibilities!

>

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Breed my pretties, BREED!

So I posed a question to all of you Herpers this morning, asking what kinds of questions YOU had about reptiles and such.  After scanning thru the many responses I noticed a lot of you asked several questions in regards to breeding.  So I decided to base today’s blog around lizard breeding since snake breeding has SO many points and aspects to cover, it’s much easier to leave that to individual training.  Luckily, lizards are in such popular demand that this blog entry should help lots of you guys learn to breed and start your own lizard community at home. =)

 

First of all, you should know that if the lizards are comfortable enough in their surroundings to breed, it shows that the artificial environment provided is adequate. But in order for this to happen, you have to take care of as many variables as possible.  So step one, the artificial environment needs to be large enough, have separate hides for each lizard and offer the same humidity as the natural habitat of your lizard, so make sure you study up on the natural environment of your pet and simplify the caging to  something they are accustomed to.  Secondly, in the wild, male lizards naturally stake out their home territory and defend it from other males. When the home territory is as small as a 30-gallon terrarium, having just one male per cage becomes even more vital.  However, most lizards do well when kept in trios of one male and two females.  Pssh, of course it works smoothly with multiple females than males! =P 

Day and Night cycles should equate with the breeding cycle in the lizard's area of origin.  If your pet is wild, they require at least one year of adjustment to a change in light cycles and the confines of captivity.  So what happens if you have a pair of lizards, you've done everything right – but so far there's STILL no breeding?  There are a few things you can do, first try separating the lizards. Many breeders prefer to keep the sexes separate until breeding is desired. Then the lizards are placed together for a week or so or until breeding takes place then separated again.  This helps keep the stress levels to a minimum and encourage the desire to breed.  Another helpful trick is to add a second male to the cage in hopes the males will create breeding displays between themselves, which tends to arouse breeding interest in the female.  Us gals are always impressed by showy displays of affection and desire =P.  You may need to also provide a period of dormancy/hibernation for lizards that hibernate, if you're unsure of what your lizards require in dormancy length, begin with three weeks to avoid putting too much stress on them.  At the end of the dormancy cycle, restore lighting and temperature levels and offer food and after the lizards have regained their activity levels, put the lizards together. 

Once your lizards have bred, for the egg-laying species, provide an egg deposition site.  For live-bearing lizard, provide a secluded area where the female can give birth to her young without fear of attack by another lizard.  Females may become very aggressive toward other lizards in the cage during and after child birth. Make sure you have a suitable supply of tiny insects (i.e. flightless fruit flies, cricket hatchlings) accessible when the young are born or surface from their eggs.

Now you all should be expert lizard breeders =P!  When you adapt all these requirements in your pet’s enclosure, you should have great luck and success with the finalized breeding.  For any more questions, feel free to call us here at the shop, we will be happy to help you!

Ciao

^O^……………Priscilla

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Python Ban: The Adaptability Argument

 

 

Prehistoric Pets has long worked with a wide variety of species of large constrictors, over a span of many years. During that time, we have come to an intimate understanding of the animals we have worked with, their temperature and environmental needs, personalities, reproductive and feeding capabilities. With this background and some additional research it becomes clear the animals recently added to the Lacey act are neither capable of living outside of their current establishment in the Everglades or pose a reasonable threat to humans. We’ve compiled just some of the facts we’ve found within the documentation supposedly backing this faulty legislation.

We urge you to read these excerpts, examine the sources and develop your own opinion on the subject, but please please do not rely on sensationalized images and articles with an underlying agenda. Today we will cover the adaptability argument that is so often misconstrued and sensationalized by hypothetical ideas instead of the facts proven by multiple tests.

 

 

 

 

 

ADAPTABILITY/SURVIVABILITY ARGUMENT

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Large constrictor snakes released into federal lands, such as National Parks or National Wildlife Refuges, not only present a threat to the living resources protected for the benefit of the public on those lands but they also present the potential for the establishment of reproducing populations, which can then become a source for the spread of these species into surrounding states.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

Jewell says the import ban won't help the Everglades — it's too late there. It's meant to keep pythons and other constrictors from spreading. The Fish and Wildlife Service's research suggests that they could live almost anywhere in the Southern U.S.

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/31/146124073/pythons-blamed-for-everglades-disappearing-animals

In a related study, Dorcas et al. (2010) relocated 10 Burmese pythons from the Everglades to an outdoor research setting in South Carolina in June 2009. The following January, the pythons all died.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

In a study conducted in the Everglades, nine of ten radio-tracked snakes in shallow marsh habitat perished either from the cold temperatures or from complications experienced as a consequence of the cold temperatures.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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The Service’s injurious wildlife evaluation indicates these snakes have this potential, particularly the potential to expand beyond south Florida. Large constrictor snakes have demonstrated that they are highly adaptable to new environments, consuming any prey available, and they are observed to efficiently use habitats available to them in their existing U.S. locations.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

In a related study, Dorcas et al. (2010) relocated 10 Burmese pythons from the Everglades to an outdoor research setting in South Carolina in June 2009. The following January, the pythons all died.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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Question 11:  Why not just allow each State to decide whether or not these four species of snakes or any other species should be banned?

The application of the Lacey Act prohibitions on these snake species is necessary because public interests of U.S. citizens are, and may reasonably be assumed to be in the future, affected across state boundaries.  Large constrictor snakes released into federal lands, such as National Parks or National Wildlife Refuges, not only present a threat to the living resources protected for the benefit of the public on those lands but they also present the potential for the establishment of reproducing populations, which can then become a source for the spread of these species into surrounding states.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

In a related study, Dorcas et al. (2010) relocated 10 Burmese pythons from the Everglades to an outdoor research setting in South Carolina in June 2009. The following January, the pythons all died.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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Snakes Get Lobbyists in Fight Over Boa Ban

The snake species considered for the federal listing could survive in about one-third of U.S. states and territories, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a report by scientists at its Fort Collins Science Center in Colorado.

 

Climate change may extend their habitat as far north as New York and Washington state by 2100, according to the study.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-05/snakes-get-lobbyists-too-as-breeders-charm-congress-to-fight-u-s-boa-ban.html

 

Question 8:  In making this determination, how much consideration did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give to climate change and its potential to increase the geographic range of habitat that can support populations of these snakes? 

 

Answer:  Our final rule is based on current climate conditions.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

 

The threat of Burmese pythons slinking toward Manhattan is overblown, according to a 2008 study by scientists at the City University of New York. They said weather patterns will confine them to the Everglades and far-southern Texas.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-05/snakes-get-lobbyists-too-as-breeders-charm-congress-to-fight-u-s-boa-ban.html

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Moving snakes into unfamiliar territory may compromise their chances to survive.

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/snakes/tips/solving_problems_snakes.html

 

Given the climate flexibility exhibited by the Burmese python in its native range (as analyzed through the U.S. Geological Survey’s climate-matching predictions in the United States), new generations within the leading edge of the population’s nonnative range could become increasingly adaptable and able to expand to colder climates.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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A report recently issued by Dave Hallac and colleagues at Florida's Everglades National Park determined that at least 70 crocodiles, more than 60 manatees, and countless plants, butterflies and snakes have died within the Everglades marshes and mangroves so far this winter. Hallac said the impact of the cold weather has been "substantial" in South Florida.

But Behnke believes at least some of the snake deaths could help local ecosystems. Burmese and African rock pythons, along with other animals, are not native to the area and are considered to be "invasive." Because they are tropical species, these animals have very low cold tolerance. Some Burmese pythons have even been found frozen stiff in the Everglades.

Scott Hardin, the FWC's exotic species coordinator, said half of South Florida's python population might have died in the recent cold weather.

http://news.discovery.com/animals/florida-wildlife-cold-weather.html

 


 

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