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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Join Us for #LivingTheDream Night at The Reptile Zoo!


RSVP Today

RSVP Today! 

It's that time of year again! We would love to invite you and your animal loving family out to The Reptile Zoo for a fun night filled with reptiles big and small from around the globe. The party starts at 6PM and will likely end around 9PM but feel free to come anytime you'd like. There will be all kinds of exciting opportunities to see one of a kind animals, learn about the behind the scenes workings, and even see the gators chomp down on some dinner! But don't worry you won't be watching them eat on an empty stomach! We'll be including pizza with admission, because what kind of party doesn't include pizza?

This year we will have 2 admission options for guests:


$20 includes Living the Dream Tour, Pizza, and Limited Edition Tee

or 

$10 includes Living the Dream Tour & Pizza

To secure your custom tee will be available in your size pre-orders are available by completing payment to PayPal.me/PrehistoricPets/20 Make sure to include your shirt size and we will have it set aside for you on arrival. These are truly a limited edition run with only a few in each size so we would highly recommend snagging yours up before it gets crazy!


For questions email us at info@thereptilezoo.com or check out the official event invite on Facebook.


The Reptile Zoo

18818 Brookhurst Street,

Fountain Valley, CA 92708

714-500-0591

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Volunteeer Adventure at The Reptile Zoo

Hi my name is Ben Brady. I am the volunteer coordinator at Prehistoric Pets. I started out as a volunteer in 2015. My love for animals, reptiles in particular brought me here. My mother bought me my first Garter snake when I was 11. Over the years I've had turtles, lizards, Ball pythons and the last few years Reticulated pythons and Crested Geckos. Working mainly with Dwarf and Super Dwarf. I've had some incredible experiences working with the people and animals here that I don't think I could get anywhere else. The most amazing thing that has happened was when I was asked to help cut my first clutch of Reticulated python eggs. There is nothing like seeing the smile on the face of a customer that has never held a reptile minutes after holding their first Crested gecko or Ball python, and seeing that the fear that the had for all those years could be defeated just by holding one of these animals and seeing how amazing they truly are and that they can be enjoyed. I have even seen people buy an animal after they have realized how easy it was to care for some of them. Everyday there is something new from the animals to the people its an experience I think everyone should have. So when the opportunity to be volunteer coordinator came up I jumped at the chance. I want to share that opportunity with you. This is a non-paid volunteer program designed to help the Reptile Zoo connect with its customers. Your responsibilities can include: - Customer contact - Welcoming guests to the Reptile Zoo - Education - Facilitating animal interaction in the hands on section of the Reptile Zoo - General maintenance and husbandry - Take guest photos with Burmese Python Required: Well Mannered and outgoing reptile enthusiast that is at least age 18, who is willing to donate time to the Reptile Zoo.
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Traveling Zoo and Charity Too!

Hello dearest readers!

We had a heck of a weekend and I can’t wait to tell you about it! We decided the usual hordes of visitors coming to check out our awesome exhibits weren’t enough, and that we would bring the zoo to them! On Saturday, April 2nd, we brought our traveling zoo to the Summer Camp and Activities Fair presented by The OC Register and OC Family magazine.

Jurassic Parties’ awesome presentations are a yearly feature at many of Orange County’s summer camps, and we wanted to spread the love and let even more people know how awesome reptiles are. Laura helped kids get up close and personal with some ball pythons, and I helped Squash show the public just how gentle our giants can be!

We didn’t stop there though! On Sunday Laura and Savannah got up bright and early and headed north to take part in the Ronald McDonald Walk for Kids! Buttercup, our albino Burmese python got a lot of love from the kids that were there, and Spike the bearded dragon wore his participation sticker with pride! Our booth drew tons of visitors and we couldn’t have been happier to see them. The biggest and most important part of the Reptile Zoo is to educate the public on our favorite animals, and we couldn’t be happier that we can reach so many people.

We hope that the next time we travel with the zoo you all can come see us!

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Snaggletooth!!!

Hello Hello dearest readers!

Spring has officially sprung and I for one am so super excited to tell you guys all about our coolest cutest little crocodilian here at The Reptile Zoo! Everyone, meet SNAGGLETOOTH!

Snaggletooth is an adorable little dwarf caiman! Caiman are in the same family as alligators and crocodiles, and are characterized by their oversized upper jaw, prominent dagger-like teeth, and round noses. They tend to be smaller than their crocodilian cousins, and the dwarf caiman are the smallest of them all, reaching a maximum length or around 4-6 feet! Don’t let their diminutive size fool you though, these little guys are tougher than they appear! The scales of a dwarf caiman have a bony base (these special scales are called osteoderms) that give them a fair degree of protection from attackers. They prey primarily on invertebrates, fish, and frogs. Dwarf caiman go by many other names, including the musky caiman, Cuvier's caiman, the wedge head caiman, and the smooth-fronted caiman.

Our little guy Snaggletooth is on the petite side, and only about 3 feet long. He won’t get too much bigger, making him invaluable as an education animal here at the Reptile Zoo. While Snaggletooth is a sweetheart, not all members of his species have his calm and gentle temperament. All species of crocodilians, including caimans, are restricted species and cannot legally be owned as pets. We’re glad to have him here at the zoo where he can educate the public on his cousins in a safe way. Won’t you come and visit him soon?

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Reptile Super Show 2k16!!!!!!

If you didn’t go to this year’s Reptile Super Show at the Pomona Fairplex, you missed out!!!! This was one of the best ones yet, with so much crazy fun stuff going on! Thousands of people from all over southern California came to see the vast amazing assortment of snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises, salamanders, spiders, and all sorts of other fascinating exotics that our community so loves! It was also a great success in that the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) raised just over 40,000 dollars!!! That set a new record for the west coast shows. All that money will go towards protecting the animals and to hobbyists who love them.

Prehistoric Pets and The Reptile Zoo set up a booth to showcase some of our awesome animals. Aside from stunning multi-thousand dollar reticulated pythons, we also brought boas, tegus, our Rhinocerous Iguana, Beckham, and a lovely breeding pair of sulcata tortoises. Laura, Frank, Enrico, and Jay all worked their butts off selling retics, while I promoted The Reptile Zoo and even managed to sell an animal or two myself! Whoops!

While there was plenty of fun to be had at the show, the real fun kicked in for us afterwards! Prehistoric Pets has a history of throwing fantastic post-show parties, and this year was no exception. Tons of people showed up to see the zoo after hours and check out the expanded breeding facility!

Highlights of the evening included handling of many large reticulated pythons, an alligator feeding demonstration from Jay, and of course, what is a party without PIZZA?! All in all the weekend was a blast and we were so happy to share it with you all!!

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LIVING THE DREAM IN 2K16!!!!!!

2015 has been a huge year for us at Prehistoric Inc! We’ve had thousands of visitors, taken tons of pictures, and celebrated some big milestones! Join us in an end-of-the-year celebratory countdown!

First off we are celebrating the new reticulated python morphs we created this year! I asked Tim, retic extraordinaire, and he determined we had created AT LEAST 30 new morphs! One of the big standouts from this year was the creation of a lavender albino anthrax genetic stripe. This particular snake is special because it is a triple recessive. We had to hit amazing odds to get not one, not two, but THREE recessive genes expressed in one AMAZINGLY gorgeous package!

Speaking of celebrating, we PARTIED this year! We hosted and traveled to 673 Jurassic Parties all over Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties! Our record youngest birthday kid was only a year old, and our record oldest was celebrating her 68th birthday! Jurassic Parties go great with every occasion for kids of every age!

We also had a great year on our social media! We got record numbers of followers, as well as tons of likes! Check out our most loved photos of the year below!

We’ll miss all the fun we had in 2015, but can’t wait to see what the new year will bring! Here’s hoping we keep #livingthedream in 2016!!!

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Giving Thanks... FOR FOOOOOOD

Thanksgiving is coming and I don’t know about you guys, but here at Prehistoric Pets we’re pumped about FOOD!!! With the busy season over we’ve had time to really buckle down and improve our selection of feeders. Prehistoric Pets now offers all kinds of delicious and nutritious food for you and your scaly friends! First off, we’ve added a selection of frozen mice, rats, and guinea pigs for people who prefer to feed frozen/thawed, and secondly, we’ve expanded our selection of insect feeders for our lizard, frog, and spider friends! In this blog, we will go over the relative merits of each particular feeder, and how you can know what to feed your pet!

Frozen vs. Pre-killed vs. Live Rodents!

There are pros and cons to each style of feeding, and ultimately it comes down to either personal preference, or in some cases, pet preference. The best thing to do is find out what works for you! When feeding snakes, chose a feeder that is as big around as your snake is at its widest point. When feeding lizards, pick a rodent that is about as big around as the narrowest point of its neck. Remember to size your rodents up as your pet grows!

BUGS FOR DAYS!

We haven’t just improved our selection of rodents; we’ve expanded our bugs as well!! Prehistoric Pets now offers three different sizes of Dubia Roaches, as well as a great new feeder, Goliath Worms! Each feeder has its merits, and we’ve included a handy little chart here to give you a breakdown of the nutritional content of each particular bug!

Crickets are a staple feeder; they’re easily accessible and pretty cheap. However, they are smelly and do like to jump and escape, and can even bite your pet if left in the cage. Dubia roaches, while pricier, have double the protein of crickets and none of the nasty side effects. Careful if you use loose bedding though, because they do like to dig. Superworms are great if you have larger lizards, as they tend to impact smaller ones because of their tough chitin exoskeleton. Goliath worms don’t have that same exoskeleton, making them easier to digest. They are also mostly water, which makes them excellent for rehydrating more tropical species like chameleons. Wax worms are beneficial for smaller lizards like geckos, or for an animal you are trying to fatten up as they have the highest fat content. Last and kind of least comes mealworms. They are better for smaller animals that can’t eat superworms, but lack a lot of protein and calcium due to their tough exoskeleton and small body size.

While that just about wraps it up for your pet's food. Now go enjoy some turkey!!! Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Reptile Zoo Reaches Out

Inspiring the next generation of animal lovers has always been a big part of the Reptile Zoo’s mission, and even more so inspiring the next generation of reptile keepers! Jurassic Parties and the Reptile Zoo have run giveaways for class pets in the past, so when Giovanni, president of the Creature Club at Enochs High School reached out to us, we were happy to help.

“The club is based on education; my hopes for this club are for us to be able to expand our collection of animals and go out to reptile shows, middle schools, elementary schools, and have our own events in order to educate people on animals that are often misunderstood such as snakes and lizards. I was wondering if The Reptile Zoo could sponsor us that way we could continue on our goals. Fundraising has changed at my school (Enochs High School) so it is really hard to do our fundraisers now so I was hoping to get sponsors for my club. Reptiles have always truly amazed me and I'm hoping that my club can really help bring a new light to these magnificent creatures. Thanks so much for wanting to help us out!”

The Reptile Zoo was able to donate not only a baby ball python to the club, but a full setup so that it could also live in comfort and style as goes on to live as an educational animal. We wish luck to Giovanni and the rest of the Creature Club, and are happy to support their educational message!!

Thrills and Chills In Our Final Halloween Countdown!!!

Hope you’re all ready for our final frightful installment of the scariest animals here at the zoo!!! We’ve documented the scariest lizards and snakes, but now the time has come to see our final reptile contenders. First up, the shell from hell, Louie!

Louie is our giant alligator snapping turtle. Weighing in at around 175lbs at a whopping 180 years old, this turtle is one of our biggest animals! He packs a punch as well. An alligator snapping turtle Louie’s size is capable of snapping a broom handle with one powerful bite! Combine it with his beady eyes, spiky skin, and prehistoric appearance, and you can see why Louie made our list.

Next in our lineup, the eight legged wonders of the zoo, our Tarantulas! These T’s are awesome little critters, but we have to be careful around them! The old world species are speedy and equipped with serious fangs and venom, but the new world spiders have a secret weapon of their own! They can kick their hair off their abdomen, forming a cloud of super irritating material designed to stop predators in their tracks. Our Mexican Fireleg tarantula is equipped with such hairs.

I know I don’t want to get on the bad side of that guy. Or this one! Check out our awesome Singapore Blue tarantula!

Last but not least though, the one you’ve all been waiting for, the scariest animals in the zoo are…..

The Visitors!!! Just look at how our animals react to the crazy ( and amazing and awesome) people that visit us!

We wish you all a happy and safe Halloween this year! Hopefully you won’t run into anything from this countdown while out trick or treating!!

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