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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Right From The Get Go- Lets Talk About Geckos!

Those of you who visit the Reptile Zoo often probably know of the cutest little lizard in existence, Charlie the Crested Gecko!

With his big, off kilter eyes, stubby little tail, and tiny toes that look like leaves, Charlie steals the hearts of hundreds of visitors a year, who will often coo “Can you have these as pets?!” Yes you can! Crested geckos like Charlie are becoming incredibly popular for their ease of care and sweet personalities.

Crested geckos are native to the southern parts of the island of New Caledonia, located between Fiji and Australia. They get their name from the eyelash-like projections over their eyes, which continue down the back, creating a “crest”. They are also referred to as eyelash geckos. These geckos are primarily nocturnal, and prefer to live up high and in trees, but may move lower to the ground to sleep. They are decent climbers, aided by their sticky feet, small claws, and prehensile tails.

Check out that prehensile tail and those sticky feet!

Their feet possess microscopic hairs that will bond (on a molecular level!) to whatever surface they stand on. If you observe one walking, you will actually see them peel their toes up backwards so they can simply take a step! These geckos are able to lose their tails as a defense mechanism, but unfortunately do not grow them back once they have dropped them. While this sounds traumatic, it actually isn’t such a huge deal. The blood vessels running to the tail seal off almost instantly, and will heal over completely in less than a month. It is highly uncommon to see an adult crested gecko in the wild that still has its tail. While most lizards with this ability grow their tails back, crested geckos only get the one tail. If they drop it, it’s gone for good.

Charlie is an example of a crested gecko without a tail.

Another fun thing about this species of gecko is that they are vocal! People usually don’t think of lizards as loud pets, but some geckos can be quite the talkers! Species like tokay geckos are loud and even sound like they’re yelling their name (TO-kay TO-kay is what it sounds like!). Crested geckos aren’t quite so noisy, and make anywhere from a low quiet growling noise to a surprisingly loud harsh bark. They’re known as “the devil in the trees” back in New Caledonia, as their barks can get quite unnerving when a loud chorus starts.

Adorable babies!

Crested geckos have several traits that make them desirable as pets. They do not require a huge amount of space, have fairly simple lighting and heating needs, and can be fed a prepackaged powdered diet and completely thrive on it. Hatchling and juvenile crested geckos do well in a 10 gallon aquarium, and adults can be kept in a 20 gallon tank. Since they are such avid climbers, height and plenty of foliage are more important than length. Reptile Supply companies have actually started to make specific setups just for crested geckos. Combine that ease of care with a gecko that tames very quickly, lives on average 15 years, and is known for its sweet nature, and you have one super awesome Prehistoric Pet!

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Prehistoric Times in 2013

How could it already be a month into 2014?!? The year of the snake just slithered by so fast we barely had a chance to share some of the great experiences that came with it, but we're going to try to make it up to you with an extra long recap blog chocked full of photos & videos. So many we'll be highlighting details from some of our favorite stories over the next couple weeks as well.

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Lighting It Up at Prehistoric Pets and The Reptile Zoo

When you're part of the Prehistoric Inc team, you never know what you're going to show up at work. After just a couple hours off I came back to a completely updated and lighted retail area in Prehistoric Pets plus a new display case in The Reptile Zoo!

Sometimes I think it must be little magic elves helping these project get done, which is partially right.

Over the years Prehistoric team has grown to include a huge network of friends who are happy to volunteer their spare time to make our big dreams come true and this time was no different. When it comes to construction Jay loves to work with his friends like Todd, Lance, and Buck who have each been major factors to completing this project.

Construction here has been pushed into overdrive as Jay makes his final preparations for his trip to Africa where he will be getting some great footage in Kruger National Park and visiting a local reptile breeders show. We're just glad the flight is 22 HOURS so he can finally get some rest! Becuase you know he won't rest until the shop is taken care of and all of his cool fossil finds have a beautiful place to be displayed.

Since this project is coming to a close we're already steaming towards the next which will increase accessibility in our retail area as well as provide a new cleaning station for staff to care for all of these great animals. Next time you see us the wall below will have dissapeared to make room for the crowds and new additions in Prehistoric Pets. 

Want to see the construction in action? Be sure to stop by Prehistoric Pets or The Reptile Zoo or even better you can stay at home and miss out on the dust by checking out our updated videos on our YouTube page at www.YouTube.com/PrehistoricPetsTV

 

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Thelma and Louise have moved!

Where did they go you may ask? Well, they have gone straight down the hall and to the back to accompany some other reptiles for awhile.

Come say hi whenever you get a chance!

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LIVE From Fountain Valley, It's SATURDAY!

Talk about CrAzY Saturdays Fans!  I suppose you could say it’s a typical weekend for us, jamming with party families and future Herp owners.  It’s amazing to see the contrast between normal work days and the weekends; the shop goes from cricket quiet to screamin’ loud!  Not that we mind, it’s always so much fun to join in the festivities of all the happy families and also help amateurs become professional reptile handlers and owners.  Wonder what it must be like in the Reptile Zoo while we host our back to back Jurassic Parties?  One word…. HECTIC!  Here’s just a glimpse or two.

WOW that’s a LOT of people!  That definitely makes for a quick, easy and FUN work day for us.  Of course, when we aren’t caring for, cleaning after or checking on all our reptile friends, we are plotting.  Yes…. plotting.  Don’t you remember that tomorrow is the “oh so special” April Fools Day?!  Again, this holiday of pranks is upon us and I’m sure most of you are only counting the seconds until it’s over.  However, we gotta have a little fun here in the shop. ;)  Frank thought he’d get an extra early start and decided to sneak his way into Buddy’s cage while he was out doing a quick photo shoot with some party kids.  Hee Hee, As you can see, he was BUSTED before he could finish the prank!  Silly Frank, Tricks are for kids =P

As for the rest of the animals, they can’t focus too much on the prospect of perfect pranks when they need to have energy for their presentations.  Hey, who knows, maybe THEY are plotting this year’s perfect reptile prank…..o.O.  Hmmmmm, what do you think they will do?  WE MUST BE PREPARED!  With all the “ammo” we could use when working at a reptile shop for April Fool’s, I think maybe we should be more nervous around each other rather than worrying over our reptilious friends.  ;D

**BEWARE of what hides behind your decorations!** ;D

Michelle told Nick to eat on his lunch....this is what happens when you disobey O.O

It’s time to start counting down to one of the years funniest and most anxiety ridden holidays!  Have any cool reptile pranks??  Share them with us!  Have a great weekend guys and see you tomorrow!

Ciao!

^O^………….Priscilla

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Hey Look I'm Shedding!

 

Ever wonder why snakes shed their skin or how? When snakes shed their skin it is a sign they are growing and in the right environment. The number of times a snake sheds it skin depends on many factors including it's age and speed of growth, but is commonly every 1-2 months. Sometimes snakes, like our sneaky Ramon, can shed out of their skin in 1 piece by crawling across branches and other surfaces while larger snakes, like TWINKIE, shed in many smaller pieces. The easiest sign to tell your snake will soon be shedding is a blue discoloration on their eyes which is referred to as "going into blue" During this time it looks as if their eyes have changed colors because a cap of skin has developed over their eye which will be removed with the shed from the rest of their body. 

 

 

 

Ramon happens to be favorite at The Reptile Zoo for his unque red tail and bright green body. He is an aboreal species of ratsnakes native to the Asian islands of Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and surrounding. Because of these tropical homelands Ramon likes higher humidity than your typical US cornsnake and also tends to be slightly more aggressive.

 

 

 

After all this learning our guests at The Reptile Zoo were more than ready for some hands-on fun with our Albino Cornsnakes, which happen to be a great pet for families looking to get their first reptile, and is sure to provide the same shedding experience at your home everytime he grows a little bigger.

 

 

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Yay for Snake Day!

Attention all European herpers!!  April will be a very special month for you guys, especially the residents of Houten, because our very own Garrett Hartle will be attending the annual Snake Day on April 1st!  At this very special event, Garrett will have some of the best and most beautiful specialty Reticulated Python morphs you can find. Garrett will also be spending an additional week in the UK to help at The Reptile Room and meet even more UK clients!  We work exclusively with The Reptile Room as our official European Distributor; they go to all of the shows and even those we can’t make it to, like this weekend’s Hamm Germany show.  Make sure to stop by the booth and say hello to, shake a hand and even take pictures with our talented member of the Prehistoric Pets team. 

Are you still sitting, staring at your computer screen with a confused look on your face?  Hmm, Well I guess I should explain what “Snake Day” is huh? LOL!  To put it blandly, “Snake Day” is a massive trade expo where herpers from all around the world unite in Houten, near Amsterdam, to buy and sell snakes.  The demand for special snakes has become so intense; Garrett’s order requests have shot up in a dramatic percentile.

Will YOU be at the annual Snake Day expo?  Take pictures with our Prehistoric Pets team during your visit at Snake Day and show your support by sharing them on our Facebook page!  We love to encourage fans from all over the world to share their photos and experiences with our team on our Fan sites.  You can follow us on:

 

Prehistoric Pets Facebook

 

Prehistoric Pets Twitter

 

The Reptile Zoo Blog

 

Prehistoric Pets YouTube

Ciao!

^O^………Priscilla

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Sulfur EEEEEGGGGGGSSSS!

So Last night right before I turned the shop lights off and about to set the alarm, I remembered “ ohh hey, I better check the female het sulfur for eggs!” (I had just put her in the egg laying room earlier in the day) so I was digging and digging and digging and I wasn’t very hopeful because the past couple clutches were mostly slugs  but then I hit GOLD!! 17 FERTILE eggs, the complete opposite of the past clutches. I was ecstatic for the outcome of these monitors who took a 360degree about 5 months ago for the better. Garrett ran and got one of our new custom hatching boxes (the hatch chamber [pretty intense name right?? I know]) I was sooo energized with every egg I took out, acting like a total girl (giddy and kind of sporadically screaming in garrets ear haha) well anyways we put the eggs in the incubator, snapped a couple pictures to send to people and jetted home! (Me still screaming, but this time just to myself) I felt like I had 17 babies!! -Juliette /> First comes love... Then comes marriage...
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