March 2010


For a few months now I’ve been putting together a first aid kit for my reptiles. I hope never to have to use it, but I like having it and I highly recommend it. Who knows, it could some day save you a midnight trip to the 24 hour drug store, the vet, or even a dead snake.

Anyway, this is my list of items and why they might be useful:

First aid tape – Adhesive and non-adhesive.
Aloe / vitamin E – To treat first degree burns.
Bandaids – Various sizes and materials for covering open wounds.
Betadine – Diluted, it is great for treating mild scale rot. In regular concentration, it is great for disinfecting small areas. I’ve heard that it will soon be unavailable, so get a bottle soon!
Clippers – Useful for lizards with long nails, for trimming bits of skin, etc. I’ve used them to cut a rubber ring that my snake managed to get herself jammed into; safer than scissors in this case.
Condoms – Unroll them and cut off the closed end and they make great bandages with some adhesive first aid tape to keep them in place. Use the regular kind without spermicide.
Eye droppers and pipettes – I have eye droppers with bottles as well as plastic pipettes. The former can be washed and stored, the latter can be disposed of after use.
Flamazine – Ideal for treating burns.
Gauze
Hand sanitizer – The plain, alcohol gel stuff. For your hands, not for the animals.
Heat packs – Handy for emergency transports and power outages. Get the 40-hour kind; the 5-hour kind lasts, in my experience, less than 2 hours.
Hot water bottle – Also handy for emergency transports and power outages.
Goo-gone – To remove stuck tape, glue traps, that sort of thing. Avoid contact with mouth and eyes, and wash off with mild soap immediately afterward.
Hydrogen peroxide – For disinfecting.
Kwik stop – Or corn starch, applied to a bleeding wound, will stop the bleeding. It is handy to have a few film canister-type containers of this to avoid cross-contamination.
KY Jelly – Water based lubricant for inserting probes, removing objects wrapped around your reptile, etc.
Liquid bandaid – A bandage that can’t be rubbed off. Great for sealing small wounds to keep dirt out of them. Not for open wounds where flesh is exposed and would be in contact with the liquid bandaid.
Listerine – Antiseptic for cleaning out mouths etc. Also an anti-fungal.
Magnifying glass – I bought one recently and boy, it was about time. For identifying mites and other parasites, and anything else you can’t see very well because it’s too small.
Needles – Probably not necessary in most first aid kits, since most things requiring an injection should be done by the vet, but needles can be handy for emptying eggs that are causing a female to be blocked, for injection medicines, and, a syringe without the needle, for dosing oral medicines. Ask for them at the Pharmacist counter at the drug store.
Pedialyte – For re-hydrating lizards who are not eating or drinking properly.
Penlight – So, so handy for so many reasons.
Pillowcases – For emergency transport or separation of snakes. I have at least one pillowcase per snake and I get them for fifty cents at Valu Village.
Polysporin – Or Neosporin; the regular formula, not the pain-management kind. Apply to wounds and burns frequently to promote healing and discourage infection.
Polysporin eye/ear drops – Broad spectrum antibiotic for treating mild eye and ear infections.
Probe set – For probing and coaxing mouths open.
Q-tips – Cotton swabs, for cleaning out small areas, applying topical ointments, removing stuck shed, etc.
Repashy MRPCrested Gecko Diet; meal replacement for malnourished lizards, lizards with facial injury, etc.
Rubber gloves – To avoid cross-contamination or getting fluids on yourself.
Saline – Handy for flushing out wounds and eyes.
Scissors – Little bathroom scissors, nail scissors, fabric scissors – you never know when they might come in handy.
Spray bottles – Definitely worth having a few of them (Dollar Store purchase for sure).
Thick rubber bands – For restraining
Thread and needles – For binding / emergency suturing
Towels / Terry Cloths – For absorbing spills, catching lizards and restraining animals.
Turkey baster – I have yet to find a use for it, but you never know.
Tweezers

Equally important to have on hand is a camera (so you can send photos to online forums or vets for their input), a notepad and pens to take notes, and phone numbers for your local vet(s) that treat reptiles.

Lastly, I recommend setting aside some money in case you need to take your reptile to the vet. Putting aside enough for an initial exam and a little bit extra (about $100) makes it a lot easier to rush your reptile to the vet when you need to instead of letting the problem worsen while you wait for your next paycheck.

I freed up some space in my reptile room this weekend which prompted some re-organizing of the cages. Since that coincides with the starting up of this blog, I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the room, which basically entails standing in the doorway of the room and looking at the cages!

Reptile Room - Candoia cages

Reptile Room - Candoia Cages

Back Wall Candoia Cages

Back Wall Candoia Cages

The  “back wall” cages as I call them – the two on top are 3′ x 2′ x 1.5′ (the top cage is divided into two) and the bottom one is 3′ x 2′ x 2.5′.

All of the cages in the other stack (picture below) are 3′ x 2′ x 2′.

The bottom cage is the only Candoia cage I have that is heated with a Radiant Heat Panel. If I had a thousand bucks to spare, I would upgrade all of my cages in this manner. In the meantime, however, heat tape works well on the other cages.

Each cage (including the other stack of cages shown below) contains a number of cork bark pieces (tubes and half-tubes), an Exo-Terra snake cave (not usually one to spend money on frivolous, brand-name doo-dads, I highly recommend this product), a water dish, and a plant. Some of the other cages have a plant and/or a shelf.

Each snake has its own preference – some like to chill in the moss in the plant pot; others rarely leave their snake caves and others yet stick to the cork bark.

More Candoia Cages

This stack is over 6' high!

And now for the best part (and I hope you’ll agree): pictures of the inhabitants.

Spike - Red Solomon Island Ground Boa

Spike - Red Solomon Island Ground Boa

Nexus - Female Solomon Island Ground Boa

"Pretty sure I'm safe in here..."

Axis - Male Solomon Ground Boa

Axis, aka #1 cranky snake!

Sol - Female Solomon Island Ground Boa

Our first SIGB. I swear her nose tip isn't cut off - it's just shadow.

Poirot - Male Solomon Island Ground Boa

His name is "Poirot", and as we speak I am watching Agatha Christie's Poirot on DVD.

Sun - Female Solomon Island Ground Boa

What a pointy face you've got!

Equinox - Female Solomon Island Ground Boa

"Isabel-type", I suppose. I love how this female looks.

Well, that’s the lot of em.  There are a couple more snakes and lizards kicking around the place, but we’ll save those for another day.

Hello and welcome to the very first post at the Candoia.ca blog!

I figured that this would be a good place to post random thoughts and experiences that don’t quite fit into the rather static http://www.candoia.ca website content.

If the website has taught me anything, it’s that there are so many more Candoia folks out there than I originally thought.  I know you’re out there: in Europe, America, Canada – heck, next door, and everywhere else!