Very true article. I've been fighting this syndrome the last year or so, when my collection swelled uncontrollably to over 40 species.
I now have a far more manageable 22, and will have it down to 15 or so by summer.
Good article...been there and will always be tempted to return. I always have downsize periodically to make room to another species. Having friends in this husbandry helps finding good homes for your pets and providing homes for the ones your friends need to part with.
As you all know I have to periodically downsize because my collection is like a YO-YO. It get too big and out of control especially with the amphibians then I downsize then something new comes around and then it grows again until I get overwhelmed and then downsize again. The large lizards I keep seem to never make me overwhelmed because if I miss a cleaning, they are fine. I miss a cleaning with the amphibs, they could die and thats stressfull.
Yes the collection mentality is part of the human condition. Things you can do to curb the unrealistic side of what can turn out to be an obsession
1) Think in terms of collecting knowledge-IE Less species -more knowledge- of captive requirements,strange behaviours,natural habitats.Read abstracts, collect books.
2)- define your area of interest-mine is geckos and newts-although I would also consider captive bred seahorses and tortoises-small ones.
Your area may be small species-Ie orientalis,dwarf geckos,padlopper tortoises if you like to go outside the caudates.
Bizarre species*- Olm,hellbender etc or perhaps
specific Alpine species or tropical species within certain Geographical limits-could keep temperature requirements manageable.*Only if legal of course.
Species in one colour, or only strange coloured specimens-this could be expensive.
Rare species that desperately need to be captive bred-consultation with animal breeding centers etc could provide more outlets for collection of knowledge.
3) take up subsidiary interests such as photography-IE keep a few herps then document them superbly using macro and high res photography-collect/trade the images. Most of us are doing this via the internet.
Above all think about the ethics and consequences of keeping any animal in captivity and develop empathy for their needs. Every mistake should hurt,every loss should make you think-am I satisfying this species needs? Can I improve its husbandry? Relate the species to ecology in general-IE resist the temptation to collect an animal regardless of the legal status or codition of the local environment. The many problems amphibians face could possibly be resolved in forums like this- IE what we are doing- collecting and generating shared knowledge.
Just clarifying that the above list was a fantasy list-I am not sure of the legality of keeping padloper tortoises-Just found out that apparently tortoises require licenses now in NZ-might be due to the diseases associated with them. I read an exceptionally interesting book called Plague of Frogs -for those interested in amphibian decline and deformities.I am convinced myself that it is a complex problem initiated by a decline in ozone-NZ has a 12.5% higher UV level and our primitive montane frog species (Leiopelma) are now succumbing to the chytrid fungus
I have a collection that I am just managing. I have dart frogs mostly, but also a not insignificant number of other herps (axies, geckos, chameleons, assorted frogs and toads) and mammals (rats, mice, dogs). I used to work at a pet store and built up my collection over time. I knew what I was getting into with each addition. However, I spend a lot more time raising or preparing food items, especially fruit flies (I am up to 24 large cultures per week), than daily maintanance. That's really saying something. I have daily and weekly checklists to make sure everybody gets the care they need. Things are going well and many critters are reproducing. However, my enthusiasm for getting more animals, other than mates for existing ones, is minimal.
Fortunately, my other half loves the animals... but now he has "the bug" and wants to get more. I basically am drawing a line at existing animals unless he does a reasonable share of the work. So far, all he does is dog stuff and misting... sometimes
I work full time and I now have very little time that is not devoted to my job or my animals. I shouldered the resposibility for all current critters, but I am not going to dig a grave for my sanity or my "babies" by getting any more and exceeding my abilities.
By the way, if you keep darts, please respond to my post in the Other Amphibs section
Great article...very helpful as I have an addiction myself, and recently bought an amelanistic (did I spell that right?
) corn snake that I have yet to break the news about to my boyfriend... Every time I go in the pet store I want to take another animal home with me after seeing them in such miserable housing situations, and I always fall in love with a fish or reptile before I leave. The crickets/pinkies are the bait...they know I'll spend more money!
My axie is acting woerd he was a rescue as stated in a different post he got better and now seems to be deteriorating again...again all tank conditions are OK and as should be. He seems to have some black dapple like pattern under his bottom lip? Is that normal? And his two back feet have a little wierd growth? Almost? Tiny tiny tiny lump. His capillaries in his feathers also appear darker and more visible. Any help would be appreciated
Hi...I used to have a Doctor Fish business...I closed about 3 years ago, but still have lots of big, chunky filtration rocks (lava) how could I clean a few of these to use with my Lottie, please? Would they help or hinder overall tank health? don't want to cause her any problems...love my girl to bits!! many thanks in advance. xx