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!
I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
Hi I have 2 4in juveniles (I’ve had them about 2 weeks and they are doing well I think they’ve grown a little already honestly) but I am supposed to go on a 5-6 day vacation in October about 3-4 months from now. I am wondering how I should go about their care when I am gone. I thought about putting them in separate (fairly big) containers with live plants and/or bubblers with a fan in the dark and either fridging them (my last plan) but I am hoping to to either have someone I trust come feed them and turkey baste waste out or just leave them out and clean the containers before we leave and have someone come check on them once or twice. Does any of this sound like a good or bad idea? I want the best for them. All help appreciated
Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master kit and everything else’s test results were great besides ammonia. I did a 50% water change and I use API products including ammonia lock.
Help! I got my first axolotl two days ago and they have stopped eating. They ate a few frozen blood worms the first day and haven’t eaten or been interested in food since. I feed them frozen blood worms and the tank is around 64 degrees. I do have a filter that moves sometimes and I noticed them swimming up to it, I have a new filter and a fan coming today or tomorrow. I leave the worms in the tank or a little bit before taking them out so I don’t know if they ate when I wasn’t looking. I know it takes a while for them to digest. Does anyone have any tips or knowledge they can share? The pet store I bought them from didn’t have gravel or sand in the tank so I’m not sure if theres an issue or if I’m just impatient. Thank you!
@MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head away ( that's what mine do) if that does not work try to get some live brine shrimp and see if they eat that. baby axolotl prefer live food over frozen food as the frozen food is too cold for them or they can't eat it in one go( that's if you do the blocks) mine eat chopped up frozen thawed shrimp. as for them not eating from what I have experienced with my second axolotl, I got her when she was about an inch long and she ate every day, when they start getting 3-4 inches long they will gradually slow down there eating. and if you really want to do substrate I would do sand because if they do ingest a little bit it won't hurt them.
Thank you so much for the information and advice! They are eating again, they ate a lot today. I think it might have been stress from the move or digesting old food, I also noticed they ate some of the food left in the tank (I removed the rest). I’m going to keep the tank bare bottom.