Ants only for Desert Horned Lizards?

Discussion in 'General Lizards' started by Tink, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Tink

    Tink Embryo

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    Ya no problem, I have a 20 gallon long critter cage, made by all-glass. The dimensions are 30 x 12 x 12 inches. The tank has an under tank heater to one side (to make a hot and cold side), with hides on both sides. I have a water dish in the middle with a piece of drift wood along the back. Also just to boost my daytime temps I have a heat lamp with a infra red bulb over the hot side. Currently I'm using playground sand as a substrate, but I recently aquired some calci-sand which I'm contemplating putting it in. Also for feeding mealworms I use a little dish which is shallow enough for the lizards to reach in and eat, but deep enough to stop the mealworms from escaping. I also feed them crickets, and really there's no way to harness them from what i can tell. I'm not too fond of the playground sand because it makes them a little dusty and I'm scared of impaction. Hopefully that helps. Oh yah, and the daytime temps can reach up to 105 in my tank. If the tank gets too hot, I simply put more sand on the hot side and the UTH cant heat it up as much (vice versa).
     
  2. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  3. jo_edwards

    jo_edwards Embryo

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    thanks very much
    i am using playsand too. I have been totally warned off calci-sand and personally think it's rubbish. But have a read around the forums before putting it in. It is much much more dusty than playsand as well.

    The hot area is about 100 in my viv. The viv is 36 x 15 x 18. They are on about 1 inch of sand and most of the time they are completely buried under this! And they have a small water dish, small dish with calcium in and a small dish for their food.

    I am now thinking the reason they weren't eating much may have been impaction. It appears that in the past sometime they must have been kept on woodchip (as one passed a piece yesterday).
    I have put up posts on various forums asking for advice regarding this and hopefully i will get them to the vets soon
     
  4. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  5. Tink

    Tink Embryo

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    good luck with that jo_edwards, I have also heard not so great things about the calci sand, and the calci sand I have is white and that does seem to make the lizards look a little bland. For now I'm going to stay with the playground sand and see how that goes. Hopefully that vet can find the solution to your problems.
     
  6. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  7. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

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    Yeah never buy calci-sand for anything unless you're planning on literally making the manufacturer eat it. It'd be worth the jacked up, ripoff price then. That stuff kills hundreds and hundreds of animals a year. Maybe even into the thousands. It's just sad, really.

    Really it's the same for just about every other substrate these greedy, good for nothing, jerks sell to people. Use the washed play sand made for kids. It's much safer than anything made by a reptile manufacturer.
     
  8. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  9. jo_edwards

    jo_edwards Embryo

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    When i first bought calcisand it cost £7 ($12.5?) for a 500g bag
    I have recently bought 100kg of washed childrens playsand for £10
    And when you read all about all the problems god only knows why anyone would buy the stuff anymore.

    I cannot even understand why anyone stocks it. Fair enough the shops make money out of it. But instead they could buy playsand dirt cheap, and bag it into smaller lots and still make loads of money but not be killing all these animals.

    And on a better note, Levi seems much better now. He has been eating really well since he passed the woodchip. Thanks for everyones advice
     
  10. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  11. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

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    Glad Levi is doing better!! I wish I had answers for you about the sand but unfortunately I don't.
     
  12. Tink

    Tink Embryo

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    Ya I work at a pet store, and I never know what to sell people for substrate because I just plain dont like what we have. Some people just end up using marine sand, or riverbed sand. I'd say that most people at work dont even use what we sell. A few people have actually bought bathroom tiles and broken them and put them into marine sand so that just the flat tops are showing. it still gives the reptiles a good surface to walk around on and there's a way less chance of impaction. I know broken tiles seem crazy because of sharp corners, but they have them under the sand just enough so that the corners wont be anything to worry about. They mainly do this for their leopard geckos. I don't know if that description makes any sense but, I tried.
     
  13. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion the smart thing for you to do is recommend no particulate substrates for babies and then go and buy a few bags of washed play sand from your local home improvement store for the older animals. From here you can do a few things. You can mark them up in price and sell them as is, which I'm guessing would still be a heck of a lot cheaper than what's currently on the shelf(imagine when people compare prices which one they're gonna buy). You can break them up and repackage them and sell them in similar quantities you see the manufacturers selling them for(again just compare the prices) or you can put the sand in a bucket with a scoop and sell it by the pound. Whatever marketing you use you're still gonna make money and also keep people from killing their animals with the other junk that's out there. JMHO
     
  14. General48

    General48 Embryo

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    lol yes i remember that show goliath was his name??
     
  15. StockrA

    StockrA Embryo

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    if your getting ant's from your back garden, an easy way to find if ther pesticide free would be to ask your serounding neighbours if they use the stuff, and as long as they dont and you dont it should be fine, a good way to catch em, get a plastic carton, dig a hole in the carton near to a ant path or hive, put suming sweet in ther like suger or choclate, leave it out ther for a bit, just keep cheking and soon it will be swarming with em, or buy a can of coke, dink it leaving slops at the bottom, place it buy the ant's nest and watch the emprty can fill up with em
     
  16. InMauiNow

    InMauiNow Embryo

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    Over the long-haul they will get sick and die. At least according to Herb docs that claim they require formic acid from Harvester Ants to survive in the long run
     
  17. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

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    Really that's what I understood to be the case too. I couldn't remember what the requirement for these guys was with regards to ants but now that you mentioned the formic acid I do remember that's the big problem keeping these guys in captivity. Probably just another way for shops to make money. I mean hey, the animal lasts longer than their animal guarantee so who cares what happens after that.

    Really guys, I think it's fine to care for what you've got but you may want to be real careful about recommending these lizards to anyone or buying any more until you've had yours for over a couple of years without any problems. It's one thing to take an animal and sell it to people giving them the wrong info on how to care for it but it's another to take an animal and sell it when there's no reasonable way to keep it healthy that we know of. That's just plain evil if you ask me. Poor little guys. :)
     
  18. Tink

    Tink Embryo

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    Well for me at least, I fell in love with the little guys. Also I'd rather them come home with me and not with someone who doesn't really know what to do. Hopefully they will last a long time, and we can prove that they survive in captivity. So far so good.
     
  19. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

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    I hope they do survive for a long time and do well in captivity. Please just think before you buy or suggest anyone buy any more. Plus, buying them so they won't go to someone else is not looking at the big picture. If you continue to buy them the stores are going to continue to sell them so that's not the best reason to buy an animal from pet shop. Don't get me wrong, I don't think you should in the least bit be sorry for buying the lizard(s) I'm just saying you might not want to suggest them to anyone else until there's some good evidence they can survive without their normal diet. I wish you and your lizard(s) the best!! :D
     
  20. jo_edwards

    jo_edwards Embryo

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    Since buying my pair of desert horned lizards I have been in contact with a few owners and one breeder of these within the UK. None give them ants and some have had theirs for over 4 years now. There are even some captive bred babies for sale at my local shop now.

    So at least in this country it appears they can do pretty well in captivity without their usual supply of ants. Good news for me and my two littluns

    I am still considering getting some ants every now and again for them. I will do this as often as i can afford to but it works out expensive.
     
  21. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

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    Definitely good news! They are awesome looking lizards and I'd love to have one myself some day.
     
  22. dianedfisher

    dianedfisher Embryo

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    Has anyone researched formic acid to see if it is a component of any other available food sources or supplements? Those are super kewl little dragons and I'd also like to see them grow up healthy. I'm going to do a little research with my Merck chemical manual and post back any info I find. Keep up the good work and post some more pics!
     
  23. dianedfisher

    dianedfisher Embryo

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    Did find some info on formic acid. It is used as a preservative and antibacterial agent in hay and straw stored for livestock feed and as a miticide by beekeppers. It is added to poultry feed to kill salmonella. Some Parrot keepers feed their parrots stinging nettles as a source of formic acid. These nettles also contain 10% protein. Besides it's unique smell and stinging properties, formic acid also has diuretic properties. The sweetener Aspartame also breaks down in the human system within 20 minutes after ingestion to form some formic acid. Formic acid is also known as: hydrogen carboxylic acid and methanoic acid. Maybe adding some nettles to a Horned Dragons diet would provide the necessary formic acid requirements. Good luck with your beautiful little reptiles!
     
  24. jo_edwards

    jo_edwards Embryo

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    wouldn't the other components like 5-HT, acetylcholine and histamine have adverse effects though?

    we have formic acid in our lab. but i wouldn't have a clue how much you would use or how much to dilute it by
     
  25. dianedfisher

    dianedfisher Embryo

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    Good question. My dad (who is the chemist) suggested crushing nettle "juice" into existing food sources. Maybe crickets would consume nettles as part of their greens? I wouldn't even have mentioned it had I not read the article on feeding it to Parrots. Formic acid itself is pretty caustic, nasty stuff, but father mentioned that sodium formate would react with hydrochloric acid (present in the dragons stomach?) to produce formic acid internally. I certainly wouldn't risk the health of my little dragons, but I think the nettle juice or nettle gutload would be safe methods to introduce a little formic acid into the diet without risk to either owner or dragon, if it becomes apparent that it's necessary. Formic acid was pretty interesting-it is the "venom" in most stinging insects and evidently ants use it to create "trails" to food sources, sort of as a marking agent. Good luck! I'm looking forward to seeing some pictures.
     

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