My husband and I purchased a house in March and I have converted the second bedroom into a reptile room. We went to Lowe’s and bought some storage racks for the Kritter Keepers and other tanks. Having this room will make life so much easier for me and for the geckos. I have cats and it has always been a challenge to keep them away from the crested geckos. Of course the cats find them quite fascinating so I had to cat-proof every single tank. Now I can just keep the door closed to the room. It’s also going to be much easier to control lighting, temperature, and humidity levels. These pictures show the room shortly after it was set up. I’ve changed it around a bit since then and the empty tanks are no longer empty so I’ll update with new pictures sometime soon.
This year has been an incredible learning experience. It’s amazing how far the hobby/business has come so quickly. Last year (the 2010 season) I only had one pair and really didn’t intend to breed. In fact, when Momma laid her first pair of eggs, I wasn’t even going to incubate them. My husband (who generally is not interested in the geckos) was the one that persuaded me to try. I did some research (well, a ton really and I haven’t stopped since!), set up an incubator, and had a perfect hatch rate. I found great homes for all of the hatchlings and fell in love with the process. Every step was so exciting to me: finding the eggs after she laid them, watching them grow in the incubator, finding the hatchlings, seeing them eat for the first time, and repeat! I still get excited for all of those steps and have been lucky enough to catch the eggs in the process of hatching several times now but nothing compares to all of those firsts.
Because everything went so well that first year, I decided that I would grow a little bit this past year and really make a hobby out of it. I was planning to breed two females so that I would have more eggs but not enough to get overwhelmed. So much for that idea, I went from a maximum of 6-7 geckos at a time last year to over 40 this year! I expected to vend at one reptile expo but I have now vended at four different expos (Portland, Bangor, and NH twice). I made a “Samantha’s Geckos” Facebook page and this website (with a lot of help from my husband) and I’m happy with both. I haven’t been quite as diligent as I’d like to be about updating this website and especially about keeping up with this blog but I’m hoping to improve on that.
My husband and I are in the process of buying a house. As long as everything goes according to plan, the closing date will be mid-March and we’ll be all moved-in by the end of the month. I currently have gecko tanks spread out all over the apartment but in the new house, the geckos will have a room to themselves. I can’t wait to set up a rack system for all of the tanks. It’s going to make life so much easier. Another great thing will be the ability to keep the cats out of the gecko room. I currently have to put a lot of effort into “cat-proofing” everything and I’ve had several close calls anyway. The only problem will be resisting the urge to continue increasing the number of geckos I have once I have the space. My original plan was to reach the size that I’m currently at around the 3rd or 4th season and then not increase further. I have gotten here more quickly than I planned but I wouldn’t change a thing about these last two seasons and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
A couple of weeks ago (on my birthday!) I vended at the Manchester, NH Expo again. This time went much better than last time as I had a lot more experience under my belt. I sold 7 out of 8 geckos that I wanted to sell. I brought 14 but priced 6 of them high because I was hoping to hold on to them for a bit longer and see how they grow (so far, so good!) Several Facebook Fans introduced themselves which was really cool. I also saw plenty of people that I’ve talked to on the Pangea forum.
I shared a table with Patrick from Action Reptiles. He bought some geckos from me before the Portland Expo in December and then offered to share a table with me if I ever wanted to. The tables are pretty expensive at the NH expo so it helps to share with someone. I think his selection of bearded dragons and ball pythons also helped draw people to the table and my big “Samantha’s Geckos” sign helped people notice me. I’m already planning to share a table with him again at the September 2012 NH Expo.
Earlier this month (December 4th, 2011), I vended at the Northeast Reptile Expo in Portland, ME. I had a great time there, it was hands-down the best show I vended so far. I didn’t expect to sell very many geckos at this one because I knew that there were going to be a lot of crested gecko breeders there but I actually did really well and sold almost every gecko that I brought. In total, I sold 14 geckos and did a couple of trades. Of course I had to buy a few as well, haha. Most of the transactions were within the first few hours so I was really busy. I met a ton of people this time and saw quite a few familiar faces. My parents came in to see me (this is the first show that was close enough to home). My mom had a great time but my reptile-hating dad didn’t make it to my table because someone took a 12-foot boa out of its cage at the table next to mine lol.
I was better prepared for this show than I had been for the first two. I remembered to bring my tablecloth this time which helped. I also brought along a couple of medium Kritter Keepers, a large Kritter Keeper, and a 20 gallon vertical tank all set up to demonstrate how to arrange a crested gecko cage. I think having the tanks there helped bring attention to my table and helped people see exactly what they would need to care for an adult crestie. I had a lot of people asking to buy them (they were not for sale) so in the future, I will bring a few of the large Kritter Keeper setups to sell with the hatchlings. I had a few bags of crested gecko diet with me and sold out of it quickly as none of the other breeders were selling food and it’s not available in most pet stores. I already can’t wait for the next show in February!
On October 9th, 2011, I had my first vending experience. I vended at the Manchester, NH Reptile Expo and had a great time. I didn’t sell very many geckos (3 geckos and a couple of bags of crested gecko diet) but I had a great time anyway. It was a good learning experience for me. It was a very large show with over 150 tables. I shared a table with a leopard gecko breeder so I didn’t have very much space. I didn’t have any signage or anything to attract people to my table. The deli cups that my geckos were in were not very good either as they were fairly opaque. I met a lot of other breeders at this show and picked up a nice pinstripe male (Dewey) from one of them.
The following weekend, I vended at the Northeast Reptile Expo in Bangor, ME. This was a much, much smaller show. I had a table to myself this time. I picked up some much clearer deli cups to display the geckos in and my husband and I made a big sign to display on my table. I also had a tablecloth but I forgot it at home so we had to pick up another one when we got there (unfortunately it didn’t match the sign). Here’s a photo of the table I had at the Bangor show.
The first eggs from the Cera and Spot pairing hatched a couple of days ago. They produced two very pretty babies. Both of them are partial pinners and look like they will develop into nice harlequins as they mature. I have no idea yet what color they will be but both parents are a nice yellow color (especially Cera) so I’m hoping they’ll look like mom. I haven’t gotten any good pictures of the second one yet (C2) but here’s a couple pictures of the first one (C1)
In other news, my new red girl (still working on a name, maybe “Salsa”) laid her first pair of eggs for me. One is fertile, the other one doesn’t appear to be at this point, but it can take a few days for evidence (the “magic cheerio”) to show up. They are also stuck to each other. That is a fairly common thing, it just hadn’t ever happened to me yet, so I left them together and I guess we’ll find out how that goes. Wish me luck!
Yesterday, I found a hatchling wandering around my incubator. I got the hatchling, “Gecko 15,” all set up into a kritter keeper and went on with the rest of my day. I got some tanks cleaned, some new cage decorations set up, etc. Here’s a picture of him in the incubator. This guy sure knows how to pose with attitude.
Before bed, I caught Cera laying a pair of eggs. When I went to put them in the incubator, I discovered another little hatchling (“Gecko 16,” the clutchmate of the first guy) wandering around in there. Here he is, so new he hadn’t even had his first shed yet:
So that was my first time having geckos hatch and having more eggs laid in the same day. That brings the total to 30! geckos and 15 eggs for anyone keeping track.
So I found two new eggs from Pumpkin and Zeus the other day. I now have four eggs incubating from that pair and 15 eggs total. I lost one during that super heatwave we had 🙁 I did everything I could but the AC just could not keep up. Thankfully that hard work paid off and the rest of the eggs and all of the geckos made it through.
In other news, I also got a new bird 🙂 I saw an ad for a free green cheek conure that really needed a new home and figured that maybe it could be friends with my green cheek conure (Kiwi). Long story short, the new bird is actually a white eared conure but I took him anyway. He is super cute and seems to be really happy here. I’m so glad we were able to take him in. I’ll try to get some photos when he is more settled in. I have also taken in a couple of cresties that needed homes recently. I guess I’m just a big softie.
I just picked up this beautiful red girl. I can’t wait to see what she produces! She came to me already gravid so all of her eggs this year will have nice little “surprises” in them. Next year, I will breed her to either Zeus or Spot.
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In other news, Momma laid two more eggs for me, bringing my total number of incubating eggs to 14.
A couple of nights ago, I found some eggs from Pumpkin. She bred with Zeus about 5-6 weeks ago. They are her first ever clutch and they look great 🙂 I’m so excited to see what hatches out from those. That brings my total number of eggs to 12 (in addition to my 26 living, breathing geckos!).