My dogs!

Cocoa, the little one.  Pura Vida- Cocoa was a stray dog I found on the beach in a remote part of Costa Rica. Remote even by Costa Rican standards!   I'm talking where the two track came out of the jungle on the Pacific Ocean remote.  Cocoa is such a mixmaster that when I had her DNA tested most of it came out in such low percentages no breed was conclusive and 25% of her DNA didn't even match ANYTHING!  Ha!  Love it. 

KC- our black and white AmStaff.  My good ole' boy.  KC was a shelter pull from Fremont, California.  One big muscle, but so gentle.  He was three when he came to us- already trained, mellow and just a cool boy.

Brooklyn, my mini-mastiff.  She is half bullmastiff, and the other half is English mastiff and... Boston Terrier with a touch of AMStaff.  Yep.  Boston Terrier.  She is only 9 months old but I think she will only get to 70-75lbs.  Such a sweetie, and smart as a whip.  Too smart!  She has also reminded me that I don't ever need to have a puppy again.  Full of beans.

San Luis Potosi Kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana mexicana.

I was wandering around the internet one day and came across these gorgeous gray and red snakes that come fromthe state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico.

For a common snake with this much beauty they were surprising hard to come by.  I finally found a female from a breeder off Fauna Classifieds and than found a completely unrelated male from BHB.

They are a really easy snake to keep.  They feed beautifully on frozen thawed and fresh kill mice and rat pups.  They want lower temps than my ball pythons but I find they do great in the very bottom level of my caging system- temperatures are just a little lower just off the floor of the snake room. 

I'm pretty happy with these gorgeous little gems!  Honestly I don't understand why they aren't more popular in the hobby!  Easy care, and they have a beautiful, unique look very different from most of the rest of the king snake/milk snake family.

Honduran Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis.

I named him Snakey Snake!  This is the guy who sucked me back into keeping snakes a decade ago.  I walked into the East Bay Vivarium looking for a Sinaloan Milk Snake and walked out with a Honduran Milk instead.  I just liked him.  Big, beautiful and active.  He burrows most of the year in his substrate.  But every spring he first goes on a hunger strike and than he wanders around his vivarium looking for the ladies.  I've never had a lady for him though.  Poor guy. 

In the second photo, that is Snakey Snake hunting!  As a hatchling and a youngster he would eat whenever I fed him.  At 4-5 years of age he started to eat on his schedule, not mine.  So now I wait until he displays hunger behavior to feed him. 

He shows me he is ready to eat by burrowing completely into his substrate and sticking just the end of his nose out.  You would never know that tiny head had a 5 foot body attached to it!  The bedding is an unscented, chemical and dye free paper animal bedding.  Its easy to clean and he loves to burrow in it.

Burmese Star Tortoise, Geochelone platynota.

I really wanted to get a tortoise for a long time.   After a bunch of research, and lots of wandering around the internet and Youtube, I settled on the Burmese Star as a species I wanted to work with.  They are a dry grassland species, which works well with the area I live in.  They don't get particularly large, eat grasses and weeds that are easy to come by, and their overall care is not particularly intense. 

More importantly, they are species that is need of captive breeding.

Functionally extinct in the wild because of the Chinese food and traditional medicine trade combined with Myanmar having a dysfunctional government, Burmese Stars are in need of captive breeding to prevent total extinction.  

Burmese Stars have not been imported as pets into the US in decades, so what animals we have in the US are all we have.  The good news is the species is being bred very successfully by both professional zoos and captive breeders alike.    The more common they become the more likely the species will survive.  They are a species I feel is worth the time and effort to breed and care for.

I picked up a temperature sexed male and female pair with unrelated parents from Chris Leon of Garden State Reptiles.   So far they have been highly entertaining, incredibly interesting little guys.  Talk about a long term breeding project: it will be 5-7 years before I can even attempt breeding them. 

 

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A Boa named Monkey! Boa constrictor constrictor.

In 2014 I picked up this gorgeous gal from my friend Brian Gundy.   She is my only boa and easily my largest snake.  I dig her!  Mellow, easy going and just gorgeous.   She is in a 48" x 24" by 18" AP vivarium with a shelf.  She used the shelf a lot when she was smaller but now that she is a full sized gal she seldom does more that drape her head on it.

I wanted a a jungle looking vivarium for her but I found she seemed to shove everything into a corner.  So now she is on coconut husk with a couple of hides and a couple of cool rocks for cover.  That seems to make her happy and honestly, its easier to clean.

Cool fact for people not familiar with Boas, they have a squarish/rectangle body shape rather than the round or oval shape of a python.  In the photo below you can see the "flat" side.  I'm feeding her rats, and she would easily overeat if I let her.

Super Dwarf Retics, Reticulated python.

I love retics but I just don't have room for a 15-19 foot snake.  So I picked up a pure super dwarf kalatoa retic in 2014 from Travis Kubes. 

She is awesome but feisty.  She may not ever be a giant snake but she is still a serious girl.  At two and a half years old she is 1300 grams with a body much more like a bull snake or a rat snake than a python.  Long and slender rather than short and chunky.  She is immensely strong, really quick, and really smart compared to a ball python and her feeding response is impressive.  

Behaviorally, she is very aware of her surroundings.  I keep her in a 36" x 24" by 18"  Boaphile at chest height, and she is always watching when I come into the snake room.  She will even move to the front of the cage to keep watching me as I move around. 

I love her activity level, she is easily the most interesting snake I have from a behavior perspective.

I also have just picked up a hatchling male pure Kalatoa.  I've only had him since early in February, 2017 so I just don't know him well yet.  He is tiny- 52 grams and about as thick around as Sharpy marker.  He is really dark with cool rosettas down his sides.

 2014 Female SD Kalatoa

2014 Female SD Kalatoa

 Hatchling Male SD Kalatoa, January 2017 baby.

Hatchling Male SD Kalatoa, January 2017 baby.

Corn Snake, Pantherophis guttatus.

I have a single corn snake, a scaleless girl.  She is feisty and when she wants to eat her feeding response is on par with my retics!  Good thing her mouth is so tiny.   She is the first corn snake I have ever had.  I just liked how the scaleless pattern looked. 

For those of you with no experience with a scaleless corn, they actually have belly scales and they still shed.  When she sheds what comes off is a silky tube.  Is she at a disadvantage not having scales?  In my opinion she isn't.  She is a happy, well fed, pet snake.  Not a wild snake.  She eats fresh kill or frozen thawed mice and is in no danger from mouse teeth.  She eats very aggressively, and would eat much more than is healthy for her if I let her.  You can see a shed and her belly scales in the second photo.

As a hatchling she would vibrate her tail to mimic a rattlesnake, a very cool behavior.  I may pick up another corn at some point and breed them.  I think corns have some awesome color morphs- peppermint, and the blood red pied being two I like.  And the Palmetto Corn- if you found a ball python that looked like a Palmetto? Dude.....

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Shed!