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Discussion Starter #1
I'm the type of person who likes to be doing multiple things at once. The previous three years of college I NEEDED to take care of something that wasn't a plant, so I got my Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. When I started traveling I donated them to a local science teacher at an elementary school. When I recently contacted him he told me the kids still love them and drop in salad leaves for them, and the colony is thriving (bit out of control actually).

Now I've got Soro which is the best thing ever! But if possible I'd like to add a pet I can watch, if that makes sense. For Soro, I'm either interacting with him or he's sleeping or chewing something, and that's fine for 2-4 hours of my day. But as much as I love him, watching him sleep is not too exciting (until he starts snuffling :D).

My issues are:
-cost
-not knowing where I'll be in a year
-the two are related because if I knew I could keep something long term I'd be willing to spend a larger amount initially.

I'm not the type of person who buys animals impulsively and throws them away when they become inconvenient. However, my one caveat to that is insects: I'm not afraid to cull them. If no one would have adopted my Hissers I was going to kill them by freezing. I love insects but not on an emotional level. Yet for the time I had them, they got fresh greens, higher quality dog food than what Soro gets, carbs, fresh fruit, and treats like carrots and other veggies. I swear you've never seen shinier roaches in your life.

So I'm thinking of either getting roaches again (I'm pretty sure my Entomology professor would let me have or borrow some from his colony), or breeding crickets again or something. I was looking into tarantulas because my roommate loves them too, but they live a long time. Something that eats crickets would be fun, so I can rear both at the same time :) But maybe I should just stick to a few insects.

Thoughts? Or suggestions on a suitable pet, if I should even get something else. I imagine some people might be against my idea that disposing of insects is okay.
 

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Crested geckos!

They're cute - eyelashes and neat colors. They are happy at room temperature and don't need special lighting. If you spend time they are good about being handled too. They are quiet and easy to deal with, if you're going away for a weekend you can drop in a container of crickets and mist the tank and then fill a drip container and they're fine.

I've read they will make noises but ours don't, other than jumping around at night with the odd 'thud' on the glass. We started with one, adopted two more and then the first one wasn't doing well with those two so he went to a friend's place and all three are alive and well 4 years later. The one that left did escape for about three days, then appeared out of the vent one day, picked him up and put him right back and he was fine.

You can't keep more than one male with females and they will breed and you can run into issues with that, but several males that grow up together do just fine. You can get them in different colours too.

Lana
 

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I had some giant African land snails.

They were fun and pretty interesting actually.

They are also thriving at my aunts school and are huge now.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh those are CUTIES! I had a friend who had one or two... I hear fruit is the main part of their diet? My friend's was just a wee baby at the time and she had to let it lick some pre-mixed fruit smoothie thing from a spoon! (SUPER CUTE). She said when it got older she could give it fruit pieces, but then there's the issue of removing uneaten bits?

You've got me thinking about reptiles though. I *might* be able to get a simple one and bring it home during breaks; my brother has an Anole so buying crickets and stuff is regular business at home. And while I'm at college I can raise my own crickets. I'd have to talk to my bro/mom, because if I have to leave another animal at home they'll be watching it for me, but there's an idea!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I had some giant African land snails.

They were fun and pretty interesting actually.

They are also thriving at my aunts school and are huge now.
I just looked them up. Fascinating! I'll be reading more... They seem easier than roaches!


EDIT: They're illegal in the US?!
 

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You can get 'crested gecko diet' which is a powdered, complete food. I haven't seen it lately here so I just give them a bit of fruit along with their crickets dusted in calcium. You can use baby food for the fruit too, just they don't eat a whole jar of it fast enough so you have to freeze it (dump the jar into a sandwich bag, remove the air and freeze, it's thin enough to break off frozen bits).

If you leave the fruit in there forever you'll get flies and bugs, but usually I just take the dish out in the morning if they've had fruit and stick it in the dishwasher or rinse it. Usually I don't give them enough that there is a bunch left over - about a half teaspoon or so seems the right amount.

Lana
 

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I think land hermit crabs are pretty awesome. They aren't as low-maintenance as some people think (throw 'em in a Kritter Killer with dry sand? Noooooo!), but once you have the habitat established they really need very little attention. And you can leave them for a weekend with no trouble. And if you ever had a hankering for a shell collection, it gives you an excuse to indulge. . .:p.

Leopard Geckos and Uromastyx are also pretty easy lizards.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have decided on a Leopard Gecko and have been reading forums and caresheets (and contacted a breeder/seller) for the last few hours.
But the most important thing is I need to call the folks at home to see if they'd be willing to take them if I happen to travel in the future. Otherwise, crickets, roaches and supplements for 20 years sounds like an easy peasy task compared to 2+ hours of physical exercise a day ;)

So *hopefully* this will work out! And if not, I'll just go back to having crickets and roaches for fun!

(the snails would have been a done deal for me if only they were legal!!!)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Guinea pigs are fun. Not sure if Soro would try to eat them though.
HAHAAA! Thanks, but I think I'm good on the mammal front for now ;)
I'm pretty sure if need be Soro would be okay with one, other than some initial sniffs. But my roommate's dog is the one I'd worry about. And for some reason, I consider guinea pigs high maintenance.... I'm weird.
 

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What about corn snakes? I LOVED my corn snake that I owned when I was a kid. They do have a long lifespan though if that's too much of a commitment (Like 20 years). But they're really low maintenance and wonderful pets. You only have to feed them once every few weeks (more often like once a week when they're young, though) and their tanks require minimal equipment: Under tank heater, thermometer, substrate, water bowl, hiding places, secure lid, and that's about it. If you want to get fancy decorating their tanks you definitely can, but I know of people who have made homemade decorations for their tanks that are very cheap and practical. They're also more interactive than you'd expect. I used to take my snake out every day and handle her and let her curl up in my hand while I watched TV and stuff. They just can't be handled right after they're fed, though. And it's very important that you get a secure lid because they're escape artists!

I just thought I'd mention corn snakes as an option for you to consider since you're interested in getting a reptile. I haven't owned lizards before, but I'd think that a snake would be much lower maintenance. And maybe I'm biased but I think they're cooler, too, lol! They get like 4 or 5 feet long, and they come in about a MILLION different colors, too. I lost my snake in a tragic accident when I was a kid but she was one of my favorite pets and I would love to get another snake some time!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What about corn snakes? I LOVED my corn snake that I owned when I was a kid. They do have a long lifespan though if that's too much of a commitment (Like 20 years). But they're really low maintenance and wonderful pets. You only have to feed them once every few weeks (more often like once a week when they're young, though) and their tanks require minimal equipment: Under tank heater, thermometer, substrate, water bowl, hiding places, secure lid, and that's about it. If you want to get fancy decorating their tanks you definitely can, but I know of people who have made homemade decorations for their tanks that are very cheap and practical. They're also more interactive than you'd expect. I used to take my snake out every day and handle her and let her curl up in my hand while I watched TV and stuff. They just can't be handled right after they're fed, though. And it's very important that you get a secure lid because they're escape artists!

I just thought I'd mention corn snakes as an option for you to consider since you're interested in getting a reptile. I haven't owned lizards before, but I'd think that a snake would be much lower maintenance. And maybe I'm biased but I think they're cooler, too, lol! They get like 4 or 5 feet long, and they come in about a MILLION different colors, too. I lost my snake in a tragic accident when I was a kid but she was one of my favorite pets and I would love to get another snake some time!
:O No basking lamps?! I don't know why, but heating pads I'm alright with dealing with, lights not so much (maybe because of past experiences of having to buy the right one(s), timers for when we were away, etc). Or maybe it's just the light itself that bothers me, who knows... Either way, that's definitely a draw for me!

Unfortunately, I just talked to my mom tonight and she firmly will not take any more pets. FIRMLY. And this isn't some little-kid version of me begging for a pet. This is two mature adults, one asking, "I'd like to add another animal, but I was wondering if you could look after it if I happen to travel?" And the answer was no. So I guess I might just get some crickets, or borrow roaches from the Bio department.

But THANKS EVERYONE for the suggestions! I've looked up all the animals people have suggested and definitely have a mental list ready for a time when I will be able to take on another living creature!
 

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Have you thought about a betta fish or an aquarium with just snails/shrimp? You could keep a pretty small tank with those and once it's cycled all it would need is a weekly water change. You could get a 5 gallon tank with a filter and heater, some gravel and fake or live plants and you're good to go. They can go without eating for several days as well, if you need to be gone for like no more than a week with no one to help while you're gone.
 

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Have you thought about a betta fish or an aquarium with just snails/shrimp? You could keep a pretty small tank with those and once it's cycled all it would need is a weekly water change. You could get a 5 gallon tank with a filter and heater, some gravel and fake or live plants and you're good to go. They can go without eating for several days as well, if you need to be gone for like no more than a week with no one to help while you're gone.
Can you keep snails and shrimp together successfully? I thought shrimp required soft water and snails required hard water? Maybe I'm wrong?

But I have 3 ghost shrimp with my betta and they're just awesome! I love watching them and their little antics. I also found out that two of them are female and one is male, so they've become gravid but haven't successfully hatched any baby shrimps (Probably because of my betta, lol!) but breeding shrimp might be a fun hobby since you can keep a lot of them in a small space. Also they're a lot like insects now that I think about it!
 

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Can you keep snails and shrimp together successfully? I thought shrimp required soft water and snails required hard water? Maybe I'm wrong?

But I have 3 ghost shrimp with my betta and they're just awesome! I love watching them and their little antics. I also found out that two of them are female and one is male, so they've become gravid but haven't successfully hatched any baby shrimps (Probably because of my betta, lol!) but breeding shrimp might be a fun hobby since you can keep a lot of them in a small space. Also they're a lot like insects now that I think about it!
You most definitely can keep them together. Don't quote me on this but I think they actually both prefer hard water because it's good for their exoskeletons/shells but really that isn't very important for most aquatic animals. All except the most sensitive creatures will adapt to whatever ph your water is, so long as it stays relatively stable, which it will naturally unless you add buffers and things. Which you shouldn't do without a darn good reason because it complicates things. Bettas prefer soft water but ours is like 7.5 and it's no problem at all.

But yeah, I LOVE shrimp, and if I can't get a hold of some cherry shrimp soon I'm getting some feeder ghost shrimp, which are readily available in my area. I think ghost shrimp actually have a weird life cycle that involves brackish. So like nerite snails they do just fine in freshwater but can't produce without the introduction of some saltwater (which wouldn't probably be worth the hassle to do). Or they can reproduce technically but the young don't survive. Or something like that. Anyway, if you want to breed shrimp cherry shrimp are where it's at. :) They are very prolific and all freshwater.
 

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That's good to know about shrimps and snails!

Actually I'm pretty sure you don't need brackish water to breed ghost shrimp.

There is a common misconception that the Grass Shrimp requires brackish water in order to breed successfully. This is untrue as freshwater is just fine for breeding. I believe that some people think that this species requires brackish water because it has a larval stage in the breeding process. Larval stage meaning that the shrimplets hatch from the egg before being fully developed. Other shrimp such as the Red Cherry Shrimp fully develop inside of the egg and when hatched they are small versions of the adults.
http://www.planetinverts.com/ghost_glass_grass_shrimp.html

I believe that the reason why my shrimp have been unsuccessful is because both females are very young. Only one has been gravid so far but would gradually drop eggs until they were all gone (and probably eaten by my betta after they fell off). But I've read that it's not uncommon for a young shrimp to drop her eggs during her first pregnancy. The other female shrimp has not gone gravid so far but her saddle is ginormous and she looks like she's about to explode, lol!

When one female that is able to hatch her eggs we'll see if the baby shrimp survive... Apparently a lot of them die because they starve. The shrimp larvae eat a kind of bacteria that eats plant matter, so in a planted tank they should be able to find enough food (My tank has a ton of plants in it now!). IF they don't get eaten by my betta or the other shrimp, lol! I really don't mind though if the shrimp larvae get eaten though.

This is a really great site about all sorts of invertebrates including both snails and shrimps. BTW, those blue tiger shrimps are amazing!!
http://www.planetinverts.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I LOVE aquariums! But water balance is something beyond me and I would preferably only have the hardiest of aquatic critters! That, or a tank of pirahnas 8)
Bettas are something I've considered, but the thought of having to transport a container of water is not fun... and I know for sure I will be making at least two 800 mile drives the end of this year. It might not be too hard to find a betta sitter though... Hmm...

But anyways, I have FANTASTIC NEWS. Originally I emailed a person on craigslist who has 4 juvenile Leopard Geckos, but after the conversation with my folks I sent him another email thanking him for the information but declining his offer because I have no clue where I'll be after college...
Well, this person is okay with me fostering one of his Leos! He said I don't even need to pay up front, and if in May I decide to keep him I can pay then. So YAY! I WILL be getting a Leopard Gecko! EXCITED!!!!


(And just for the record, I found this person to be a responsible owner. He wasn't throwing his animals out or anything, but he'd like to make some room to expand into other reptiles. In his description he wrote he wouldn't sell to anyone without proof of all the necessities to properly care for the animal, he wants monthly updates from me, and with all his animals he asks his clients to return to him first if they need to rehome or get rid of an animal they purchased from him.)
 

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If you are into creepy crawlies, how about emperor scorpions? They are sort of cool. Especially with a black light.
 

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How about an iguana. They are vegetarian so I don't think food for them will be an issue. I don't know how much they cost where yu live but where I'm from you can can get one for around 200-300 dollars. But you can't have any bad history with other animals or they won't let you adopt anything. Period. I had one named Oscar. He was fun. I had had him for about 6 years but I don't know how old he was when I got him.
 
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