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  • chahouas and calcium

    Some thought's I have had rolling around in my head for a while...
    Back when I talked to Steve about the humidity issues with chahouas based on the fact that chewies don't bury their eggs and we surmised that chahouas must frequent places that are more humid than say cresteds. We talked about how close they or their territory must be to the waters edge. Maybe laying their eggs in the base of plants along the shoreline or atleast closer to the water which would make the surrounding air more humid. So that all clicked in and made sense to me as far as humidity.
    I have had conversations with Steve and others about the calcium toll that egg laying has on the females. I saw it for myself when Daisy laid her eggs on the 1st of July. Her tail had gotten kinky by the time she laid them so I knew producing them was using up a lot of her reserves. It didn't take long with added calcium to get her back to completley normal but it got me to thinking what we may be missing in the diet of these wonderful creatures. I know Steve has some big healthy beautiful animals. I have seen them with my own eyes but he said that most if not all of his females get a kinky tail during egg production and he has to work at getting them back to normal. I doubt this happens as much if at all in the wild.

    Captive animals have what we give them to eat and even though it has been researched to come very close to a balanced diet for them it cannot be as complete as it is in their native habitat. Animals and even humans that are in touch with their environment know what to eat and when it benifits them most. As an example Native Americans would eat large amounts of the plant wood sorrel in the spring as it is loaded with vitamin C that they needed badly after the winter. (It's great on spring salads as it has a tangy lemon taste!) Animals even more than humans know what they need to eat at different times of their growth and development and during breeding season.

    Now I am going to make some assumptions here so follow with me for a minute. Ok assumption #1 chahouas territory maybe closer to the waters edge atleast during breeding season. Assumption #2 maybe female's continue to guard their eggs for an extended time. Breeders don't know how long she will protect the eggs because we pull them. So.....what would be closer to the water, on the underside of leaves and plants closer to the edge for her to eat while she is protecting her eggs and would be loaded with calcium? The answer I came up with is snails!! I know there have been musings about certain leachies eating more crustaceans based on snout length so to me this leap made perfect sense.

    Now the problem I have run into is finding a good feeder source. I had located a website that sold living small land snails for classrooms to observe but the availability of them kept getting pushed back and now it appears as if they won't have them at all.
    Snails are tricky to get because some kinds are considered such high farm pests that they are illegal to get with out a USDA permit and some kinds not even with a permit. (Such as the giant african land snails that get hugh and make cool pets but cannot be imported to the USA at all!) These wouldn't work for chewies anyway because they get to big.
    But the smaller helix kind I found on this website I believe would have worked and I was going to order and try them. I was planning on raising my own batch from the original as they are easy to breed and make sure that they weren't exposed to anything bad and only fed organic foods. States like CA WA they (the snails) have already established themselves there but you can't ship them to states where they have not naturalized. So I am back to square one in locating them. I did think of maybe going to the ocean here in VA or MA and trying to find some but I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to use them as feeders until I had raised up atleast a few generations.
    So what do you think of my mad ramblings????? I have talked about this many times with Micheal here from Pangea. I would like this section to really delve into thoughts about keeping, feeding, breeding chahouas to the best of our ability, and at times maybe thinking outside the box. As well as lots of beautiful pictures of everyones animals!!!
    Last edited by laura; 07-28-2010, 04:08 PM.
    Specializing in R. Chahoua

  • #2
    Your "ramblings" make complete sense to me. I too over on this side of the border have difficulty finding feeder-worthy snails. The key with them is to get them shelled, so while you can get the canned snails that zoomed produces, they are de-shelled. Another option that I have been thinking about trying is sow bugs.

    I have a colony of them that i've been raising and breeding for the better part of a year and i'm tempted to see if some of my Chewies will take them.
    I have a colony because I include them in all of my tanks along with small landsnails and red wigglers. They all act as detrivores and help keep the substrate clean but provide a "living" environment.

    The benefits of sow bugs is that they are a crustacean (sp?) and are soft shelled, but are very high in calcium. Just my thoughts anyways.

    I love this new seperate Chahoua section as well, thanks Matt!

    Thanks for sharing your ramblings Laura
    http://thegeckotree.com/ - Health, Colour, Structure Visit us today! (:
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    Gargoyle Geckos -Crested Geckos - Leachianus - Chahoua - Tarantulas - Nephrurus - African Fat Tails

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    • #3
      I had thought about sow bugs or pill bugs but here is why I decided against it. They are a clean up crew, eating poop and other nasties, mold and such, right? Where snails eat living plants. This could be my own issue, like I won't eat cat fish and bottom dweller cleaner fish and crustaceans because of what they eat. I know the world needs clean up crews but....ewwww. Really don't want to eat the poop of other creatures.





      Originally posted by StickyFeet. View Post
      Your "ramblings" make complete sense to me. I too over on this side of the border have difficulty finding feeder-worthy snails. The key with them is to get them shelled, so while you can get the canned snails that zoomed produces, they are de-shelled. Another option that I have been thinking about trying is sow bugs.

      I have a colony of them that i've been raising and breeding for the better part of a year and i'm tempted to see if some of my Chewies will take them.
      I have a colony because I include them in all of my tanks along with small landsnails and red wigglers. They all act as detrivores and help keep the substrate clean but provide a "living" environment.

      The benefits of sow bugs is that they are a crustacean (sp?) and are soft shelled, but are very high in calcium. Just my thoughts anyways.

      I love this new seperate Chahoua section as well, thanks Matt!

      Thanks for sharing your ramblings Laura
      Specializing in R. Chahoua

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      • #4
        Lol, I definately hear your point, eating poop eaters might not be a delicious meal..at all.

        We usually put carrots, potatos and lettuce/kale/choy etc whatever we basically have that is on it's way to the bad side and toss that in there with them too and they chow down like crazy on that.
        http://thegeckotree.com/ - Health, Colour, Structure Visit us today! (:
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        Gargoyle Geckos -Crested Geckos - Leachianus - Chahoua - Tarantulas - Nephrurus - African Fat Tails

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        • #5
          I'd be thrilled to learn if you guys have success with new feeders. I do agree the crash is always seems fairly hard.
          2.3.10 R.ciliatus
          2.2.0 R.auriculatus
          4.4.1 R.sarasinorum
          8.10.3 R.chahoua (PI)
          1.2.0 R.chahoua (GT)

          www.JollyGreenGecko.com

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          • #6
            I really wish I could go to New Caledonia. This is what one site said about it.
            "New Caledonia is surrounded by the world's largest enclosed lagoon, where marine treasures of all shapes and sizes lie waiting to be discovered - canyons and caves, exquisite coral, the smallest of tropical fish, turtles, sea snakes and sharks. Dolphin and whale spotting are other delights in store, or simply the luxury of total relaxation on the soft, warm sand of a deserted isle."

            So with that in mind maybe it is some other small crustacean that moves faster like a newborn crab. That was always the thing about snails that threw a fly in the ointment of my theory is how slow most snails move. Sometimes even with dubias I have to poke the roaches and get them moving faster to catch the attention and hunting instinct of the chewies. I don't know....can you tell I obsess over them a little?
            Specializing in R. Chahoua

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            • #7
              When I tried snails (canned and de-shelled) A couple of my Gargs ate them furiously, the Cresteds had no idea what was going on, My yearling Leachie girls were sleeping and not impressed with being bothered lol, and it seemed to catch all of my Chewies attention (except Kirby aka Chewmonster, because can be a dink). Veruca took a couple licks and decided she wanted nothing else to do with it, but Kalosis took HUGE sniffs for about a minute, then licked, quirked his head and then nommed. I haven't tried them since but I'm thinking that it may have been the smell that attracted them.

              Laura, I wish I could go to New Caledonia too. Even just to sit in a shrub in silence just to watch lol I think that would be pretty amazing.

              I'm thinking hatchling and juvenile land crabs might have been on the menu too though.
              http://thegeckotree.com/ - Health, Colour, Structure Visit us today! (:
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              Gargoyle Geckos -Crested Geckos - Leachianus - Chahoua - Tarantulas - Nephrurus - African Fat Tails

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              • #8
                Great thread! I thought I'd throw in that The Herpetofauna of New Caledonia (by, Aaron Bauer and Ross Sadlier) does say that R. chahoua are often found in close proximity to rivers and streams.
                Last edited by MHGeckos; 07-28-2010, 07:11 PM.

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                • #9
                  how about trying water snails. The ones you often find in aquariums? I would think if you went to several fish stores, look at the live plants, you could find some. Keep a nice planted tank and they should breed like crazy. Just put some in a bowl for the chewies and maybe they will eat them
                  Roxanne
                  and the zoo
                  www.geckoluv.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rhatfield View Post
                    how about trying water snails. The ones you often find in aquariums? I would think if you went to several fish stores, look at the live plants, you could find some. Keep a nice planted tank and they should breed like crazy. Just put some in a bowl for the chewies and maybe they will eat them
                    I ran this through my head too, but worried about Ick treatment, copper, chemicals and such that is in most pet store water. Because your right water snails are easy to find but I don't know that I would be as comfortable trying the ones that always live in water next to land based snails that have higher calcium in their shells (shells are thicker on landbased snails from what I have read.)
                    Specializing in R. Chahoua

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                    • #11
                      I'm in the midst of a lot of research on the nutritional content on various feeders, but it seems like earthworms and nightcrawlers are extremely high in calcium. I will report my findings a bit later, hopefully in an organized chart.
                      Charming Chewies: Specializing in Grand Terre and Pine Isle locales of chahoua.

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                      • #12
                        This will be great to have Micheal, keep us posted. I did try phoenix worms but they were so small and didn't move a whole lot and really didn't grab the attention of the chahouas. Has anyone tried earth worms or night crawlers. I am thinking the crawlers would have to be cut to a smaller size I have seen hugh ones of those!
                        Specializing in R. Chahoua

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                        • #13
                          I used to have to cut mine in half for different animals that would take them readily. Cutting them in half will obviously make them Wiggle more, so maybe they will gobble them up!
                          Abe

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                          • #14
                            The more research I do on earth worms and nightcrawlers, the more I read about their high parasite loads. While they do seem very high in calcium, I'm not sure if the risk is worth it.
                            Charming Chewies: Specializing in Grand Terre and Pine Isle locales of chahoua.

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