Having pets: loosing pets

I suppose we are quite unusual, but as we live in the country we keep chickens to provide us with eggs, have hounds, snakes etc, not the usual selection of pets. All our animals are pets even the chickens which have their own unique characters.

This Friday we lost one of our girls, its always sad; we try to give are pets the best life they can and they give us far more.

Fitting new Heaters and Thermostats to Bertie the Boa’s Vivarium

Bertie the Boa, less then one year old

Bertie has quite a vivarium, one that I thought had enough redundancy to protect him. The substrate is a base of coarse and fine coco substrate and orchid bark giving a mix of textures and the ability to hold moisture and release it slowly without feeling wet.

On the power side, there are two independent power sockets each feeding a six way with surge protection.

There are three lighting systems, a high intensity UV that I run from midday to four in the afternoon, a daylight LED system on a timer giving eight hours in the winter and up to fourteen hours in high summer. There is also a coloured light for dusk. All these are on separate digital timers.

The vivarium has two 150 watt heaters, one in the middle on its own controller giving a background day temperature and a different background night temperature, plus one at the far end giving the hotspot.

The brown out earlier in the week had blown both controllers (I now know just the fuses), and one of the ceramic heaters. Despite my precautions of separate power and surge protection we had lost all the heating.

As a temporary measure I hooked up a 50 watt infra bulb and a spare controller and thermostat and set the room radiator to be permanently on instead of it timing mode. I ordered two new controllers and new heaters, and a set of fuses.

Replacing the controllers and thermostat probes was the easy part. The old controllers together with the extra heaters will act as spares.

The heating units were more of a challenge, I replaced both the ceramic holders and the ceramic heaters.

While all this was going on we removed the glass front to the vivarium so had the room radiators on high and we had the fire on. This made the room hot for us so we were working in tee shirts but Bertie was comfortable.

Temperature Data

Wild boas have been recorded active at temperatures as low as 62°F (17°C) and up to 104°F (40°C) between the hours of 7am and 7pm, although most of the data is clustered between 90°F (32°C) and 66°F (19°C). This temperature range contradicts what most keepers assert as “the best,” but proves that with correct husbandry, these animals are hardier than previously thought. Do you think that nature always stays at the perfect temperature? Of course not, and these animals are adapted to deal with the fluctuations of their region without getting sick. The key is to create a full temperature gradient so your snake can warm up and cool down as desired. The hottest areas will be closest to the heat source, and the coolest areas will be farthest from the heat source.

  • Chiaraviglio, Margarita, et al. “Intrapopulation variation in life history traits of Boa constrictor occidentalis in Argentina.” Amphibia-Reptilia 24.1 (2003): 65-74.
  • Waller, Tomas, et al. “Ecological correlates and patterns in the distribution of Neotropical boines (Serpentes: Boidae): a preliminary assessment.” Herpetological Natural History 3 (1995): 1.
  • McGinnis, Samuel M., and Robert G. Moore. “Thermoregulation in the boa constrictor Boa constrictor.” Herpetologica 25.1 (1969): 38-45.

Thanks to the ReptiFiles https://www.reptifiles.com/red-tailed-boa-care/boa-constrictor-temperatures/

Brownouts – the joys of rural living: cold snakes

During the COVID-19 shutdown we had a few brownouts and power cuts. This is a bit of an issue when your trying to work on line at home.

My computer equipment is all protected by a UPS and I have surge protectors on the control units and lighting equipment for our two big vivariums where Oz the Corn Snake and Bertie the Boa live.

I was horrified to find this week after a brown out that both control units and one of the heater elements had blown on Berties viv leaving him with no heat. We quickly ramped up the central heating and I had a quick run round of local pet shops to see which were open. In the end I managed to get a little infrared bulb together with an old thermostat in the attic, to rig up some heat. I am now waiting for my on line order to come through with new controllers and heaters (I’ll be getting spares as well).

Garden in Spring

So here in the United Kingdom we are entering the fourth week of shutdown. We are doing fine stuck at home, I am doing lots of IT work for the local government and assisting them with their lone working.

With spending eight hours a day stuck in my home office I took the opportunity to upgrade the my sound system and bought a better preamp and DAC for the office.

I am getting out each day for a walk with Ted the Greyhound. Photo options are a little limited but with spring now in full swing I have been taking a few snaps around the garden.

Photography is very much on the back burner for now, so I may have to think up a few indoor projects that I can do on my own.

Lack of Posts

Coffee – Leica M10

As you will have seen there has been a lack of posts over the last few months. The reasons are several; one I wanted a bit of a break from blogging. I was intending to write something at least once a week, but once you get out of the habit, weeks can go by and you realise you have not posted anything.

Secondly Timmy the Greyhound who died in March was ill for about a year. This made a big impact on my free time.

Lastly I am really getting behind with my Adobe Lightroom edits. My laptop no longer supports Lightroom.

The next few months are going to be quiet, but i’ll try to keep up with the picture of them month as post something at least once or twice a month.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has become really fashionable recently so I decided to brew some up myself.

There are various recipes on the internet so I have tired several of the last couple of weeks before coming to one I prefer.  As for brewing I have just been using a Kilner jar.  Poor in the coffee grounds and iced water, then leave for sixteen hours, decant into a Chemex then in to jar to keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.  Easy.   Server over ice with milk or even better with cream, and if your feeling really decadent with Tennessee whiskey.

Christmas is just a couple of months away

Christmas is now just a couple of months a way and we are starting to think about presents for ourselves and for the house.

We finally had to retire our large CRT wide screen Sony Wega.  We bought one of the latest 4K HDR screens, but the sound sucks compare to the old TV, so we are looking at a decent surround sound system.

The other thing on our list as we both love quality coffee is a high end coffee grinder.  By high end I am talking sub £1000 price range while real coffee experts think that a grinder at £1000 is budget!

Lastly I will be approaching a significant birthday in a few years and there is a chance of a high end English fountain pen coming my way.  I have been dropping hints and it looks like its working.

Coffee Shop

I love good coffee.  The major brand shops offer consistent coffee but for great coffee its often better to seek out the independents.   Those that buy in coffee from independent coffee roasters with relationships with small coffee growers.  Coffee at its peak, roasted to perfection.  Many towns now have small independent coffee shops and the better ones do source there coffee from the better suppliers.  We in Lincoln are lucky enough to have several independent coffee shops and one in particular is excellent.

I try to at least twice a week get out into Lincoln with my Leica and shoot a little street photography but to also occasionally take a few snaps in the coffee shop

 

Coffee shop visit


I don’t always make it, but I try and go to our local independent coffee shop at least twice a week.  Either on the walk there or in the shop I often find a interesting photograph.

Coffee Shop Message Board

My local coffee shop has a rather fun message board where people but up notes about anything and everything, wishes, hopes and fears.  Its a great feature wall and really helps the atmosphere.