Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hints on new T-shirts

It’s been nearly five years since the first run of Triffid Ranch T-shirts premiered, and it’s time to try something a bit different. VERY different.

Texas Triffid Ranch T-shirt promo

Just to pass on word, artist Larry Carey is available for commissions on other T-shirt designs. Meanwhile, I need to get this to the printshop.

It Came From The NARBC – Plants

Zoo Med tent

As stated before, this month’s NARBC show was not only its biggest, but apparently it had the largest turnout in the Arlington show’s history. Being on ground level, not only is this not surprising, but it makes me wonder “So what are they going to do if this gets any larger? Move next door to Cowboys Stadium and take over the whole field?” (Even then, that only buys the show a couple of years before we’re having to consider armed platforms in near-Earth orbit. This show is getting BIG.)

Anyway, before continuing, I wanted to share a few observations on the Zoo Med Laboratories display tent. The herpetoculture trade has come a very long way from the “boom” of the 1990s, and the displays confirm it. This beast is inflatable, with the ability to anchor it if used outside, with panels on the sides to give shade if outdoors and to advertise further if not. Either way, the dream is to have one of these for a future 35 Denton show.

Zoo Med tent - detail

Surprisingly, many vendors offering large planted display cages weren’t at this show, but I’m hoping that they’re simply rescheduling for the August NARBC show. The noted exceptions were Zoo Med and the crew at Exo Terra, who definitely give ideas on how it can be done.

Exo Terra demo tanks

Exo Terra demo tanks

Wandering around and viewing reptiles was all fine and good, but the real purpose of this quest was to look for reptile-friendly flora, and that started with haranguing the good folks at the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth Bromeliad Society. What started as a minor inconvenience, trying to get all of their plants and driftwood into a single 10-by-10 booth, actually worked to their advantage when they started thinking laterally.

Bromeliad Society

Bromeliads, orchids, and driftwood: how can it get any better without adding carnivorous plants to the mix?

Shawn Crofford of the Bromeliad Society

And then there was the big reason I came out there: a serious need for cork. Most incorrigible antisociables only keep one particular plant in their grow houses. Me, I needed cork bark for all of the bromeliads I just purchased from the Bromeliad Society.

Lots of cork and driftwood

And with this, it’s confirmed: the Triffid Ranch will be a vendor at this next August’s show, if it kills us all. Five months to get ready…I just might be able to pull that off.

It Came From The NARBC – Critters

NARBC
Continuing previous coverage of last weekend’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference and Trade Show, the problem wasn’t having enough to do. The problem was trying to see everything before your eyes exploded in sheer joy. Among the highlights:

Kenyan sand boa

I’ve been a sucker for Kenyan sand boas since they first started showing up for sale in the US, and a very nice gentleman wandering down the aisles was kind enough to hold it long enough for a photo. As can be told, they’re extremely well-mannered, but the coloration? Whoa.

Carpet python and woma

Likewise, I have no interest in keeping my own carpet python (top) or woma (bottom), but I’ve made plans to visit Australia before I die just to see representatives of each in the wild. Of course, to see all of the reptiles I want to see in the wild in Australia alone, from shingleback lizards to brown snakes, I may as well just move there.

Alligator snapping turtle
Hailing from a little closer to home, here’s a seeming oxymoron: a little alligator snapping turtle. Not only are they so ugly they’re cute, but I speak from experience when stating that they’re actually extremely shy if given a chance to avoid human contact. As can be told, this one was used to humans, so this was a great opportunity for people to see an extremely misunderstood animal.

Speaking of misunderstood animals, one of the booths featured a collection of venomous and/or extremely threatened Texas reptiles, of which the alligator snapping turtle was practically a sidenote. Among others, we have…

Timber rattlesnake

…a timber rattlesnake…

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

…a Western diamondback rattlesnake…

Copperhead
…a copperhead…

Texas indigo snake

…and the nonvenomous but extremely large and impressively active Texas indigo snake.

Next: let’s get back to the plants, shall we?

It Came From The NARBC: Varanus salvadorii

One of the things that keeps my marriage to the Czarina so fresh and exciting is that she doesn’t know what will happen next. I’m literal in this: she doesn’t know, and she’s usually scared to death to find out. Take a look at this situation: she leaves me to my own devices on a Saturday morning, and I make a beeline for the big NARBC Arlington reptile show. As soon as I get there, I run into old friends who came out to observe the wildlife (reptilian and human), and one let me know “By the way, did you know about what’s around the corner?” He points around the corner, and there it is:
Crocodile monitor

Yes, at the show was one of my favorite reptiles: Varanus salvadorii, the crocodile monitor. Even better, for a species notorious for its aggression and savage intelligence, here was one that was pretty much dog-tame. Of course, he’s still small: believe it or not, he’s only about half the size of a fully-grown adult.

Crocodile monitor profile

In previous years, I would have been able to sneak something like this home and surprise the Czarina, probably with it curled up like a big scaly cat at the foot of the bed. However, modern technology has its advantages, so I let her know my plans. Via Facebook, of course, so all of our friends could get a comfy seat and pop an extra-large batch of popcorn. If I played my cards right, people would ask about the blood tornado spotted just east of downtown Dallas.

Crocodile monitor 2

The reason why this beauty was available was that its owner was incredibly fond of him, but an exciting business opportunity required selling him for capital. I understand, and did some calculations. The best thing about having a rainy day fund? It’s raining somewhere.

Big scaly kitten

To make matters better, this gentleman was selling two crocodile monitors, both of which with the same mellow disposition. I immediately had to let the Czarina know: “They’re a breeding pair. We could have HATCHLINGS.” Her immediate response: “NO, WE COULDN’T.” That didn’t stop me: I’d already picked names. “G’Kar” and “Na’Toth” worked, but then a friend suggested that “Paul and Caroline” would work, too. After all, these lizards were just like us: they alternated between cuddling and her demonstrating her superiority by gnawing on his head. (Apparently, crocodile monitors don’t have much in the way of Elbows, so teeth had to do.)

Crocodile monitor pair

Now, this big one was friendly, but see the one in the back? I was warned by her owners that this beast had the personality for which crocodile monitors are known throughout the world. That look says “Oh, I’m going to kill you, Sheriff, but I’m gonna kill you slow.”

Crocodile monitor portrait
The worst part is that I can’t understand why the Czarina has such an issue with keeping one in the house. All she did was yell and froth about “the damn lizard will eat the cats”. I really don’t understand. How could she possibly say “no” to such a cute widdle face?

Image

Cat Monday

Leiber

Have a Great Weekend

Upcoming shows and ongoing events

Well, we survived ConDFW and thrived, and now it’s time to let everyone know about the next big Triffid Ranch show, All-Con 2013, two weeks from today. In addition, because of specific interest in a demonstration, I’ll also add to the planned “How To Murder Your Venus Flytrap” lecture on Saturday evening with a display of carnivorous plant fluorescence under UV light. Where else are you going to see a presentation like this?

Meanwhile, two weeks before All-Con means that the next two weekends are the usual pre-show bad craziness, but that doesn’t preclude the annual February trip to the North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington this weekend. If you’re going to be in the vicinity, just look for the albino in the motorcycle jacket and the International Carnivorous Plant Society T-shirt. If you’re not able to get out this time, make plans for the August NARBC show, because that, if everything goes well, may be the big Triffid Ranch event of the year.