NANFA-- Off Topic: Greenhouse Herps and Spoiled Pinkies!

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Mon, 16 Sep 2002 21:21:54 -0400

> I should clarify that, he doesn't have free run of the place but lives in a
> very large wooden tub-like container along an outer wall that was originally
> built as a stream environment. I know that he'd be excited if I released
> live mice in his space but I'm not that kind of dude... the biggest
> excitement in his life was when I gave him a roadkill mockingbird on Friday!
> Not for the faint of heart.

Bruce & All

Sounds similar to what I do with my Mexican Wood Turtles- Rhinoclemmys
pulcherrima rogerbarbori (what a name!). They are walled off with some
boards between the knee wall and a set of stairs made from dry stacked
concrete blocks. It's partially under a bench where I start new plants
for the conservatory area in the rear of the greenhouse. Is floored with
pine bark mulch and a sand bed for nesting and a couple of ceramic
dishes for drinking. Also there is a large potted Bamboo Palm which they
actually get up on and lounge around the base. Like their North American
cousins these turtles are pretty good climbers and a couple really
clever ones I have found at large in various parts of the greenhouse on
several occassions! I put them back and try to figure out and block
their escape routes. They've not escaped recently so it looks as if I've
managed to foil them or else they've settled down and become more

Mexican woods and other turtles in that genus are predominantly
herbivorous and chow down on greenery with the same zeal as tortoises
and iguanas so they must be confined for the sake of the begonias and
calatheas and other foliage in the growing areas at floor level.

I am afraid to feed roadkilled anything, or wild caught mice to captive
herps for fear of parasites. For my snakes it's frozen mice pinkies that
I buy in bulk at the Pittsburgh Reptile Show and store in the freezer.
Used to raise my own mice but after a while the smell and work involved
in maintaining a live colony got to be overwhealming. Might go back to
breeding my own someday - maybe in an outbuilding near or attached to
the greenhouse.

Now anyone truely faint of heart might want to stop reading at this
point. Last night I set a batch of pinkies out to thaw- thinking I would
only be working the first 4 hours of another guy's shift last night as
part of a trade for 4 hours off on Friday.

Well, he called off and I ended up working til morning and the pinkies
were starting to get a little stinky by then. Dead prey items are
actually better for snakes but not in that condition! But turtles
routinely feed on carrion so I decided to go to sleep and feed them off
come evening.

Whew! those pinkies were really ripe by the time I got around to feeding
the outdoor turtles. To the point that it took several intense
handwashings to get rid of the smell once I have finished. At least the
turtles enjoyed their treat! Esp the box turtles and striped muds!

Now I must be off to put another batch out to thaw and hopefully I won't
be pulled away before I get a chance to feed the snakes!


Only when people are rich enough to feed themselves do they
worry about the environment and future generations.
Bjorn Lomborg
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