Two techniques.

skinheaddave

SkorpionSkin
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I just made a new enclosure and in doing so, I tried out two new techniques.

The first was that I finaly went and bought a bag of bentonite and so tried what is suggested in the Rubio book. Although many people recommend these substrate mixes, I have yet to speak with anyone who has actualy done it. I mixed in 1:15 bentonite to playground sand and put in a bit of gravel for good measure. You can definitely tell the difference -- even when only slightly damp, the sand can be easily moulded. You can pack it down substantialy by hand and a test burrow I made with my fingers held nicely. I will post results once burrowing has actualy begun, but so far I'm liking it.

The second technique was inspired by p48 of the Rubio book, though it is not specificaly mentioned. If you look at the upper limit of the Opistophthalmus burrow, it is very neat and looks quite nice. I figure it is substrate which has been glued onto a pot. So I took a small plastic garden pot, cut it in half and then cut out the bottom except for a small ridge for structure. I then used hot glue to glue some of my substrate mix along what used to be the rim of the pot and now becomes the entrance to the burrow. I then burried the pot so that the front was sticking out as part of a little mini sand bank type of thing. It looks quite nice and the scorpion has already found it and made it home.

Anyhow, pics will be coming as soon as I get the roll developed. Kudos to John for getting me off my lazy ass and experimenting with substrate.

Cheers,
Dave
 

Kugellager

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Bout damn time you got off your butt!! :D Ahhhh...you are a student with a job...you have much less time than I do. But its good to know that you are trying the bentonite in a substrates mix. Take good notes...also make a note whether or not the scorps get any of the clay stuck to their palps/legs/etc. I tried the kitty litter method with my Opistophthalmus spp. The kittly litter was to coarse for very good burrow stability...worked some but not well...Also, the scorp got clods of kitty litter stuck it the legs it used most for digging. I would not recommend useing kitty litter.

I suspect the bentonite will work much better as it is in powder form and will mix much more evenly in the substrate. It will probably work much more naturally. As it sounds from your first impressions, it is working that way.

Keep us posted...especially concerning how the humidity levels hold up in the substrate. In the celluclay that I am using, the humidity seems to percolate througn fairly evenly. I add 1cup(1/4 liter) to the substrate ever couple of weeks +/- and it seems to keep the humodity at a level acceptable to the scorps. I use a lamp with a 40-60 watt bulb on one end of the enclosure for warmth so I would expect less water might need to be added if a heating pad on the side is used.

John
];')
 

skinheaddave

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John,

For the next few weeks I'm off entirely. Exams are done and the bar is closed until next term. Time to catch up on all the things I have been neglecting. ;)

So far so good with the substrate. I checked for clumping on the scorpion and saw none. When mixing the substrate, I first noted that clumps of bentonite, slightly moistened by the dampish sand, were powerful enough to stick large chunks of gravel to the stick I was using. For the final mix, however, I put the whole mix into a bag and turned it over and over a la cement mixer. As a result, you can't tell that anything has been added by looking at it. Unlike with the pure bentonite (that powders you up like nothing else), the sand/bentonite mix leaves your hands with nothing on them. Thus, I would assume it would also leave the scorpion unstuck.

I am using some of the heat eminating from my monitor lizard's enclosure for heating, so it really is a radient heat source. Not has harsh as your bulb, though. I'll let you know how quickly it dries out.

Cheers,
Dave
 

skinheaddave

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Well, I tried to take a pic of the flower pot idea and Barbamama just wouldn't get out of the way. ;) Oh well, there are worse things than another pic of her.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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skinheaddave

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And here's the enclosure as a hole. The big fissure running down the center is from when I rested it temporarily on the stairs. It is quite a heavy substrate, so the thing bent slightly and cracked.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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zoobugs

L.D.50
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Dave,
I too use bentonite, and it definitely helps with burrow molding. My only faux pas was that I used a slightly highter percentage of the stuff and created too much dust that I had to wash off some of my Androctonus-ever see a white bicolor?- so those of you wanting to use bentonite, use an extremely small amount. It does go along way. I purchased about 2 lbs. of it for $13 (including shipping) and it'll take me a year or more to use it up.
 

skinheaddave

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Jim,

Where did you get it from? I bought a 50lb bag for $24 Canadian -- that's about $16 USD. I got mine at a pottery supply store -- so the bargain hunters with large colelctions ought to look there.

Cheers,
Dave
 

zoobugs

L.D.50
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Dave,
As luck would have it,(not), I can't remember the name of the place, but I will go back to the art shop this weekend and ask the proprietor for the name again. I do remember that they were located in upstate New York, and had a variety of prices for different amounts. They also didn't know me from Adam, and accepted a personal check for the amount and shipped the bentonite even before the check cleared. Very trusting souls.
 

zoobugs

L.D.50
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Hey Dave,
Decided to let my fingers do the walking....here's where I bought my bentonite: Laguna Clay Co.-1-800-4LAGUNA.
The place in N.Y. where mine was shipped from: Laguna Clay Co.-1-315-685-8378.
And for those of you in New England, here's the distribution site:
Corey Ceramic Supply
87 Messina Dr.
Braintree, Ma. 02184
781-848-2772

Prices quoted to me over the phone:
1#-$1.60
5#-$4.25
25#-$15.00

They use regular UPS rates for shipping and include a $2.50 handling fee.
 

skinheaddave

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Well, the pot and substrate seem to have gotten the Barbamama stamp of approval. I used a flashlight to see into her half-pot burrow today and she has dug a large chamber behind it. She is sitting just behind the entranceway made by the hole I cut in the bottom of the half-pot. Here is the enclosure pic with the rough outline of the pot (in black) and a rough estimate of the depth of her chamber (in red).

Cheers,
Dave
 

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looseyfur

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Lag u na clay

I happen to live like 10 mins from Laguna clay. Wicked good ...
looseyfur
 
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