It’s a fact of life. When you live in a zoo you clean a lot of poo! Whether I am cleaning poo from the yard, scooping it from the litterbox or cleaning it from the gecko tank, it’s an almost never ending chore. But it’s one that comes with sharing a home with pets so I happily embrace it.
We have owned Norbert and Daggett for close to three months now and while I scoop the poo semi-regularly it builds up and there comes a time — usually every three months — when you need to remove them from the tank and do a deep clean and replace all of the sand. One of the benefits of owning geckos is that they always poo in a corner so as long as they have a semi-secluded area and a corner they can get to, scooping is usually easy.
The way we set up the tank is with a cave in one corner that they can walk through and get to the corner without Lucy being able to swat at them when they are out walking around. She can’t get to that part of the top of the tank to lie on either because the heat lamp is there. Last week, Tim was on vacation so we decided to tackle the tank. I was a bit hesitant to do it myself because I was afraid I’d pick up the boys and they’d wriggle away or something, plus Tim is much better at working the shop vac!
I’d picked up two bags of sand from PetSmart the same day I shopped for Henrietta’s birthday gifts. I wanted to go for a “beauty look” so I got a bag of plain sand and a bag of green sand. I regret my green choice as it is more neon than subtle so I’ve been trying to mix it in with the plain a bit more. Live and learn. Next time I will stick with the sand colored sand! It’s always a bit nerve wracking to clean a lizard tank because the moving of them from the tank to a holding container can stress them out and we did it in the middle of the afternoon and since they are nocturnal it was a double whammy of stress for them.
We had to remove the geckos first so we did that and put them into a big cooking pot along with one of the caves that they like. We stashed them on a high shelf so the cats couldn’t get to them and got to the removal and washing of all of the accessories from the tank. We vacuumed up the old, dirty sand, washed out the interior, dried it and then replaced the sand. Once that was done we dried off all of the accessories (most of them just needed to be brushed off with a paper towel to remove old sand. Once everything was back in, we dumped in three dozen crickets and then brought Norbert and Daggett back and put them in the tank.
Daggett stayed inside the cave, but Norbert spent close to an hour digging in the sand. I have no idea what that was all about and couldn’t find out any information on it in the petMD reptile care center. I assume it was a reaction to the stress. Neither of them were interested in the crickets right then, but it was daytime and they’d just had a stressful event happen so I wasn’t too surprised. Eventually Norbert stopped digging in the sand and went into the cave to be with Daggett. The next day Norbert started shedding his skin and I am not sure if that was a reaction to stress or simply because it was his time to shed again.
Now, three days later they are back on their routine — sleeping during the day, being awake and eating at night — and appear to be none the worse for the wear.
Owning reptiles, or any other pet, means it’s your responsibility to not only feed them, but to scoop a lotta poo!