Monday, April 13, 2009

Fret and Stress

Work is no where near being the focus of my day.

I've been drudging the internet for information about what might have killed Nagafen. I'm sure I'll never know, but the more knowledge I have, the better I'll be able to protect Vox from the same fate.

Naggy had been showing quite a lot of activity lately. He just finished molting, had a healthy appetite, and was active around the tank. I think the cats have noticed the anole's extra activity and had been paying more attention to them. This could easily result in more stress for the lizards, so while they seemed happy and active, they were still showing signs of stress. Naggy had gotten to being an expert at playing dead and gave me more than a few heart-stopping moments in the past few weeks.

Saturday night, he was in the corner of the tank on the ground. He had developed post-orbital spots, black patches on his head behind his eyes, which I did not learn until this morning is a sign of intense anger, stress, or sickness. Upon waking yesterday morning, Naggy was in the same location, still with those post-orbital spots, but his body was thin and not moving with breath, and he had two red areas on either side of him just before his hind legs.

My first thought was that it might have been mites, but now that I think about it and have done some reading, it doesn't seem like that was the case as there really was no evidence of mites. It might have been the last surviving cricket in the tank was eating him (and I can only hope that happened after he died). When I saw him on Saturday before going to bed, not knowing the signs of stress, I did note that he was awake and looking around.

My research this morning has been inconclusive as to the actual cause of his death. I have learned that the calcium sand I've been using is not good substrate at all (thank you, idiot pet-store people). So maybe it was simply that he got a mouthful of that stuff which can kill him. I also learned that it's really not good to handle them all the time (which is fine, because I didn't, for fear they would run away from me and get eaten by a cat). I know that Vox was always particularly panicked when I tried to hold her (only for taking her out to clean the tank). Since cleaning the tank was the first thing I did after Phoenix's beau helped me (read: did the doing) remove Naggy from his spot of death and bury him in a soft bed of leaves outside the condo, I know she'll be super stressed if I remove her from the tank so soon again. So, for now, the sand will remain, but I will put some nice moss or bark or something over it. When she's had a few days to recover from the stress of the tank cleaning, I'll get rid of it.

Naggy was about two years old, and should have lived longer in captivity (two years is the expected life span in the wild, since many things eat the small lizards). I hope Vox will live longer. I've also learned that, while my two were in the same tank together, they're not necessarily social animals and Vox should be just fine having the tank to herself now. That basically means I shouldn't worry about getting another dragon to keep her company. I'll also work extra hard to keep the cats away. I know it must be very stressful with a great big cat pawing at the tank whenever it might.

I'm doing my best to learn, though websites about the subject are scarce or require money that I don't have and I don't seem to have any vet near me that would care for the tiny creature. But the more I know the better anole caretaker I will be. I will do anything I can to ensure she lives a long, healthy life. I'm trying not to question how well I take care of my pets. I do my best with the knowledge and resources I have. That's all I can ever do.

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