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I don't tend to post much on forums due to anxiety, but I had to introduce myself at the very least. c: So here is my little story. While I'm not new to researching invertebrates, I am relatively new to actively keeping them and started late last year with my small group of Byrsotria rothi from Roach Crossing. Little loves of my life, my beautiful dig sons, they've been with me through a really terrible patch in my life and I'm glad we're still trucking together. Strange how I always saw myself starting out with a reptile first, or maybe some really handsome pet roach like a hisser or Therea, but instead these little chubby diggers stole my heart and kept it. I remember how anxious I was, practically in tears when there was a mistake with shipping and my five little babies were sent directly to my (all women's) college instead of being held at the post office. I remember going down to student services and having to explain what was going on, and how nonchalantly they brushed it aside and just gave me the package early, no issues at all. (Mind you, later on the housing director HIMSELF even found out about them, and his first comment was "Oh, I just thought that was a box of dirt!" and his only complaint was they were in a plastic tub and not a glass tank!) I nervously took my little box upstairs to my dorm, left alone since my roommate moved out in the winter, giving me the opportunity to get inverts of my own. Seeing them for the first time, I admit my hands were shaky and it was a bit of an adventure as I gently talked to them and made their little modified 15 qt suitable for them, feeling more than a little nervous now that they were actually in front of me. In the end though, everyone ended up in their new home just fine and went about their little roach business. It was a little embarrassing how I still wasn't quite ready to even touch them on my own but...as time went on I quickly warmed up to my gentle, strong sons. I managed to let them crawl over my hands and I loved watching them "bulldoze" their substrate, like the strong lads they are. And the first time I managed to pick one up properly was just indescribable. Pardon my terrible voice in this video (and the fact that its on tumblr...), I was trying to be quiet for the roach and was still a little nervous and the phone recording didn't help: https://moore-bugaboos.tumblr.com/post/156690933025/a-cute-beeb-doots-about-then-tries-to-hide-ive I am much more comfortable with my roaches now, even though they have scared the shit out of me before if they get startled and bolt under the leaf litter fast enough, but I can't imagine life without them. It's much easier to be around them and to pick them up, and they've grown so much from the little round babies I started with. Their tiny, gentle tickles and digs have become Strong Grasps and Tough Tickles and their digging like the burrows of Champions. I love my strong, burrowing sons so much, I really do. I'll attach some pictures of them as well, but keep in mind most besides the picture of the shiny new adult are outdated. Their enclosure has changed, and is generally a lot messier since they're bigger now and I added a ton more leaf litter. I noticed they REALLY like the size of live oak leaf litter and became much more active when i added a nice, deep layer of it for them. Well worth the mess, if it means they're more confident and active in moving around their enclosure. I also recently within the past few months finally got into isopod keeping! I got my first isopods from Alan at Captive Isopoda and I can't recommend him enough. I ordered 20+ mixed Porcellio scaber "lottery ticket". Best decision I ever made, and I seriously encourage picking these up. They are essentially "extras" from a variety of P. scaber crosses, and while they look like normals, oranges, dalmations, or calicos depending on what you choose, they also have a grab bag of different recessives, so their offspring can be really surprising. I thought this was an awesome idea, and I couldn't be happier. Alan himself was also awesome to work with, and when I told him I was new to the hobby but obsessed with isos and super excited about breeding them, he even surprised me with a "free gift" of a starter culture of 12+ P. pruinosis "orange"! Since getting my isopods, they've absolutely flourished and I'm happy to say they're reproducing so well and now a lot of their babies have grown large enough to identify their morphs. My p. scaber culture is currently a beautiful mix of normals, oranges, one calico, a few orange dalmations, a few normal dalmations, one very distinct brown dalmation [to which Alan explained brown and even purple dalmations are occasionally found in cultures, yes], and in their offspring i have 2-3 of what I am almost certain are orange pieds! While I haven't gotten a picture yet, I've seen them on multiple occasions and recognize them instantly. They were not there from the beginning, and are very pretty with an orange background and a small number of growing white patches. It'll be a lot of fun to see what else they produce as time goes on. And well, I think I've rambled enough. This should be a good enough intro. The only other things I can say are I've besides invertebrates of varying kinds (focus on isopods, roaches and tarantulas), I've also researched reptiles, amphibians, and domestic birds (chickens and pigeons) extensively and I'm incredibly passionate about animal welfare and enrichment, no matter the creature or its purpose. Even roaches deserve proper care and respect, you know? Even feeders. Yes, they will be fed off, but at least their life goes to sustain another, and they deserve a level of respect for their purpose and a healthy, comfortable life as well. Maybe not a plush pillow and food on a silver platter, but a certain level of quality of living is important for everything. But heck, maybe that's just me, heh heh. Only other thing I can think of saying is I probably won't post too much, but feel free to talk to me, just be warned, I can be a chatterbox. I shouldn't EVER talk as much as I did in this post, and I do try very hard to be concise, so don't let that scare anyone off too bad, please. c: [Also I did try uploading pictures, but I guess my phone made them all too high of a resolution. I'll need to adjust those so I can actually post them, if anyone wants to see the dig sons or their enclosure, which I am rather fond of for my first try. Or my isopods, I do have a couple neat pictures of them, and they are rather handsome when all the different colors interact and skitter around together.]
Hey Guys! Here's the second post in my four-post photo series, this one is on my isopods, and although it's not nearly as long as my roach post, it still has a ton of great pics! Here it is: https://allaboutarthropods.blogspot.com/2016/11/photos-my-isopods.html Enjoy!