Lil Murph and his predecessors do not and did not have the typical (yawn) lizard-life! I am convinced all animals (humans included) appreciate something soft in their lives. Lizards bring out the squealing little girl in me! Like a young girl’s happy place when she’s playing dress-up with her kitten, I experience this when I’m on the hunt for blankie-quality scraps of cloth (as discussed in a previous post), AND as I …um…re-decorate the enclosure for a revived atmosphere, AND as I prep my lizards for special-occasion photo shoots!!!! Especially the latter! Yes, this happens at my house!! -A rare time my lizards are disgusted with me – but I redeem myself! I shall share with you these photo shoots later and hope they make you smile.
I stated that I’d tell you what I use in lieu of substrate, that you may laugh at me… Here goes:
My lizards have their own sheet collection!! We have animal print; happy spring shades in pastels; and flannel for winter, a “Frosty the Snowman” theme.
Said sheets and corresponding blankies are kept separate from the household collection. My lizards have always had their own dirty laundry hamper (box) and dresser (bigger elaborate box) with separators. Within these compartments are back-up squishy pillows, blankies (folded with girl-ish glee), newspaper for the poo place, and the flat sheets (folded with less girl-ish glee because they take longer to fold).
When it’s time to apply clean bedding rather than substrate, my system is as follows:
1) Mushy food (i.e. bananas or grapes) and calcium powder scattered about to an icky degree or poo-place target not hit perfectly = a bedding change. Everything out (although his hammock is usually fine). Roll up the icky and nestle within ‘hamper’. Murph goes atop the cage to look out the window or in a play pen, if you will. This temporary imprisonment of strategic design is an architecture of pillows, books and art stacked and situated so as to retain him somewhat idly on the living room floor! If he’s in a ridiculously mobile mood, for his safety he must be placed in a tall-walled box (with a blankie) until I can return him to his cage. I usually don’t have a baby sitter for this labor.
2) Any rocks, branches or dishes get washed or bleached and rinsed appropriately if needed. Let them air dry on an old towel or something.
3) Gleefully select new sheet! Gleefully select color of pillow! For this item, we have options of orange, royal blue and black! Murph likes the layout of his cage so I usually only alter aesthetics.
4) Return clean accessories and Murph.
Murph’s laundry is washed when there is enough for a medium-sized load. I pour maybe a couple of cups of bleach into washer as it fills with water. When full I add bedding. I havn’t a newfangled washer so I do it this way to not fade the bedding. Bedding in lieu of substrate: it may not be perfect for lizards and will not work for everyone but it is my way, and Murph is happy with it.This mirror adds an open-ness to Murph’s enclosure. This mirror belonged to his sister(?) Copper, whom he never met. My lizards need to see how beautiful they are. He hasn’t quite figured it out….Often he’ll attempt to eat the food he sees in the mirror!!! THAT does not cease to be adorable!!
***It is important to keep something slightly rough in a cage like a branch or rocks because first of all, lizards like to climb (a lizard is still a lizard despite any acquired behavioral attributes of a human baby they may possess from extreme pampering) and secondly, they like to rub against them to relieve an itch and aid in shedding skin.
I know Murph is happy with his cage. He lets me know, like when I attempted to give Murph’s smart mind an observance to ponder! Here he is considering the intrusion of a waterfall, eventually displaying a disdain for the space-taking object by peering out at me with the look in his eyeball that conveyed he will have an attitude if I continue to allow such an annoyance to disrupt the Zen waves of his domain!
“Give me lizardry or give me death!” -Dawn Renee