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NoodleCats

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I'd like to share some of the other critter hobbies i have besides fish lol

Trigger warning, they're bugs, if you may be scared of insects or such.






I keep ants and isopods as pets, exotic and native! (Any marked * are non-native/exotic)
I also catch queen ants as a supplier for a company that sells them as pets to others. Winter is down-time for that since they hibernate here and new queens only fly at specific times of the year. And many of my pet colonies are currently in hibernation as well from November to March, with the exception of a couple non-hibernating species.

I keep more species than what's shared in photos here. I can only upload so many at a time haha.

But ant species I keep:

Carpenters:
Camponotus Pennsylvanicus
Camponotus subbarbatus
Camponotus nearcticus
Camponotus nearcticus "orange"
Camponotus castaneus

Field:
Formica argentea

Acorn:
Temnothorax schaumii
Temnothorax curvispinosis

Lasius:
Lasius americanus

Tetramorium:
Tetramorium Immigrans*

Spine-waisted:
Aphaenogaster sp, likely rudis

Only the Aphaenogaster, Tetramorium, and c. castaneus don't hibernate, so the rest are all tucked away for the winter months.

Yes they're contained in ant proof homes for them. If they did by chance escape, no they cannot survive longterm without the queen, who does not leave the nest in most cases. They're fairly easy to feed, they take a carb source and a protein source. For carb it's easiest to feed them a sugar water mixture, honey, or maple syrup and for protein I usually do meal worms or crickets, or in summer I offer what I catch outside from pesticide free sources. Aphaenogaster are more specialized, being picky eaters and also eating grains, mine love walnuts but hate pecans lol they also are unique in feeding habits as they lack a social stomach so are not able to store food internally to share in the nest, they must carry all food and sugar sources back with them.

Typically small young colonies are housed in test tubes as they're fairly compact and what the ant prefers for space and meets their needs with hydration as water is blocked off at the closed end with a cotton ball. After a few workers, you can introduce an "outworld" where the workers can exit the nest to and forage for their foods needed.


Isopods (aka rolly pollies, woodlouse, pill bugs, sow bug, etc) are actually crustaceans, like shrimp, and behave a lot like shrimp do except on land. Probably among the easiest things to care for. Some good quality soil, a calcium source, and leaf litter mixed in kept humid enough. Some rotten wood is also enjoyed. Feed them just about anything. Some species like it more damp, some drier. They're actually quite cute and are often used as clean up crews in reptile enclosures because they'll eat dead leaves off terrarium plants, droppings from the animals, and shed skin.

I keep many species of these as well, many exotic, many found local. Any marker * are domestic fancy bred or exotic

Isopods kept:
Armadillidium nasatum
Armadillidium vulgare
Armadillidium vulgare "albino"*
Armadillidium maculatum *
Armadillidium espanyoli *
Porcellio laevis "dairy cow"*
Porcellio laevis "orange"*
Porcellio scaber (mixed varieties)
Porcellio haasi*
Oniscus asellus
Hyloniscus riparius
Haplophthalmus danicus
Trichorhina tomentosa*
Armadillidium scaberrimum*
Platyarthrus hoffmannseggii
Trachelipus rathkii
Cubaris murina "little sea"*
Cubaris murina "papaya"*
Cubaris sp panda king*



Photos, obviously not of everything lol

Ants:

Camponotus nearcticus "orange"
20231107_212713.jpg

Camponotus castaneus
20231102_084018-1.jpg


Camponotus subbarbatus
20230803_204932.jpg

Formica argentea
20230809_214120.jpg

Temnothorax curvispinosis
20230621_222009.jpg




Isopods


Armadillidium maculatum
20231106_205341-1.jpg

Cubaris sp panda king
20231005_173419-1.jpg

Cubaris murina "papaya"
20231106_202508-1.jpg

Armadillidium espanyoli
20231005_174105-1.jpg

Porcellio laevis "dairy cow"
20230424_170136.jpg
 

fishorama

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Ants I'm not too crazy about. I don't mind them much as long as they stay outdoors.

But I had no idea rolly polies came in so many cute colorful species! I've only ever seen the gray "usual" kind. You've opened my eyes to other possibilities, but I'm not sure I want them as pets...I like a. maculatum best, then dairy cows & panda kings, even their names are pretty cute!

Oh, I like your birds & cat mammals much better than bugs but you knew that...
 
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NoodleCats

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Ants I'm not too crazy about. I don't mind them much as long as they stay outdoors.

But I had no idea rolly polies came in so many cute colorful species! I've only ever seen the gray "usual" kind. You've opened my eyes to other possibilities, but I'm not sure I want them as pets...I like a. maculatum best, then dairy cows & panda kings, even their names are pretty cute!

Oh, I like your birds & cat mammals much better than bugs but you knew that...
The ants are surprisingly fascinating. Not very boring to watch, but many I keep are more nocturnal so they can be quiet during the day as far as activity goes. But it's neat to watch how they interact with one another and how they respond to new things in their enclosures. Some are cowardly, some are fearless.

I like the temnothorax a lot because they're really mellow but also really tiny and interesting. They're so small, hundreds of them live inside acorns and you'd never know. Maybe 1mm or so in size. And despite their small size they're not very timid. They're calm and just do their own thing.

And the camponotus are fun because they're huge, but they're also somewhat timid.

I don't want ants running free in my house, no one likes that tbh haha. But contained, they're actually quite neat to watch.


As for isopods, they're really adorable. They come in many kinds.

Dairy cows are probably the easiest to raise because they breed so fast and they're very unfussy over what you feed them. They'll level just about any food you give them, but especially love protein foods. Give them some freeze dried minnows meant as cat or dog treats and they'll go bonkers.
Generally I'll feed scrap veggie peels, or veggies that start to go bad in the fridge, and then also fish food, cat food, dead meal worms, shrimp, etc. They're very good at cleaning up wasted food tbh.

I keep all of their little tote bins under the stand of one of my tanks. They don't take up much room, make a good office pet too. A little 2 gallon aquarium with a good fitting ventilated lid can easily house a colony of them.



I get way too many dairy cows at times, so excess population gets put in my kid's crested gecko enclosure to clean up, though they end up gecko snacks because she's voracious lol


Shes a little pig lol
20230405_170102-1.jpg
20230120_203646.jpg
20231201_204930.jpg
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Only one plant is alive in there though, I struggle with keeping land plants alive. But she's got that enclosure all to herself,.can see her in the upper right back corner in that photo
 
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fishorama

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I know nothing of the pet lizard kinds. We did have a little green chameleon as kids. It didn't look like my googling pics I found as I recall, but after 60 years who knows?

Well, like insects, I like my reptiles outside, lol. We have 2 lizards in our yard here. Red bellies (western fence lizards) are my cute favs in the backyard. Alligator lizards are "girthier" & bigger, much more aggressive. Once I came home & 1 challenged me on the step about going in my front door, mouth open & lunging! I gently swung my shopping bag toward it & it ran under the house overhang.

1 time we had a utility worker inside & he asked, after seeing our fish tanks, was that a pet lizard? NO! So he said he thought it was the kind that bites (great!) & helped catch it so I could release it outside. It was only a small 1 thank goodness.

I had tiny 1 in the garage threshold once too. I had to wait for it to move so I could pull in then spent quite a while trying to shoo it outside. I gave up & left the door open for a long time. I hope it left...or I may find a dried corpse under the washer or somewhere someday...

I did see a "baby' snake on the patio, 7 or 8 inches long. I thought at first it was a red earthworm after it rained. But it was a sharp tailed snake that is active in our coolish wet winter. I gently scooped it up & put it in the grass.

We also sometimes get very short legged salamanders in our pool during mating season. If we see them soon enough we rescue them but we've lost a couple :(
 

NoodleCats

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I know nothing of the pet lizard kinds. We did have a little green chameleon as kids. It didn't look like my googling pics I found as I recall, but after 60 years who knows?

Well, like insects, I like my reptiles outside, lol. We have 2 lizards in our yard here. Red bellies (western fence lizards) are my cute favs in the backyard. Alligator lizards are "girthier" & bigger, much more aggressive. Once I came home & 1 challenged me on the step about going in my front door, mouth open & lunging! I gently swung my shopping bag toward it & it ran under the house overhang.

1 time we had a utility worker inside & he asked, after seeing our fish tanks, was that a pet lizard? NO! So he said he thought it was the kind that bites (great!) & helped catch it so I could release it outside. It was only a small 1 thank goodness.

I had tiny 1 in the garage threshold once too. I had to wait for it to move so I could pull in then spent quite a while trying to shoo it outside. I gave up & left the door open for a long time. I hope it left...or I may find a dried corpse under the washer or somewhere someday...

I did see a "baby' snake on the patio, 7 or 8 inches long. I thought at first it was a red earthworm after it rained. But it was a sharp tailed snake that is active in our coolish wet winter. I gently scooped it up & put it in the grass.

We also sometimes get very short legged salamanders in our pool during mating season. If we see them soon enough we rescue them but we've lost a couple :(
Crested geckos are a tropical lizard, believe from borneo. Could be wrong but it's around that area in the world.
She's very easy to care for tbh, we are her 3rd owners and she's only like 3 years old. She's really sweet, she let's my son hold her and she never bites. My kid begged for a pet lizard for years, he got her when he was 6. He was going to wait until his 7th birthday, but a family member asked us if we wanted her because she found her not as easy as her leopard gecko (has higher humidity needs, so just needs maintenance on misting her enclosure mostly), apparently she got her from someone else before that. My kid was really happy, she's honestly the perfect pet for him too.

Granted, I do the care mostly, because you can't trust that a kid will do it 100%. So I take care of her food, her heat lamp is on 24 hours, and her uvb light is on a 12hr timer so there's no forgetting when to turn on and off. All my son needs to do is spray her enclosure every day. Which he likes to do and it's something easy for him to do.

She gets her fortified special fruit mix food and she gets crickets and meal worms as well.


He wants a snake eventually though. Which I like snakes, but there's definitely restrictions on what kinds I will allow lol. Something small, like a corn snake, garter snake, milk snake, etc. No constrictors, they get too large and have other ethical issues that I'd rather not deal with. They're cool, but I have issues with how a lot of them are kept, and not a pet I'd feel comfortable having in a house with cats and such. And secondly, snake is likely for after his gecko.

My area only has one wild lizard and it's rare as it's threatened. Five-lined skink I think it was. Have a handful of snake species though, only one venomous. Kid likes to catch garter snakes in the summer lol and I've shown him how to safely handle them so that the snake isn't harmed and how to release it back exactly where he caught it.
 

fishorama

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We had garter snakes in our yard as kids. They supposedly don't bite but my little sister was bitten once between her thumb & index finger. We were taught how to handle them but maybe she squeezed too hard? She was 3 I think. We had them in MA too. They liked to hang out in the basement bulkhead doors. If I needed to use the door I'd open them for a while so the snakes could leave. Twice young 1s came into the basement. Hard to catch with all the clutter. Before we sold that house we had to catch & move the couple residents up the hill so nobody would be turned off.

In junior high my science teacher had 2 rosy boas in class. Small US constrictors but not too big, 2ft or so. Corn snakes are beautiful but I think they can get fairly big (google says 2-6ft, a large range!)

You might look at Repashy gel foods too for your son's lizard. He makes some foods for fish & several for various reptiles. I use a couple different fish versions especially for my auf wuchs grazers.
 

NoodleCats

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We had garter snakes in our yard as kids. They supposedly don't bite but my little sister was bitten once between her thumb & index finger. We were taught how to handle them but maybe she squeezed too hard? She was 3 I think. We had them in MA too. They liked to hang out in the basement bulkhead doors. If I needed to use the door I'd open them for a while so the snakes could leave. Twice young 1s came into the basement. Hard to catch with all the clutter. Before we sold that house we had to catch & move the couple residents up the hill so nobody would be turned off.

In junior high my science teacher had 2 rosy boas in class. Small US constrictors but not too big, 2ft or so. Corn snakes are beautiful but I think they can get fairly big (google says 2-6ft, a large range!)

You might look at Repashy gel foods too for your son's lizard. He makes some foods for fish & several for various reptiles. I use a couple different fish versions especially for my auf wuchs grazers.
Corn snakes while may get long, aren't gonna get "escape-my-enclosure-and-eat-the-cats" big lol


Garter snakes do indeed bite, usually in defense though. They're generally more docile but some will not hesitate to bite lol there's recent studies showing though that they may actually have some venom, but it's extremely mild. Some sensitive individuals may react. Either way, they can bite for sure.

I've been bitten by Northern watersnakes. Them buggers are very bite happy and their saliva makes you bleed even more. Don't recommend.

But they're adorable as babies, I love them.
 

NoodleCats

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Watersnakes kinda creep me out. I know not all snakes that swim are moccasins but still...I'd prefer them not close enough to try & ID lol
Luckily we don't have moccasins here haha
Just little adorable Northern water snakes. The babies are super cute, I love the belly pattern on them. Here's some pics of some I've caught and released.

FB_IMG_1702364125308.jpgoriginal-2.jpgoriginal-3.jpgoriginal-4.jpg


And this here is my areas only venomous snake, the massassauga rattlesnake. I think they're really pretty, but one to keep a respectful distance of.
FB_IMG_1702364103189.jpg
 
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fishorama

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Oh, I think that massassauga rattlesnake was our venomous snake in Michigan too. I never heard of anyone actually seeing 1 near anywhere I lived. Those Northern water snakes do have pretty tummies & backs. But now I know I'll never feel the need to handle a possible biter even as babies, cute as they may be..

Back to ants for a sec...I can see some of them being interesting in the way freshwater tropical shrimp are. I'm the right age to have been given an ant farm, but I don't think I or my sibs ever were...I might feel differently now had I known them in a more intense way back then. Now we get Argentine ants as home invaders. Teeny tiny, almost all of California is a giant colony of them. & big black carpenter ants...no to both!
 
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