Friday, October 9, 2020

Fall'n For Crazy Critters October 10, 2020

Want to talk about exhausted! I am so tired and to make it worse I was injured by Jamie aka J' Normous the Sulcata Tortoise when I broke a fight up. He just ran right on top of me.

If that sounds bad you would not believe that Ken has been injured once, twice, three, well... I just stopped counting. He has cut himself, stabbed himself, and just worked himself to exhaustion. Luckily the fence contractor did not get stuck in the sugar sand today like they did yesterday so it is getting done. Slower than we thought the guys from Byers Fence will be back tomorrow.

Slower not as in the workers are slow but just slow as in it seems a job is going to be easier than it is. Nothing in life is as easy as it seems.

We just found out that the rental of the machine we need to use to dig those turtle ponds is over four hundred dollars a day. Since we need it for at least five days, it is a good thing we are hosting our Fall plant sale fundraiser Fall'n For Crazy Critters this weekend.

It sounds impossible but so did the fact we needed to install an eight-foot fence perimeter that would cost over fifty thousand dollars. But we did. Thanks to people just like you who come out to the nursery.

 Thank you for helping us with the fence so we can upgrade our permits with the FWC and thank you for helping us get almost halfway to the goal for the turtle ponds.

 Please subscribe to our Youtube channel and help us continue to grow by clicking this link... ~ Adopt ~ Breed ~ Rescue ~ Transport ~ Rehabilitate ~ Crazy Critters Inc. was established to provide non-domestic, non-releasable animals with a safe and permanent home. The sanctuary has adopted animals including reptiles, birds, and assorted wildlife. Once brought to the facility, these exotic animals are housed in naturalistic settings. Allowing propagation that is used for conservation. Currently, this facility houses species of animals listed on CITES. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is an international treaty to prevent species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade. Adding, the Crazy Critters organization has produced offspring from species currently found on the IUCN's Red List. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. Crazy Critters Inc. is a self-funded organization that depends on the greenhouse nursery to pay for the cost of housing exotic animals. The facility grows and sells species of plants such as succulent and cactus to support the care of the animals. Many too are listed on the IUCN's Redlist. We Grow Crazy Plants So We Can Care For Crazy Critters! Follow us on our journey as we build our Herp Haven called Crazy Critters! We share as we build, make mistakes, learn, and grow! Find us on most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and more! Please like, share, follow, and subscribe. If you or your company would like to help a cause like ours, please contact us. Or use our donation page! Remember all donations are tax-exempt! Please click this link to our website to find secure donation buttons with GoFundMe and Paypal.... Feel free to contact us with questions requests and comments. We are Amazon Affiliates! Here are links to our recommended products. Shop from here and we will receive ten percent commission! That is the same as making a donation!! If you do not like our recommendations, that is ok! Choose the brand of product you like after clicking these links We will still receive two percent commission! It is a win-win! Plants! Succulents Cactus Orchids Soil Succulent & Cacti Care Book Animal Care Products Reptile Calcium Reptile Lighting Reptile Water & Food Bowl Soaking Pond Aquarium Heater Pond Heater Aquarium Filter Starter Kits For Your Animals! Baby Tortoises Bearded Dragons and Other Desert Reptiles Snakes, Frogs and Lizards Geckos and Insects Books! Miles and Miles of Reptiles. Dr. Suess Book Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins Natural History Book Diagnostic Imaging Book for adults

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Sempervivum Succulent Care and Information

Sempervivum (sem-per-VEEV-um)are beautiful outdoor succulents prized for their beautiful appearance and extremely resilient nature. Sempervivum literally means “live forever”. Sempervivums were considered sacred to Jupiter in Roman and Thor in Nordic mythology. The flower was said to resemble the beard of the God.
Sempervivum is a genus of hardy monocarpic alpine succulents in the family Crassulaceae.
Their natural habitats are typically 3000 to 8000 ft above sea level in mountainous regions of central and southern Europe and Mediterranean islands. In fact, these plants thrive in lean, fast-draining, gravelly or rocky soils.
Other names include thunder plant, liveforever, Jupiter’s eye, Thor’s beard, Aaron’s rod and hens & chicks.
With over 3,000 named sempervivum cultivars, these succulents are available in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Their colors change drastically throughout the season due to maturity, temperatures, sunlight exposure, and other factors.

Growers Hint:

Succulents need a lot of light, but for Hens and Chicks, there is such thing as too much sun. They are hardy outdoor plants that, once established, can tolerate an amazing amount of climatic extremes and neglect.
  • Acclimate by gradually move into bright shade, then partial sun, then direct sun over the course of 2 weeks
  • Try to plant in a location with morning sun and afternoon shade
  • Use trees or other landscape elements to filter light and shade succulents when temperatures exceed 80F
  • Water deeply in the morning or evening to cool the soil
  • Try to avoid excess winter moisture

 Where Can Sempivivium Grow?

Hens and Chicks are hardy and can be grown throughout the USA. Sempervivum like cool nights and need a cold-dormant season to be healthy.
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They prefer growing zones 4-8. In colder areas, it may be beneficial to move the plants into a greenhouse or cover them during severe winter weather.

Sempervivum is most vulnerable to sunburn under the following conditions:

  1. Sunlight exposure increases drastically over a short period of time
  2. Plants are young and/or roots have not yet established
  3. Air temperature is high
  4. Soil moisture content is low

Hen & Chick Plant Propagation

Sempervivums reproduce vegetatively by offsetting around the base of the rosette. The quantity and speed at which babies are produced depend on the variety.
Sempervivums can be divided anytime during the spring/summer growing season. The baby chicks can be re-planted elsewhere or left to grow around the mother hen.
Growing from the offsets preserves the characteristics of each cultivar.  Each offset will develop roots of its own and become independent of the parent plant as the connecting stolon withers. Some Sempervivums produce offsets on the end of long stolons and this root down at a distance from the parent plant, rather than producing a dense clump.
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Offsets can be removed when root development has begun and grown on separately as a method of propagation. This method preserves the characteristics of a named cultivar, which will not come true from seed. The stolon should be cut off just below the base of the offset to encourage roots to develop from the base of the rosette.
Sempervivums have star-shaped flowers with 8 – 16 petals, typically in pink or red although a few species have pale-yellow flowers. Sempervivum flowers often contain fertile seeds that can be easily be collected and grown. The fruit should be allowed to dry, crushed and the debris sieved to separate the seed.
Stratification after sowing by chilling in the fridge at 39 degrees Farenheight for a few weeks, or outdoors during the winter to improve germination. As hybridization is very common, seedlings are unlikely to breed true to type. However, this provides an opportunity to look for new and unusual forms among the progeny

Sempervivum Life and Death Cycle

Once a hen produces a chick, that chick will begin producing its own babies after only 1 season.
You should water regularly during the first growing season to establish an extensive root system. Once established you can reduce the frequency.
Sempervivum plants generally only live for 3 years, so the plants have 2 productive years before they die. After 3 years and having produced many baby plants a Sempervivum grows a tall center stalk that blooms before the plant dies. Unfortunately, cutting off the center stalk will not prevent the plant from dying.

Just Eat It!

Common Houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) young shoots and chubby leaves are edible raw.
They are crunchy and similar to cucumbers in taste and texture. The leaves can also be juiced to make a drink. This plant stores water in the leaves in a similar way to the aloe vera plant.
In fact, it can be used on sunburn or for other accidental burns in the same way. It is a good aloe vera substitute. Sempervivum leaves and their juice is used for their cooling and astringent effect, being applied externally to soothe many skin conditions. As with many other remedies that are both astringent and soothing, houseleek simultaneously tightens and softens the skin.

Sempevivium Is Medicine?

The fresh leaves are astringent, diuretic, odontalgic, refrigerant, and vulnerary.
They are used as a dressing in much the same way as Aloe vera. It is a great treatment of many skin diseases, burns, scalds, bites, and stings, etc, and has also has used to get rid of warts and corns.
The plant is also sometimes used internally in the treatment of shingles, skin complaints, and hemorrhoids, though some care is required since in excess the plant is emetic and purgative. The leaves are harvested as required and used fresh.
Be careful! In large doses, the houseleek can be purgative and upset the tum so take it easy if trying it for the first time.

Say What???

  • This European native plant was introduced to North America as a garden plant over 200 years ago.
  • In some places, Sempervivums are traditionally grown on roofs between thatching, tiles, or timber.
  • A firm in Germany exports Sempervivums as rolled-up carpets of roofing material.
  • Folklore tells us that it has the ability to protect a house from lightning and fire. Since it contains a large cache of water, there may be some truth in this.
  • In ancient times, this was thought to guard against thunderbolts, storms, and sorcery and ensure the prosperity of the occupants.
  • Traditional medicinal uses described by Pliny the Elder (23 – 79 AD) in his Naturalis Historiae include the use of the juice from crushed Sempervivum leaves to treat skin complaints such as burns, scalds, corns, calluses, warts, ringworm, shingles), insect stings shingles, itching, and burning of the eyes, and earache.
  • Discorides (40 – 90 AD) wrote in his Materia Medica that Sempervivum leaves crushed with wine would eliminate intestinal worms and flukes.
  • The Romans also consideredSempervivum juice to be useful against caterpillar infestation of crops.
  • Scientists at Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University have found that the mineral vaterite, a form (polymorph) of calcium carbonate, is a dominant component of the protective silvery-white crust that forms on the leaves of a number of alpine plants. Naturally occurring vaterite is rarely found on Earth. Small amounts of vaterite crystals have been found in some sea and freshwater crustaceans, bird eggs, the inner ears of salmon, meteorites, and rocks. This is the first time that the rare and unstable mineral has been found in such a large quantity and the first time it has been found to be associated with plants.
There are three common types of Sempervivum Hens and Chicks… but each type produces offspring in a different manner.
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These grow babies on runners. Just pull off the chicks and plant elsewhere. It is best to remove the babies when the runner has begun to wither.
Offsets root quickly and contact with soil is enough for them to start growing.

Click to purchase Jovibarba heuffelii
Jovibarba heuffelii
This species does not produce “chicks” on stolons. Instead, the offspring of this plant are produced within the mother plant.
To propagate it must be split with a knife.

Jovibarba Rollers
These types of Hens and Chicks produce lightly attached “chicks” that easily pop off and roll away from the mother plant.

Echeverias, share the common name “hens-and-chicks.”
Another group of rosette-forming succulents from Mexico.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Large African Sulcata Tortoise Group Gets New Pasture And We Harvested S...

It has been a long year when it comes to the adoption of exotic reptiles. While we take in new animals, it is really important for us to maintain the animals who have called Crazy Critters Inc. home for some time by upgrading enclosures from time to time. We also were able to harvest bamboo for the first time in years from our own farm. We allowed the same large tortoises that get the new pasture to dig this bamboo up for us. How cool is that? They worked for us this time! #AfricanSulcataTortoise #DoTortoisesEatGrass #CrazyPlantsForCrazyCrtters Please subscribe to our Youtube channel and help us continue to grow by clicking this link...

Monday, August 17, 2020

Striped Mud Turtles(Kinosternon baurii) Care and Information

Striped Mud Turtles(Kinosternon baurii) are found from coastal South Carolina and Georgia, south through peninsular Florida and the Keys. Kinosternon is derived from the Greek word kineo which means “move” and sternon which means “chest”. This refers to the hinged plastron.
Striped Mud Turtles(Kinosternon baurii) Female at Crazy Critters
Originally described by Samuel Garman in 1891 as Cinosternon baurii, based on 11 specimens from Key West, Florida. The genus Kinosternon was first used for this turtle by Lonnberg in1894.
Because much of their range has been heavily developed in recent decades, habitat destruction and road kills have threatened this species significantly.
Kinosternon baurii inhabits shallow and ephemeral wetlands, the types most likely to be lost to development activities. This species also utilizes terrestrial habitats. Thus, maintenance of all wetlands and a substantial surrounding buffer is essential to the long-term survival of this turtle.

What Do Three-Striped Turtles Look Like?

The striped mud turtle is characterized by yellow head stripes and three light longitudinal stripes on a dark brown carapace. But individuals most parts of the Carolinas and Georgia lack these stripes, retaining only the light stripe between the eye and nostril. This turtle is only 3 to 4 inches in length and has a double-hinged plastron, similar to the eastern box turtle.
Turtle on left is a StinkPot Turtle and on the right is a Mud Turtle., both are at Crazy Critters.
Juveniles have a carapacial keel that becomes rounded with age and an orange plastron with black smudges along the midline. Head stripes are prominent at hatching, and carapacial stripes are visible in most individuals at this age.
Not to be confused with the common Musk turtle (ternotherus odoratus) that has squarish pectoral scutes on the plastron and skin visible between the plastral scutes. Kinosternon subrubrum lacks the 3 light stripes on the carapace.

Are They Active Turtles?

The activity through winter varies among Kinosternon baurii populations depends on geographic location. In the southern extreme of the range, they are often active all year long, while in the north, they often hibernate, most often times in terrestrial hibernacula. Activity levels decline during hot weather in July and August.
Striped Mud Turtles(Kinosternon baurii) Female at Crazy Critters
Terrestrial activity of 3-Striped Mud Turtles is directly correlated with the water depth of the surrounding bodies of water, and their movements are correlated with rainfall. Mass migrations by this species may be initiated by heavy rainfall.
During instances of the terrestrial activity, Kinosternon baurii construct shallow burrows. The average time spent in such refuge is known to be up to 170 days. Most burrows are constructed in the soil beneath leaf litter, or beneath logs. A given turtle may use as many as four separate refugia in a season, and some individuals may use the same retreat multiple times.

There Has Been More & More Captive Breeding Of Three Striped Mud Turtles…

The number of known appropriate wetlands suggest that this turtle is not endangered or threatened.  Most range states appropriately protect this species. As of January 11, 2017,  this turtle is no longer a protected species in Florida. but is part of the Imperiled Species Management Plan.
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There is a protected population found in the Florida Keys from the western portion of the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West.  This population was protected because it was proposed as a separate taxa. However, subsequent research has concluded that this is not the case and now they are all classified as one family.
The dependence of striped mud turtles on waters of low salinity makes it vulnerable to decline and/or extirpation in the Lower Keys.  Natural freshwater habitats in the Keys tend to be small (up to 50 acres) and vulnerable to degradation.  Their natural habitats depend on a natural subsurface freshwater lens (groundwater supply for islands) although striped mud turtles are also found in manmade ditches and ponds.  Freshwater lenses can be affected by over withdrawal by humans, and saltwater intrusion.
Although the species has survived untold hurricanes, severe saltwater over-wash from very large storms could increase the salt content of fresh and brackish water ponds making them unsuitable habitat for the striped mud turtle. 
If the sea level rises high enough, as has been predicted by some climate change models, striped mud turtle habitats in the Keys will be inundated with sea water and become uninhabitable.
Other threats to the species include increases in egg predation because predator population subsidized by humans and pollution, especially oil spills.’

Feeding Three-Stripe Mud Turtles

Kinosternon baurii is an omnivore, consuming leaves and seeds of plants, algae, snails, insects, and dead fish.
In captivity, it is fine to occasionally give them cut fish, cut beef heart and small earthworms. They happily take any type of protein food, and they enjoy small insects & crustaceans and will learn to eat from your hand.  We recommend Mazuri Brand products such as the aquatic turtle diet.

Breeding Three-Stripe Mud Turtles

These turtles can be housed together. They get along with any similarly sized mud or musk turtles. The sexes can be distinguished by the longer, thicker tails of males. The striped mud turtle is different from most other turtles species in the Southeast in that female’s nest in the fall, rather than the spring or summer.
The Male Is On The Right. He has a longer tail. And the slight curve of the plastron.
Nesting occurs throughout the year, but activity peaks between September and November, although there is another peak in June.  Female striped mud turtles can travel 250 meters (820 feet) from wetlands to nest.
Three-striped mud turtles can lay up to six clutches of one to six eggs per clutch, per year, but the average number of clutches is four.  Incubation temperature determines the sex of the embryo; the majority of the embryos are females when incubation temperatures are greater than 82°F or between 71 and 72.5°F.
Males are predominant when temperatures are 70.7-72.5°F.  At temperatures below 75°F, some embryos will pause their development.  It can take the young over a year to merge from the nest cavity.  

Turtles All Look Alike??…

Three-Striped Mud turtles are often mistaken for Eastern Musk Turtles or Eastern Mud Turtles.
The Florida Mud TurtleKinosternon subrubrum steindachneri, is found throughout the state. It is found primarily near small, shallow bodies of water. Its oval shell is dark and unmarked. Stripes run from its nose over its eyes and down the side of its head. It grows to 5″ in length. It is sometimes seen feeding on manure, which accounts for it being referred to as the “Cow Dung Cooter”.
Florida Mud Turtle, Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri Male at Crazy Critters
The Eastern Mud TurtleKinosternon subrubrum subrubrum, is found across the panhandle and northern Florida. It is similar in appearance to the Florida Mud Turtle.
The Loggerhead Musk TurtleSternotherus minor minor, is found in freshwater springs and spring runs in the panhandle and northern peninsula. It has a dark peaked shell and has black spots on its head. Although only 4.5″ long, it has quite a bite.
The Stripe-neck Musk TurtleSternotherus minor peltifer, is found in the western panhandle. It is similar to the Loggerhead Musk Turtle but has a flatter shell.
The Common Musk Turtle aka The Stinkpot Turtle,Sternotherus odoratus is a species of small turtle native to southeastern Canada and much of the Eastern United States. It is also known as the common musk turtle, eastern musk turtle, or stinkpot due to its ability to release a foul musky odor from scent glands on the edge of its shell, possibly to deter predation.

We have a group of Three-Stripe Turtles here at Crazy Critters. These animals have found their way to us and have become one of our conservation groups. Offspring will be used strictly for education with the largest percentages being released to the wild.

Many people catch turtles here in Florida. We can argue if it is right or wrong. What we do know is that if you captive raise an animal for numbers of years. Then release that animal in the wild. Contamination from unknown bacteria and other pathogens harm the turtle or the environment because of the turtle.
Crazy Critters was established to provide non-releasable animals with a naturalistic forever home.
With that said, FWC protects the following species.
  • Alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii)
  • Barbour’s map turtles (Graptemys barbouri)
  • Suwannee cooters (Pseudemys suwanniensis)
Also prohibited is taking species that look similar to the imperiled species, which include common snapping turtles and cooters.
  • Cooters (Pseudemys sp.)
  • Escambia Map Turtle (Graptemys ernsti)
  • Snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina)
For all other freshwater turtles, take is limited to one turtle per person per day (midnight to midnight) from the wild for non-commercial use. The transport of more than one turtle per day is prohibited unless the transporter has a license for sale or exhibition of wildlife, aquaculture certification from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or documentation that their turtles were legally obtained (proof of purchase).
Freshwater turtles can only be taken by hand, dip net, minnow seine or baited hook. Most freshwater turtles may be taken year-round. Taking turtles with bucket traps, snares, or shooting with firearms is prohibited. Softshell turtles may not be taken from the wild from May 1 to July 31. In addition, collecting of freshwater turtle eggs is prohibited.
Possession limits for the following turtle species and their eggs are as follows:
  • Loggerhead musk turtles – two
  • Box turtles – two
  • Escambia map turtles – two
  • Diamondback terrapins – two