So, I’m sure many of you talk to me on Facebook or Instagram.. but I wanted to start this thread as sort of a way to recover from my loss..
On July 15th at 2:30 in the afternoon I noticed my “animal room” lights shut off.. first thought was power outage.. then a split second realized the tv was still on.. maybe a circuit breaker popped.. so, I went into the room to investigate and go out to the garage to check the panel. When I entered the room I saw white smoke pouring in from the seams of the door that leads to the garage..
I screamed to my wife “FIRE, get the cat get out call 911!” I grabbed the other cat and tried to pull the dogs out the front door but they froze and the smoke was now black and quickly filling the house. My wife ran out the side door I went out the front screamed for my neighbors tossed the cat to them and ran to try and go back and rescue the turtles.. the fire was so out of control at this point I knew I could t make it back in..
My wife never came around and I went into a panic that she went back in for the dogs.. I screamed for her and what felt like hours but was likely seconds later she ran through the side kitchen door and out the front.
The fire department arrived and started getting water on the fire and miraculously all the dogs ran out. Once they where safe.. we watched as 4 fire departments attempted to put the fire out..
In the end.. where we sit now is half the house is so severely damaged it will need to go down to the basement foundation. The other half will need to go down to the studs possibly the foundation as well..
All of my frogs.. 6 terribilis orange, 4 bicolors, 5 cobalts, 26 vittatus, 5 leucs, 2 a. Pepperi orange heads, who knows how many Santa isabella, 6 azures, 5 lowland fants, 2 Borja ridge , 5 valeroi glass frogs, 8-10 mourning geckos, 5 turtles and all of my fish Shrimp and plants are gone.
In all 125g high tech planted tank, 2 12” cube tanks 13 vivariums of various sizes. 2 insitu, 2 exoterra a couple of conversions and a few hand built vivs, 210g turtle tank, 90g turtle tank, and a few “spare” tanks plus filters, pumps, lights, various cultures.. so on and so on.. all gone..
I don’t care about the “stuff” but I do care about the lives.. no matter how small.. I loved them.. my springtail cultures even excited me seeing them boom the way they did.. I loved watching my isopods munch on the food when I fed them.. my frogs and plants.. I put so much care into making sure everything was as perfect for them as I could get it.. I was absolutely enamored by the glass frogs especially. They where just so fun to watch every night after lights out..
The Santa isabella where super annoying.. but fun to watch. I will leave them off my “rebuild list” though. And I finally got rid of those f’ing slugs.. but I don’t recommend my method. 😝
So, we are currently in a Hilton with 2 1 bedroom suites because of our number of pets is over their limit. Insurance is looking for a rental while we rebuild.. tomorrow we inventory contents with a company. It was already all deemed a total loss.. we pulled heirloom items and a few things to try to get cleaned and salvaged.
Trying to find silver linings in this.. we will pretty much have a new house once things are done.. we can also take this time to make a few changes to a few things.
While I am a long long way away from having frogs again.. and honestly don’t know if I can do it again.. I have an opportunity to do something not many are able to.. Ive amassed a ton of knowledge.. thanks to experience and you kind folks and these archives.
I can purpose build my den for amphibian, plant and reptile keeping.. I can get custom shelving built in and ditch the metal racks.. I can add drainage and a sink / ro station. I can wire that room to it’s own breaker and have outlets at 2 levels for every viv. I’m thinking about possibly doing either vaulted ceilings through the entire new half of the house and getting sky lights to bring in more natural light. I don’t know yet if it’s possible for the frog room as it’s a different configuration of roof.. but solar tubes may be a great option if I keep it normal ceilings in that room. Also thinking custom tadpole rack, fruit fly cabinet.. I’m sure it will evolve and get more cohesive as time goes on.
So, let’s hear some ideas.. if you got to build a purpose built frog room what would you deem necessary, what would you add to make life easier?
I won’t be getting any more turtles.. partly because ours where beloved and with us a very long time.. partly because at 44 I can’t ethically take on an animal that can live 30+ years. And partly because they where more work than all of the others combined and took up a lot of space.. I definitely won’t do salt water again.. the reef tank was beautiful.. but such a pain in the ass.. I don’t know about fish / planted tanks again.. I love them.. but right now I’m not sure I want back in.. I lost some very high end angelfish that where difficult and expensive to get the first time around.. maybe one day..
I’d likely be interested in some reptiles though.. I was in the process of building a leopard gecko tank. I was researching auckie monitors with intent to build out a tank for one.. and have been researching a dream reptile which is a caiman lizard.. but that’s more of a pipe dream as their care requirements are a bit extreme.. I had always said once we finish the basement I wanted to build out a huge caiman lizard enclosure on the scale of a zoo exhibit. I wouldn’t want to do any less if I committed to the care of such an awesome lizard.
As far as frogs go.. I am fully intent on replacing all of my phyllobates and adding mints, and auroteana. Leucs but possibly going to fine spots or blue foots. Tinc azures, Vanessa, powder blue, cobalts, and one or two other locals. Then possibly some pumillo.. basti, draco, and a few other locals really interest me..