Ah yes isn’t she pretty, miss snooty face mc.grumpass.
Well, she’s just here to get your attention! Because I have some important shit to tell you all.
DON’T BUY FROM BACKWATER REPTILES.
(And no, above BP is local bred, she’s just a spokes-snake so this doesn’t revert to cut off link post)
Anyway, a week or so ago, I went to order meal worms from my favorite feeder site (American Cricket Ranch! They’re awesome.) But somethign was going on and it could not process my order. I had had to postpone ordering feeders for a bit longer than I normally do, so by then the critters were hungry. Unsure of what to do, I picked the next site down on the list and checked it out. The testimonials on the site looked nice, everything was well written. Little did I know I had stumbled across an actually pretty terrible company known as Backwater Reptiles. They’re bad, don’t buy from them ever!
The mealworms came many days later than they should have, but out of the box they all appeared to be doing well. They were not packaged with any food, and no grain or anything- just a cardboard post box with newspaper and worms. No air holes or special screen boxes like cricket ranch has. Right away I got my mealworms on a mix of calcium powder, organic/non saltened or sweetened raw oatmeal, and a bit of other vitamin powders (as suggested by my friend who breeds mealies). I let the mealies settle over night, and bulk up on food. The worms themselves weren’t very active, and the geckos were a bit perplexed by the worms (They’re a little dumb sometimes, if it doesn’t move it doesn’t exist). But, eventually I got all of them to eat and things seemed okay- until all the leos got massive explosive poos.
Now, I have never had an incident with any of my geckos having what I can only describe as gecko diarrhea, not with crickets and not with meal worms before. This was all very strange and happened very quickly, over night even. Concerned, I checked everyone’s tubs for under heatign or over heating, since sometimes heat goes wonky- nothing was out of the usual, everything was well, they had water and humid hides plenty, but something was off. I checked the meal worms and found nothing wrong, aside from the fact that nearly all of them had already begun to pupate- likely due to being in a warm shipping truck for days.
That said, I never figured out what might have been wrong. One of my particularly older ex-breeder leos had actually passed away following the mealworm incident, and I couldn’t tell at the time if it was old age or due to something wrong overall. No other animals had died and none seemed sick (after switching to crickets again). Today while cleaning things out, I noticed, to my horror, that there were grain mites all over the mealworm tub, and also on my trash can. the only reason I spotted them is because I’d set something black on my trash can and saw them- now, Grain mites are reportedly harmless if ingested, but they are horrible little bugs and can infest everything, like kitchens and such- I have already begun the process of cleaning absolutly everything and ridding myself of the now mealworm beetles, which there’s no way I can really be sure the mites are gone without destroying the colony I was going to start.
I did some research and found to my horror that my initial ignorance of exactly how bad backwater reptiles is, was what caused this. loads of reports on other sites, mites, dead animals on arrival or shortly afterward. Wrong animals being sent- damaged animals, too, as in, tortoises with pyramiding and extra sloops (or however its spelled), horrible site owner that tries to down rate other sites. and whats worse- they wrote all the testimonials on the site themselves. They are frauds and ship sick animals. Apparently the boxes have no air flow anywhere, even for reptiles- one person got a Ball python in a tiny deli cup too small for it with no holes as well as no heat pad and no air in the box itself either. That animal also died shortly afterward.
One person bought a tortoise and got newts! No refunds. One person emailed to inquire about an animal which was expensive and was rudely accused of being a spy from a competitive site. So many animals shipped in terrible conditions, and have terrible mites. (Sometimes animals are shipped on moist moss in a cardboard box, of which, the boxes seldom to never indicate live animal is in the box.) Sick, thin, DOA, wrong animals– just avoid this company entirely.
That goes for the feeder insects too, and all stock they carry. You will not have a good experience with them.
So far, my geckos do not show signs of having grain mites, but that could be because the bugs are very hard to see- even if I can’t see them I will still be treating for mites (I have mite-off and preventamite or something, lots of stuff on hand for just such an emergency.)
The good news is grain mites are harmless, just reallly reallllllly anoying. The bad news is, they’re here and I would like them gone.
On the other hand, American Cricket Ranch has never had bad service and their feeders are pretty great so there’s that! (Thank goodness I get my rodent feeders local, I cannot imagine what horrors I’d have found if I’d ordered frozen rodents from backwater. blehk.)
*Tagging this aywas / FR because I know some reptile owners are over there too, even though this post is not related*