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Posted by blackkat on May 06, 2003 at 20:06:33:
In Reply to: the rare red horned lizard! posted by gigaber on May 06, 2003 at 18:20:25:
:Thanks for all the info there. I took your suggestion and found some bite sized crickets for the HL. I dusted 'em and he (or she) gobbled 2 up. I've heard that ants have some acid that is necessary for their diet, but you would be surprised how hard it is to find fireants/harvesters around here. (I searched way out in the desert for about an hour and all I found was an abandoned and dehydrated Aus-Shepard Puppy which I took home - I wonder how much more of this my girlfriend is going to put up with...)
:It's Tucson - you'd think ants would be inescapable. Maybe they're still in hybernation. But if I get really desparate, would you recommend mail order ants?
Yeah, the HL will need ants, but they can survive and grow on other things for awhile. Crickets aren't great, but they'll do in a pinch. The smaller the better. Dusting (or gut-loading) is a good idea, since they don't have much in the way of nutrition on their own. If you can catch some small moths, or find a nest of termites somewhere, those work real well.
I know what you mean about expecting to find ants in Tucson. I grew up there, and used to spend hours playing with them. Stick with the harvesters; the HL won't eat fire ants (and they're no fun to try to collect, as they get really upset!). Fire ants also kill harvesters, so if you find an area with fire ants, you're not likely to find any harvesters nearby.
You might try ordering some harvesters. I get a regular shipment from LifeStudies (http://www.infowest.com/life/hornfood.htm), and my HLs love 'em. It might be worth it to order 100 just to have some. You can supplement them with other things to make them last (mine eat 50/day each, along with other stuff, but they're full-grown). They don't need an exclusively-ant diet, and in fact eat other things in the wild. When I get my ants I give them a little gut-load and misting, and let them sit for a few hours at room temp, then store them in the fridge. They last pretty well this way, although I start to notice a little deterioration after a week or so (they behave more erratically when warmed). The cold also slows them down and makes it very easy for the HL to eat them, although they don't really seem to have any trouble even when the ants are fully alert. One or two shipments would probably do until you can locate a local source (that's one thing I wish I had here).
Congrats on the new find. Hopefully your GF will fall in love with the puppy and overlook any other critters that follow you home. I'm lucky, mine is even more likely to come home with a snake or lizard than I am.