Hey guys, I know I know it's been a minute since I've posted, but don't fret there's going to be lots more coming soon along with updates and all sorts of goodies so hold on to your snake hooks cause it's gonna be gnarly! I decided to make an update video to my video from a while back about my Tegu, Bucky, and basically just checking in and letting everyone know I'm still alive! haha God is good and there are some cool things in the works that I can't wait to share with you. https://youtu.be/HPYfQWUoZQg
Tegu Enclosure Build
What the heck is a Tegu? I've had that question postulated to me several times over the last week or two as I posted progress reports and pictures on my Instagram while building a large enclosure for my tegu. Basically a tegu is a large lizard similar in stature and behavior to a monitor lizard. My specific tegu is an Argentinian black and white tegu or Tupinambis merianae if you're fancy.A good friend of mine and fellow Catching Creation team member, Thomas LaVine, decided around 6-8 months ago to get himself a tegu and while ordering one for himself Thomas decided to also get one for me.
Thomas donated "Bucky" the Argentine tegu to me for the purpose of using in my ministry. Little did we know that our tegus would be so wild when we got them. The tegus both came from a guy in south Florida who runs a reptile rescue of sorts for tegus. Basically since they're running wild down in Florida several people have taken it upon themselves to offer a "service" of capturing these wily beasts and shipping them across the country to the pet trade. It solves the problem of the tegu being a burden on the ecology of native wildlife and reptile enthusiasts like myself can get a normally expensive animal for a fraction of the cost. That all seems well and good, the only catch is that you have to spend quite a bit of time taming these animals in order to be able to throughly enjoy them.
When I first got Bucky the tegu he was missing the last quarter of his tail, he was around 18 inches long and full of thrashing energy. I fell in love with this little guy immediately. Bucky hid for the first 10 days I had him. I decided that in order to tame him I had to first build his trust so I left him alone, I didn't bother him and I just trusted that he was ok while inside of his hide for those first 10 days. He would eventually start to peek his head out of the hide while I was in the room, but if we made eye contact he would dart back inside his dark hidey hole. Eventually he got brave and would bask when I was in the room but if I made a motion towards his enclosure he would bolt back into his hide. I would inch slowly towards his enclosure day after day until I built trust with him and I could get all the way to the side of his enclosure and he would stay. This process went on for weeks and months. I finally got where I could pet him while in his enclosure and most recently I've gotten where I can hold him with gloves for a minute or so before he starts to thrash wildly and wants to be let back into his cage. Since we aren't on any sort of time table I'm comfortable letting him warm up to me at his own pace.
So with all of that back story and trust building you can see that I have a vested interest in this amazing creature. I spent the last week building what most consider the appropriate sized enclosure for an Argentine tegu. The total size of his new home is 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet long. He has an elevated basking post laid with tiles, a hide box under the second level of his enclosure and a ramp connecting both levels. I placed the whole enclosure on a 2ft high stand so that when I open the doors to his enclosure Bucky will be at eye level. The theory is that since I've made so much progress so far with him that being at eye level now when we interact will hopefully eliminate his fear of me. He will no longer see me as a predator coming from above but as a friend coming at eye level. I'm hoping that by spring I will be able to consistently handle Bucky and begin to use him in my programs by summer. That would be a huge miracle and great testimony for this animal.
Tegus are incredibly intelligent and typically a very docile animal. Since Bucky was wild collected in Florida he doesn't come with the good positive human interaction that a captive bred animal will have but since he is such a highly intelligent animal it is possible to tame him down. I'm excited for this process and all the progress I've made with this wonderful animal.
A Lizard Can Be Regenerated, Can You?
I had the privilege of growing up in the country and spending most of my time outside catching snakes, frogs, lizards and just about anything else that crawls. One thing I learned from a very early age was that if you grabbed a lizard by the tail in an attempt to catch it, you would be left with a bloody wiggling appendage. Lizards have fracture planes in their tails that help them to drop their tails in an effort to entice and distract a predator so it can make a quick escape. The coolest part of the whole process is that not only does the lizard drop its tail but also the tail regenerates eventually and grows back.
Ezekiel 36:26 says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” The Lord allows our hearts to be regenerated by accepting Jesus, and the coolest part is that the heart he gives us as we accept him is one that will function much better than the one before. Ezekiel says that before the Lord gives us a new heart and spirit, it is like we have a heart of stone. When Jesus enters and regenerates our heart he makes us into a new creation and changes our nature from one that is more like a cold stone to that of a warm heart ready to love. Next time you see a lizard with a stub tail remember that just as his tail will eventually grow back and regenerate, Jesus is doing that same work in your heart as we learn to follow and obey His commands. A lizard can be regenerated, can you?
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In this Catching Creation episode we take a look at newts and salamanders and black rat snakes along with other North Western North Carolina animals. Enjoy
Today I got the chance to take my two dogs, Randolph a 7 year old white boxer, and Raleigh a 6 month old boxer/hound? mix to Belew's Lake for a Memorial Day weekend swim. It was so much fun. Raleigh didn't know what to expect and excitedly attacked and lunged at the breaking waves on the shore. I was also able to allow my nearly 3ft Savannah Monitor the chance to "swim" in our bathtub the day before. I put together a quick mash up of the experience with my cell phone camera so please forgive the lack of quality and enjoy some frolicking swimming dogs. I do believe that our heavenly Father also enjoys seeing us happy and enjoying life like I enjoyed seeing my animal buddies enjoying their swims.
Proverbs 17:22 says "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Lets not live in denial of our circumstances BUT let's live in the joy of knowing our heavenly father works all things for our good and that this too shall pass, whatever your THIS is. Let's try to enjoy life like the animals in this video and pray that the Lord is pleased with the way we are carrying out our lives. God is good, and He loves you!