Tegu Enclosure Build

Tegu Enclosure Build

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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.

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Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 10.28.50 AM

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.

If you've ever tried taming an animal, consider taming your tongue, check out this devotional from my book "Whispers In The Woods" here http://catchingcreation.com/can-tame-tongue/

DCIM100GOPRO
DCIM100GOPRO

Meerkats, Tortoises & Penguins Oh MY!

Jessica and I spent a few hours at the Greensboro Science Center, Zoo and Sciquarium and got to see all sorts of amazing animals.  Jess REALLY loves the meerkats and penguins, check it out! 

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Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 12.16.27 AM
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Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 12.17.27 AM

Butterfly Metamorphosis In Costa Rica

While in Costa Rica at the Peace Waterfalls we decided to visit a butterfly enclosure and talk about being made into a new creation 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Music Used with Permission "Travel Light And Worry Free" by The Eager Seas ©2013 The Eager Seas http://theeagerseas.bandcamp.com/

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Costa Rican Coati

While in Costa Rica at the Peace Waterfalls we saw this very cute little (or not so little) nectar thief.  He is a White-nosed Coati, Nasua narica, and they are a close relative to a raccoon.  In this quick clip we discuss how he is a thief and how we should be prepared always.  This will most likely make it to the blooper reel because well I got scared haha mammals are a bit more unpredictable than reptiles so I bolted when he decided he was done eating. 

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Anti-Bullying Program With Snakes

I was able to partner with L.I.T. City youth and do an Anti-Bullying program with my snakes at Wiley Middle School in Winston Salem NC 

We got to shoot this in a middle school gym so please forgive the audio quality.  During the course of the program we talked about animals that have been bullied since the beginning of time, the snakes.  Hognose snakes would hypothetically get picked on by other snakes because of their funny looking noses but the thing that makes them stand out is what makes them special.  I talked about the adaptations of the hognose that help it overcome being bullied (or preyed upon) by other animals.  I used corn snake morphs to talk about genetic diversity and how the differences between the snakes are only skin deep.  Lastly I used a large boa constrictor to illustrate the heaviness of what we are carrying around when we are bullied and that if we partner with someone else we can help share the burden and turn our hurt into hope.  I hope you enjoy this and if you're interested in having Catching Creation at your public school feel free to contact Info@CatchingCreation.com

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Holy Turtle

I found a turtle with a hole in it's face, sad reminder of our own mortality and how simple things can lead to our demise but there is hope with Jesus Christ!

 

 

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Corn Snake Hatching Time Lapse

Check out my first corn snake hatchling of the year.  I set up the Gopro Hero 3 camera and let it go for a couple hours and then sped up the footage.  First corn of the year is an A melanistic, not too shabby. 

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Prairie Dog Preacher

Prairie dogs often remind me of how we are supposed to function as a church.  The church isn't just a building, it's a community of believers working together for the common good and to glorify Christ. Acts 2:42-47 says  42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

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Eastern King Snake in Macon Ga

I found an eastern king snake in Macon Ga, Lampropeltis getula, talked about the Holy Spirit breaking chains that bind us.  It was a great trip visiting with the Guest family and speaking at two amazing churches.  God is good and I love what I do!

 

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Spotted Salamanders and the Church

Check out this clip from our first Catching Creation shoot of the year down in Blacksburg SC.  We shot video with what we had and the cameras ranged from Iphones, Gopros and even a Sony DSLR, we strongly believe in using what you have and know that God honors our faithfulness in the little things and is preparing us for the better equipment to come.  I'm really excited about this new DVD coming up and the team God has given me to help shoot new episodes of Catching Creation.  We are 1/2 way funded for our new Canon XF100 pro camcorder package that we've been saving and raising money for!

 

Check out a recent devotional about Salamanders HERE

Camp Grace Snake Bite!

I got to visit Camp Grace this week to do a few presentations, take kids out to listen to frogs at night and teach about creation and the creator.  While there we caught several awesome reptiles and amphibians.  Here's a video of me getting bit by a red bellied water snake.  Enjoy! 

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camp grace swamp
camp grace swamp
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basilisk
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slimy
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red belly

This Is Why I Do What I Do!

Check out this awesome promo and testimony video from Channing Guest down in Macon Ga.  I will be speaking at his church, Christ Chapel in Macon, GA on May 19 and at Pine Forest Baptist that evening.  Invite your friends and come experience the wonder of God's creation!  It's such an encouragement to see that this ministry is impacting lives both young and old for the sake of the kingdom.  Isn't God great!  I am humbled and honored that he took the time to make this video and blessed that the Lord set it all up.  It's hard not to have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I think about what this ministry can accomplish for the sake of the Gospel.  YOU are special and YOU are loved and I want you to know that in Jesus name! 

Seeing lives changed for Jesus and being a positive influence in a world littered with filth is why I do what I Do.  My prayer is that the Lord will continue to use me as an effective minister of his Gospel.  I'm so thankful that of all people the Lord chose me, transformed me and can use me for his glory!

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