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Tokay Outdoor Heating Issues

Discussion in 'Tokay Geckos' started by varanus78, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    Hey everyone, first post and first time on the forum. Let me preface this question with the realization that it will spark some controversy so here it goes. I live in central florida on approximately 8 acres of heavily wooded land. The land is bordered on all sides by hay fields and cow pastures. The winter months reach temperatures as low as 22 Fahrenheit. I have numerous sheds and a mobile home on the property. The buildings are fairly close together.
    I have kept numerous species of reptiles over the years and even worked for an import/export/breeder years ago. I also have experience with a few tarantulas and hot species of scorpions.
    Unfortunately even with that experience l have somewhat of a specific phobia. I am terrified of huntsman spiders. Nothing else bothers me including other spiders (I have kept goliath bird eaters, king baboons, and cobalt blues). I realize the huntsman is a beneficial animal and harmless but as I said earlier I have a phobia and have never been able to kick it.
    I want to release some tokays around my house and need some suggestions for providing heat sources and hydration for them during the winter. I will keep several flood lights on around the structures to keep them going with insects. I thought about keeping a couple of doors partially open on the sheds during the winter with shallow water dishes or a humidifier placed under an indoor plant in the sheds. Maybe even a small open green house with some heat lamps.
    Due to my location and the occasional freeze I am not worried about them leaving the property and spreading as an invasive species in my area. Thanks for any input. Ps. The property is loaded with German roaches, beetles, and large wood roaches.
     
  2. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    I would not consider this a pleasant act on behalf of the tokays and urge you not to do it. Why are you not worried about them becoming an invasive species? If you have an occasional freeze it is more than likely they will die or have very a poor quality of life since it's not a natural area for them at all. Do not do this just because you are afraid of spiders.

    Where I come from it is considered cruelty to put an animal you are in charge of knowingly or unknowingly into a situation that would be so detrimental as this one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  3. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    I am not worried about it becoming an invasive species due to the fact of the occasional freeze and being surrounded by large fields with no trees (aboreal species). I can get tokays very cheap and if I didn't care about the quality of the animals lives I would just release more after every winter. They would live like kings around my house for the majority of the year. I am asking the question for possible ideas. People have used geckos for pest control in their homes for many years. I don't feel I can keep the humidity up in the house due to the ac. I am trying to figure out a way to keep them healthy and happy. As long as they don't spread and are maintained it is the same principle as keeping them in a house they are just on the other side. I want to take care of them that's why I posted here.
     
  4. Katsura

    Katsura Elite Member

    I don't know that you will get any support on this issue from anyone here...

    I mean, it kinda seems to me that you're being a bit drastic... I personally am terrified of spiders to the point of paralyzed whimpering, but I don't get a bunch of geckos and let them loose around my house... I mean, if you're terrified of snakes and you find out you have a nest of garters in your garden, you wouldn't go out and buy a couple mongooses... mongeese? Anyway.

    Besides, even if you DO let geckos loose, they won't get ALL of the spiders, no guarantee they'd get more than a few, no guarantee they'd stick around.... plus, doing what you're considering doing could very well be against the law in your area. Maybe, I dunno.
     
  5. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    If you're already aware that an "occasional freeze" will prevent these geckos from becoming an invasive species, then you are well aware that you are endangering these geckos by releasing them on your property as they will die off during a cold snap, especially one that low. THIS IS A COLD-BLOODED SPECIES. If you truly cared for their well-being, you would see the issue with this already. Tokays come from a hot and humid climate...we're talking temps no lower than 75F...and this is for nighttime. I don't know the average climate or humidity of Florida during the winter months, but unless the range stays above that, then what you're looking for is a cheap form of pest control at the expense of the lives of innocent animals.

    A second issue is that whenever you introduce a new species to a non-native area, you risk attracting larger predators that will hunt this species. Considering Florida already has a problem with large snakes, you're essentially inviting these snakes, a natural predator of geckos, onto your property. I can't see Huntsman's being your highest concern at that point.

    A third issue is pesticides. Wild insects in North America often come into contact with pesticide-laden food. Again, you're risking the lives of your Tokays by allowing them to eat wild insects. I don't care if they are exposed to these in their native country - they are just as likely to get sick from them over there too. But do you want to be responsible for contributing to the problem? if you know anything about the Tokay trade over there, you'll know that the vast majority of the population use and abuse this species far more than what most of us are aware of. There's a reason this species is so "cheap".

    Tokays derive the majority of their hydration from rain/mist and humidity. They rarely drink from standing water. They also require hot temps day and night. Unless you housed them in a locked, heated, misted, greenhouse, this is not something I can imagine you being able to provide if they're allowed to roam free. You can't control where they go. They will go where they feel safest, even if it's not the right temperature or humidity.

    As mentioned, you will not likely receive much support for this idea. Review a caresheet on this species, learn about its requirements, and then you'll have a better idea that what you're proposing is NOT in the best interests of this gecko whatsoever.

    And yes, check your laws...in many places, and I suspect Florida is one of them, it's illegal and highly punishable to release non-native species into the environment. Anything outside of the confines of your house is considered "releasing".
     
  6. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    I don't think you all are understanding what I am asking exactly. I have not released them yet because I have not created a proper environment yet I know this. As far as the pesticides none are used except what is put directly on the cattle. I live in east Jesus and am not close to any other sources of pesticides. I am wandering if I keep the lights on to attract the tons of insects and provide a humid/warm environment if the tokays will SEEK that habitat? Does anyone think they will seek the shelter provided for them if it can be created. In a terrarium they will regulate their temperature to a certain degree by seeking basking spots. I understand the ambient temperature also needs to be relatively stable hence the greenhouse or building being made available.
    I am discussing ideas and seeing anyone has some that might work. I am not aware of a native species that will put much of a dent in them (huntsmen). I believe they are an introduced species to Florida also but not positive. Bottom line is I love the tokays and would enjoy sitting on my deck and watching them eat. I know they can't get ALL of the huntsmen (I guess that is the plural form of huntsman) but I think in the very small area that I am talking about making it favorable to occupy a few would make a bigger difference than one might think.
    I love the little guys as much as anyone. We can put a man or gecko for that matter on the moon is it possible to create the conditions to make this work? I haven't thought of them yet.
    Another question, if not the tokay then what. Many moons ago I was a bug man (ironic considering I hate those particular spiders) You could in theory obtain enough pesticides to kill the majority of the spiders buy contact and the rest with contaminated insects that they prey on. BUT I am not going to kill everything just to get the spiders.
    Please don't take me continuing the discussion as a sign that I am going to just release them anyway.
     
  7. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    I don't think you all are understanding what I am asking exactly. I have not released them yet because I have not created a proper environment yet I know this. As far as the pesticides none are used except what is put directly on the cattle. I live in east Jesus and am not close to any other sources of pesticides. I am wandering if I keep the lights on to attract the tons of insects and provide a humid/warm environment if the tokays will SEEK that habitat? Does anyone think they will seek the shelter provided for them if it can be created. In a terrarium they will regulate their temperature to a certain degree by seeking basking spots. I understand the ambient temperature also needs to be relatively stable hence the greenhouse or building being made available.
    I am discussing ideas and seeing anyone has some that might work. I am not aware of a native species that will put much of a dent in them (huntsmen). I believe they are an introduced species to Florida also but not positive. Bottom line is I love the tokays and would enjoy sitting on my deck and watching them eat. I know they can't get ALL of the huntsmen (I guess that is the plural form of huntsman) but I think in the very small area that I am talking about making it favorable to occupy a few would make a bigger difference than one might think.
    I love the little guys as much as anyone. We can put a man or gecko for that matter on the moon is it possible to create the conditions to make this work? I haven't thought of them yet.
    Another question, if not the tokay then what. Many moons ago I was a bug man (ironic considering I hate those particular spiders) You could in theory obtain enough pesticides to kill the majority of the spiders buy contact and the rest with contaminated insects that they prey on. BUT I am not going to kill everything just to get the spiders.
    Please don't take me continuing the discussion as a sign that I am going to just release them anyway.

    In response to Cassi, building a greenhouse is not what I would call cheap pest control. The large snake problem I assume you are referring to is the boids released in the everglades...I am way too far north for them. I am also familiar with the tokay's "care sheet".
     
  8. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    How about cuban tree frogs? Already introduced and established in Florida unfortunately but since they ARE here already do you all think they will eat a five inch huntsman? Maybe eat the juvenile spider to the point of reducing the numbers of adults eventually? If any cubans were to be used they would be from wild caught florida stock. I know this area is for tokays but figured I'd ask. And if anyone has any reasonable ideas aside from a shoe, me moving, or mastering the fear (I have already asked a shrink who is a friend about a solution to fix me and he said the fear is normal) I'm all ears.

    I disagree with the shrink by the way because I know they can't hurt me but I am still afraid. I have caught eastern diamond backs for goodness sake. The shrink would soil himself if I tossed a ring neck on him.

    Back to the tokays, years ago a couple them were loose in the reptile shop and they thrived on the escaped crickets and anything else that got in (never saw a spider in the shop other than the tarantulas for sale).
     
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Actually it is you who are not listening. To release a non native species into an area solely for the purpose to control something that you fear is not only irresponsible but also HIGHLY ILLEGAL!
    And a criminal act punishable by law!
    Florida's native species are already under attack from the introduced alien species. Why in the world would you even consider such a thing?
    People have tried the type of thing that you are considering in the past with disastrous results. No matter what you think, you cannot control the distribution of the geckos into other areas. And even with the occasional freeze, there are always "micro climates" where it will stay warmer.
    And you seem to assume that because you want them to eat the spiders, that they will and they will eat all of them. They might eat the occasional one but not enough to make a dent in your spider issue.
     
  10. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    As I said in the original post I knew the question would spark controversy. I know the laws in Florida and it is absolutely illegal to introduce any non native species unless the government is doing as in the marine toads years ago (mistake). I was simply discussing hypothetical ideas and have not introduced anything nor would I unless I could keep them on my house but I couldn't think of a surefire way to do that and apparently neither can anyone else. Is there any where on this forum to discuss what if anything would eat the huntsman (that is legal, ethical, native, etc)? I didn't want to post in the arachnid section because that would be like someone asking here how to kill frogs.
     
  11. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Are you finding you're infested with these spiders i.e. they're present in huge numbers? Or does even the odd one pose a concern for you?
    Is the problem primarily inside your house, or outside?
     
  12. NancyA

    NancyA Elite Member

    For the record your shrink friend is an idiot when it comes to desensitization. I had an intense phobia of all spiders into my 40s. I went through two weeks of working with tarantulas 5 days per week and it does work. My fear was so bad I was unable to kill even the smallest spider for fear it would jump on me. I was unable to leave a room with a spider in it because I wouldn't know where it went. This meant at times staying in the room for hours on end in hysterics until someone came home and disposed of the spider. Look into it with another therapist or find native species that you can set up an ideal environment for.
     
  13. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Look through history at every instance of man bringing an animal species from one place to another, and virtually all of those instances ended up doing more harm than good. Like it or not those spiders are part of your ecosystem wether they themselves are invasive or not. I live in Arizona, and you know what I tell people around here who don't like having rattlesnakes in their yard where their dogs and kids play? I say it comes with the territory, and if you don't like it then find somewhere else to live.

    Learn to live with them if you can. If you truly must eliminate them then pesticides are going to be the best way. Maybe just carry a can of spider spray on you when you're out in the yard so you can target spray when you see one rather than just spraying your entire property. I mean the ones you can't see don't bother you do they?
     
  14. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    Hey guys thanks for the replies. I tried the desensitization in a way with the tarantulas. Must admit I cheated by getting ones so agressive that no one expected me to hold them. I may give it a whirl with a docile species have to research it a bit. If I wasn't afraid of them I would most likely welcome them. I recognize what a magnificent predator they are which is right up my alley any other time. I once about twenty years ago was able to pin one on an oak tree that had around a four inch span. I held it for several minutes and tried to study its individual parts. As I reached my other hand over to touch the end of the legs it grabbed my index finger quickly with all eight legs at once. I panicked and smashed it between the fingers I was holding it with.I honestly still feel bad about it. I don't kill anything unless I have a reason. I hunt hogs occasionally because and fill the freezer with meat. It's a terrible fear to have and feeling to kill the guys for nothing other than a fear.I won't kill ANY other arachnids unless necessary. Will try another pet tarantula and see if I can do it. By the way I am outside tonight and guess what I see, a cuban tree so I guess they are already hear and must not give them to much ****. The post has taken a bit of a turn so if I am successfull I will post on the arachnid section.
     
  15. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    Tokay geckos come from China, I bet that winters get as cold if not colder then Florida.
     
  16. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

  17. varanus78

    varanus78 Member

    Tokays will definitely not make it through a freeze without a heat source and humidity during that time was an issue that would have had to be overcome. As far as the spiders I killed three adults on the same wall of a shed. I'm going to work on the fear because I don't want to pass it to my kids. I used to do pest control but I the stuff in them will kill everything else. If direct contact is made it will knock a bird out of a tree and kill it a short time later ( I did that once accidentally). I don't want to use anything like that unless they were toxic which they aren't. I will figure something out.
     

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