Evolution of a Lizard Room, Part V: The Shopvac

Using a Shopvac can really speed-up cleaning dirty cricket cages (left) and also help knock-down spider populations (right).

As we’ve discussed previously in our series on the evolution of a lizard room, some little tools and tricks can save you lots of time when maintaining a reasonably large lizard breeding facility.  One useful new tool that we added to our lizard maintenance repertoire a few months ago was a Shopvac.  We purchased a 3-gallon Shopvac model for around $60 with the initial goal of using it primarily for clearing substrate from the bottom of dirty lizard and cricket cages.  The Shopvac works like a charm for this purpose.  We no longer have to endure awkward and time-consuming cleaning sessions that involve tipping unwieldy cages into a garbage bin.  Another unforeseen use of the Shopvac is to knock-down the massive population of spiders that persists on a diet of our feeder crickets.  Sucking up spiders, spider webs and spider eggs is much easier than trying to knock them down with your hands or a broom (at the end of the process you also get the satisfaction of looking into the Shopvac’s dustbin and seeing all the hundreds of spiders and spider egg cases that you’ve taken down).  In my view, the money we spent on the Shopvac was money well spent.

About Rich Glor

Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and longtime anole enthusiast.
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4 Responses to Evolution of a Lizard Room, Part V: The Shopvac

  1. julienneng says:

    Definitely has been a great piece of equipment to have to suck up the soil from the bottom of cages. Kritter Keepers are no problems, but it’s a dream for large, unwieldy lizard cages!

  2. Yoel Stuart says:

    We don’t get the spider infestations, but we do get a lot of what appear to be flour beetles or something similar. The larvae come with the crickets. The adults fly around the room. Maybe I’ll get one of those tennis racket zapper things.

  3. julienneng says:

    We get larvae with our crickets too but I think they are dermestid beetles. We suspect that they’re put in with the crickets to help clean up dead crickets and cricket molts. Still, a tennis racket zapper might just be a fine investment!

  4. Rich Glor says:

    I can’t believe you guys don’t get spider infestations! Spiders show up regularly in our cricket shipments. We’ve actually talked about doing an experiment on spider competition because we’ve had two or three different species cycle through as the predominant spiders in our community fo free-loaders.

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