Chaz Stewart of Avangel Reptiles and Reptileapartment.com met at the 2010 Pomona Reptile show where we were allowed to take some photographs of his incredible Leopard Geckos Eublepharis macularius. We caught up with him later and got him to chat with us about his projects and how he got into reptiles.
RA: So Chaz how did you get started in the world of reptiles?
Avangel Reptiles: Well, it started when I was younger and it was kind of by accident. I was volunteering at a pet shop and one of the managers asked me if I wanted a pet. My mom was totally against any pets. At the time I had really wanted a Bearded Dragon. I called my mom and she wasn’t answering her phone. So I got the whole set up and a gecko. At the time I had my bicycle so I had the aquarium in one hand and the bicycle is wobbling the whole way home and it was terrible. By the time I got home I just kind of showed it to my mom and she was like fine you can have it. That’s where it all began.
RA: What made you want to keep reptiles in the first place?
Avangel Reptiles: I’ve always loved exotic animals it doesn’t matter what it is. Dogs pretty much take up a lot of room where as with Geckos all you need is a rack system to start a whole breeding colony.
RA: What made you stick with the species you’re currently working with?
Avangel Reptiles: Well the Leopard Geckos have so many more variations & colors. When I first got started they were the easiest to take care of and it seems like you can make something different everyday with Leopard Geckos with effort and work.
RA: So how do you decide what to breed when it comes to morphs?
Avangel Reptiles: Well when I first started out it was more of what just looked nice. Now it’s more along the lines of contrast and color as well as design.
RA: What would be some of the best practices you would tell someone who wanted to keep Leopard Geckos in an apartment setting?
Avangel Reptiles: Well, a ten gallon aquarium and shelf lining from Lowes or Home Depot. Put a heat pad underneath. At least two hide boxes one of the cool side and one for the warm side. They also must have a food and water dishes. Sometimes a calcium dish too.
RA: What’s the most satisfying element of working with reptiles?
Avangel Reptiles: Watching them grow and the circle of life basically. Because I watch the eggs get laid, they hatch, they grow and you get to watch the changes that the Leopard Gecko goes through and then when it breeds you find out what it can create.
RA: What were some of the early issues you came across when you started breeding?
RA: Who is in the industry now that inspires you?
Avangel Reptiles: Jeff from JMG Reptiles. He is really helpful and doesn’t mind helping out anyone.
RA: What does the future hold for Avangel Reptiles?
Avangel Reptiles: I am working with some overseas connections but for next season I am looking at Blood RAPTOR’s this coming season.
RA: What goes on in a day for Avangel Reptiles?
Avangel Reptiles: I go through and check all the water and food and checking on each gecko as well as the cages themselves making sure they are clean.
RA: What would you recommend for someone who wanted to get into breeding?
Avangel Reptiles: Well, I would definitely recommend a good rack system. Also make sure you have your thermostats and that the temperatures a right. Also a hovabator is the way to go for affordable incubation. Also a good quality food like Super worms.
RA: If money were no object what would be the ultimate species for you to keep?
Avangel Reptiles: Anaconda. I love the Anaconda, they are powerful respected creatures.
Make sure to check out www.avangelgeckos.com for more information on Chaz and all the Giant geckos he will be producing and bringing to the January 2011 show in Pomona.