12. the mad scientist vibe
I downloaded the instructions for harvesting hookworms from the internet, and made up a list of items to get. Most of them were home-depot purchases, but one stood out. I needed an incubator. The instructions discussed a jerry-rigged styrofoam container and a desk lamp, but that seemed to be inviting a fire hazard. So I went to the local reptile store and inquired about a terrarium, outfitted with something that I could measure the temperature and humidity with.
What I found was amazing! A reptile egg incubator, which had everything ready to go in one package. And it was titled (get this) the “Reptibator.” Visions of a cartoon crocodile masturbating float through my head whenever I say the word.
So I took my Reptibator home and set it up. I also ordered some lab equipment from amazon: a microscope and some slides, etc. By now I’m getting the mad scientist vibe and I’m kind of digging it.
I experimented with the Reptibator for a few days, making sure the temp and humidity were optimal. I was wary of the foam cushion I was supposed to dampen to keep the humidity up, thinking that with what I was planning to humidify, that foam would be a crawling bacteria factory in no time, but I had trouble keeping the humidity high enough without it.
Finally, it was poop in a bucket time. I scooped the feces into a small plastic cup (the kind you serve champagne in at a BBQ), and then also into a slightly larger tupperware container. I’ve never done this before and I’m not sure how much is optimal, so I thought I’d experiment with two different sizes.
I mixed the poop with vermiculite, as per the instructions and broke two plastic spoons in doing so. Apparently, I have misjudged the viscosity of my own excrement. Who among us cannot say the same?
Then I lowered the lid on the Reptibator and sighed. A week of waiting, and those little containers will be crawling with gut-buddies. Well, let’s hope they will be.