Vivariums, Perfect Homes for Exotic Pets

Tetrafauna ViquariumCan’t decide whether to get a pet fish or reptile? How about a vivarium that offers the best of both worlds! The Tetrafauna Viquarium provides both a land and water environment. It’s great for a small to medium sized habitat and it’s really fun to setup too! First decide on your favorite inhabitants. Mollies or guppys, even bettas can work well in the water habitat. Small lizards like anoles, or amphibians like tree frogs, do well on in the terrestrial side. Next choose your interior decor, gravel, plants, mosses, and woods that are best suited to your pets. Put it all together and then add your pets. It’s fun, beautiful, and a great exotic pet environment!

Housing your pet will never be as fun or rewarding as when you create its perfect home.

Each animal has its particular habitat needs and a vivarium setup is a re-creation of its natural home. There are as many unique virarium arrangements as there are exotic pets.

A vivarium is an enclosure where selected plants and animal species are kept or raised. The concept of vivariums started initially as a medium to study and research selected flora and fauna. Literally, vivarium means “a place of life”.

The ecosystem inside a vivarium is created to simulate, on a smaller scale, the environment conditions, which are favorable to the species. Vivariums can range from small enclosures that can sit on a table to a very large structure that houses bigger animals and are placed outdoors.

Types of Vivariums

There are several types of vivarium depending on the habitat that you wish to simulate and the accompanying flora and fauna that will be used. These include:

  • Aquarium: These are water habitats that can house freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and coral reef inhabitants.
  • Insectarium: These habitats are for housing insects and arachnids.
  • Terrarium: This is generally a dry habitat for housing reptiles
  • Paludarium: The paludarium simulates a semi-aquatic habitat such as in rainforests or swamps. Other setups of a paludarium combine a terrarium and an aquarium, sometimes known as a viquarium
  • Riparium. A riparium recreates the wet habitats near lakes, rivers, and ponds. The setup is suitable for marginal plants that thrive best in the water-saturated soil along the water’s edge.
  • Penguinarium: A unique habitat for housing penguins

Materials for a vivarium

Vivariums are commonly made of clear plastic or glass containers. Wood or metal can also be used as long as there’s a side, which is transparent. There are also vivariums made from plywood with built-in sliding glass doors.

The material that you will use depends on what flora and fauna you plan to put in, the desired size, height and weight, cost, desired quality, as well as the ability of the materials to simulate the natural environment and provide protection against extreme environment conditions.

Coated plywood can retain heat better compared to glass or plastic vivariums. These types of enclosures can also withstand high humidity. When making a vivarium, it is recommended to place a high-drainage substrate on top of a layer of stones to help retain humidity without the substrate surface being saturated.

Substrates

The type of substrate will depend on several factors including what is favorable for the plants and/or animals, the benefits, and the aesthetic value. The most common substrates used include soil, wood chips, pebbles, peat, sand, coconut coir, and wood mulch. There are also vivariums that use tissue paper and newspaper.

Humidity

These are the recommended methods to effectively regulate humidity inside the vivarium:

  • Regular pulverization of water
  • Enhanced water evaporation by placing a basin inside
  • Use of humidifiers and automated pulverization systems

Lighting

The lighting system is always designed to meet the requirements of the animal and plant species. Various types of bulbs are needed to simulate specific natural environments. There are also certain flora and fauna that require a good source of ultraviolet rays for vitamin D synthesis and assimilation of calcium. Specialized bulbs are available which can emit a more natural sunlight effect.

You may also need to put in a day/night regulator to mimic the change between light and dark periods. The regulator is set depending on the natural habitat of the species including the season that you desire to achieve.

Temperature

Heat inside a vivarium can be provided in several ways:

  • Heat rocks
  • Infrared lamps
  • Heating lamps
  • Hot plates
  • Heat mats
  • Heating cords
  • Equipment that can generate hot air inside the vivarium

The heat inside the enclosure is controlled by a thermostat. Thermo-control systems are often employed to regulate not only heat but also light cycles and humidity.

Ventilation

Aside from promoting proper air circulation, ventilation can also prevent the growth and development of pathogenic molds and bacteria. This is particularly true in vivariums that maintain a warm and humid environment.

About the Author: Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a company based in Melbourne, Australia that provides a wide selection of live aquatic plants and aquarium decorations.

5 Best Pets for Small Spaces

December 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats, Reptiles, Small Pets

5 Best Pets for Small Spaces

Guest Post by Michael David

The Pet Rat

There are many health benefits that come with owning a pet. They lower allergy risk in children, help you stay social, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, help you get more exercise, and boost your mood. But not everyone has the space for horses, a monkey sanctuary, or even a 150 lb Great Dane. Here are a few pets that will do wonderfully in a small apartment or home with a little yard.

  • Aquatic
    Fish are a hands-off pet, require no training, and can be left alone all day and not cause trouble. Studies have also shown that watching a fish swim around for 10-15 minutes a day will lower stress levels. You don’t even need a huge aquarium or a school of fish; a couple of goldfish or a Betta in a small tank sitting on your desk will work just as well. They are also good for those on a tight budget; goldfish and small aquarium supplies can be quite inexpensive.

    You could also find a hermit crab for something a bit more exotic. They are very social, and so keeping at least two together is recommended. They do not need a lot of space, and can be quite happy simply with some sand to dig into or rocks to climb on.

  • Small and Scaly
    In this category there are quite a few options – geckos, box turtles, small frogs, and snakes. These are also more solitary animals, content with a stick or a couple rocks to climb around, although once you have gained their trust they will let you hold them for a while. They do well with being left alone for long periods (as long as they’re fed), and are fairly easy to keep clean.

    Be sure you know how large your chosen pet will grow to be, though; if you only have a small space available for a snake, you don’t want to be surprised later on when it grows to eight feet!

  • Small and Furry
    Guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, and small rabbits can be good for apartment living because they can stay in a smaller, centralized area that can easily be cleaned and maintained. They are more hands-on, cuddly, and social than fish or reptiles, but also can be left alone during the day while you’re working. If you have time for more maintenance, a ferret would also be a good option. They like having the run of the house and are temperamental towards visitors however, so keep those points in mind.

  • Cats
    Cats are more costly and time consuming than your other small furry pet choices, but also do very well in small apartments. They are easy to train to use a litter box, are very independent, which makes them great if you are gone all day, but can still be playful and interactive.

  • Dogs
    Dogs are the most hands-on pet on this list, so if you are hardly home or have no time to play, then it may be best to choose a different pet. Dogs are playful, social, and always happy to see you. They like to play outside and go for walks, so a small grassy area or nearby park would be good for them. Larger breeds will have a much harder time living in a small apartment, but smaller breeds will do just fine. Some of the smaller breeds to choose from include the Pomeranian, Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Yorkie, Pug, Boston Terrier, or Chihuahua.

When choosing your new animal companion, be sure to put forth some serious thought before going out and buying the first thing that catches your eye. Make sure your apartment permits that type of pet and that you have enough time, funds, and knowledge to properly care for your pet.

Pets provide many wonderful benefits from health to companionship, and anyone can enjoy a pet no matter how small your living space is.

Author Byline
Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics. He has recently been writing for Big Al’s Pets.

Cool Pets! Reptiles… lizards, snakes, turtles and tortoises

December 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Cool Pets!, Reptiles

Cool Pets! Reptiles… the Fascinating World of Lizards, Snakes, and Turtles

The sighting of a reptile captures everyone’s attention! These are the most bizarre and curious of all the land dwelling creatures, and also some of the most adorable of the aquatic creatures. Like other terrestrial animals they evolved from creatures of the sea, but these animals are certainly some of the most provocative.

Reptiles, just like their aquatic ancestors, are cold-blooded animals. But unlike the familiar warm-blooded pets such as dogs, cats and other mammals, reptiles lack any sort of furry cover. Rather they are sheathed in scales, or bony plating known as scutes. Although reptiles lack that cozy, huggable appeal of a fuzzy soft covering they are fascinating to look at and intriguing in habit. They are exceptional animals and make very cool pets!

Cool Animals Known as Reptiles

Incredibly, there are over 8,000 reptile species in the world! These are extremely ancient creatures, and have been a part of many culture’s folklore throughout history. This large group is divided into four classified orders.

  1. Turtles, of the order Chelonia, are the most aquatic and are also the oldest living reptiles, existing nearly unchanged since the Triassic period.
  2. Lizards and Snakes are placed in the large Squamata order, and all are terrestrial.
  3. The very large, carnivorous reptiles found in tropical and subtropical swamps are placed in the order Crocodilia that includes alligators, caimans, crocodiles, and gavials. The ‘ruling reptiles’ of the great reptilian subclass Archosauria is also part of the Crocodilia order, and includes the popular, but extinct dinosaurs.
  4. The tuataras from New Zealand are in the order Sphenodontia with just 2 species.

Reptiles have a vital role in the natural world. They are an important part of the food chain both as predator and as prey. Predatory reptiles eat various species of rodents and insects, yet in turn, some mammals as well as birds of prey will eat some reptiles. Both sides of the equation help to keep animal populations in balance.

Cool People that Love Reptiles

All pet lovers tend to be very passionate about animals, and that’s equally true for reptile lovers. Reptile lovers repeatedly prove to be ardent enthusiasts for these unusual creatures. Also as is true to all animal lovers, these people also understand and care about the passions of their fellow reptile keepers. The dedication these fascinating creatures inspire is best illustrated by an amazing story that unfolded just a couple weeks ago.

At the recent Reptile Super Show, held on November 2nd and 3rd in San Diego, California, the herptile community came together to help an aspiring 13-year-old boy named Zayd Sheck realized his dream of owning a beautiful boa constrictor.

The United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) reported that Zayd “…came to the USARK booth to hand over a rosy boa he found in the lobby (misplaced in container by an attendee after purchase). After speaking with Zayd’s mother, we found out that Zayd has been to many reptile shows this year following one certain boa constrictor bred by SoCal Constrictors and had been saving his money to buy the boa. He had saved enough for the snake but not enough to buy a cage, so he bought two raffle tickets for a snake kit at our booth and would be able to take the snake home if he won the kit.”

Well Zayd did not win the snake kit in the raffle, so a wonderful USARK volunteer spoke with the breeders of the snake, relaying Zayd’s story. Together they devised a plan “…to guarantee Zayd had an incredible day!” After the raffle USARK paged Zayd, asking him to come to their booth. When he arrived they presented with the boa from SoCal Constrictors that he had been eyeing for months, along with a ReptiHabitat Snake Kit from Zoo Med. The herptile community extended a great gift to this aspiring reptile keeper. Zayd and his mother were overwhelmed with appreciation, “… Zayd’s mom had tears in her eyes and hugged nearly everyone in the room”!

Benefits of Reptile Keeping

For enthusiastic reptile lovers, learning about these animals and keeping them as pets is an exciting adventure in and of itself. But reptile keepers, as is true of all pet lovers, are passionate people with a profound respect for animals. Their strong compassion lends a deep concern when any Animal Cause comes up.

The ultimate reward for both the animal world and humanity is people equipped with knowledge and the ability to help maintain and even breed these wonderful animals. Reptile lovers make it possible to save many endangered species from extinction.

Find the Best Reptile Pets

It’s exciting to learn what great pets reptiles make. They come in a variety of shapes, patterns, colors, and habits. Keeping them as pets is a fascinating hobby, and they have many advantages over other types of pets. They are generally quiet, clean, odorless, and non-demanding. Many require very little space, are low maintenance, and yet are fascinating to observe.

The trick when picking out your pet is to match the reptile that best fits into your lifestyle and home environment. See pictures and find great information for all sorts of Reptiles on Animal-World. A broad selection of Snakes, Lizards, turtles and tortoises will make good pets.

Join the Herp Community

You can follow in the footsteps of Zayd and attend multiple reptile shows, expos, and special reptile events. There are so many dedicated people in the herptile community that it’s easy to get involved. All across the country there are numerous clubs and organizations too.

One of my personal favorite organizations is the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK). In their own words, they are dedicated to the “…science, education and conservation” of these fascinating creatures. Join their mailing list and you will receive details about many upcoming events. Another great online resource for shows and expos is the Reptile Shows & Events on Reptile Channel. Just be warned, once you start getting involved you may very well get hooked, and be a reptile lover for life!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Four Gorgeous Sea Turtles Returned to the Sea!

September 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Animal News, Catch All, Reptiles

Rescued sea turtles rehabilitated and returned home

Sea turtle rescues and releases are such an exciting adventure for people, perhaps because we are mostly land dwellers.

Yet it warms my heart, and I’m sure yours too, to learn about any type of pet and animal rescue.

The warmth and caring of people, for all the creatures in the animal world, never ceases to amaze me!

South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program

On a sunny September 13th, after treatment and revitalization at the “Sea Turtle Hospital” of the South Carolina Aquarium, four beautiful sea turtles were returned to their vast watery home. Parker, Dennis, Crosby and Skully were released at the Isle of Palms County Park, sent to rejoin with their cronies in the Atlantic Ocean.

South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program

At the season’s change, as the weather warms, sea turtles begin to move into the coastal waters. They are a threatened and endangered species, and are affected by the many pressing issues surrounding coastal development. Specimens can end up in a state of distress, injured, or sick. A caring individual will rescue them and see to it that the animal is delivered into the hands of the dedicated employees and volunteers at a rescue facility, like the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program. There they are monitored and treated until they are well enough to be re-introduced into their natural habitat.

Green Sea Turtle Cosby

Four sea turtles released in September, 2013

Parker was a 5-pound juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle that was accidentally ensnared in a recreational fisherman’s net at the Myrtle Beach State Park Pier in June.

Dennis, another juvenile Kemp’s Ridley, had been rescued as a “cold stunned” turtle last winter. Crosby is a 9-pound juvenile green sea turtle that was found in April floating on the Folly River. Dennis was one of over 30 sea turtles that had been treated for cold-stunning in various rescue facilities.

The biggest of the group is Skully, a 70-pound juvenile Loggerhead. He was found in June, stranded on a sandbar.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Skully

The South Carolina Aquarium’s first beach releases for 2013 started with 5 specimens on May 23rd, consisting of a Kemp’s Ridley, 2 Loggerheads and 2 Green Sea Turtles.

On July 31st at the same place 3 sea turtle’s were released; Sutton, another juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, Raker another green sea turtle, and Splinter who’s a Loggerhead sea turtle.

Another seven sea turtles were released a month earlier on June 18th.

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Dennis

Prior to that, the South Carolina Aquarium participated in the Sea Turtle Trek for Florida Release held on April 12th.

They contributed two sea turtles to the Sea Turtle Trek, a 65-pound Loggerhead and a Green Sea Turtle. They joined with the New England Aquarium and the National Aquarium in Baltimore to release a total of 52 sea turtles into the ocean. The 52 turtles were loaded onto the US Coast Guard Cutter Fort Macon and transported to the Gulf Stream where they were released.

Other organizations involved were the University of New England at Biddeford, National Marine Life Center, and the Riverhead Foundation.

When you are out and about, keep a watchful eye out for sea turtles in distress. Depending on the local rules and regulations, you can either call the local authorities or rescues to come get the animal, or if allowed, you may be able to rescue the animal and transport it to a facility.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

The Sulcata Tortoise

September 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Reptiles

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Sulcata Tortoise!

Has it always been your dream to have a gigantic tortoise? I’m guessing not! But just in case it is, the Sulcata Tortoise may be right up your alley! The pet store I worked at sold a couple of these guys, but it was usually only on special order. We didn’t normally keep them in the store on a regular basis. People who purchase these tortoises usually do so because they are very intrigued by their size as well as their many great pet qualities!

About the Sulcata Tortoise

I bet your first question is: Just how big do these guys get? Well, the males often reach 2 and a half feet in length and can weigh up to 150 pounds! Females come a little smaller than males, reaching a little under 2 feet in length and weighing up to 75 pounds. These are big tortoises! Without regard for its size, the Sulcata Tortoise has many attributes which make keeping it as a pet appealing. They are very tame, have good dispositions, are friendly, and don’t get sick easily.

The Sulcata Tortoise Geochelone sulcata, also called the African Spurred Tortoise, is the third largest tortoise in the world, coming in behind only the tortoises from the Galapagos and the Aldabras. The natural habitat of these huge tortoises consists of hot temperatures and dry scrubland areas where they can make deep burrows and have plenty of plants to eat. North-Central Africa is their native continent, just south of the Sahara Desert. There is cause to worry about them as they are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is rare to find one in the wild now, as well.

The Sulcata Tortoise

Caring For Your Sulcata Tortoise

Before acquiring a Sulcata Tortoise, you will want to be fully prepared. You can get one as a baby, but these guys grow fast! Make sure you have a large area or terrarium for them as they grow to their full size. If you keep them outside, you should also provide some sort of enclosure where they can go to get out of the elements. Provide them with heat lamps and different props and shelters to make them feel more comfortable and at home. These can be things such as logs, huge leaves and piles of straw. A good substrate is a sand and peat moss mixture (mostly sand). Because these tortoises come from a very dry part of the world, they do not tolerate humidity and dampness at all. DO NOT keep them outdoors if you live in a humid area. This can lead to all sorts of illnesses and conditions.

Feeding a Sulcata Tortoise can also be a chore! They can eat a lot, and they need a varied diet! Provide them with a whole mixture of different greens everyday, as well as such things as hay, dandelions, and grass. If you can get your hands on Opuntia cactus pads, these are also very good for them. This will provide them with a high fiber diet, which is crucial to their health. Sprinkle their food with a calcium powder a couple times a week as well. If you wish to give treats, only do so a couple times a month. Good, healthy treats could include apples or melons. Clean out uneaten food at the end of each day. Provide fresh water daily in a large flat dish.

Problems and Availability of the Sulcata Tortoise

The most common problems you will run into with this tortoise are respiratory illnesses. These almost always occurs due to improper keeping. If they are not kept in hot and dry environments they will inevitably become sick. Watch out for runny noses and eyes. Renal problems can also arise if they are not fed a high-fiber and nutritionally sound diet. So make sure they get their greens!

If you would like to acquire a Sulcata Tortoise, your best bet is a reptile store, online from reputable breeders, or a reptile show. The vast majority of specimens sold in the United States are captive-bred babies and are readily available when you look in the right place.

Isn’t the idea of keeping such a large tortoise fascinating? Do you have any stories of your own that you’d like to share? We would love to hear it!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Emperor Scorpion

June 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Reptiles

The Emperor Scorpion

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Emperor Scorpion!

Are you a spider lover? Are you fascinated by arachnids in general? If you want to keep a unique arthropod for a pet, the Emperor Scorpion might be just what you are looking for! I would say that keeping these types of pets is either a love it or hate it type of situation. People who love them often keep several different types and make a hard-core hobby out of it. People who are terrified of them often don’t even want to go in a house that they know has these critters in them!

The Emperor Scorpion Pandinus imperator is a great choice for people just being introduced to keeping arthropods. They can be quite tame and are easy to care for. Scorpions don’t make a lot of noise, have very little odor, and are resistant to illness and disease. Because of their calm nature they can usually be held without fear of being stung. If they do sting, it usually isn’t dangerous and only causes localized pain for a short period of time. For an arachnid, the Emperor Scorpion can live a fairly long lifespan of 8 years. This scorpion also goes by the names of the African Emperor Scorpion and the Black Emperor Scorpion. It is the best known scorpion in the world.

The natural habitat of this scorpion is in West Africa. They can be found in many of the African sovereign states, including the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Nigeria, the Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Togo, and several others. Most often they live in forests with a fair amount of moisture. In 1842 it was described by C.L. Koch. In 1876 it was put into its own genus by Tamerlan Thorell. Right now it is not considered to be endangered, however it is listed as threatened on the CITES II species list. This is mainly due to a decrease in the wild populations because of over collection.

Emperor Scorpions are quite impressive looking. Being all black and reaching up to 8 inches in length, they can appear formidable! This is probably why they have gained such appreciation and are used in movies as a scare tactic. But despite their appearance, they are not as scary as they first seem. They can be held, but this should be done carefully. If scared or stressed they may pince, which can be quite painful, especially from a large adult! It is often better to just look at and watch scorpions rather than make a habit out of holding them.

To properly prepare for a scorpion, you will want to acquire a terrarium. This can be anywhere from 2.5 to 15 gallons depending on how many scorpions you want to keep. Although most scorpions are solitary creatures, Emperor Scorpions can be kept in groups. You will want to make sure there are enough areas and hiding spaces so that each scorpion has a place it can call its own. In the wild they are burrowers and definitely appreciate deep, moist substrates such as peat moss, damp sand, and cypress mulch. Their environment should be kept humid to keep them in good health. A humidity level of 75 to 80% and a temperature of 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal.

Feeding Emperor Scorpions is easy and simple. As adults they primarily eat insects such as crickets and grasshoppers. Occasionally they might enjoy a mouse. Offer them live insects every day and a mouse a couple times a month. Make sure to remove any uneaten prey within a day. This is to keep them from decaying and attracting parasites or growing mold. Make sure to keep a large, shallow water dish in their terrarium as well.

Breeding these scorpions can be easy. If you keep their environment at a suitable temperature and humidity level, and they are healthy and feel comfortable, they will often breed on their own accord. After mating, the mother will gestate the young for about 7 months. The babies are born alive and immediately climb onto her back. The litters range anywhere from 15 to 40 young. The mother feeds them dead insects until they reach maturity, but the majority of them do not make it to maturity. If you want to succeed at breeding Emperor Scorpions, read more here on their Reproduction.

Emperor Scorpions rarely become ill if they are properly taken care of. One of the largest problems they run into is molting. Scorpions are covered by a hardened exoskeleton which they must shed every so often. Most scorpions molt 6 to 10 times in their lifetimes and these are by far the most dangerous times of their lives. Right before a molt, a scorpion often seems lazy and doesn’t move much. For a few days after a molt, a scorpion is especially vulnerable to injury until their new exoskeleton hardens. Molting takes quite a bit of energy. If it is very difficult, a scorpion may have deformed limbs or die.

If you are interested in an Emperor Scorpion, they are quite readily available. You should have no problems finding one. More information on scorpions can be read here on Keeping Arachnids and Other Arthropods as Pets.

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Make Good Pets?

April 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Reptiles

Animal Tracking Chips

Well, the short answer to that question is: it depends. I think that the idea of a pet turtle isn’t necessarily something that most people cling to (unless they are reptile lovers!). But when they go in someplace and see a cute little baby turtle, purchasing one as a pet can often sound like a great idea. And it is true, baby red-eared sliders are enticingly adorable! The problem comes when the people buying the turtles are not fully prepared for owning and caring for them long-term.

On the flip side, for those who are prepared to own a Red-Eared Slider and have decided they truly want one, these turtles can make great pets. My parents have a large outdoor pond in their backyard with a few koi, plants, and 2 Red-eared Sliders. Those two Sliders have been living there for several years and the pond is their dream home! They even go into hibernation every winter deep in the mud and then come out again in the spring. It is always fun to predict when the turtles will make their appearance! My three young children love to go over to their grandparents house and help feed the turtles by throwing pellets into the water. So for us, they have been great pets!

I was recently reading the article Talking Turtles, from the Pet Business newsletter, and they had some good points on what water turtles are and are not. They point out that many adult turtles purchased as babies end up not wanted and are given away (or released into the wild, which is even worse). This is in large part because people simply are not prepared for the needs and long-term care of an adult water turtle. Red-Ear Sliders become large as adults, they produce a lot of waste and need a lot of filtration, they don’t get along well with other aquarium dwellers, and they are often biters. It is illegal for Sliders under 4 inches to be sold, however many pet stores and other places still sell tiny turtles.

Just a quick overview on the basics of care for the Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta. These are things you will really want to consider before deciding if this is truly a pet you want to pursue. First, these turtles can live quite a long time, anywhere from 30 to 60 years. In captivity, these turtles are often fairly calm and can be tame if held regularly. Many of them will be friendly enough that they will even take food right out of your hand! They are very hardy reptiles and will adapt to almost any environment. This means that you don’t have to be too particular in their enclosure temperatures or provide specific specialized foods or tank additions. However, this doesn’t mean that enclosure cleanliness is not important or that you shouldn’t attempt to give your turtle proper nutrition!

Red-Eared Sliders can be kept indoors or outdoors. Indoor turtles should be kept in a large enough tub with spaces to bask. They love basking! UVB bulbs should be provided for this purpose. A good filtration system is also a must, because turtles produce a lot of waste! It is most likely a good idea to refrain from keeping your turtle(s) with any other fish or aquatic animals because they will usually eat other fish (especially smaller ones). If you have a pond outdoors, this is a great place to keep a turtle. They will love the space, and the ability to bask in the sun.

Feeding a turtle can be easy. Providing them with purchased turtle pellets is a good way to start. Younger Red-Eared Sliders should be given a more varied diet to make sure they are receiving the proper nutrients for good shell growth. These turtles will eat insects, larvae, worms, and small fish. As they grow larger they will start to add plant matter to their diet. For this reason, it is always a good idea to keep aquatic plants in a turtles environment.

So, do Red-Eared Sliders make good pets? If you have a large enough area, like a good pet to just sit back and watch, and love reptiles, then they do make good pets! However, they aren’t the best pets in the “impulse buy” situation. If they are just bought on the spur of the moment because they are small and cute and the purchaser really has no idea how large they become or how long they live, then this isn’t the best pet situation. Unfortunately, many turtles are still bought under these circumstances and then end up without a home as adults.

Animal-World’s Featured Animal of the Week: The Eastern Brown Snake

Eastern Brown Snake
Animal-World’s Featured Animal for this week is:
The Eastern Brown Snake!

Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy Peter Woodard
Licensed under Public Domain

Would you like to know a little bit more about the second most deadly snake in the world? The Eastern Brown Snake is one of those awe-inspiring venomous snakes that really sends a chill down your spine when you imagine meeting with one. I have been wanting to write about this particular snake ever since I read about a little boy in Australia who stashed some eggs he found outside in a container in his closet. Apparently his mother opened the closet door and found the container squirming with a bunch of little snakes! After the boy and his mother took them to the local wildlife reserve, they discovered the babies were Eastern Brown Snakes. The boy was quite lucky not to have been bitten!

The Eastern Brown Snake Pseudonaja textilis is native to Australia and lives primarily on the eastern side. It can be found in almost all habitats, including the desert, grasslands, forest, and coastal areas. Adult Eastern Brown Snakes can reach 6 to 8 feet in length and have slender bodies. They can come in different variations of colors, from a light tan color to a very dark brown color. They can even come in gray colors. Rodents and other small animals are the bulk of their diet, although they will eat lizards, frogs, and birds if the opportunity arises. These snakes eating rodents is actually good for farmers because they act as a kind of pest control!

The Eastern Brown Snake is considered to be the second most deadly snake in the world, according to its SC LD50 value in mice. This number rates a snakes venom depending on how toxic it is. The most deadly snake in the world, according to this rating system, is the Inland Taipan Snake, also found in Australia. However, the Inland Taipan has not been the known cause of any known deaths. The Eastern Brown Snake on the other hand, has. In fact, the Eastern Brown Snake is the number one cause of snake bite deaths in Australia! The number of deaths has dropped dramatically in recent years due to the availability of anti-venom, but there are still one or two deaths per year.

The venom in these snakes is dangerous because it contains neurotoxins and procoagulants. The symptoms which arise from a bite include dizziness, diarrhea, paralysis, renal failure, and cardiac arrest. These snakes are considered aggressive in their natural territory, however they won’t usually bite something as a large as a human unless they feel threatened and/or unable to escape. If they feel they are defending themselves they will not always produce fatal bites. A “typical” bite from an Eastern Brown Snake yields about 2-4 mg of venom. The larger the snake, the more venom is produced. Without treatment the death rate is only about 10 or 20 percent. Considering there are snake species which have a 100% fatality rate if not treated (such as the Black Mamba and the Coastal Taipan), this death rate is actually not very high.

Reproduction time for the Eastern Brown Snake is in the spring. If there is more than one male in an area (which generally there is!), the males will engage in a “combat dance.” The winner of this dance is the lucky male who mates with any females in the area. The females will lay between 10 and 40 eggs apiece, with the average being 30 eggs. Once the eggs are laid, the mother leaves and has nothing to do with guarding the nest or rearing the babies. The babies also do not have a uniform color like the adults. They are banded with gray or black. These bands will disappear by the time they are three years old.

The Eastern Brown Snake is not a snake that would be kept as a pet! Some zoos or wildlife care places may keep them, and they are kept in anti-venom facilities to extract their venom. However, they are not kept as pets to handle and cuddle with! They are too dangerous and you would have to have a permit to keep one. There are many non-venomous Pet Snakes you can choose from if you want to keep one of your own, however!

I hope you enjoyed learning about the Eastern Brown Snake. I find them quite fascinating!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Sources Used

http://www.reptilepark.com.au/animalprofile.asp?id=109

http://www.avru.org/general/general_eastbrown.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_brown_snake

Banner Photo
Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy Peter Woodard
Licensed under Public Domain

Which Pet Snakes Make Good Pets?

March 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Reptiles

Which Snakes Make Good Pets

If you are looking for a pet that is different from the traditional dogs and cats, what about a snake? Learn all over again about snakes so you can know if they are right for you. Also, which ones make good pets?

The Lowdown on Snakes

Snakes aren’t as bad as people make them out to be. In fact, snakes can make very good pets for several reasons.

Snakes are resilient – It takes a lot to kill a snake. Because they eat so infrequently, they can miss a meal and not be harmed. This doesn’t mean regularly forget them, but if you have to alter your feeding schedule, they can adapt. Their digestion is such that they don’t eat more frequently than once a week anyway.

Snakes don’t need a lot of room – They don’t move fast, especially those bred in captivity that don’t have to chase down their prey. A nice size aquarium can make a suitable home for many years.

Feeding is simple
– Snakes need meat. This can be live prey or dead. When they are hungry they will readily go for their food when it is offered. Depending on the size of your snake, the meal doesn’t have to be large to go far.

Snakes aren’t the cause of many allergies – People can be allergic to dog or cat dander but snakes have scaly skin and most people are not affected by that. Also, have you ever smelled a snake? Probably not. This is the upside of owning a pet snake – clean air.

Snakes as Pets

So now that you know the advantages of owning a pet snake, which one can you own? It goes without saying that you can’t have a venomous one. It might be cool to tell people that you own a Gaboon Viper but you won’t want it to sink its fangs into you. By the way, it has the longest fangs of any venomous snake.

Venomous snakes are illegal to own unless you are a zoo or have credentials saying that you are qualified to house and care for them. It is not uncommon for them to bite and even kill their owners. After all, snakes are wild animals and instincts do kick in from time to time.

But, back to the gentler ones that make good pets. Pet Snakes are all squiggly and look kind of sinister but some are docile and fun to have around. Here are some species to consider.

Corn snakesCorn Snakes are bright and beautiful, and more importantly, non-venomous. They don’t usually grow to longer than five feet which keeps them at a manageable size. You can handle them with no problem as long as you do it somewhat frequently.

Kingsnakes – There are several Kingsnake species available in stripes, speckled or banded color markings. Like corn snakes, they can grow to about six feet long and do well as pets in the home.

Ball pythons – Now despite what you have heard about pythons, some are good as pets. The Ball Python only grows to about five feet. They can live for as many as 50 years. They are quiet and rarely bite.

These three pet snakes are a great way to start exploring the reptilian world.

The Cost of Owning a Pet Snake

March 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Reptiles

The Cost of Owning a Pet Snake

Little boys love to show them to everyone. Many people shriek when they see them. But, there are those who find pet snakes cool and love to keep them in their home. If you are potentially one of those people, here are some estimates on what it will cost to keep your newfound buddy.

Snakes get a bad rap. They can make good pets for those who like animals that they can watch most of the time. But, in order to watch them, you’ll need a few things.

Preparing for Your Pet Snake

The first thing you will acquire is a snake. There are snake species that are better as pets than others. Consider the Ball Python or the Snow Corn Snake. But, remember that, first and foremost, snakes are considered wild animals. They are exotic pets. When uncomfortable they can revert back to their instincts. Always be prepared for this.

The cost of a pet snake will depend on their attributes. Of course, it is illegal to own a venomous snake without a license and credentials which say you can handle dangerous animals. They also require very specific housing so that they don’t get loose and harm others.

Here, we will be talking about non-venomous snakes which are the normal pet choice. Your new pet snake can cost a few hundred dollars or a few thousand.

Where will your snake live? Most are housed in glass aquariums like you find them in captivity in the zoo. Choose an aquarium that is large enough for your snake to move around and stretch out. If you buy a baby, remember that they will grow. A good tank might cost around $100 or more.

Snakes like to bask in heat and under or on rocks. Depending on the type you buy, you might even need a water feature in the tank. Figure in money for a tank heater and a heat lamp. You can find all of these things at a pet store that sells snakes.

Don’t forget that you will need water bowls, foliage and a substrate substance for the bottom of the cage. In all, you may spend $200 or more for your cage accessories to start.

Pet Snakes have to eat. The price of buying food depends on the manner in which it is purchased. You can catch your own mice or buy them fresh. Frozen food might cost you less than choosing the live variety. But keep in mind many snakes will not eat frozen food. In that case you would have to provide fresh food.

Even snakes can get sick so you’ll want to schedule a visit to the vet. The first visit will probably cost you the most and you won’t need to return except for regular checkups or if they fall ill. That bill could be hefty depending on what tests the vet needs to perform.

All in all, you could spend a hefty sum on your pet snake. It all begins with the type of snake you choose in the beginning. You can have a great pet snake and stick within your financial means.

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