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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 for this week is:
The Eastern Brown Snake!
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.
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 snakes – Corn 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.
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.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Leopard Gecko!
Leopard Geckos are awesome lizards to keep as pets! They are good for beginner reptile keepers and are a good “staple” lizards for seasoned reptile keepers! The Leopard Gecko Eublepharis macularius is one of the easiest lizards to care for, and they are quite hardy. Pet stores almost always carry them as regular stock. If they don’t have one on site they can almost always special order one for you with no problem!
These geckos don’t require much of a time commitment other than basic maintenance and food. Biting is a rare occurrence with Leopard Geckos which makes them ideal lizards for children. (Remember to still supervise young children however!) They are also easy to tame and train. Many people like to walk around with their pet gecko clinging to their shirt! Breeding them in captivity is also generally easy.
Leopard Geckos are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and sleep or rest during the day. They originate from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Blyth described them and gave them a name in 1854. North America imported these lizards regularly until sometime in the 1970′s when importation became illegal. Today they are a very popular pet lizard and readily available in the pet industry. Leopard Geckos often have a ton of spots (hence their name!) but can also have no spots at all. Juvenile Leopard Geckos have no spots and do not get them until they mature a little. There are many variations in the colors and spots of these geckos. They can even come in albino and tangerine colors! Full grown size for these guys is only around 8 inches long. If you take exceptional care of your gecko he/she may live up to 20 years! Average lifespans are around 5 to 7 years however.
After you have the initial habitat set up for your gecko, they are easy to care for! For one leopard gecko, you can start out with a simple 10 gallon terrarium. You should purchase a larger one if you would like to keep more than one lizard. On the bottom, you can put paper towels, walnut-shell bedding or carpet. Be careful not to use any type of sand because sometimes geckos will ingest it as a source of calcium and too much sand can impact their intestines. Each gecko should be provided with their own hiding place (such as a log). They also love to climb, so branches or other decorations can be added. You should also purchase a lighting source. Put the light source (40-60 watt bulb) on one side of the terrarium so that your gecko can go in and out from it as it wants.
The ongoing maintenance is relatively simple and does not require too much time. Feed your Leopard Gecko mostly crickets and mealworms pretty much on a daily basis. It is suggested that you coat them a commercial calcium powder and/or gut loaded powder to make sure your lizard is taking in enough calcium, vitamins, and minerals. In particular make sure the powder you purchase has the vitamin D3. Or you could provide a UV fluorescent bulb to help provide the vitamin D3. Also give your gecko fresh dechlorinated water daily. Make sure to clean out any uneaten food on a daily basis, and wash their dishes and cage out thoroughly on a weekly basis.
Most Leopard Geckos do fantastic in a captive home environment, especially when well-cared for. One of the most common problems is vitamin deficiency, which can be easily remedied with the proper lighting and food powders. They can also acquire parasites if their cage is not kept clean. Again, this is easily remedied with a proper environment.
Leopard Geckos breed quite readily in captivity. I won’t go into all the details, however, if you are interesting in breeding them read more here on Leopard Gecko Reproduction.
Have you determined that a Leopard Gecko is the perfect pet lizard for you? That’s great! Make sure to read even more on Leopard Geckos before you bring one home!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
“Discover your pet lizards family tree! Follow the classifying system, answering a few questions at each juncture, to discover your lizard and its relatives!”
Different families of lizards each have a unique look, which makes identifying your lizard
Lizards are often referred to as their common family name to simplify things. For example, you may refer to your Jackson’s Chameleon as simply your Chameleon, because all chameleons are similar. Lizard families consist of groups of lizards who have similar anatomy’s, which makes their physical appearances within a group quite similar. These families include Iguanas, Monitors, Chameleons, Agamas, Geckos, Tegus, Skinks, and several others.
The lizard families classification system was first described by Carl Linnaeus, a biologist from Sweden, in the late 1700′s. He is considered the ‘Father of Taxonomy’. Taxonomists today still use this classification system, called the Linnaean taxonomic system. It is based on organizing animals and plants based on their similarities and differences.
There are seven taxonomic ranks in the Linnaean Classification System. These are all by nomenclature codes which are international. These ranks are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. The entire classification system is versatile. Everything (the groupings and the principles) has changed multiple times as the system as grown and changed.
This lizard classification guide shows the main taxonomic ranks, starting with the kingdom and going down to the specific lizard families. Using traditional classification methods, there are around 27 separate lizard families. Read more if you would like more detailed information on all the different pet lizard types or on wild lizard types… Read More
They are thought of as creepy and sneaky but many keep them as pets and are happy with them. We are talking about snakes. If you have bought a pet snake companion, one thing that is important to know is how and when to feed them.
They have been demonized in history and religion. Snakes are perceived as dangerous and lethal but all are not that way. Some can be kept as pets. Now, they are not the most active or cuddly of pets, but for your lifestyle, that might be what you are looking for. If so, then good. There are snakes available that make excellent pets for someone like you.
Once you have your pet snake housed, there is the matter of feeding. Before we get into that, here are a few things that are helpful to know about snakes.
1. Snakes are carnivorous – They are what are called “obligate carnivores.” In the wild, they eat whatever is present, usually small animals, other reptiles and even birds if they come into their territory. Most of their nutrition comes from meat sources.
2. Snakes don’t adapt to temperature changes well – Just like you would probably feel bad going from extreme cold to extreme heat, so do snakes. It may even affect their appetite if they are uncomfortable temperature wise when it is time to eat. A warm environment is more conducive to their appetite.
3. Pet Snakes eat about once a week – If you have ever seen a snake eat anything then you know how slow their digestive system works. You may even see the bulge of their food in their gut for a long time before it disappears. Many snake owners choose a specific day each week to feed their snake so that they are on a regular schedule.
4. Snakes have jaws that unhinge – It is a phenomenon to behold. They can eat food that is several times larger than their mouths. Their jaws will unhinge so that the food can pass.
Now that you know a little bit more about your pet snake, it is time to get down to the feeding. What do they eat and where can you get it?
First, we mentioned that snakes are carnivorous. You will have to feed them meat. If they do need any carbohydrates, it is obtained from the plant matter still present in the digestive tract of their food.
Speaking of food, you can feed your pet snake live, frozen or recently killed prey. Snakes are animals that like to hunt. They will go after food that is appealing to them and snap it up.
Live prey will require you to buy and keep animals like small rodents for that purpose. You can purchase them just in time for feeding but if your snake doesn’t eat it right away you will have to house and feed it.
Frozen prey lets you store more than you need and only thaw what you want. Don’t thaw it in the microwave but let it come to room temperature a couple hours before feeding time.
If you are not squeamish you can kill prey so you don’t have to worry about caring for it if it is not eaten. You can freeze it yourself. Keep in mind however, that many pet snakes do not like to eat prey that is already dead. If you have such a snake then it will be mandatory that you provide them with live prey.
Pet snakes have specific diets. To keep them healthy, use this guide on how to feed and what to use for food.