“What kind of pet is clean, odorless, and quiet?… easy to hold, and easy to care for? A pet snake! Use this great guide for choosing a pet snake and caring for it too!!”
Pet Snakes are well suited to certain types of people!
Many types of snakes live around the world, about 2,900 species to be exact! They range in size from very small (only 4 inches!) to very large (over 30 feet!). Several of these species are kept as pets, giving snake keepers a large variety to choose from.
The best beginner pet snakes are the ones which are docile, gentle, easy to care for and easy to hold. Some examples of these are the ball python, corn snakes, and king snakes. The pros to having pet snakes are that they are quite clean and usually odorless, and don’t make much noise. They don’t need to be fed too often either (unless you own a very large python or boa). Their maintenance is often inexpensive.
Snakes are agile with slender body shapes to help them move stealthily. You do need to be careful in choosing your first pet snake however, because their temperaments and eventual size can vary quite a bit. But they do differ in size and temperament. Most snakes kept in captivity rarely get over 5 feet however. Once they start getting over that they need more specialized environments and care. If you want a large python or boa you have to be prepared to care for a large snake. Different snakes also have different life spans. King snakes and rat snakes can live around 15 years in captivity while boas and pythons can live 20 to 30 years. This is definitely something you will want to take into consideration! Read More
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Ball Python!
Are you a fan of snakes? Or do you think of scary slithering creatures that you would jump up screaming at the sight of? Well, whether they fascinate you or terrify you, they actually dominate a large part of the reptile pet industry! One of the most popular pet constrictor snakes is the Ball Python Python regius. They are popular due to their passive nature, relatively small size, and their beautiful patterning.
The Ball Python may actually be the most popular pet snake. It received its name from the fact that it curls up in a ball when feeling defensive. In Europe they are generally called Royal Pythons. They very rarely display aggression and have a quite docile nature, which makes them an ideal pet. They are good for beginners and children. They move slowly and can live 20 to 30 years. These pythons are mostly shy and they are small for constrictors, only reaching 3-5 feet in adulthood. They are less expensive than other constrictors as well. In the wild they can naturally occur as albinos. This is rare but many breeders are now trying to reproduce the Albino Ball Python in captivity. They are slowly succeeding but this variation is much more expensive and harder to come by than the typically colored ball python.
In 1802 the Ball Python was first described by Shaw. They originate from almost all areas of Africa. Their habitats include dry areas of open forests, agricultural areas and grasslands. Although captive breeding of these snakes in the United States has increased in popularity, a large portion of them are still imported from Africa. Wild specimens are imported most commonly from Tongo, Ghana, and Benin. These snakes are also on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species and are listed as Least Concern (LC). They are listed as only least concern because they are suspected to have a declining population due to human involvement but it is not quite large enough that they are threatened as a species yet.
When first picking out your new Ball Python you will want to thoroughly inspect it for possible health problems. This is because they are notorious for having problems while they are young, especially imported wild specimens. Sometimes young ball pythons will refuse to eat for long time periods or have respiratory problems. Check your new snake for a high level of alertness, clean eyes and clean vent, and a rounded body. Also make sure they are not wheezing and that there are no signs of bubbles in the nostrils. Other general problems to look out for are mites and ticks, blisters and mouth rot. If a snake has any of these things, do not purchase it. Read Animal-World’s Ball Python Ailments for more information.
Ball Pythons are constrictors, meaning their primary means of feeding are to bite and strangle to death their food by constricting around it. Their diet should consist of small rodents such as mice and small rats. They only need to be fed once a week. When you first obtain a young ball python, provide them with baby “fuzzy” or “pinky” mice. As they grow they will gradually eat larger mice and then rats. Young snakes may not eat right away when first put in a new environment so you will want to give them time to adjust to their new home. Many snakes also do not like to eat after being handled so you will want to wait to handle them until a while after they have eaten. Also, provide them with a fairly large clean water dish for drinking and soaking in.
Obviously, with these guys reaching up to 5 feet in length you will want to prepare their enclosure and make sure it is large enough for their full-grown size. This should be at least 36” long by 18” wide. The bottom can be covered with mulch or aspen bedding or just simply paper towels. They like places to hide and sleep, such as a box or flowerpot. Their home should include both a warm side and a cool side. The cooler side should be 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and the warmer side closer to 88 or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep it warmer just put in a heating pad made for snakes. Keep their cage clean of feces.
If you are looking for a snake which is docile and good-tempered, a Ball Python is definitely a good snake to think about!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
“Keeping lizards is fun! Learn about different types of lizards and then find the right one for you!”
Starting here, you can learn all you want to know about pet lizards!
Lizards are a popular pet among many people, and there are several types that make good pets. In the wild there are over 3800 lizard species (wow!), so it makes sense that there are so many different species kept as pets!
If you step into your local pet store, chances are you will find a large variety available right there, with many other types available for special order. And of course if you step into your back yard there will likely be even more types back there! Lizards are found in most environments, from deserts, to fields, to woods.
Lizard characteristics are varied depending on the species. They can range in size from 1″ to 11 feet in length (or more!). Most lizards are quite agile, but there are some that are more relaxed and not quite as quick. Some are very skittish and some are very calm. Most lizards have an instinctive aggressiveness, but whether they will bite their owners is another matter. Some lizards always bite, some never bite, and some will bite depending on the situation and whether they feel threatened or are hungry and looking for food.
Every lizard species has it’s own care needs as well. Some are very hardy and need minimal maintenance care and some are delicate and have very specific environmental needs that need constant supervision and tweaking. This makes it easy to find lizards for beginners as well as lizards for for more experienced keepers.
After reading through all the care parameters and different lizard characteristics, choose the one that will suit your lifestyle and experience best! Read More
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Veiled Chameleon!
Chameleons are famous for their camouflage capabilities! They have the perfect body shape and are able to somewhat change colors in order to mimic their surroundings! The Veiled Chameleon Chamaeleo calyptratus has evolved to be particularly good at blending in with leaves! There are several different types of chameleons, with the Veiled Chameleon being one of the easier types to keep as a pet. Other Chameleon types include the Jackson’s Chameleon, the Panther Chameleon and the Graceful Chameleon. Other names the Veiled Chameleon goes by are the Yemen Chameleon and the Cone-head Chameleon.
The coolest thing about these creatures is the way their bodies can change. They are flat and arched (to match the way leaves look) and are primarily green with other markings depending on if they are male or female. They can easily change color to match whatever their environment is. Not only do they change color in response to their surroundings – they also change color in response to the temperature, their mood, whether they are in breeding mode, and to changes in their health! Another interesting physical feature is that their eyes can rotate all around and focus independently of each other! Chameleons are fairly large lizards. When full grown some males can reach 2 feet long!
Chameleons have a reputation for being difficult to keep as pets. This is definitely true, but the Veiled Chameleon often proves to be one of the somewhat easier types to care for. The reasons for this are that they can tolerate a little larger temperature range, they are omnivores (eating both plants and insects) and they can reproduce fairly easily. Most people who keep them simply love their unique attributes and love to watch and interact with them!
The Veiled Chameleon is native to Saudi Arabia and Yemen. They have only recently been widely kept as pets, with the first ones being imported into the United States in 1990. They are on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species. However they are listed only as a Least Concern (LC). And they have adapted to many environments and are kept in captivity fairly easily.
As I mentioned earlier, these guys are omnivores and can eat a large variety of both insects and plants. In captivity they do well being fed crickets and mealworms that are coated with a vitamin powder. Adult chameleons need less calcium than younger ones and may not need their insects coated. Give them plant materials such as acacia fruit and ficus and pothos leaves as well. These chameleons should be provided with a large enclosure. An adult male should have a minimum space of 30” W x 60” L x 45” H. Large terrariums work well. They are aggressive and should be kept alone once they reach adulthood. Provide them with a mixed substrate containing both sand and peat moss. Place several vines with leaves and perches around for them to climb on. Mist both the chameleon and the leaves at least twice a day (with de-chlorinated water). These lizards drink from the leaves and so this is a must in order for them to stay hydrated.
The temperature of their environment should be kept in the 80′s during the day, but keep one area around 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (with a heat lamp) for a basking area. At night the enclosure should be in the 70′s. Humidity should be between 60 and 70% (less than what other chameleons need). Keep their environment very clean and disinfected to keep them as healthy as possible. Their cage should be cleaned at least weekly.
These chameleons are one of the easier ones bred in captivity, as well. If you want to know more detailed information on breeding these lizards, here is the specific Veiled Chameleon Reproduction area of the page.
To make sure your chameleon is healthy, clean and disinfect their cage on a weekly basis, provide them with the correct food and lighting, mist them twice a day, and provide a heat lamp. The most common disease found in captive lizards is called Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). This is caused by too little calcium. To avoid this, coat their insects with calcium powder at least once a week prior to feeding them. To ensure they also get enough Vitamin D3 by providing UVB-emitting light bulbs.
To read more on keeping these amazing lizards, here is a good run-down of everything you need to know on Veiled Chameleons.
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
“Lizard and snake care, frogs, turtles and tortoises too… the perfect guide to get you started with herps!”
Reptiles and Amphibians are great pets when they receive great care!
Here are some tips to get you started with reptile care. Are you wondering what the word herptile means? Herptiles are a group which includes all reptiles and amphibians. They can’t regulate their own body temperatures, meaning they are ectothermic.
Many herptiles are kept as pets. These can be snakes, lizards, turtles and frogs. They come in a huge range of colors and personalities. Almost anyone who has an interest in herptiles can find one of these animals to fit their desires!
In the wild, all herptiles have adapted to their particular environment. Some adaptation techniques include burrowing into the ground during dry seasons only to come up during wet seasons (for some toads and tortoises), and hibernating in areas where there are extreme cold temperatures.
There are a few differences between reptiles and amphibians. Probably the most defining difference is that amphibians breathe two ways. They have lungs, but they also take in oxygen through their skin. Reptiles do not. This also results in amphibians being fairly small because they need a lot of skin to breathe and support their bodies.
Here you can choose what type of herptile would best fit your lifestyle and learn all out the reptile care needed to make your experience with them the best it can be. They will live a long and healthy life and you can enjoy your pet! Read More
When your kids ask for a pet, one of the most easy-going ones you can find is a turtle. But as uncomplicated as they may appear to be, taking care of them requires attention to the needs of this species.
Your kids are excited when you bring home their first pet – a turtle. Turtles are small and don’t do a whole lot that requires a lot of your time. They don’t play catch or need to be walked each day. A child can learn to be responsible for them with a little direction.
But what do they eat?
You may think that you know what to feed your turtle because it is a reptile and it is so small. It couldn’t eat much right? Feeding your pet the wrong foods can ruin their health and make them sick. Read about their nutritional requirements here so you are prepared before you bring your turtle home.
Your turtle needs a well-balanced diet. This does not include feeding them stuff leftover from your dinner. They need meat and vegetables but those made for turtles and not for people.
As a young reptile, turtles eat more often because they are growing. Check with your pet store to see what food they stock for your pet. Their diet generally consists of one quarter meat, one quarter specialized turtle food and two quarters vegetables.
Turtle food can be purchased at pet stores. Try to incorporate it into their meals every day. The meat they eat is not what you would put on your plate. Turtles love to eat mealworms, goldfish, other worms and even small bugs. These can also be found in pet stores if you are not too keen on catching their food yourself.
Use raw greens to round out your turtle’s diet. Try dark green lettuce, dandelion greens, spinach or others that you like.
Don’t forget to give your turtle fresh water. They will have water in their habitat but that is mostly used for getting exercise (swimming). Also, they are also known to urinate and/or defecate in their swim water.
One way to avoid this is to prepare a separate place for your turtle to eat away from where they live. They can be messy when they eat. Sometimes they want to spread it around. They usually go to the bathroom afterwards too, so a second habitat avoids contamination in their swim water.
Be sure to cut up the turtle food as small as possible. They won’t be able to eat large pieces and can end up under-nourished. Use this rule of thumb: If the pieces of food are larger than the turtle’s head, it is too big.
Turtles make great pets for young children who aren’t ready for the responsibility of a bigger animal or those who want a quiet pet in their home.
“Many of these curious crawlers are fun and easy to keep. Learn all about them, and their care too!”
Arthropods are spectacular creatures – spiders, tarantulas, scorpions – all of them!
Arachnids belong to the Arthropoda phylum. This phylum is huge and has many invertebrates. It includes more species varieties than all the other phyla. Many arthropods are kept in captivity and several of them make great pets. Arthropods include the arachnids (tarantulas, whip scorpions, and scorpions), hermit crabs, myriapods (centipedes and millipedes), and many others.
Because of the many different types of arthropods, you can find almost any one you like to become your arachnid pet! Arthropods come in many colors with different behavior patterns. Some look and act like what some would consider alien! These land invertebrates can be very active or lethargic, fast or slow moving, and aggressive to shy and docile.
This care sheet will go over the care and feeding, housing, and other things to keep in mind when you keep one of these invertebrates as a pet. It will also go over individual pets needs and behaviors and help you understand what to expect. This information might help whether you are completely new to arachnid pets or are already familiar with them. This will maximize your enjoyment, as well as the life and health of your pet.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Rose-haired Tarantula!
Do you have an interest in spiders? If you are one of the many people who are fascinated by spiders rather than terrified by them, then the Rose-haired Tarantula Grammostola rosea may be the perfect pet for you! These are one of the most popular spiders kept as pets and they are also one of the hardiest!
Other names the Rose-haired Tarantula commonly goes by include the Chilean Rose Tarantula and the Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula. Part of the reason they are so popular in the pet spider world is because they are very gentle and tame. They are easy to care for and females can live up to 20 years! (Males only live to about 6 years). This makes them ideal as pets and also a good candidate for science projects. They are easy to hold and reach about 5 inches when full grown. They are fairly cheap in price and are available at almost any pet store or online.
These tarantulas originate in Chile in the Atacama Desert. This desert is one of the driest in the world – hence why these guys are so durable! They were first “discovered” in 1837 by Walckenaer. They are called “rose” because of their color. Black or dark tan is their base color, with reddish orange or pink long hairs covering their body. This gives them a rose colored hue.
The Rose-haired Tarantula has simple care and feeding requirements. They do not need a large environment, but would appreciate some plants and other decorations. They also like to hide in burrows and would be happy with a log or piece of wood that would allow them to retreat. The temperature should be around 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity around 60 to 80%. Misting the plants in the cage on occasion can help keep the humidity at a comfortable level for them. In the wild these tarantulas eat a variety of insects. In captivity just make sure to provide them with live crickets or other insects once or twice a week. Take note, however, that these tarantulas should be kept alone. They are not compatible with any other pets and will eventually kill or be killed by any other housemate.
Tarantulas do molt their skin. This can be quite stressful for them, but if they are kept in a comfortable environment with enough humidity they usually have no problems with it and come out fine. A few weeks before the molting process begins they may stop eating and become lethargic. They will lay on their backs when the molting begins and the process usually doesn’t take too long. Within a day or so they will begin to harden again and are ready to eat again within a week or so.
Breeding Rose-haired Tarantulas in captivity is common and has been done for a long time. You can tell the difference between the sexes because males usually look “fuzzier” than the females and have longer legs. Females are also much stockier looking. The process of breeding is pretty straightforward. Once the male and female are ready to mate, simply introduce the male into the female’s enclosure. He will then fertilize the female. The males then generally die within a few weeks of mating. If the female was successfully fertilized she will produce an egg sac with around 500 eggs.
Rose-haired tarantulas very rarely have problems. As noted before, they are very hardy spiders. They may be more stressed out if held a lot or if moved to a new environment. If they show signs of stress (pacing, lethargic, not eating, etc.), try to provide more hiding places and leave them alone for a while to give them time to de-stress.
There is much more to learn about these spiders. If you would like to know more, check out Animal-World’s Rose-haired Tarantula page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Centipedes and Millipedes as Pets
“Centipedes and millipedes have lots and lots of legs!”
Centipedes and Millipedes can be great pets when you want something different and
Many people are fascinated by keeping centipedes and millipedes as pets. They have a spectacular appearance and they behave in interesting ways. There are is a fascinating hobby. Both are enjoyed for their interesting appearance and behaviors. There are definite differences between centipedes and millipedes.
Millipedes, in general, are easy to keep and are good for beginners. They can be a safe pet for children as well, as long as they are supervised. The African Giant Millipede is often available in pet stores, or you can find other types of them in nature as well. These ones grow to around 10 inches in length. Be careful with millipedes that have bright colors – these often secrete a substance containing hydrogen cyanide. This substance can create a burning feeling when it touches your skin.
Centipedes, in general, are much harder to keep than millipedes. Beginners probably shouldn’t try to keep them. Centipedes are poisonous and can be extremely dangerous to humans, and especially to children. They should be kept in very secure enclosures like one would keep a venomous snake. They are interesting creatures though, and are quite fascinating when you sit down to watch them…Read More
Earlier this week, it was reported that the last remaining giant Pinta Island Tortoise Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni, had died. His name was Lonesome George and he was around 100 years old, which isn’t particularly old for a tortoise. He was approximately 200 pounds and 5 feet long. This is indeed sad news for the world, as yet another endangered species is most probably extinct.
It is not sure why he died, however they believe he may have suffered a heart attack. His caretaker, Fausto Llerena, found him stretched out towards his watering hole. An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.
These tortoises are thought to have originated over 10 million years ago and Lonesome George is believed to have been the last of his particular subspecies. Their home and where they were discovered was the Galapagas Islands. However they (along with many of the other animals there) were almost hunted to extinction by seal hunters and whalers in the 19th century.
Lonesome George was discovered in 1972, at a time when his kind were already thought to be extinct. At that point they relocated him from his current home on Pinta Island, to Santa Cruz Island to live out his life with his caretaker. Attempts to breed him were made several times, however were never successful. Hence his name, Lonesome George!
The Galapagos National Park Service is planning an international workshop sometime in July to begin looking at strategies for increasing and restoring populations of tortoises over the next 10 years.