Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Leopard Gecko!

January 27, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Reptiles

The Leopard Gecko

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.

Lizard Families and How to Identify Them

January 12, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Lizard FamiliesLizard Families
“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

family easy!

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

More on Lizard Families!

Feeding your Pet Snake

December 20, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Feeding your Pet Snake

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?

Feeding Hints

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.

Pet Snakes! Choosing a Snake and Snake Care

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Pet SnakesPet Snakes
“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

More on Pet Snakes!

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Ball Python!

December 16, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Reptiles

The Ball Python

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.

Pet Lizards!

October 16, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Pet Lizards!Pet Lizards
“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

More on Pet Lizards!

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Veiled Chameleon!

October 14, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Reptiles

The Veiled Chameleon

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.

Reptile Care – Keeping Pet Reptiles and Amphibians

October 10, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Reptile Care!Reptile Care
“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

More on Reptile Care!

How to Feed your Pet Turtle

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

How to Feed Your Pet Turtle

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.

Arachnid Pets! Scorpions, Tarantulas, Spiders and More!

August 31, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Arachnid Pets!Arachnid Pets
“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.

You can find more information on each specific type of these at Scorpions, Whip Scorpions, Tarantulas and Spiders, and Centipedes and MillipedesRead More

More on Arachnid Pets!

« Previous PageNext Page »