“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.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Green Iguana!
Green Iguanas are a favorite among lizard lovers and they can be fascinating pets. One of my coworkers at the pet store I worked at had a huge iguana whom they named Data after the character in Star Trek! Star Trek names were actually a theme among all of their animals. Their iguana was a big part of their family and had full run of the house! You could always find Data sitting on the back of the couch “watching” tv or slowly wandering from room to room. He was truly an amazing lizard!
Green Iguanas Iguana iguana, are some of the largest lizards to inhabit Central and South America. They can sometimes grow to an enormous 7 feet in length! If well taken care of their lifespan can reach up to 15 years. There are many reasons why these are popular pet lizards. Green iguanas are fairly inexpensive to purchase and are quite hardy. They don’t really smell, especially if their environment is kept clean. Iguanas are also easy to tame and can even be trained to use newspaper as their potty! They do, however, require quite a bit of space and somewhat more intensive care, so you have to be ready and willing to provide that.
These lizards do need their owners to be attentive and dedicated to their care and feeding for them to thrive. They do have some special needs. For instance, their environment must be kept at a temperature of 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day in order for them to digest their food properly and maximally extract out the nutrients. Their diet needs also change as they grow and this should be accomodated. As juveniles they should be provided with fruits and vegetables as well as protein sources such as crickets and mealworms. However once they get larger they really only need to be fed a vegetarian diet. This includes romaine lettuce and many bright orange and green vegetables. All domestic iguanas should also be offered a supplement – typically Calcium and Phosphorus supplement with a ratio of two to one. They should be fed at least three times a week and have access to daily fresh water for both drinking and bathing.
Housing your iguana is another concern that should be taken seriously. Once they are full-grown green iguanas will be most comfortable in a home that is around 100 gallons or 5’x5’x3′. They can be kept in smaller environments while young but be prepared to upgrade in size. They also love to climb and so should be provided with at least one, if not more, limb to scale. As mentioned before, their environment should be kept between 85 and 90 degrees during the day. At night it should be kept from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be provided with a heat lamp or another source of heating.
If you wish to tame your iguana, start out by handling him at least once per day for about an hour and rub the top of his head. Over time this will help your iguana become more familiar with you and no longer try to bite you or whip its tail (a sign of aggression).
Iguana health problems most often arise when they are not provided with the right environment or fed the proper foods. Problems can include mouth rot, parasites, vitamin deficiencies and respiratory disease from drafts and too-cool temperatures. Just follow the proper care guidelines and most of these problems will not arise.
Read more about these iguanas in general and in more detail on Animal-World’s Green Iguana page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
World of Reptiles, Amphibians,
Everything to help you keep reptiles, amphibians, and land invertebrates is contained here!
Herptiles and arthropods have been around for approximately 350 million years!
The World of Reptiles, Amphibians and Arthropods (land invertebrates) includes a diverse group of creatures. They come in all shapes and colors and can live in a variety of habitats. Learning all about them can be fun and interesting as well as informative.
The types of reptiles you will find here include snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises. Amphibians include toads, frogs, salamanders and newts. Arthropods, or land invertebrates, include arachnids such as spiders, scorpions, and tarantulas and myriapods such as centipedes and millipedes. All of these species guides include the animals background, behaviors, habitat and care. For identification purposes pictures are included of each as well… Read More
Animal-World’s Featured Animal for this week is:
The Saltwater Crocodile!
Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy Molly Ebersold of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.
Licensed under Public Domain.
The Saltwater Crocodile is the most dangerous and aggressive animal in northern Australia!
I know that normally I do my weekly featured pet on an actual pet, however this week I decided to switch it up a bit and do a post on an animal that is definitely not considered a pet – the saltwater crocodile! I find these creatures absolutely fascinating and they have recently grabbed hold of my interest. Did you know that they are the largest known reptile living today? And they are also considered extremely dangerous and aggressive, making them even more scary (to me) than sharks! Their scientific name is Crocodylus porosus, and they can be found in Australia, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangladesh, the Solomon Islands, and along the east coast of India.
They are called “saltwater” crocodiles because they don’t generally hang out in freshwater, although crocodile young are raised in freshwater and they can thrive in freshwater if need be. They like brackish water (meaning has some salt but not as much as seawater) best as adults and can usually be found in waters that are near rivers and coasts. Mangrove swamps are a huge habitat for saltwater crocodiles.
Male crocodiles can reach long lengths of 20 feet! Although there have been cases of some reaching up to 27 feet in length in the wild, this is rare, and females generally only grow up to 10 feet. This still makes for a very large reptile and the males can weigh up to 2,900 pounds.
Their nostrils, eyes, and ears are all located elevated along the top of their head, so they can breathe, see and hear all while staying practically completely submerged and out of sight. They spend little time on land, so this is perfect for their lifestyle.
Another interesting fact is how their eggs hatch. Forty to sixty eggs are laid in each nest (generally from November to March) and they hatch about 90 days later. The interesting part, is that the baby crocodiles become male or female depending on what temperature the eggs are kept at! If the eggs are above 32 degrees Celsius, the crocodiles will become male, and if they are below 30 degrees Celsius, they will become females! However, only 1% or less of the hatchlings will survive to maturity.
I think everyone is probably aware that they have a reputation for being “man-eaters.” Well, they don’t go out of their way to eat humans – but if humans are in their territory, they are considered fair game as far as food goes! They kill 1 to 2 people per year in Australia. Their food includes just about anything they can overpower, including other reptiles, birds, buffalo, wild boars, monkeys, cows, humans, etc. They hunt by using their famous “death roll,” which involves the crocodile grabbing its prey in its jaws (which are extremely powerful) and rolling over and over in the water. This both crushes its victims and can drown them.
One event that really caught my eye was the Battle of Ramree Island. Apparently in 1945 about 1,000 Japanese soldiers were surrounded by British soldiers and had nowhere to retreat other than into the inland swamps. They spent the night traversing the swamps to get to safety and about 400 of them were thought to have been killed by the native crocodiles. It is considered “The Greatest Disaster Suffered from Animals” in the Guinness World Records! It is pretty hard to fathom something like that happening.
So, as an end thought – if you are ever in areas where wild saltwater crocodiles are plentiful, be careful and follow local crocodile safety guidelines!
Though these large and dangerous animals are not pets, there are many types of lizards and other reptiles that are great to keep as pets. Check out Animal-World’s Reptiles, Amphibians, and Land Invertebrate page if you are interested in more information.
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Kids always want pets to call their own. If you are not so keen on a dog or cat, choose a pet that they can easily take care of with little assistance from you. How about a turtle? Here are some of the most popular types of turtles.
Turtles are amphibians. This means that they are equally at home on land and in the water. They carry their home on their back which makes it quite convenient for moving. Their softer body is integrated into the shell which makes it great for balance. They don’t move fast but they do get where they want to go.
Turtles have a long life span, longer than many think. It is not uncommon for them to live 60 years or more. What a turtle enjoys most is freedom to move. When they have a vast enough surrounding environment to eat, sleep and sunbathe, they are happy.
Turtles make great pets for kids who are just discovering pets because they are quite low maintenance. As long as you provide for their basic needs, they are content.
Turtles do nip and bite. To avoid this spend time with your turtle and allow them to get to know you. They may be apprehensive when you first get them home, but with increased handling they will start to trust you and the biting will lessen if not stop completely.
Popular Turtle Types
1. Terrestrial Turtles
The most common and popular terrestrial turtle is the box turtle. These turtles are green and brown with yellow markings on their shells and underbelly. If you can see their eyes, they are also green in color.
They love grass, dirt and warm temperatures. If you have a fenced in back yard with shade trees, this is the ideal place for them to live. Be sure to create a sunning space for them (like a rock that is easy for them to climb on) to soothe their cold-blooded bodies. Box turtles usually eat small bits of fruit, bugs they can catch and vegetables. They will eat dog and cat food if you give it to them.
2. Aquatic Turtles
Another popular turtle is the slider. It is an aquatic turtle. This means that they are more comfortable in the water than on land. They have greenish brown shells with yellow stripes on their heads. As with box turtles, they can roam free in the back yard as long as you have a fenced in property to protect them from predators for their own safety.
A slider likes any place that is warm and has a permanent water feature. Outdoor ponds with foliage and rocks can suit a slider to a T. keeping the water clean is essential to preventing bacterial problems with their shells. They love to dig in the mud and gravel, so provide loose earth for them to bury themselves in a sunny spot. They often eat whatever they can find like vegetables, worms, small fish and commercial turtle food.
Want a turtle? The two most popular types are box turtles and sliders. Once you gain more experience, you can try raising other types as pets as well.
To learn more about turtles and tortoises, check out Animal-World’s Turtle and Tortoise Care page!