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!

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

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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!