Housing your pet will never be as fun or rewarding as when you create its perfect home.
Each animal has its particular habitat needs and a vivarium setup is a re-creation of its natural home. There are as many unique virarium arrangements as there are exotic pets.
A vivarium is an enclosure where selected plants and animal species are kept or raised. The concept of vivariums started initially as a medium to study and research selected flora and fauna. Literally, vivarium means “a place of life”.
The ecosystem inside a vivarium is created to simulate, on a smaller scale, the environment conditions, which are favorable to the species. Vivariums can range from small enclosures that can sit on a table to a very large structure that houses bigger animals and are placed outdoors.
Types of Vivariums
There are several types of vivarium depending on the habitat that you wish to simulate and the accompanying flora and fauna that will be used. These include:
- Aquarium: These are water habitats that can house freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and coral reef inhabitants.
- Insectarium: These habitats are for housing insects and arachnids.
- Terrarium: This is generally a dry habitat for housing reptiles
- Paludarium: The paludarium simulates a semi-aquatic habitat such as in rainforests or swamps. Other setups of a paludarium combine a terrarium and an aquarium, sometimes known as a viquarium
- Riparium. A riparium recreates the wet habitats near lakes, rivers, and ponds. The setup is suitable for marginal plants that thrive best in the water-saturated soil along the water’s edge.
- Penguinarium: A unique habitat for housing penguins
Materials for a vivarium
Vivariums are commonly made of clear plastic or glass containers. Wood or metal can also be used as long as there’s a side, which is transparent. There are also vivariums made from plywood with built-in sliding glass doors.
The material that you will use depends on what flora and fauna you plan to put in, the desired size, height and weight, cost, desired quality, as well as the ability of the materials to simulate the natural environment and provide protection against extreme environment conditions.
Coated plywood can retain heat better compared to glass or plastic vivariums. These types of enclosures can also withstand high humidity. When making a vivarium, it is recommended to place a high-drainage substrate on top of a layer of stones to help retain humidity without the substrate surface being saturated.
The type of substrate will depend on several factors including what is favorable for the plants and/or animals, the benefits, and the aesthetic value. The most common substrates used include soil, wood chips, pebbles, peat, sand, coconut coir, and wood mulch. There are also vivariums that use tissue paper and newspaper.
These are the recommended methods to effectively regulate humidity inside the vivarium:
- Regular pulverization of water
- Enhanced water evaporation by placing a basin inside
- Use of humidifiers and automated pulverization systems
The lighting system is always designed to meet the requirements of the animal and plant species. Various types of bulbs are needed to simulate specific natural environments. There are also certain flora and fauna that require a good source of ultraviolet rays for vitamin D synthesis and assimilation of calcium. Specialized bulbs are available which can emit a more natural sunlight effect.
You may also need to put in a day/night regulator to mimic the change between light and dark periods. The regulator is set depending on the natural habitat of the species including the season that you desire to achieve.
Heat inside a vivarium can be provided in several ways:
- Heat rocks
- Infrared lamps
- Heating lamps
- Hot plates
- Heat mats
- Heating cords
- Equipment that can generate hot air inside the vivarium
The heat inside the enclosure is controlled by a thermostat. Thermo-control systems are often employed to regulate not only heat but also light cycles and humidity.
Aside from promoting proper air circulation, ventilation can also prevent the growth and development of pathogenic molds and bacteria. This is particularly true in vivariums that maintain a warm and humid environment.
Cool Pets! Reptiles… the Fascinating World of Lizards, Snakes, and Turtles
The sighting of a reptile captures everyone’s attention! These are the most bizarre and curious of all the land dwelling creatures, and also some of the most adorable of the aquatic creatures. Like other terrestrial animals they evolved from creatures of the sea, but these animals are certainly some of the most provocative.
Reptiles, just like their aquatic ancestors, are cold-blooded animals. But unlike the familiar warm-blooded pets such as dogs, cats and other mammals, reptiles lack any sort of furry cover. Rather they are sheathed in scales, or bony plating known as scutes. Although reptiles lack that cozy, huggable appeal of a fuzzy soft covering they are fascinating to look at and intriguing in habit. They are exceptional animals and make very cool pets!
Cool Animals Known as Reptiles
Incredibly, there are over 8,000 reptile species in the world! These are extremely ancient creatures, and have been a part of many culture’s folklore throughout history. This large group is divided into four classified orders.
- Turtles, of the order Chelonia, are the most aquatic and are also the oldest living reptiles, existing nearly unchanged since the Triassic period.
- Lizards and Snakes are placed in the large Squamata order, and all are terrestrial.
- The very large, carnivorous reptiles found in tropical and subtropical swamps are placed in the order Crocodilia that includes alligators, caimans, crocodiles, and gavials. The ‘ruling reptiles’ of the great reptilian subclass Archosauria is also part of the Crocodilia order, and includes the popular, but extinct dinosaurs.
- The tuataras from New Zealand are in the order Sphenodontia with just 2 species.
Reptiles have a vital role in the natural world. They are an important part of the food chain both as predator and as prey. Predatory reptiles eat various species of rodents and insects, yet in turn, some mammals as well as birds of prey will eat some reptiles. Both sides of the equation help to keep animal populations in balance.
Cool People that Love Reptiles
All pet lovers tend to be very passionate about animals, and that’s equally true for reptile lovers. Reptile lovers repeatedly prove to be ardent enthusiasts for these unusual creatures. Also as is true to all animal lovers, these people also understand and care about the passions of their fellow reptile keepers. The dedication these fascinating creatures inspire is best illustrated by an amazing story that unfolded just a couple weeks ago.
At the recent Reptile Super Show, held on November 2nd and 3rd in San Diego, California, the herptile community came together to help an aspiring 13-year-old boy named Zayd Sheck realized his dream of owning a beautiful boa constrictor.
The United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) reported that Zayd “…came to the USARK booth to hand over a rosy boa he found in the lobby (misplaced in container by an attendee after purchase). After speaking with Zayd’s mother, we found out that Zayd has been to many reptile shows this year following one certain boa constrictor bred by SoCal Constrictors and had been saving his money to buy the boa. He had saved enough for the snake but not enough to buy a cage, so he bought two raffle tickets for a snake kit at our booth and would be able to take the snake home if he won the kit.”
Well Zayd did not win the snake kit in the raffle, so a wonderful USARK volunteer spoke with the breeders of the snake, relaying Zayd’s story. Together they devised a plan “…to guarantee Zayd had an incredible day!” After the raffle USARK paged Zayd, asking him to come to their booth. When he arrived they presented with the boa from SoCal Constrictors that he had been eyeing for months, along with a ReptiHabitat Snake Kit from Zoo Med. The herptile community extended a great gift to this aspiring reptile keeper. Zayd and his mother were overwhelmed with appreciation, “… Zayd’s mom had tears in her eyes and hugged nearly everyone in the room”!
Benefits of Reptile Keeping
For enthusiastic reptile lovers, learning about these animals and keeping them as pets is an exciting adventure in and of itself. But reptile keepers, as is true of all pet lovers, are passionate people with a profound respect for animals. Their strong compassion lends a deep concern when any Animal Cause comes up.
The ultimate reward for both the animal world and humanity is people equipped with knowledge and the ability to help maintain and even breed these wonderful animals. Reptile lovers make it possible to save many endangered species from extinction.
Find the Best Reptile Pets
It’s exciting to learn what great pets reptiles make. They come in a variety of shapes, patterns, colors, and habits. Keeping them as pets is a fascinating hobby, and they have many advantages over other types of pets. They are generally quiet, clean, odorless, and non-demanding. Many require very little space, are low maintenance, and yet are fascinating to observe.
The trick when picking out your pet is to match the reptile that best fits into your lifestyle and home environment. See pictures and find great information for all sorts of Reptiles on Animal-World. A broad selection of Snakes, Lizards, turtles and tortoises will make good pets.
Join the Herp Community
You can follow in the footsteps of Zayd and attend multiple reptile shows, expos, and special reptile events. There are so many dedicated people in the herptile community that it’s easy to get involved. All across the country there are numerous clubs and organizations too.
One of my personal favorite organizations is the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK). In their own words, they are dedicated to the “…science, education and conservation” of these fascinating creatures. Join their mailing list and you will receive details about many upcoming events. Another great online resource for shows and expos is the Reptile Shows & Events on Reptile Channel. Just be warned, once you start getting involved you may very well get hooked, and be a reptile lover for life!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
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.
“Pet’s Point of View” Animal World Perspective of SuperZoo 2013!
From a Pet’s Point of View, SuperZoo is great! For humans it is very cool too, and necessary to keep the industry humming along. But animals just have a simpler perspective, and its one that Dr. Jungle and I found simply enchanting.
Business and pleasure go hand in hand, but the best reasons to attend pet shows are all the awesome animals! Now don’t get me wrong. I like to see cool new animal habitats, futuristic aquariums, great new toys, nutritious foods and yummy treats as well. But without the animals, what’s the point?
Now at the show, just like us humans, animals too like cool habitats and they especially like food. But Dr. Jungle and I found that they spent most of their time simply hanging out watching the other pets, and of course the human animals too.
Types of Pet Shows
SuperZoo is a production of the World Pet Association (WPA). Being an industry trade show it is not open to the general public. It consists primarily of displays by manufacturers and distributors to exhibit their pet products. Retailers then peruse the displays to become familiar with the latest offerings and select items to sell in their pet stores. Some other types of shows are for pet groomers or pet breeders. These will also has displays, but as their names suggest, they cater to particular pet industry professionals.
Some of the best types of pet shows are those that are open to everyone. The “America’s Family Pet Expo”, also a production of WPA, is one of the largest and is held annually in Orange County California. This type of show that has displays too. But it differs in that its exhibitions are by retailers offering both pets and pet products to the general public.
Types of Pets at SuperZoo
All types of animals were represented at the SuperZoo show. Usual pets included aquatic animals ranging from the hardy saltwater clownfish and damsels to freshwater tetras, barbs, bettas, all sorts of fancy goldfish, and even corals. Birds, small animals, and reptile categories were well represented too. Unique pets popped up all over too, including fascinating hybrids and mutations of regular pets as well as new and unusual species.
One of the most interesting were the exciting and popular newcomers… the “glofish”. These genetically enhanced freshwater fish are mostly barbs, tetras, and danios that sport a fluorescent glow in bright greens, reds, yellows, blues, and purples. Picasso patterned clownfish and really cool king/milk/corn snake crosses were some of the most striking looking, while some of the most unusual were the skinny (hairless) rats. Unique pets ranged from puffer fish that are a completely freshwater species (Mbu Puffer Tetraodon mbu) to some first time US imported animals like large spotted plecostomus (Hypostomus regain), and multiple varieties of brilliant tarantulas.
Dog Grooming and Competition
With all those good looking animals hanging out there’s bound to be competition, and it is tough. All types of pets adore attention but here the dogs rule! Getting spruced up with the groomers is a big pastime, sometimes taking up to two hours or more! We saw dogs decked out in all their natural glory, and many dogs decked out with “creative” colors and cuts.
This was a great show! At such an exhibition I think a pet’s perspective is the opportunity to stand out. What they want to know is “how do I steal the show”! Even thought there are only a few first place winners, I must say, the results were well worth it! Many of these awesome animals will soon be available to people and you can find the pet that’s your “first place” winner! Check with your local pet stores or find one of these dedicated, incredible breeders.
Types of Pets
“What’s your lifestyle like? There is a type of pet for you no matter what type of life you lead!”
Having a great pet experience depends a lot on finding the perfect pet for your
Many pet animals make wonderful pets, but different types of pets can suit different personalities. You will want to find a pet that is a perfect companion for your lifestyle. Your age, home environment, and activity level are all considerations when deciding what type of pet could have your needs and wants met.
Read through this guide if you are looking for a pet to share in your life but aren’t sure yet what type of pet would best suit you. Once you identify a good pet for you, you will find that owning that pet can be rewarding and fun! So many people have reported how they ended up with their particular pets and how they truly changed their lives in a positive way. Most people feel their pets are a integral part of their family and couldn’t imagine their lives with out them. Pets usually enhance their owners lives, and deciding to own one will most likely be a very good choice!
Now on to how to choose between all the different types of pets available to you! Not all animals will suit who you are, so there are questions you should ask before venturing forth with a particular pet. Different animals have different temperaments and specific needs, in much the same way that people differ. Examples are some animals do very well living in small apartments, whereas others need huge areas to roam around in. Some animals may need a very specific diet, while others could thrive off a simple commercially prepared meal… Read More
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.
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
White’s Tree Frog
"Looking for a great beginner soft coral? I’m a hardy little frog and am great for kids!"
The White’s Tree Frog, a quiet critter with bulging eyes, is one of the most laid back
animals there is!It is a very easy frog to take care of and thus is excellent for beginners and experienced frog owners alike!
It is said that it would take purposeful effort on your part to startle one of these adorable frogs. Unlike many of their relatives, including it’s close ‘cousin’ the White-Lipped Tree Frog, the White’s Tree Frog is not big on jumping, and will generally only do so when startled.
The White’s frog is a very gentle, laid back animal; it is said that it would take purposeful effort on your part to startle one. Unlike many of their relatives, they are not big on jumping, and will generally only do so when startled. One of their most intriguing acts is when they are eating, they stuff their food into their mouths with their front feet and seem to become all legs and elbows… Read More