- This site is for educational purposes only, and to built a reptile community for all the reptile lovers out there. I also do reptile rescue, reptile sitting (short and long term), and reptile extraction, lol but it happens. I'm in San Diego, and if you need to give up your reptile, for whatever reason, give me a call at 619-971-6672, and my name is Cisko.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania
Can be anywhere from seven to 24 inches in length depending on specific species of blue-tongue skink. Please see below for more information.
Most blue-tongue skinks can reach ages of 20 years or more in captivity
All blue-tongue skinks tend to have a heavy build with small legs and toes. They also exhibit the typical triangular blunt head of most skins. All species get their name from a bright blue tongue in their pink or red mouths. Specific differences among various species are found below:
T. adelaidensis - Pygmy Blue-Tongue Skink: Typically found in Southern Australia and Tasmania. This species will generally only reach lengths of seven inches or less. They are a highly endangers species with an estimated wild population of only 5,500. They vary in color from light gray to very dark brown with irregular black spots along the back.
T. gigas - New Guinea Blue Tongue Skink: This species is generally gray or gray-brown with narrow dark bands of irregular shape across the back.
T. gigas is one of the largest species of blue-tongue skink and can reach lengths of 24 inches. They can be found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Jobi, Admiralty Islands, New Britain and the Bismarck Archipelago. This species is omnivorous and will feed on wild flowers, fruit, small animals and insects.
T. gerrardii - Australian Pink Tongued Skink: Typically found in New South Wales, Eastern Australia and is generally 15 to 18 inches in length. This species generally nocturnal in the warmer weather and becomes diurnal in colder weather. Their natural environment is generally wetter than most other species. It feeds almost exclusively on snails and slugs. The classification of this species is still being debated. The WNYHS uses ISIS as a standard for all scientific names and it is still classified in Tiliqua at the time of this writing.
T. mustifaciata - Central Blue-Tongued Skink: Can be found in both desert and tropical environments in North Territory, Queensland, South Australia and West Australia. They will grow to 15 to 18 inches in length and will feed on wild flowers, small animals and insects.
T. nigrolutea - Blotched Blue Tongued Skink or Black and Yellow Blue-Tongued Skink: Generally found in Southern Australia and Tasmania. This species is typically brown-black with a yellow colored irregular spotted or striped pattern. One of the larger species it can reach sizes of 24 inches in length. Like most skinks this species is omnivorous. This species is often crosses with T. scincoides in the pet trade and the offspring are not sterile and still viable for breeding.
T. occipitalis - Western Blue Tongued Skink: This is a short tailed, compact species reaching lengths of about 20 inches. They are generally reddish brown with lighter tan cross banding and a tan belly. This species is also omnivorous and likes various berries, spiders and other insects and arthropods. The Western Blue Tongued Skink can generally be found in New South Wales, North Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and West Australia.
T. rugosa - Shingleback Skink: Generally found in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and West Australia. They can reach sizes of up to 15 inches in length. They get their name from their large keeled scales. They are generally brown-black in color with lighter bands across the back. Recent research also suggests that this species is monogamous.
T. scincoides scincoides - Common or Eastern Blue-Tongued Skink: Can often be found in semi-desert to agricultural areas of most of eastern Australia and the upper third of the Northern Territory, far northern Western Australia, and southeastern South Australia. They can reach sizes of up to 24 inches in length but generally reach lengths of only 18 inches. This species is generally tan with darker uniform or semi-broken bands or blotches across the body that becomes more blotched on the tail. Some specimens have a dark stripe from the back of the head to the eye. Legs are usually gray and unmarked. The most distinguishable feature, and the easiest way to separate this subspecies from the Northern, or Iranian Jaya localities, is the presence of thin dark stripes lengthwise along the body. This species is also omnivorous feeding on small animals, insects and plant material. This is one of the hardier and popular species found in the pet trade.
T. s. intermedia - Northern Blue Tongued Skink: This subspecies prefers tropical or savannah woodlands of Northern Australia. Often considered the largest of the blue-tongued skinks it can reach lengths of 24 to 27 inches. It generally as uniform vertical bands which are usually chestnut colored, with orange shaded off-centered markings on the sides. As with the Eastern, the legs are gray and unmarked. Because of their gentler demeanor this subspecies generally makes for the best choice if you want a handleable pet.
Most hatchlings can be kept in a 10-gallon aquarium. Full sized adult blue-tongue skinks should be kept in 40 to 55-gallon aquariums or similar enclosures.
A temperature gradient of 75° - 85° F should be established with a basking area of 90° - 95° F during the day. Temperatures should not fall below 70° F at night.
Temperatures can be maintained with basking bulbs, infrared heat bulbs, and ceramic emitters or under tank heaters and panels. Hot rocks should never be used due to the high risk of burns that can be inflicted on the blue-tongue skink from malfunctioning heat rocks. As with most diurnal species full spectrum light is required. This can be achieved by using special fluorescent bulbs or newer Active UV bulbs. Active UV bulbs also provide heat which may allow you to not have to provide additional heat sources.
Wood shavings (avoid cedar or pine as these may cause long term health issues), newspaper or indoor/outdoor carpeting can all be used as substrates.
Most blue-tongued skinks available in the pet trade are ground dwellers and do not require many rocks or branches for climbing. A hide box should be provided for the animal as well as a portion of the enclosure maintained with slightly damp substrate such as sphagnum moss to provide a humidity chamber to help with shedding.
Most blue-tongue skinks are omnivorous (eating both plant and animal matter). Generally a diet consisting of 60% plant and 40% animal will provide a healthy mix for your blue-tongue skink. Frozen mixed vegetables,various greens, small amounts of high quality dog food, crickets, mealworms, and thawed pre-killed frozen mice can all be fed to your skink. Fresh water should be provided daily.
The enclosure should be spot cleaned daily. A thorough cleaning should be performed on a regular basis. A 5% bleach solution is an excellent disinfectant. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the enclosure before replacing the substrate and placing the blue-tongue skink in the enclosure.
Thanks for reading, Cisko.
Posted by iReptiles at 11:37 AM
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Welcome everyone, this is Cisko, and I want to wish you all a Happy New Year, and best wishes to you and yours. Remember everyone, if your in the situation of having to let go of your reptile, it's hard, esspecially because they become part of the family. We here at Mclovins Creatures and Rescue, take in any reptile, and will still be part of your family. Here with us, our doors are always open for you to come in, and see how your baby is doing. We care here, and you can always count on us to try our best to provide the best for your reptile.
Posted by iReptiles at 11:50 AM
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Let's talk about one of my favorite gecko's, actually it is my favorite. These little guys are known as the pit-bull of the gecko's, I've Never seen a tame one, have you???
Regardless of its reputation for fierceness, the tokay gecko's beauty, hardy nature and modest price have made it a popular "pet store" lizard. With the large numbers of imported specimens entering the United States every year, the tokay is one of the most frequently encountered gecko species in the pet market. Many pet stores across the nation, even those that don't specialize in "exotic" animals, may have a terrarium with a few specimens for sale at any given time.
Because of their ready availability and low cost, the tokay is often the first gecko that many people purchase. Unfortunately, many first-time owners are rudely awakened when the lizard that the pet store staff labeled "a good beginner's gecko" turns out to be an animal with a personality that is pure evil! While its true that these lizards are easy to maintain, their willingness to bite any hand that dares enter their domain should exclude them from the "pet" lizard label.
This does not necessarily mean that the tokay is not a good terrarium subject, it just means that those people who like to handle their lizards on a regular basis may prefer a gecko species that is a bit more docile, such as a leopard gecko. However, if you are interested in maintaining a species that is large, colorful and interesting to observe, then a tokay may be right up your ally.
The Name Game
I have always found the scientific name of the tokay gecko to be somewhat amusing because it is so repetitive. The tokay is classified in the family Gekkonidae, subfamily Gekkoninae, genus Gekko and species gecko. Is it just me, or is that kind of humorous? (Maybe I just need to get out more.)
Anyway, the tokay gets its common name from vocalizations these lizards make that are described as a kind of "to'-ko," or "to'-kay" sound. Tokays are highly vocal geckos and are capable of producing many different sounds. Territorial specimens will make a barking type of call and startled individuals will often scream in surprise, fear or protest. Tokays will also vocalize when introduced to a cagemate or when courting.
This is the largest species in the family, and some males can grow to an impressive 12 to 14 inches in total length, with females slightly smaller. The tokay's color and pattern is strikingly beautiful, and no two specimens look exactly alike. The base color can be off-white, grayish or various shades of blue, with orange red, brown or maroon colored splotches scattered over the entire dorsal area. The overall color tends to darken with age.
Unlike the more "primitive" geckos (such as leopard geckos) that have movable eyelids, the tokay's eyes cannot close. Instead, the tokay eye has a clear, protective spectacle, much like those of snakes. The gecko keeps the eye lens clean by frequently licking it. The eye has a vertical pupil that is indicative of this species' nocturnal nature.
The tokay gecko is adapted to a primarily arboreal existence and possesses enlarged toe pads equipped with lamellae to aid in gripping. These adaptions allow the tokay gecko to climb virtually any surface with ease, including glass. The limbs are short and stocky, and the tail is semi-prehensile to aid in balance and maneuvering. The tail also serves as a means of defense and can be autotomized, or dropped, when the gecko feels threatened. A new tail will eventually grow back to replace the missing appendage. If the gecko feels threatened and cannot escape, it will gape its mouth, and may attempt to attack and bite a perceived aggressor. A bite can be a traumatic experience for both the lizard and the handler.
These geckos have large heads and powerful jaws. Not only can their bite be extremely painful, but once a specimen latches on it often refuses to relinquish its hold. For this reason, tokays are not recommended for small children, as a bite from a large specimen could cause serious damage. An occasional specimen will eventually tame down and allow itself to be handled on occasion. However, this is the exception rather than the rule, and this species should be regarded as a "hands off" terrarium subject only.
Natural History and Interaction With Humans
In its natural range, the tokay is found from northeast India across to southern China, throughout the Malay Peninsula, the Andamans, the Philippines and throughout much of Indonesia. Feral populations have also become established in sections of southern Florida, Hawaii and the island of Martinique. They adapt well to secondary, or disturbed, environments, especially around homes, buildings and other human structures. Because of their close contact with humans, they have become the objects of many superstitious beliefs. In various sections of its native range, the tokay gecko is regarded as a messenger of omens, both good and bad. Depending on the situation, a tokay's presence or vocalization can mean good luck and prosperity for a family or individual.
In contrast to this, if a deceased specimen is found it is often considered a sign of bad luck. Injuring or killing a tokay gecko is also considered bad luck in many areas throughout its range, and the species is a welcome guest in people's homes because it eats pest insects such as roaches.
Unfortunately, in many areas the tokay gecko is still a valued ingredient in folk medicine. Sometimes the geckos are killed, tied to a stick and left in the sun to dry. Various body parts are ground up as needed and ingested in the belief that the powder will cure ailments such as asthma, coughs and tuberculosis. Tokay geckos also are eaten, and in parts of their range are considered a delicacy. The high demand for specimens for folk remedies, the pet trade and as food items has severely impacted certain populations. In some regions, the species is becoming exceedingly scarce. If this trend continues, a possible solution would be to start farming specimens, much like is being done with green iguanas in Latin America.
Tokays are one of the easiest species of gecko to keep and breed in captivity, but, ironically, most specimens offered for sale are wild-collected animals. By the time these geckos reach your neighborhood pet store, they have been captured, held in an exporter's facilities for days or weeks, shipped over oceans and possibly exposed to disease or parasites along the way. These stressful situations can cause a gecko to become more prone to infections or illness, so it is important to know what to look for when selecting a tokay.
When choosing a tokay gecko, look for one with a robust appearance. Healthy tokays are bulky animals, and the spine, ribs or pelvic bones should not be visible. If the gecko is resting on the glass, look at the vent area and make sure there are no caked or smeared feces present. Safely pick the gecko up and gently examine the lizard's body with your free hand, to make sure there are no abnormal bumps or depressions anywhere on the body, because they may indicate an infection or broken bones. When grabbing a tokay, place your hand directly (and gently) behind the gecko's head to avoid being bitten.
As I stated before, these geckos are cantankerous, and when touched, a healthy tokay will gape its mouth and more than likely try to bite you. It may also let out a loud bark or scream in protest. If the gecko is limp, weak, or indifferent, pass on the animal and choose a different one. While it is true that there is the occasional specimen that does not seem to mind being handled, the vast majority of tokay geckos never really tame down enough to allow a handling session to be an enjoyable experience.
When the gecko opens its mouth, check the inside. A healthy tokay's mouth is black and bright pink. Red, irritated-looking tissue or the presence of a cheeselike substance is a sign of stomatitis (mouth rot). Also look for any excessive saliva or mucus in the mouth or bubbling out of the nostrils, because this may indicate a respiratory infection. The skin should not be loose or wrinkled, and the eyes should be clear and not sunken.
All newly acquired specimens should go through a strict quarantine period of no less than 30 days, with 60 days being more desirable. It would be safe to assume that the vast majority of wild-collected tokay geckos harbor at least one type of endoparasite, and fecal analysis by a qualified veterinarian should be mandatory for all newly purchased animals.
I house all new geckos individually in 10-gallon tanks. A tight-fitting lid is required because these lizards can climb almost any surface, and they will escape with ease. Aside from a water dish and a few cork bark slabs for hiding and climbing areas, I keep the quarantine tanks fairly simplistic to make observation easier. White paper towel is not the most attractive substrate, but I think it is the best choice during the quarantine period, because it is easy to clean and allows the keeper to easily monitor whether the gecko is passing regular, healthy-looking feces.
It is unnatural for these arboreal geckos to descend to the ground and bask on a heating rock or heating pad, so provide heat by placing a 25- to 75-watt black bulb or infrared heating element over one side of the enclosure to allow a thermal gradient. The daytime temperature should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side and 85 to 88 under the heating element. Nighttime temperatures can safely fall into the mid-60s. Although these hardy lizards come from tropical regions of the world, their humidity requirements are not exacting, and the geckos do well when the enclosure has a humidity level of 55 to 85 percent. Sean McKeown and Jim Zawarski state that the humidity levels can fall as low as 40 percent with no ill effects (1997).
Offer the geckos fresh water every day. Provide water by misting the cage furnishings twice a day. This gives the geckos multiple drinking sites and helps keep humidity levels high. Some keepers place water containers on the enclosure floor as well, but this should not replace regular misting. If a specimen seems to have a hard time shedding, you may need to raise the humidity levels and provide more frequent misting.
Tokay geckos feed on a wide variety of food items. Crickets can be the main component in the diet, along with the occasional serving of mealworms, moths or other inoffensive insect. I "gut-load" all prey items prior to feeding time to boost nutritional value. A vitamin/mineral supplement can be offered once a month, and prey items can be dusted with a calcium supplement once or twice per week. A dish of calcium should be placed in all enclosures containing mature females (especially during the breeding season) and juvenile animals. These geckos will also consume vertebrate prey. Larger specimens can be fed pinky mice. Tokays also enjoy an occasional serving of fruit baby food. Feral tokays have been observed raiding aviculturists' facilities, eating hatchling chicks still in the nest boxes. The geckos initially were introduced to the aviaries to control pest insects like roaches (Samuelson, pers. com.).
To recant a funny story, a couple who lived in Florida kept a large female loose in their kitchen so it would feed on pest palmetto bugs (large roaches). One evening the wife baked a lemon meringue pie and left it on the counter to cool before going to bed. In the middle of the night, she got up for a drink of water, and as she turned on the light, let out a bloodcurdling scream. Thinking a burglar was in the house, the husband ran into the kitchen with a baseball bat, only to find the fattest, most bloated gecko in the world sprawled on the kitchen counter. Their sweet "Mrs. Tokay" had devoured nearly half the pie!
After the quarantine period you can house the gecko(s) in a more aesthetically pleasing environment. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of maintaining geckos in captivity is the opportunity to create an attractive vivarium that brings a piece of nature into your home. The tokay can be housed in an elaborately designed, naturalistic vivarium complete with living plants and decorative wood. I encourage the use of naturalistic vivaria whenever possible because it is more pleasing to look at and the geckos may behave more naturally, as well. I have always found maintaining an enclosure with live plants and decorative furnishings more satisfying than keeping a bare tank with a few lizards pathetically stuck to the glass for lack of a better resting spot. (Although there are those strange few that enjoy pasting themselves to the glass regardless of the number of suitable resting areas that I have generously provided them.)
Tokay geckos will spend the daylight hours resting in a vertical head down position, and will often sleep in the same place day after day. Because of this, it sometimes seems as though these geckos never move. However, tokays are highly active after the lights go out. A 20-gallon, vertically oriented tank is the bare minimum size to house a pair of these lizards, but a larger tank is always better. Males are territorial and cannot be housed together because they will fight. Females are territorial to a lesser extent, but one male and multiple females can usually be kept together in a large enclosure. Introduce all specimens into the enclosure at the same time so that you are not placing one lizard into another's established territory. Be sure that all geckos housed together are of similar size. If you decide to house your geckos in a colony situation, be watchful for any cagemate aggression, because combat can be fierce and fatal. If an individual is wounded or seems stressed, remove it from the enclosure and house it individually. During the breeding season, a male may inflict superficial injuries upon a female as he attempts to secure a better hold while attempting to copulate.
Reproduction and Care of Young
It is fairly easy to determine the sex of adult tokay geckos. Males are generally larger than females and have a more robust appearance. The pre-anal pores are also more pronounced in adult males. Males also have slight hemipenile bulges at the base of the tail. Sexual maturity is reached at 12 to 24 months of age. Captive tokays will often mate at any time of the year, but providing seasonal changes may improve the frequency of mating attempts. Many keepers simulate seasonal changes by slightly decreasing the temperature, humidity level and photoperiod for six to eight weeks. During this time, the animals still need to be fed, but less frequently. After this rest period, environmental conditions can be slowly brought back to optimum levels. Heavily misting the enclosure several times a day will raise humidity levels enough to mimic the rainy season. Courtship and mating will usually take place during this time.
During courtship, the male will vocalize while approaching a potential mate in fast, jerking movements. Mating can be an aggressive, rough affair. Many keepers assume that a female with bite marks on various parts of her body has been the subject of a cagemate's aggression; however, during the breeding season it is also an indication that copulation has taken place. If the female has only superficial lacerations, still maintains good body weight and does not seem to deteriorate further, you need not worry; she can still be housed in the same enclosure as the male.
The female will deposit one or two marble-sized, hard-shelled eggs four to eight weeks after copulation. Like most female geckos, female tokays can store sperm, and multiple clutches can result from a single successful mating. When the eggs first leave the cloaca, they are soft and delicate. The female gently molds them into shape with her hind feet and deposits them against a solid surface. Jim Zaworski (1997) has observed males shaping the eggs after the female deposits them. This is very unusual behavior, because males of most gecko species do not participate in the care of eggs.
As the eggs harden, they usually adhere to each other and the surface they were laid upon. This can present a problem for herpetoculturists, because the eggs will be damaged or destroyed if any attempt is made to remove them from the surface they are on. If the eggs are glued to the side of the vivarium, you can place a deli container over them for protection. Punch multiple holes into the container for ventilation.
Luckily, eggs do not always adhere to the laying surface. Remove loose eggs from the enclosure and place them on a slightly moist substrate in a ventilated deli container. Put the container in a warm dark place and check it periodically. When the eggs are incubated in a fairly consistent temperature range of 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, they will usually hatch in approximately 60 to 100 days. However, there have been reports of eggs taking as long as 200 days to hatch. Both parents have been observed protecting offspring, and tokay geckos seem to care for their young in captivity, as well. Unfortunately, other geckos (and occasionally one of the parents) may consider the youngsters a meal, so it is best to house neonates in their own enclosure, away from adults. The hatchlings are around 3 to 4 inches in length and can be housed individually in 1-gallon containers. Small groups of hatchlings can be housed in 10-gallon tanks. As always, be sure to watch for cagemate aggression, and remove any animals that do not thrive in a community setup. I like to house my neonates in a rather simplistic environment, much like the one I outlined earlier for recently purchased specimens. A paper towel substrate, and a few pieces of cage furniture are all that I provide, because I like to be able to monitor the progress of the young tokays as easily as possible. Care for hatchlings in the same manner as the adults, and if conditions are favorable the neonates will grow quickly.
The tokay gecko has been available through the pet trade for decades and is one of the most popular gecko species among beginning hobbyists. Because of the tokay's wicked temperament, it should not be the first choice for people who want to interact with their animals on a regular basis. However, I think that anyone interested in geckos should eventually try their hand at keeping these beautiful tough guys of the gecko world. As I Cisko think, how can you not love a brave little lizard like this.
Monday, December 14, 2009
The African fat tailed gecko (Hemitheconyx Caudicinctus) originates in West Africa, and has steadily been making its mark in the pet trade as a reptile enthusiast favorite. They have not yet achieved the notoriety or popularity of the leopard gecko, but they are gaining ground! These little guys reach an average length of 8-10 inches, and can keep you company for 15 years.
These easy to keep reptiles make pet care simple as they require little space and maintenance. The African fat tailed gecko species as a whole has acclimated well to being kept in captivity and are generally very friendly and docile; however, wild caught specimens do make it into the pet shops from time to time and are not happy about it! They will be more than happy to let you know by nipping your fingers...
Always make sure and ask if the lizard you are interested in is captive bred! A captive bred African fat tail gecko tends to be better behaved, and has less of a chance to be harboring parasites. :)
If you have limited space, a 10 gallon tank will work great. It does not have to have a sliding mesh top, but I would recommend it. African fat tailed geckos don't have climbing pads on their feet, so the purpose isn't to keep them in. It is to keep your curious cat from discovering a tasty snack!
A 20 gallon tank is ideal, and you can safely keep two in this size enclosure. Avoid keep more than one male to a cage because they will fight and hurt, or worse, kill each other. Females will generally get along quite well. Pet shops usually sell females, but make sure you ask so you know what you are getting.
There are four main components for effective housing of the african fat tailed gecko.
•Two hiding spots
•Shallow water dish
•A suitible substrate (newspaper is great)
•Under the tank heating pad
Place two hiding spots at opposite ends of the enclosure. Place the heating pad under one side of the tank, and the water dish on the other. We supply the hiding spots to provide a sense of security. A stressed out, vulnerable feeling reptile won't be healthy for long.
Reptiles need a heating source to help them thermoregulate, so that is where the under the tank heater comes in (also known as a heating pad). The end of the tank we place this under is referred to the warm end of the enclosure. It makes it difficult for them to digest their meals and function properly if they don't have the ability to indirectly control their temperature.
The substrate is very important. Avoid using anything sandy, dusty, or strong in smell. It can cause respiratory distress and make your fat tailed gecko sick. Substrate that is too small in size (sand or tiny wood chips) can be accidently ingested.
This is called impaction, and can kill your pet! I wouldn't even use the reptile sand products that claim to prevent impaction. It has been proven that even these are not fully digestible.
The best substrate in my opinion is newspaper. Sure, it looks terrible, and I'm aware that geckos can't read, but it is really convienient.
If you want to make your enclosure look a little more natural, then you might be interested in picking up some aspen shavings. Every pet store that is worth visiting has some for sale.
After the tank is set up, it is just a matter of picking up poop every couple days, and doing a deep cleaning every few months. One part bleach and 25+ parts water is very effective.
Heating, Lighting, and Humidity
Temperatures ranging from 80-85 degrees fahrenheit in the day, and 75-80 degrees during the night are ideal. Generally speaking, room temperature supplemented with an under the tank heating pad covering 1/3rd of the enclosure will do just fine.
The african fat tailed gecko does not require any special lighting or ultra violet lights. They are more active during the evening and night time hours, so they do not rely on direct heat from the sun. A UV light couldn't hurt, but there is little evidence to support it will.
You may be persuaded to buy a heat rock instead of a heating pad, but I would urge you to resist the temptation. Hot rocks have the tenancy to get too hot in some areas. The concentration of heat can be enough to kill or badly injure a gecko.
Proper humidity can be maintained very easily by misting the enclosure with a water bottle once daily. This should be enough to help them shed, but if you are having shedding problems there is something else you can do as well. You may want to create a humidity hide box by packing a hiding place with moss, and misting it daily. You can make the humidity hide out of an empty tupperware container if you so choose!
You can safely feed a variety of insects including but not limited to crickets, meal worms, and wax worms. Crickets, although not having great nutritional value, can provide a source of exercise for your gecko. To make them a little more suitable for consumption, gut load them for 24 hours by offering the crickets some form of cricket feed.
Remember, you are what you eat and The african fat tailed gecko is no exception! You want to make sure your reptile is eating healthy food items. Gut loading them helps make the meal that much more fulfilling.
Offer baby fat tailed geckos food twice daily, juveniles food daily, and adults food every other day.You will want to dust food items with a suitable vitamin supplement once a week in addition to gut loading.
Always feed food that is smaller than your gecko's head as a general gecko pet care guideline, and remove any uneaten insects within twenty minutes. Crickets can be especially irritating and stressful for a lizard to deal with crawling all over them. If the cricket is hungry enough, it may try to nibble on your gecko!
Bearded dragon lizards are native to Australia. They live in rocky and arid regions of the country and are adept climbers. Dragons have large triangular heads and flat bodies with pointed ridges along the sides. They are omnivorous, eating both insects and plants.
Pet Bearded Dragon Facts
Bearded dragons make a great pet lizard. They don’t get too large, eat a wide variety of foods, are active during the day, and are gentle animals. Bearded dragons are captive bred, have limited care requirements, readily available, and inexpensive. A bearded dragon can be a great addition to your family.
Bearded Dragons are Australian immigrants and are often described as sort of like iguanas or horned lizards. Here are a few interesting factoids.
The beard is intended to make the lizard look larger to potential foes. This is a common defense mechanism using a sort of camouflage to disguise their true capability like small men wearing thick jackets to appear bulkier and more muscular.
Bearded Dragons in the wild will often stand up on their hind legs to run from danger. This is actually slower than running on all fours, and might be a form of temperature control. The animals produce heat while running, and being cold blooded, have no good way to regulate their body temperature. Running on their hind legs puts their body farther away from the hot ground and improves airflow around them. This should allow them to run farther before having to stop.
They have a limited ability to change their color. In the wild, this is also used to hide and to regulate body temperature. Lighter colors reflect more light away from the body. This can also be used to show an emotional state, and when ill or injured they often have a black back and pale yellow legs. Despite this, the animals will attempt to hide illness until it becomes serious, possibly as a survival mechanism.
They should be kept away from lightning bugs, which are poisonous due to the phosphorous content.
Bobbing the head rapidly and a slightly curved tail tip show aggressiveness, while circular movements of the arms like waving show submission. They do ritualistic sparring matches with two bearded dragons circling each other, flat to the ground, beards and tails up and out, while biting each other’s tails. Usually no damage is done. Some owners report they can mimic this behavior patterns and get a similar response from their dragons, to the point of even maintaining eye contact.
The young are semi-arboreal, and spend much time in trees in the wild. Even the adults like to climb. While they are desert creatures, this does not mean they are well adapted to sand, which can be dangerous to them. Sand has sharp edges and can compact in the digestive system, blocking it and leading to death when the animal consumes it.
Breeders have managed to produce a variety of skin colors, but lizard green hasn’t yet been managed. Colors that exist include pastel oranges, violets and reds, with some popular morphs including “sand fire” and “tiger.”
The proper scientific name for the black soil bearded dragon is the Pogona henrylawsoni, and this particular species is often called Lawson’s Dragon and sometimes Rankin’s. The genus name is Pogona, but this was previously Amphibolurus, and books more than a couple of years old will show those names instead.
Bearded Dragons are fond of collard greens, suggesting that I might need one to consume that particular veggie so I won’t have to do so.
Posted by iReptiles at 4:38 PM
Native to SE Asia, these relatively large (12") geckos are pale gray with bluish spots when they have been in the dark, darkening to dark gray with reddish spots in the light. Like most geckos, tokays are oviparous insectivores.
Young are 2-3" at hatching. Eggs are laid in rocky crevices or under the eaves of houses. The 2-3 eggs, laid several times a year, are sticky and adhere to surfaces. In captivity, they may be laid on the glass sides of their terraria. Incubation time for the eggs ranges from 2-6 months for the oviparous Gekko species.
Tokays have the specialized lamellae on the pads of their toes which enable them to walk on vertical surfaces, including ceilings. Contrary to popular misconception, these pads are not "sticky" but rather are composed of tiny, microscopic filaments which find equally tiny imperfections in surface - including glass.
Like many lizards, tokays can darken or lighten their ground and spot colors to better blend in with their background.
Despite the fact that they follow human habitation, finding human dwellings to be great places to find prey, Tokays are the least lovable of the geckos. They are known for their nasty temperament, cheerfully biting the hand that feeds, cleans or otherwise comes into anything resembling close proximity to them. Their bites are powerful--one might say they are the pit bulls of the gecko world...they hang on and let go only when it suits them. Equipped as they are with numerous sharp teeth, the bites can bleed profusely and, even barring subsequent infection, are annoying for days. Note that while I am a strong believer that almost any animal can be habituated to human contact, such contact can be stressful for many species, and geckos as a whole are known for their marked preference to be left alone.
A note on taming...
My tokay actually spent a great deal of his time out, exposed in his tank, during the day. As time permitted, I started working with him to habituate him to being touched and held. He was okay with the touching in the tank, looked rather puzzled when held, and periodically felt compelled to reach around and gnaw on my knuckles...
Some people report that their tokays have become rather tame. Be that as it may, it should not be assumed that they will all become tame, so if you are looking for a gecko you can handle without any problems, get a leopard or fat-tailed gecko rather than a tokay.
Tokays are so named because of their distinctive "TO-kay! Tokay!" rather booming bark. They also emit a trilling sound. I had one escape (thanks to an iguana who dislodged the top of the tokay tank) who ended up in the closet behind the tank. He started barking and trilling around 3 AM which enabled me to locate him (on the wall behind the boxes of software on the top shelf, of course) and place him back in his tank. If he is hungry and I am not fast enough with the food, he will emit a sound somewhere between the trill and the bark.
A note for Vietnam Vets
I occasionally get letters from vets who stumble around trying to figure out how to nicely ask me if I know of a lizard called the "[four-letter word denoting a normal biological activity]-you" lizard. While I am not sure how tokays may have gotten that sobriquet, other than their attitude when bothered by a large, hairy, heavily armed mammal dozens of times its size, this is, indeed, that lizard.
Tokays can certainly be set up in a properly furnished terrarium...note, however, that they may rarely be seen as they are strictly nocturnal. A woodland setting (orchid bark from a nursery) planted with small potted plants or leafy silk branches provide hiding places and help keep up the humidity. Tank should be at least a 20 gal to allow enough room for the gecko to grow and to be able to properly establish a temperature gradient (75-90/days, 70-80/nights). Being nocturnal, they do not require a UVB-producing fluorescent. If a light bulb is used for night time heating, a non-white light heat source must be used (such as a nocturnal reptile bulb, ceramic heating element, etc.).
They should be fed daily (crickets [properly gut-loaded for at least 24 hours before feeding out], Zoophobas or, for smaller tokays, mealworms [also gut-loaded]). Larger tokays may take pink mice.
They generally will not drink out of a bowl of water, so one area of a tank wall should be sprayed every day (evening) to furnish water for them to lap up. Another way to boost humidity and provide water for lapping is to place some ice cubes on top of the screened top over the plants...the meltwater drips on the leaves for easy lapping.
Initial Veterinary Care
The majority of the tokays in pet stores are wild caught and, like all wild caught imported reptiles, heavily stressed, usually dehydrated, often emaciated, and always parasitized. Take a fresh fecal to a reptile veterinarian for a fecal flotation to determine if the animal is infected with worms; if so, treatment is required (generally, oral medication administered 2-3 times over a period of 2-3, or 4-6 weeks).
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Hey Nini, how you doing sis? Good to here from you, I'm happy beleive that, well this is my site, the new age I guess, and I can't be left behind. I have a few sites, my other one is http://ireptilerescue.blogspot.com I have more, there adult ones, lol. Call me anytime, and feel free to brows my page, it has alot of information, and good tips. My girlfriens site is http://coldbloodedcreatures.blogspot.com Enjoy. Love you, and I missed you alot, for real, for real.
Honduran Milk Snake
Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis
Hatchlings: 8 - 10 in.
Adults: 38 -48 in.
(This subspecies has been shown to exceed the listed averages in captivity and should be considered one of the largest of the milk snakes).
Dorsal: 21 - 23
Ventral: 216 - 221
Sub-caudal: 49 - 61
lnfralabial: 8 - 10
Supralabial: 7 - 8
A number of color morphs, such as typical tri-colored animals, tangerines, anerythristics, albino's and all variations in between, are being captive bred in fair numbers.
This is one of the most beautiful and variable Lampropeltis triangulum subspecies found in collections, in this authors opinion. Two color forms are found in the wild. The normal tri-color phase and the orange tangerine phase.
Normally displays a broad snout band of yellow or white and a second band at the base of the head of the same color with the balance of the head being black.
This is a banded animal. In the normal tri-colored phase, the bands are black red/orange and either yellow or white. In the tangerine phase the bands are black, red/orange, and orange. The black bands normally don't touch on the spine. Both phases have black tipping on their scales, covering anywhere from 5% to 40% of each scale.
Bands of black, red/orange and yellow in the normal tri-colored phase that extend across the entire belly area. In the tangerine phase, bands of black, red/orange and orange extend across the ventral scales.
Portions of rainforest in Honduras, Nicaragua and portions of North East Costa Rica.
This is a species of low to medium elevations of the tropical areas of the country's listed above. It has been suggested that specimens from higher elevations are less melanistic
In captivity these animals fair very well on a diet of lab. raised mice. Juveniles are large robust neonates. They are generally aggressive feeders that are easy to start. In the wild they feed on small lizards, small snakes, nestling birds with the bulk of the diet being rodents.
This is a very large species that does well in captivity. In wild caught individuals they can be prone to biting and are somewhat nervous. Captive born animals start out as slightly more flighty as hatchlings, but with handling and age they tend to get away from this behavior. They become favorites in most collections, because of the wide variety of colors and morphs, plus their ease of care.
Breeding in captivity is achieved in the same manner as with most colubrids using the following as a guideline. Towards the middle of October cease feeding totally, allowing at least 2 -3 weeks at normal temperature for clearing of the gut. Then gradually reduce the ambient tempeture inside the cage to the middle 50's/low 60's and maintain for a period of 3 months. Be sure and provide clean water and systematically check animals for general condition and welfare during this period. middle of the brumation cycle with good success. After brumation and the animals are brought back up to optimum temperature of 76 - 82 degrees, feeding should resume for approx. three weeks and the pair should be placed together under supervision for short periods of time until copulation can be confirmed. An egg laying chamber/box partially filled with damp vermiculite or sphagnum moss is helpful. Eggs should be removed immediately after laying and placed in damp vermiculite for the incubation period of 58 - 66 days at temperatures of 80 - 83 degrees.
Royal pythons - known as ball pythons in the USA because of their ability to curl up into a ball when threatened - come from grasslands and forest clearings in west and central Africa, where they spend much of their lives in underground burrows. Active mainly by night, these snakes eat 'jumping mice' (gerbils) in the wild, and can be fussy eaters in captivity.
They are a short, stocky python strongly marked in black and tan, with spots and stripes throughout the body. These snakes measure, on average, around 100 cm in length, although a large female may grow to more than double this size. They have short tails and powerful, muscular bodies which they use - like all pythons and boas - to constrict their prey. They have small, shiny, smooth scales which do not overlap.
Royal pythons have a very highly developed sense of smell, and have eyes with vertical pupils. Unlike many other pythons, the royal python is not a great climber. It spends much of its time on the ground (or even underground) and on hot days may be found bathing in shallow water.
Selecting A Royal Python
When you are sure that a royal python is the pet for you, do not rush in and immediately by the first one you see. You should have already set up a vivarium for it, before deciding to buy one, so you have a home for it if you take it back with you.
There are many places to get royal pythons from: pet shops (there are many specialist herptile shops around), herp shows or open days or from people who keep and breed reptiles. There are many of all those possibilities around. Do not buy any animal from a shop that looks untidy or dirty, or with overcrowded or unhealthy animals - many pet shop owners do not know how to properly care for exotic pets like reptiles. It is probably best to get your royal python from a specialist reptile shop around, rather than a general pet shop. Before purchasing a python, ask the pet shop owner or breeder many questions about it and see if they know what they are talking about. Also ask them if it is feeding on frozen mice (some will only take live animals, others may only eat gerbils or hamster), and ask them when it last fed and when it last shed. Make sure the snake looks healthy: it should have no obvious wounds, no external parasites such as ticks or mites, and it should not be inflamed around the mouth (this could indicate mouth rot). Specimens should be clear-eyed, alert and quite plump (rather than skinny - bones should not be visible) and not emaciated or lethargic. It should show signs of interest when handled (although it may not necessarily be tame; it is always best to get a tame one), and should always be flickering its tongue. It should not slump in a hand when handled. Make sure it has no genetic defects (i.e. a deformed eye, a spinal kink), and ensure it has no abscesses or lumps.
Many Python regius sold in pet shops are wild caught (or, at least, the eggs were taken from the wild then hatched in captivity). Animals like this tend to be less tame, less willing to feed on mice, and also more prone to parasites and infections. It is always advisable to purchase a captive bred specimen as the extra money (just a few pounds) will be worth it in the end, as you will ultimately end up with a better pet.
Snakes are best bought at a young age - although they should not be newly hatched as feeding will be uncertain and they are much more delicate - because they are then much easier to tame, and will get more used to you (the owner) and to their accommodation. Also, it is more satisfying to most raising a pet from a baby, rather than receiving a fully grown adult to care for that you can not watch grow.
Snakes can be transported in loosely-woven cloth bags, or in plastic containers, the former being the more popular normally. When you return with a new snake, it should be put in quarantine for several weeks - especially if you intend to introduce it to other snakes. A quarantine tank should be minimal in decoration so illness or injury will be easy to spot. It should contain just a water bowl and, possibly a hide box, and the substrate should be newspaper, which is easy to replace. Only paper with just black ink should be used, I have heard, as colourful ink can be dangerous (I am not sure how true this statement really is, but it is better to be safe than sorry with animals). If no disease symptoms appear during the quarantine period (which should be no less than 28 days), then the snake can be housed in more decorative accommodation. If, however, you notice anything unusual about the snake, take it to a reptile expert, or an experienced enthusiast, or a vet, preferably one who is a reptile specialist.
Setting Up A Vivarium
As they are so much smaller than huge pythons like Burmese and reticulated, royal pythons require considerably less space to function properly - a vivarium 180 (long) x 60 (deep) x 60 (high) cm would be ideal for a pair of adult royal pythons, although they would obviously prefer more space. A wooden vivarium would probably be better than a glass aquarium for several reasons: glass aquariums are a lot more expensive that wooden vivariums, snakes feel more secure in wooden vivarium (in glass tanks they are exposed on all sides), wooden vivariums can be made in a wood that matches the tables or cupboards in the room, and also, snakes prefer to bet picked up from the side, rather than above where they see a hand as a threat. Glass aquariums can have advantages, though. They look attractive, and are much better if you are creating a humid environment (although in the case of a royal python the environment should be relatively dry, with mist sprayings every couple of days).
The temperature should be maintained at 24 - 31 degrees centigrade (75 - 88 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, with a hot end and a cold end. Drops should occur at night and in the colder seasons (i.e. autumn and winter). The vivarium must be well ventilated to regularly remove air and replace it with fresh air. Air vents can be situated at the back and sides of a wooden vivarium, or in the top of a glass one. Ventilation prevents stagnant air, and stops promoting the growth of fungi. The vivarium can be heated using a bulb to create a basking area and/or a heat mat (connected to a thermostat to control the temperature). Full spectrum lighting tubes can be used with royal pythons (there is some evidence to suggest it improves breeding and health of snakes) but it is not necessary, and royal pythons are secretive, and nocturnal, anyway. There should be a photoperiod (the time the lights are on for) of about 14 hours in summer and 8 - 10 hours in winter.
The substrate can be shingle (changed and washed at regular intervals), paper towels or newspapers (not pretty, but effective, cheap and easy to clean out), astroturf (the type designed for animals - sometimes called 'reptile carpet' or similar), leaf litter (frozen first to kill germs and bacteria) or bark chips (aspen or pine).
Many hiding place should be used as the royal python is a shy animal. It likes to hides in hollow logs or in rock caves. It will use climbing branches, but the royal python is not the best of climbers. Silk plants can be used for decoration and for young pythons to hide in and behind. Rocks and rough bark should be included for the snake to rub against when shedding, as should a wet box of damp vermiculite or moss for egg-laying and to aid shedding by softening the snake's old skin. If rocks are used they must be positioned securely so the can not fall and injure the snake - they could be glued to the bottom or side of the tank. A large, sturdy water bath is also required for the python to bathe in (especially when shedding). It should be too heavy for the snake to easily knock over.
The tank needs general maintenance work most days, i.e. droppings and shed skin removed, water bowl changed and a misting every few days. The enclosure should be cleaned out every three or four months - with all objects inside the tank put in bleach, then thoroughly rinsed off, make sure there is no trace of bleach still on, a returned to the tank after it has been scrubbed with bleach and rinsed. Old substrate must be removed and new substrate added (although if the python is housed on paper, this should be changed every day or two, or when it gets wet). While cleaning is taken place, the royal python can be held by an observer, or temporarily housed in a cloth bag used when transporting snakes or in a large plastic or glass tank.
Generally, royal pythons are usually willing, even quite aggressive feeders, but they also have a well documented tendency to fast for several months in captivity. Captive bred snakes eat much better than wild caught ones, which may only eat gerbils or hamsters in captivity. New specimens may not eat for a few weeks while they are getting acclimatised to there new surroundings, other reasons for these snakes not eating could be time of day (they are nocturnal, so may feed better in the evening), that they are stressed because of temperature, humidity or the fact that they do not have enough places to hide in. Other reasons for snakes fasting could be that they are a gravid female, or that they are in brumation (almost hibernation - when they are inactive and eat very little, if anything).
If your royal pythons is not eating pinkies, there are several options you could use in trying to get him to eat again. You could offer a gerbil, hamster or a brown mouse (sometimes even the colour of the prey affects whether they will eat it), or you could heat up an item of prey before offering it to the python - so it thinks the mouse or rat etc. is still alive. Another method is to split the brain of a mouse so the snake can smell it better (not very nice, but can be effective), or to rub the frozen mouse against a live gerbil or hamster so it picks up the scent of the gerbil. You could encourage the snake to eat by wiggling the prey around in front of it using tweezers (not hands as they have a painful bite, which they rarely use) so the snake thinks the mouse is alive. Sometimes even a piece of raw chicken will restart a python feeding.
If your royal python stops eating for several weeks, do not worry. This seems to be perfectly normal behaviour, and the snake should start eating again when it is hungry. It is only after several months that you should become worried, and at a last resort, after trying all of the above tactics, force feeding is an option. You should consult a vetenarian before force-feeding your snake, as this can be dangerous and it may not be necessary. There are two ways to force-feed a royal python. The first is to take a dead mouse or rat (depending on the size and preferred food of your snake), take the snake by the neck and open its mouth by pulling gently but firmly at the loose skin under the jaw. When the mouth is open, put the head of the prey into the mouth and push it into the gullet. Normally, the snake will start swallowing on its own at this stage. If not use something firm, but not too hard, to push the prey down towards the python's stomach. Once it is past the neck, the foot item can be gently massaged down by hand into the stomach. The second method of force-feeding is to use a large syringe to put liquidised food into the reptile's stomach. The stomach tube that the syringe is attached to should have a smooth end which is lubricated with mineral oil. The tube is put slowly down into the python's gullet and the mouse is pushed down the tube by a plunger.
When eating properly, an adult royal python may eat two or more mice per week. Young royal pythons should be fed on fuzzies (young mice that have just started to grow fur), they should be eating two a week for the first three or four months, then three every fortnight. When a royal python reaches just over 60 cm (24 inches) in length - probably at around eight months - it can be fed one adult mouse or baby rat per week. Larger, adult, pythons will eat large rats and chickens.
If you want your royal python to become a tame pet, it is necessary to handle it frequently and regularly - for an hour or two a day if possible. Although royal pythons are generally docile, and very rarely make an attempt to bite, even when not tame, they are initially quite nervous and curl up into a defensive ball to avoid being handled. But very quickly, there eagerness to curl up will disappear, when they realise you pose no threat to them. The younger a snake is, the easier it will be to tame, and they are best handled from a couple of weeks old, when they are eating properly. Royal pythons will remain relatively calm when they have been tamed - and even seem to enjoy being handled, possibly because of the heat of human hands. They are solid, stouts snakes, so their body weight should be supported at all times, and it is probably best not to drape them round your neck, as accidental injury can occasionally occur from this act, especially in children.
At the moment there are considerably few captive bred royal pythons about (compared with wild caught or farmed specimens).
Royal pythons do not become sexually mature necessarily by age, more by size. Males are ready to breed when about 60 cm (24 inches), and females at about 90 cm (36 inches). These sizes are usually reached at an age of three or four years. In the wild, humidity and lowering of temperature both have an influence on the sex drive of royal pythons, and mating takes place in the early summer months - the wet season. There is a short dry season before summer, when it is relatively cooler, and eggs are laid at the beginning of summer so they will hatch when it is warm and moist, with an abundant supply of prey. So, in captivity the temperature should be dropped slowly by 7 - 8 degrees centigrade, the photoperiod reduced gradually from 14 hours in the summer, to only 8 - 10 hours in winter, and the humidity decreased prior to breeding. Also, there is evidence to suggest that these snakes breed better if the sexes are kept apart before mating season, and if the female is introduced just after she has shed, when her pheromones smell much more intense to the male. It is best to introduce the sexes at the end of the temperature drop, just before the temperatures start to rise - the female will have been affected by the environmental changes and will have began to produce vitellogin pheromones (scents that attract the males) to arouse the male.
Males and females can be told apart by two claws visible on either side of the vent - these are the remains of rear legs from distant ancestors, as snakes are the last group of reptiles to evolve. In males the claws are larger, and are now used to stimulate females during courtship. Another difference in royal pythons is that males are generally shorter - 120 cm (48 inches) maximum - and more slender, while females are longer - up to around 180 cm (72 inches) - and more robust. In adult snakes, it is fairly easy to tell the sexes apart but in juveniles (under 45 cm - 18 inches) it is very hard. The only real way to sex a snake of this age is by probing it using a sexing probe. It is a lubricated metal probe that should be inserted into either side of the vent and pushed slowly and gently towards the tail tip. In females, the probe can only be pushed a maximum of three sub caudal scales, while in males it will reach down about ten sub caudal scales. Make sure you do not damage the delicate internal tissues if you are doing this, and you should get help from someone experienced, or watch them do it.
The male will begin the mating process by approaching the female and slithering along her back, jerking his body and massaging the female with his cloacal claws. His tongue will be rapidly flickering in and out as he smells the female's pheromones. In the end, he gets into a position where he can push the rear part of his body under the female's so he can get his cloaca level with hers. If the female is receptive, she will let the male insert one of his hemipenes into her cloaca. The copulation will take anything from a few minutes to a few hours. After breeding the male and female can be left together for a week, still at the lowered temperature, so they can continue mating in case the first one was unsuccessful. After that period, the male should be returned to his vivarium and the temperatures can be increased.
The gravid female will keep her fertilised eggs in her body for 60 to 70 days, possibly more or less - after around 30 days the females abdomen will look swollen, and a few days later the outline off eggs is visible along her body. The female royal python will probably stop feeding after about 20 days of being gravid, and will not feed again until after the eggs have hatched. A gravid female should not be handled. The female will normally lay five to eight white, leathery-shelled eggs, which are between 6 and 9 cm (2 and 4 inches) long. They are pushed into a pile by the female who will incubate them herself until they hatch around 100 days later. If possible, let the female incubate the eggs herself, rather than removing them for artificial incubation - but if this is necessary (if the female shows no interest in the eggs), they should be incubated in moist vermiculite (equal weights of vermiculite and water, or slightly less water) at around 30 - 32 degrees centigrade (86 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit). If the female is incubating the eggs herself, keep the temperature in the tank at 30 - 32 degrees centigrade (86 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, with a drop to 25 - 27 degrees centigrade (77 - 79 degrees Fahrenheit). Maintain a high humidity (80 - 90%) in the snake enclosure or in the incubator (wherever the eggs are).
The young will not start eating until after their first shed (7 - 9 days after hatching). They are normally eager feeders, and they have a pretty golden hue that will stay with them only for a few months.