Ball Python


Python regius is a nonvenomous python species found in Africa. This is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular in the pet trade, largely due to its typically docile temperament. No subspecies are currently recognized. It is also known as royal python or ball python. The name "ball python" refers to the animal's tendency to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened. The name "royal python" (from the Latin regius) comes from the fact that rulers in Africa would wear the python as jewelry.

The build is stocky while the head is relatively small. The scales are smooth and both sexes have anal spurs on either side of the vent. Although males tend to have larger spurs, this is not definitive, and sex is best determined via manual eversion of the male hemipenes or inserting a probe into the cloaca to find the inverted hemipenes (if male). When probing to determine sex, males typically measure eight to ten subcaudal scales, and females typically measure two to four subcaudal scales.

The color pattern is typically black or dark brown with light brown or gold sides and dorsal blotches. The belly is a white or cream that may include scattered black markings. However, those in the pet industries have, through selective breeding, developed many morphs (genetic mutations) with altered colors and patterns.

Continue Reading

Rating: 2.70/5 (23 votes cast)

Leopard Gecko


 

The leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) is a crepuscular ground-dwelling lizard naturally found in the deserts of Asia and throughout Pakistan, to parts of northern India. Unlike most geckos, leopard geckos possess movable eyelids. It has become a well-established and popular pet in captivity.

Leopard geckos were first described as a species by zoologist Edward Blyth in 1854 as Eublepharis macularius.[1] The generic name Eublepharis is a combination of the Greek words Eu (good), and blephar (eyelid), as having eyelids is the primary characteristic that distinguishes members of this subfamily from other geckos, along with a lack of lamellae, bumpy skin, and nocturnal behavior. The specific name, macularius, derives from the Latin word macula meaning "spot" or "blemish", referring to the animal's natural spotted markings.Leopard geckos are related to many different geckos including the African fat-tailed gecko. There are four species however that are exceptionally closely related to the leopard gecko, one of which was previously included as a subspecies of leopard gecko: In addition, there are five subspecies of leopard gecko.

The native habitat of the leopard gecko is the rocky, dry grassland and desert regions of south-Asian Afghanistan, Pakistan, north-west India, and some parts of Iran. Winter temperatures in these areas can be quite low, below 10 °C (50 °F), forcing the animals underground into semi-hibernation, called brumation, living on fat reserves. Leopard geckos are crepuscular reptiles; they are limited to the burrows during the day but become active at dawn and dusk when the temperature is favorable. These geckos are solitary, and do not usually live with other animals.

Continue Reading

Rating: 3.50/5 (24 votes cast)

Sulcata Tortoise


 

The African spurred tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata), also called the sulcata tortoise, is a species of tortoise, which inhabits the southern edge of the Sahara desert, in northern Africa. It is the third-largest species of tortoise in the world and the largest species of mainland tortoise not found on an island and the only species in the genus Centrochelys.

The African spurred tortoise is native to the Sahara Desert and the Sahel, a transitional ecoregion of semiarid grasslands, savannas, and thorn shrublands found in the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan In these arid regions, the tortoise excavates burrows in the ground to get to areas with higher moisture levels, and spends the hottest part of the day in these burrows. This is known as aestivation. Burrows may average 30 inches in depth; some dig tunnel systems extending 10 feet or more underground.

As pets they require large enclosures, temperatures above 60F (16 °C), and bedding composed of grasses or grass-based hay. Due to their high dietary fiber needs, grasses form a minimum of 75% of their food intake. To remain healthy, they require sufficient calcium for bone and shell development, low protein, and minimal fruit or sugary foods. Whereas wild tortoises obtain enough calcium from the soil, pets generally require calcium supplements. Young sulcatas grow quickly and can double in size each year during the first three years. Feeding of fruit should be avoided.

Many "wet" vegetables cause health problems in large quantities but prickly pear cactus pads, hibiscus leaves, hay from various grasses, and dandelions are generally safe. Some common garden plants, such as azaleas, are toxic to tortoises. Lack of calcium combined with high protein contributes to shell malformations and pyramiding. Sulcatas are voracious and sometimes overeat. Some tortoises take in excessive protein by eating caterpillars and snails.

Continue Reading

Rating: 2.64/5 (22 votes cast)

Red Ear Slider


 

The red-eared slider originated from the area around the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, in warm climates in the southeastern corner of the United States. Their native areas include the southeast of Colorado, Virginia, and Florida. In nature, they inhabit areas with source of still, warm water, such as ponds, lakes, swamps, creeks, streams, or slow-flowing rivers. They live in areas of calm water where they are able to leave the water easily by climbing onto rocks or tree trunks so they can warm up in the sun. Many individuals are often found sunbathing together in a group or even on top of each other. They also require abundant aquatic plants, as this is the adults' main food, although they are omnivores. Turtles in the wild always remain close to water unless they are searching for a new habitat or when females leave the water to lay their eggs.

Owing to their popularity as pets, red-eared sliders have been released or escaped into the wild in many parts of the world. Feral populations of red-eared sliders are now found in Australia, Europe, South Africa, the Caribbean, Israel, Bahrain, Mariana Islands, Guam, and southeast and far east Asia. In Australia, it is illegal for members of the public to import, keep, trade, or release red-eared sliders, as they are regarded as an invasive species. Their import has been banned by the European Union and specific member countries. Invasive red-eared sliders cause negative impacts in the ecosystems they occupy because they have certain advantages over the native populations, such as a lower age at maturity, higher fecundity rates, and larger body size, which gives them a competitive advantage at basking and nesting sites, as well as when exploiting food resources. They also transmit diseases and displace the other turtle species with which they compete for food and breeding space.

For many years, Aussies have been valued by stockmen for their versatility and trainability. They have a similar look to the popular English Shepherd and Border Collie breeds. While they continue to work as stock dogs and compete in herding trials, the breed has earned recognition in other roles due to their trainability and eagerness to please and are highly regarded for their skills in obedience. Like all working breeds, the Aussie has considerable energy and drive and usually needs a job to do. It often excels at dog sports such as dog agility, flyball, and frisbee. They are also highly successful search and rescue dogs, disaster dogs, detection dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs.

Red-eared sliders are almost entirely aquatic, but, as they are cold-blooded, they leave the water to sunbathe to regulate their temperature.

They are excellent swimmers. When they are out of the water, they remain alert and flee from any predators or from humans. On sensing a threat, they rapidly launch themselves back into the water. During the day, they usually alternate between warming themselves in the sun and spending time in the water.

They can become aggressive if they become overcrowded or if the ratio of the sexes is not balanced. In captivity, a ratio of two or three females per male is usually recommended.

Reptiles do not hibernate, but actually brumate, as they become less active, but occasionally rise to the surface for food or air. Brumation can occur to varying degrees. Red-eared sliders brumate over the winter at the bottom of ponds or shallow lakes; they become inactive, generally, in October, when temperatures fall below 10 °C (50 °F). During this time, the turtles enter a state of sopor, during which they do not eat or defecate, they practically do not move, and the frequency of their breathing falls. Individuals usually brumate under water, but they have also been found under banks and hollow stumps and rocks. In warmer winter climates, they can become active and come to the surface for basking. When the temperature begins to drop again, however, they will quickly return to a brumation state. Sliders will generally come up for food in early March to as late as the end of April.

During brumation, T. s. elegans can survive anaerobically for weeks, producing ATP from glycolysis. The turtle's metabolic rate drops dramatically, with heart rate and cardiac output dropping by 80% to minimise energy requirements. The lactic acid produced is buffered by minerals in the shell, preventing acidosis. Red-eared sliders kept captive indoors should not brumate.

The red-eared slider is the most common type of water turtle kept as pets. As with other turtles, tortoises, and box turtles, individuals that survive their first year or two can be expected to live generally around 30 years. Red-eared sliders can be quite aggressive—especially when food is involved. Behavior is usually noted to become this way when fed live food. If being kept as a pet, care must be taken to prevent injury or even death of smaller tank mates. Additional care is needed if shrimp are used as food. Smaller red-eared sliders less than a year old have been known to choke on the shells of the shrimp and suffer from lung puncture.

Continue Reading

Rating: 3.24/5 (21 votes cast)

Box Turtle


 

North American box turtles are omnivores with a varied diet, as a box turtle will "basically eat anything it can catch". Invertebrates (amongst others insects, earth worms, millipedes) form the principal component, but the diet also consists for a large part (reports range from 30-90%) of vegetation. The diet is amended with fruits (amongst others from cacti, apples and several species of berry), gastropods (Heliosoma, Succinea). While reports exist that during their first five to six years, box turtles are primarily carnivorous, while adults are mostly herbivorous, there is no scientific basis for such a difference.

Box turtles are native to North America. The widest distributed species is the common box turtle which is found in the United States (subspecies carolina, major, bauri, triunguis; South-Central, Eastern, and South Eastern parts) and Mexico (subspecies yukatana and mexicana; Yucatán peninsula and North Eastern parts). The Ornate box turtle is endemic to the south-central and South Western parts of the U.S. (and adjacent Mexico) while the spotted box turtle is endemic to North-Western Mexico only. The coahuilan box turtle is only found in Cuatro Ciénegas Basin (Coahuila, Mexico).

Because box turtles occupy a wide variety of habitats (which both vary on a day-to-day, season-to-season, but also species-to-species basis), a standard box turtle habitat can not be identified. Mesic woodlands are a habitat where box turtles are generally found. T. ornata is the only species regularly found in grasslands, but its subspecies the desert box turtle is also found in the semidesert with rainfall predominantly in summer. The single location where Coahuilan box turtles are found is a 360 km2 region characterized by marshes, permanent presence of water and several types of cacti.

Prior to hibernation, box turtles tend to move further into the woods, where they dig a chamber for overwintering. Ornate box turtles dig chambers up to 50 centimeters, while Eastern box turtles hibernate at depth of about 10 centimeters. The location for overwintering can be up to 0.5 km from the summer habitat and is often in close proximity to that of the previous year. In more southern locations, turtles are active year-round, as has been observed for T. coahuila and T.c.major'. Other box turtles in higher temperatures are more active (T.c.yukatana) or only active during the wet seasons.

Most turtle and tortoise societies recommend against box turtles as pets for small children. Box turtles are easily stressed by over-handling and require more care than is generally thought. Box turtles get stressed when moved into new surroundings. Some specimens will wander aimlessly until they die trying to find their original home if they are removed from the exact area they grew up in. Three Toed Box Turtles are often considered the best species to keep as pets since they are hardy and seem to suffer less from being moved into a new environment.

Box turtles can be injured by dogs and cats so special care must be taken to protect them from household pets. Box turtles require an outdoor enclosure, consistent exposure to the sun and a varied diet. Without these, a turtle's growth can be stunted and its immune system weakened.
 

Continue Reading

Rating: 3.11/5 (19 votes cast)

Bearded Dragon


The genus is in the subfamily Agaminae of the family Agamidae. Part of the Lizard family, their characteristics include broad, triangular heads and flattened bodies with spiny scales arranged in rows and clusters. These are found on the throat, which can be expanded when threatened, and at the back of the head. These spiny scales are used to scare off predators, yet they are not very sharp. Bearded dragons display a hand-waving gesture to show submission, and a head-bobbing display to show dominance between dragons. They have the ability to change color during rivalry challenges between males, in response to ambient temperature changes such as turning black to absorb heat, and other stimuli.

Bearded dragons originate from central Australia, where they live in the arid and subtropical woodlands, scrublands, savannas, shore areas, and into the great interior deserts. Their range extends throughout the interior of the eastern states to the eastern half of South Australia and southeastern Northern Territory. They spend most of their time in bushes and trees, and will often bask on rocks. When the climate is too hot they will often burrow underground.

Adult bearded dragons are very territorial. As they grow, they establish social hierarchies in which aggressive and appeasement displays form a normal part of their social interactions. The beard is used for both mating and aggression displays. Both sexes have a beard, but males display more frequently, especially in courtship rituals. Females will, however, display their beard as a sign of aggression also. The beard darkens, sometimes turning jet black and inflates during the display. The bearded dragon may also open its mouth and gape in addition to inflating its beard to appear more intimidating. Head bobbing is another behavior and it can be seen in both females and males; they quickly move their head up and down, often darkening and flaring their beard. They do this to show dominance over smaller males, weaker males, if a male wants to mate with a female or other animals they feel threatened by. Another behavior is arm waving, done by both males and females. Standing on 3 legs the bearded dragon with lift one of its front legs and move it in a circular motion. Arm waving functions as species recognition, and it is a sign of submission. Smaller males will often respond to larger males by arm waving. Females will also arm wave to avoid male aggression, often in response to a male's head bobbing.

In captivity,Bearded dragons, most commonly, the inland or central bearded dragon—are kept as pets. Introduced as pets to the US during the 1990s, they are a popular exotic species pet even though Australia, from the 1960s onward, has banned the sale of its wildlife to the pet trade They are a popular species among children because of their friendly and calm nature, and the relative ease of caring for them. Generally speaking, the bearded dragon is a solitary animal. Male bearded dragons are usually housed alone, as they will fight with other males and breed with females.

 

Continue Reading

Rating: 2.68/5 (22 votes cast)
Polls

Poll Topic: Dog Food

Question: What dog food do you use?

  •  Avo Derm
  •  Canidae
  •  Royal Canin
  •  Other(add in comments)
This poll has 0 more questions.
Results
Other polls | 1,117 votes | 4 Comments

Poll Topic: Cat Food

Question: What cat food do you use?

  •  Avo Derm
  •  Canidae
  •  Science Diet
  •  Other(add in comments)
This poll has 0 more questions.
Results
Other polls | 87 votes | 0 Comments
Quote of the Day
“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
Christopher Hitchens
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever