Showing posts with label Reptiles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reptiles. Show all posts


Safety With REPTILES

Chameleon -  Photo: Pixabay
Reptiles are animals to be respected.  Many people think it's funny to irritate a reptile to get a reaction.  These same people probably have the pet peeve of others irritating them to get a reaction.  It's the idea of dishing it out and not being able to take it.  Please put yourself in the reptile's place.  While they may not exhibit emotions other than what seems like anger, they are living beings that deserve to be treated in a kind way.

It is illegal in many places to hold a reptile captive, even if you consider yourself to be taking good proper care of the animal.  You may need a license or permit to be able to take care of it, even if you are trying to "save" it because of obvious injury or illness.  It is best to contact a wildlife rehabilitator any time you see a wild animal in distress.  If you can't find a wildlife rehabilitator, perhaps you could call a game warden or a nearby zoo or vet for further aid.

Collection and transport of reptiles can cause damage or trauma.  This may make the reptile more apt to strike out in defense upon any close contact.  Would you be a bit annoyed if someone removed you against your will to put you in an unfamiliar place?
It is best for the animal if it is allowed to stay in the environment to which it is accustomed when possible.

If you do happen to be unable to resist the urge to capture a wild reptile and later decide it wasn't such a good idea after all, please contact someone who would be qualified to take over its care.  Wildlife animal refuges and zoos are equipped for the care of reptiles and may be happy to assist to keep the animal alive and well.

If you know of a reptile that is being abused or neglected because of improper care or treatment, you could try contacting a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.  Your local veterinarian's office, game warden, zoo, or animal shelter should be able to direct you to the right phone number or address of the nearest office for complaints.  Should you be uncomfortable with providing your name, make it known from the start.  It is understandable to want to keep yourself protected from an irritable owner caught by authorities for cruelty.  But please, don't let this stop you from helping the poor unwilling creature.  There are ways to protect yourself and reach out to help.

The exotic pet trade is big business that uses clever marketing techniques to snare people's interest in reptiles.  Some people want the exotic pet as a hobby, a novelty item, or a status symbol.  It may present the element of class or style they mistakenly wish to portray.  The animal is the one that suffers when the interest has grown dim, and the excitement has worn off.

Safety with reptiles is not just about safety for the humans who are interested in handling the reptiles.  It's also about the safety of the reptiles themselves.


Red-eared SLIDER - Trachemys scripta elegans

Red-eared Slider - Trachemys scripta elegans - Photo: Wikipedia


Freshwater TURTLES

Og, the Freshwater Cow
Photo  by delta407 
Hi! Good Morning! I am Deirochelys reticularia, nickname - Chicken turtle, because of my long, striped, neck. I am a freshwater turtle and belong to a reputed family Emydidae. I inhabit the calm and quiet weedy freshwater ponds, swamps or marshes.

Look at the fine grooves and yellow network on the surface of my brown carapace (4 to 10 inches long). Whenever I get bored, I come out and enjoy moving on the land. I relish both non-vegetarian and vegetarian foods. Remember, never ever try to irritate me, else I will bite!

Let me introduce other family members:
Mr. Clemmys marmorata, (Pacific/Western Pond turtle)
Miss Emys orbicularis (European pond turtle/Swamp turtle)
Mr. Emydoidea blandingii (Blanding's turtle).
Mrs. Graptemys geographica (Common Map turtle)
Baby Graptemys pseudogeographica (False Map turtle)
Master Clemmys guttata (Spotted turtle)
Miss Pseudemys concinna (River Cooter)
Ma'm Trachemys scripta elegans (Red-eared Slider) look at the significant red stripe behind the eyes.
Mr.Chrysemys picta picta (Eastern Painted Turtle)
Mrs. Pseudemys rubriventris (Eastern Red-bellied Turtle)
Mr. Calemys insculpta (Wood Turtle)
They are basically carnivorous but sometimes nibble on plants and seeds for a change of palate. They all inhabit shallow lakes, weedy marshes, ponds etc.

Let's go over there; Kinosternidae family is having a great picnic on tadpoles, snails, worms, and crayfish-

There are -Mr. Kinosternon subrubrum (Mud turtle and Eastern Mud Turtle) and Mrs. Kinosternon flavescents (Yellow Mud turtle) with yellow throat, smooth brown carapace and a big double hinged dull colored plastron.

Meet young and energetic Musk turtle, Common Musk Turtle and Loggerhead Musk Turtle. Though close kins, they are different species under the genus Sternotherus. They have a short tail, grey, brown or dull colored oval-shaped shell, a single hinged plastron and white stripes on the two sides of the head.

But don't dare to disturb them, else they may emit a strong foul smell from the glands which can knock you out (...just between you and me, we call them "stinkpot" because of the odor...yuck)! They don't grow beyond 6 inches and have characteristic fleshy barbels on the chin.

There, basking on the sandbars, are the ace swimmers - Miss Apalone ferox and Apalone spinifera (Spiny- and Florida soft-shell turtles) of the Family Trionychidae. They are big (5-24 inches), carnivoresand have leathery shells.

Wow! There is Mr.Chelydra serpentina (Snapping Turtle) of Chelydridae family; largest of our kind (8-20 inches) with strong snapping jaws. How majestic!

Aren't we fascinating? Then why do you gobble us? Why eh...?


SALAMANDER Facts: What You Need to Know About Them

Photo by Jannis_V
Did you know that salamanders are one of the most unique creatures in the world? In fact, they have caught the interest of many people and most of them want to have one at home. If you are planning to get salamanders as a pet, but don't know much about them, then below are some of the important salamander facts that you would need to know.

Salamanders are true amphibians. This is in contrast to what most people think that they are reptiles. Salamanders belong to the order Caudata and have similar characteristics with the lizards. They exist in an average of 500 species with a huge group located across Northern hemisphere. But, since they live in a secretive way, they are rarely seen in an open viewpoint.

The name "salamander" is rooted from the Ancient Greek word, Salamandra. The early people have considered salamanders as mythical creatures of fire because they would all of a sudden show up from flames. On the other hand, this primitive amphibian is also thought as one of the earliest living vertebrates on earth. As a matter of fact, they also show evidence of life's evolution on land.

Most of the salamanders are ranging from 10 to 20 centimeters. These cold-blooded animals have tails and four legs. Their front legs have four toes while their back legs have five toes each. Like other amphibians, they normally have smooth skin since they thrive on water and moist areas.

Their color varies extensively. Some species have bright colors and beautiful spots of orange, yellow and red. Some of these amphibians have gills and others have lungs. However, some species also have both lungs and gills while others do not have either one of them.

Mainly, there are three types of salamanders based on their habitat. They can be terrestrial, aquatic, and semi-aquatic salamanders. Some salamanders live most of their life in water while others prefer it on land. Also, some of them may be adjusted to fit both land and water. This is the reason why you need to take note of your salamander species and create the right habitat that will replicate their home in the wild.

Salamanders grow and develop in the process of metamorphosis. Their life starts as a larva and grows into an adult salamander after a few days or years depending on which species they belong. Mature salamanders need to lay their eggs in moist areas for them to survive.

Since salamanders are exotic and extraordinary animals, they need proper attention and care. Despite the fact that they can be found in different species, their population are massively deteriorating because of some reasons that scientists are not yet sure up to this time.

Hence if you want to have a salamander as your pet, see to it that you will participate in the campaign in protecting their species from extermination. As a novice, you can ask for advice from experienced raisers and owners. You can also do your thorough research for you to know the right way of taking care of your salamanders.


LEOPARD GECKO - Eublepharis macularis

Leopard Gecko - Eublepharis macularis


Raising a REPTILE as a Pet

Madagascar green gecko
Photo by Tambako the Jaguar 
You may have admired the unusual looking lizards at your local wildlife center, or perhaps a neighbor may have an iguana in their back room.  If you have not raised a reptile before, let me suggest that you start with a leopard gecko.  The leopard gecko has two very big advantages, and one of them is that it does not get very big. The other major advantage of a leopard gecko is that is has been kept and bred in captivity since the 1920s, and is among the healthiest lizards and easiest to keep.

A juvenile gecko is quite active, but as they mature they become rather quiet and tame, and can be held and will take food from your fingers.  The adult gecko does not get larger than nine or ten inches and can be handled by older children.  Even younger children can hold them, but make sure they are supervised to handle the gecko gently and to avoid picking them up by the tail or holding the tail tightly.  As with other lizards in the reptile family, their tails can break off.  Actually, this might be an interesting occurrence for children, as the tail will be regrown, though it never looks exactly the same as the original tail

Leopard geckos are easily kept in an aquarium or other plastic cages, as long as each gecko has at least ten inches square of floor space.  The cage should be a minimum of twelve inches high. Have a shallow bowl of water that doesn't spill as the lizards crawl into or over it.  The food bowl for the gecko can be something about the size and shape of the lid for a gallon jar, a larger flat area.  You will be using crickets or other insects as food, and it is better if the food remains in the food bowl.  The bottom of the cage should have some kind of paper toweling so that it can be changed in order to keep the cage clean.

One really important point about raising reptiles is to keep the area sufficiently warm.  Geckos thrive best when the daytime temperature is in the eighties, up to eighty-eight degrees.  Nighttime temperatures can get to the middle sixties without causing any health problems.  If your house is normally cooler than that, a lamp with a forty-watt bulb over the top of the cage should create enough heat to keep the gecko warm.  There are also hot rocks that you can buy and put in the cage.  Keep the cage out of direct sunlight (because it will get too warm) and have a screen cover for the top if you have small children or cats in your household.

Once you have the environment, go to a reputable pet store and select your geckos.  Leopard geckos come in a variety of colors, and you can keep several in the same cage as long as there is only one male in the group (most geckos that are sold are female).  They eat mealworms and crickets, and correct care and feeding should be discussed at length with the seller.  A well taken care of gecko can live as long as twenty years.

Raising a reptile can be a fascinating hobby whether you are eight or fifty-eight years old.  Leopard geckos are among the easiest to raise, are easily tamed, and are always beautiful and interesting pets.  Consider a gecko for your next pet.


SNAKES As Reptile Pets

Green Tree Python
Green Tree Python - Photo  by nasmac 
Most common snakes kept as pets in the reptile category are the corn snakes and the Royal Python. Pythons do have teeth and will bite even though they kill their food by constriction.  A python can possibly live to be 40 years old when conditions are right and have been known to be the longest snake on record, reaching well over 30 feet in length!  While this is the exception to the rule, it should still be a consideration when choosing a snake for a reptile pet.

You must know the proper requirements for your snakes before you commit to keeping more than one in the same enclosure.  All snakes are not the same!  Feeding them together is discouraged as well. Some snakes eat other snakes, too, so be careful about your choices.  There are people who live in the country who will keep the king snake alive simply because it is known to kill other harmful snakes.

There are different types of corn snakes and different types of pythons.  Know your type before you purchase.  Some make better choices than others for pets.  Don't touch your snake if it's in the water bowl and has developed milky eyes.  This could be a sign of shedding.  Because the snake has limited vision, it could strike out at you in defense, not knowing you don't intend to harm it.

There are things that could make your snake reluctant to eat.  Force feeding is not a good idea. Illness, stress, shedding, temperature, humidity, and occasional fasting may make your snake's appetite change.

The anaconda is not the longest snake ever known, but it is the heaviest.  Although anacondas have been kept in captivity, it is not advisable.  For one thing, it isn't fair to the snake.  Their natural environment is a river.  Some people have gone so far as to keep venomous or dangerous reptiles for pets, including rattlesnakes.  This is highly discouraged, especially in homes containing children or the elderly.

Wildlife shows make the adventures with reptiles seem fun and exciting.  But most people should note that these people who interact with the snakes and other reptiles are experienced, trained professionals.  They didn't become enlightened overnight.

Scaled reptiles are classified as Squamata, which includes lizards and snakes.  Detachable jaws are one of the fascinating talents of the snakes.  The other qualification for inclusion as a Squamata is the scaly skin or shields.

Snakes are thought to have evolved from lizards---but most people are far more scared of snakes than they are of lizards!  It's ironic that the snake evolved from the lizard, yet lizards are one of the small animals the snake is known to eat.

Some snakes can climb trees to steal eggs from the bird nests.  They've even been known to devour the unfortunate bird left guarding the eggs.  Because the snake swallows its food whole, digestion is more complicated and tiresome for the reptile.  This will cause the snake to regurgitate if disturbed during digestion so it can escape danger.

Yes, snakes can be interesting pets and interesting reptiles.  Just make sure you know what you're dealing with before you attempt to make contact!


IGUANA PETS and Care - Be Fully Prepared For Your Iguana Adventure

Rhinoceros Iguana
Rhinoceros Iguana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Iguana pets are really exciting animals to own, but there are some important things to consider before you decide to bring one home.

First, they require a very specific living environment. They are tropical by origin and require constant tropical conditions. The temperature of their living area must remain consistent, regardless of the temperature outside. If there is snow on the ground, your iguana enclosure still needs to maintain the proper tropical temperature.

Iguana pets need an enclosure at least 1.5 to 2 times their length. That may not seem like much when you are looking at a baby hatchling iguana, but they grow. They grow big. Iguanas grow about 12 inches per year and reach lengths that vary from 5 to 7 feet long.

You don't have to provide an iguana cage or enclosure; you can have a "free roaming" iguana. That does not necessarily mean you give your iguana full run of your home. You can still restrict him to a specific room or area; it just isn't enclosed like an iguana cage. There are many things to consider before you decide to allow your iguana to roam freely.

Iguanas like to climb. They are arboreal lizards in their natural habitat, which means they live in trees. They prefer to be up high so they can see what is going on below them. In the wild, this helps protect them because they can see predators and danger below.

Iguanas like to bask and sleep in elevated areas approximately 4 to 7 feet above ground level. This is accomplished by creating iguana "shelves" or adding "branches" to their iguana cages. These basking accommodations need to be sturdy so they can sustain the iguana's weight. As your iguana grows, you may have to adjust your basking shelves and branches.

You will need to provide lighting and heating equipment for your iguana. Iguanas have specific lighting requirements for different times of the day. As your iguana grows and increases in size, the lighting and heating equipment may require adjusting to accommodate him.

Iguanas are herbivores and have particular dietary requirements. Don't assume because your iguana is an herbivore that you can just feed him iceberg lettuce and be done with it. Iceberg lettuce does not contain the required nutrients for your iguana. There are very specific foods that your iguana needs to eat and in certain proportions. There are also some very specific foods you should never feed your iguana.

If you have heard the rumor that you should feed your iguana insects, mice, and worms, listen up. It is just a rumor, and it is totally wrong. While iguanas do require protein, it is plant protein, NOT animal protein. Iguanas may eat insects occasionally on their own, but you should stick to the required diet and refrain from feeding your animal the wrong foods. Your iguana might accept food from you from your plate, but that does not mean it is good for him. Learn proper iguana foods early on, and stick to a proper diet plan.

If you want to own an iguana, it is a lot of fun. They are very interesting creatures to observe. If you properly train and care for your iguana, he will be happy and healthy for years to come. Just be prepared in advance for the commitment iguana ownership requires. The iguana will need special lighting and heating equipment; a properly structured and furnished enclosure; a very specific diet; proper training; and attention from you. Know what you are getting involved in up front. A well-informed decision is always best so that you are fully prepared for your iguana adventure.


BEARDED DRAGON - Pogona vitticeps

Bearded Dragon - Pogona vitticeps



Red Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragon - Photo   by       jdnx 
Bearded dragons are native to Australia, and like the vastness that Australia has to offer, there is also a large number of different species and variations of bearded dragons over the large continent.

All species of bearded dragons are popular because of their quiet nature, ease of handling, and their small size to name just a few. Unlike many reptiles, bearded dragons require a much smaller space to live comfortably in, and are easily handled by adults, and children. There are eight different species of bearded dragons noted in Australia, and the following 6 are the most commonly known as pets.

The Western Bearded Dragon
The western bearded dragon is mainly found on the southwest coast and inland areas of Western Australia. It lives mainly in woodland areas, as well as in coastal dunes, and in the desert as well.

The Inland Bearded Dragon
The inland bearded dragon is the largest of all the species and grows to around 20cm in size. This species is found in every state, and territory of Australia except for Western Australia. The inland bearded dragon is the most popular breed of reptilian pet.

The Mitchells Bearded Dragon
The Mitchells bearded dragon is found in the interior of the Northern Territory, and in the north of Western Australia in the Great Sandy Dessert. The Mitchells species is the smallest of the bearded dragon species and grows to around 14cm. One of the easiest ways to tell a Mitchells bearded dragon apart from the other species is his large cone-like head spikes, which are unlike any of the other bearded dragons.

The Dwarf Bearded Dragon
The dwarf-bearded dragons, considered to be closely related to the Mitchell species, are mainly found in the Great Sandy Desert. The dwarf dragon is easily Identifiable because of his short legs, and short tail.

Lawsons Bearded Dragons
The Lawsons bearded dragons are the second most popular pet species. This species lives in most of Queensland, and some of the Northern Territory, but how much area the species actually occupies is still unknown.

The Nullabor Bearded Dragon
The Nullabor bearded dragon is a very rare species found only in a small area between the South Western, and South Australia. The Nullabor bearded dragon is easily recognizable by its markings, with large white markings along its back, and spines on its sides. The Nullabor bearded dragon is the least likely of all of the bearded dragons to be kept as pets, as they are hard to find in the wild, and have been known to be very difficult to breed in captivity.

It is possible that there are still undiscovered species of bearded dragons in Australia, as well as subspecies, as much of Australia's reptilian wildlife is still being discovered today.


REPTILES Have Special Needs

Strange mess mates exotic pets
Strange messmates exotic pets
(Photo credit: 
People have all kinds of different pets.

Some people only feel safe with what is considered "normal" pets.  This usually consists of cats, dogs, hamsters, or birds.  Country folks may have farmyard animals for pets.  Horses, cows, goats, bunnies, and so on are typical.

Then you have the people who pride themselves on being "outside the norm". These people may be the sort who likes to consider themselves and their pets unique.

Or maybe they just love animals of all kinds and welcome any and all types of pets.  Reptiles have been kept as pets for many years, but as the number of pet stores has grown so has the number of reptiles kept as pets.  Sometimes this is bad news for the reptiles.  If a dangerous reptile is chosen, it could be bad news for the owner as well.

Sometimes the type of pet a person has depends on the area in which they live.  Availability may make the choice for them.  The environment is also a consideration.  In south Louisiana, a child may be raised thinking an alligator is normal to keep for a pet!  It would be impractical for a child who lives in the midst of the city to own a pet cow.

What types of reptiles are popular as exotic pets?  Snakes, lizards, and turtles make the choices wide.  There are some, however, of each type that makes some better choices than others.  Unfortunately, these types of pets are also the most often abused and neglected simply because of failure to learn about their proper needs prior to ownership.  Once the new wears off, they become forgotten.  Because reptiles are often quiet and contained, it is easy to forget they are around.

Corn snakes are often chosen because they are known to be easier to care for.  They are excellent escape artists, though, so great care must be taken to keep the latches tightly closed on their enclosures.  It may seem funny in the movies to see a snake escape and scare the family or guests, but it can cause great harm to your pet in reality.

Boas are a well-known reptile pet, but people often underestimate their lifespan and their great size when grown.  A snake kept in an area it has outgrown will not be a happy, well-adjusted pet.  It may cause the snake harm and you as well, should he choose to fight back because of his discomfort.

Those cute little reptiles grow up and will need different requirements for food and housing as they grow.  A responsible pet owner will be prepared for the changes and willing to accommodate.  Can you recreate the natural environment and maintain it?  Think of it as being a person from the country who moves to the city, unwillingly, and never learned to adjust because they just don't seem to fit into the new surroundings.  Except this person has the ability to move back to the country, while the snake is unable to make this choice on his own.  The right housing makes a happier pet.


CRESTED GECKO - Correlophus ciliatus

Crested Gecko - Correlophus ciliatus - Picture: Flickr



There are two types of crocodiles that can be kept as pets. Fresh water and salt water. Crocodiles are in their own right vicious predators and are known to attack humans, more especially, when threatened. A crocodile bite could send one to the hospital for months, and could even lead to death. Those willing to breed this reptile should establish a secluded area where a pond is to be constructed. Though not affected by enclosures, there should be the establishment of one to prevent the animal from escaping. However, they are also supposed to be handled humanely.

A bask of crocodiles
A bask of crocodiles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In encouraging crocodiles to hunt, live food such as fish and insects may be placed in their ponds. Those aside crocs do feed on frozen food, frogs, and moths. Their diet should however not contain chicken meat. Crocodiles longer than sixty centimeters are not allowed in some states as their special requirements increase as they grow, such that they may easily turn to be a bother and burden to the owner.

The pet owner should always make sure that proper vet services are always observed to keep the crocodiles in good shape and that children should never be allowed anywhere near the pond unaccompanied. Care should also be exercised when feeding the animals since a slight miscalculation could easily turn the pet's owner into prey. When handling the crocodiles, a plastic band should be placed at the snout to avoid biting. It is not a must that crocodiles thrive in moving water as they can thrive in stagnant waters.


CHAMELEON - Chameleon sp.

Chameleon - Photo: Pixaby


Setting Up An Enclosure For A SNAKE

Maybe they're not exactly cuddly, but snake makes interesting pets. Regardless of the type of snake, from nice little corn snakes up to monster Burmese pythons, there are some principles that apply to setting up a cage or enclosure for a pet snake. One of the most important aspects is to make sure the enclosure is absolutely escape-proof.

Boa - Photo: Wikimedia

Snakes are known to have Houdini tendencies when it comes to staying confined. Aquariums make good enclosures for snakes, but the lids have to fit tightly and be clipped on. Some owners make belts to attach to the enclosure for more security. Any doors or openings in the cage need to fit tightly or the snake will push against it trying to get out. Remember, most of them are pretty slim, so they don't need that big of an opening to slip out.

The size of the enclosure should reflect the size of the snake. Many babies are insecure in a large cage and even have trouble finding their food. It's usually advisable to put young snakes in smaller enclosures. To choose a size of cage for an adult snake, first, measure the length of the snake. Get an enclosure with a perimeter that measures twice the length of the snake. For instance, a three-foot long snake would do OK in an enclosure 12 by 24 inches.

The exception to the above rule is arboreal, or tree-dwelling, snakes. These need a taller enclosure with lots of branches for climbing.

A snake enclosure needs a material to cover the bottom, called a substrate. Newspaper can line the bottom of the enclosure and makes a cheap surface that absorbs moisture and is easy to change when soiled. There are also special types of carpeting available at the pet store to use as a substrate. If you have two that fit, you can use one while washing the other.

Temperature is very important in a snake enclosure. Snakes are cold-blooded animals and have to keep warm from outside sources. Ideally, a pet snake's cage will provide several choices in temperature so the animal can regulate its body heat. This is done by heating one end of the enclosure only. Heating methods include heating pads under half of the enclosure or heat lamps. If using a light, it will need to be off during the night hours.

Thermometers should be used to monitor the inside temperature. Requirements vary from one species to another. A pet store product called a "hot rock" is widely discouraged because it has a tendency to burn pet snakes. Using a heat lamp or infrared heating panel is a far better way to provide the snake with heat. Some snakes have specific humidity requirements, too. A hygrometer can be used to monitor humidity. Misting the enclosure from time to time can help keep it more humid when necessary.

The snake will need a water bowl. Ideally, it should not tip easily. For most varieties of snake, it should be large enough to take a soak once in awhile. Keeping it only about a third full helps avoid soaking the substrate. Pottery and wide based pet food dishes work well for water bowls.

A final necessity in the enclosure is a place for the snake to hide. This can be as simple as a plastic dish with a hole cut in the side. Having two, one on each end of the enclosure, gives the snake a choice. Setting up a nice enclosure takes a little time and money, but will ensure your snake has comfort and security.


When LIZARDS will not eat, they have to eat

Like any animal, lizards at times in captivity will need to be force fed. There are situations and conditions which will result in a lizard not eating on their own.

Some diseases lizards can get will result in seizures or a similar condition. It is imperative not to feed them during an incident like this. They will most likely not be able to swallow the food. It is best to seek the help of a veterinarian at this point. 

Fistful of Lizard
Fistful of lizard - Photo by jurvetson 

The animal will need to have a tube placed into their stomach to feed. If the animal shows no signs of seizures, they can be fed using a syringe. It is tricky to get their mouth open but should be possible using the syringe itself. 

Using the syringe, squeeze the processed food into the back of the throat, taking great care to avoid the trachea at the back of the tongue. Make sure to only offer as much food as the animal can handle. Larger lizards can obviously handle more food. 

It may also be possible to force-feed feeder insects. If the lizard is having digestive problems, however, the liquid substitute is much easier to digest, as much of the work is already done. Another advantage of liquid feeding is the fact that you control exactly what the lizard is getting into its diet.

For the vegetable part of the liquid diet, vegetable baby food works very well. This food is high in vitamins and can easily be digested by the lizard. Make sure to add in a calcium supplement to the food. Younger lizards need to be fed more often but in smaller quantities, while larger lizards will need to be fed less often, but with higher quantities per feeding.

You have to follow the natural way your lizard eats its food, as not to upset their natural metabolism. If your lizard eats both insects and vegetables, you can use a type of cat food (used for sick cats) if they will eat it. You can also try to add insect matter (use fresh insects) into the liquid mix.

Big, Beautiful Parson's CHAMELEON

Out of all the chameleons in the world, the Parson's Chameleon is said to be the largest when it comes to weight. They reach the size of a house cat, and the tail can stretch to be longer than the body. These large reptiles are native to eastern Madagascar and are very popular among collectors due to their size and also the wide appeal of the chameleon's appearance.

Parson's Chameleon - Photo0: Wikimedia

These brilliantly colored lizards are characterized by their gray or brownish colorings as juveniles, but the colors and patterns change depending upon the different life stage they may be in. Dark banding runs diagonally across the thick body of this chameleon. In adulthood, colors that are present include greens and blues. Some males can exhibit orange eyelids and even yellow or white lips. A dorsal crest is sometimes present in males, as well as two rostral appendages. They look like two tiny horns.

The natural habitat for this amazing reptile is low and mid-altitude rainforests. They seem to have a preference of being near moving water and are very often found next to streams. They are very seldom if ever seen on the ground, instead preferring the canopy of trees and the security and prey they provide.

The Parson's chameleon is an omnivore, munching regularly on small lizards, birds and perhaps even small mice when it's looking for a meaty meal. Other items on the menu for this bruiser include leaves, flowers, and also many different kinds of fruits. For a water source, many owners choose to use some sort of drip system.

Chameleons are notorious for not drinking from standing water, preferring to take their hydration as it drips from leaves or trickles from a waterfall. Like other chameleons, the Parson's chameleon can extend its tongue to one and a half times its body length to capture prey.

Perhaps mostly because of its size, the Parson's chameleon seems to be popular with people who keep reptiles. It is a particularly slow moving specimen and may appear to be a bit lazy. This should not, however, fool you into thinking you can house this chameleon in a smaller sized cage. It still needs plenty of room to roam about. Room- sized cages that offer plenty of hiding spots seem to make the Parson's chameleon happy.

When it comes to home habitat, the Parson's chameleon has requirements that are similar to other chameleons. They need things to climb on, preferably live vegetation. They prefer the temperature to be on the warm side, up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and not dipping below 65 degrees at night. Humidity should be on the high side to mimic their natural habitat in the wild. We recommend 80 to 100 percent humidity levels.

Cages should be constructed from sturdy materials. No glass or plastic, as it doesn't allow for any air exchange within the cage. They live in the trees - they need plenty of ventilation. Parsons is a solitary creature and will exhibit signs of stress when they are subjected to overcrowding, and with Parsons, two's a crowd unless it's time to mate.

Breeding males will actually butt heads to try to establish who is more dominant. The females only breed once every two years. They can lay up to 25 eggs. The eggs incubate for an incredible twenty months.

Knowing what to look for when selecting a Parson's chameleon can help with your enjoyment of this fascinating reptile. Remember, the life span of these guys can be over six years. Check to see if the skin springs back when it is lightly pinched. If not, the chameleon is dehydrated. Also look to see how active it is. A reluctance to climb or even move about could be a sign that the reptile is not very healthy. Another point to look for is eyes that are constantly open. Chameleons are said to never close their eyes in the daytime.

As with any exotic, the best way to keep the Parsons Chameleon healthy is to maintain a habitat that resembles his native habitat as closely as possible. Learn about his geographical area and have the enclosure ready before you purchase your Parsons Chameleon.


Top 3: Types of LIZARD PETS

There are several types of lizard pets available for sale at most pet stores which can make deciding which is the best for you a difficult decision. You will need to keep in mind how much money you have to spend, how much room you have available, and how long you are willing to care for the pet. Of the several species available, I have chosen my three personal favorites which are easy to care for, enjoy being handled, and have affordable starter and upkeep costs.

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragon showing tongue
Photo by Tambako the Jaguar

Native to: Most regions of Australia

Size: Adults can grow to around 24″

Diet: Omnivore

Habitat: Dry, Hot Desert Conditions

Cost: Varies from around $ 40 for regulars, to over $ 200 for special morphs

Life Span: Around 10 years on average

Pros: Beardies are a very hardy and well-tempered lizard that grows to a comfortable handling size. The desert environment they need to survive is fairly easy to create and maintain when compared to other lizards who require moist conditions.

Cons: As juveniles, this lizard’s appetite can get quite expensive, as they need insects to be offered daily. UV lighting is required and bulbs need to be replaced a couple times a year, adding to costs. Beardies also require a 55 gallon enclosure at minimum to live happily, which takes up a lot of space.

Leopard Gecko

Al the Leopard Gecko
Photo by simply.jessi

Native to: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Northwestern India

Size: Adults grow to around 8-10″

Diet: Insectivores

Habitat: Warm, dry desert conditions

Cost: Varies from $ 20 to $ 400 or more

Life Span: Up to 20 years

Pros: Geckos can be housed comfortably in a 20 gallon tank, requiring little space and expense.

They don’t need UV lighting and require less heat than a beardie or uromastyx. They only eat insects so you wont need to fuss with cutting vegetables daily and save a bit on the food bill.

Cons: Geckos have very few cons, but they are nocturnal, so they aren’t very active during the day. They are also fairly small and squirmy compared to a larger lizard, so handling can be risky.

Mali Uromastyx

Uromastyx Lizard
Photo by hj_west 

Native to: North Africa, Middle East, South Asia to India

Size: Around 16″ for an adult male

Diet: Omnivore

Habitat: Dry/Very Hot Desert Conditions

Cost: $ 40 to over $ 200 depending on size

Life Span: Up to 30 years

Pros: Uro’s are very docile lizards that are very similar to bearded dragons. They seem to enjoy human interaction and are fairly hardy. These critters are very active during the daytime, often throwing their veggies around to make a nice mess for us.

Cons: Much like the beardie, uro’s need a large enclosure and UV lighting. Mali uromastyx also need extremely high temperatures around 120F. These lizards can live up to 30 years, so be ready for a long-term commitment if you decide a mali uro is for you.

All three of these types of lizard pets are great for beginners. Which suits you best will mostly depend on how much room you have available, and how much money you are willing to invest. Beardies and Uro’s are the best for handling, but cost more than a gecko to start-up and maintain. Gecko’s and bearded dragons live around 10 years, whereas a mali uromastyx can live up to 30. This could make them a poor choice for a child who will  most likely be moving from Mom and Dad’s to go to college or start their own family in the near future. Keep these things in mind so that you don’t regret your purchase, or end up having to give your pet away because they cost too much, or because they don’t fit in with your lifestyle.

Author: Joselyn