Northern Spiny Tail Gecko
These hypnotic eyes belong to the Northern Spiny Tail Gecko, Strophurus ciliaris aberrans (Gekkonidae), a large gecko (up to 15cm long), endemic to western Australia.
As suggested by their common and scientific names, these geckos have two rows of large spines down the upper surface of the tail, and a row of small spines above the eye. In fact, Strophurus means ‘turning-tail’, and ciliaris ‘eyelashed’, in reference to the spines above the eyes.
When molested, this gecko exudes a noxious sticky fluid from the glands in its tail.
Locality: Gascoyne, Western Australia
Asked by Anonymous
The rules for distinguishing between alligators and crocodiles are not very helpful in most of the world, because in most of the world either (a) no crocodilians are present, (b) only crocodiles or only alligators are present, and you should not need to tell the difference between anything, or (c) whether or not it’s a croc or an alligator doesn’t matter, you still shouldn’t be anywhere near it. (also caiman and dwarf crocodiles confuse things a bit)
That being said, to the best of my knowledge, most of the rules are in fact true. The tooth thing, the head shape thing, etc. The important thing to remember is that alligators are stub-faced chubby bunnylizards, whereas crocodiles are snaggletooth goober-monsters.
Aquatic Turtle Care
The most common turtles kept as pets are Red-eared slider, Trachemys scripta elegans, map turtles, Graptemys spp, soft shell turtles, Apalone spp. & Trionyx spp, and others. This care guide applies to all of these but you should research your specific species to get detailed care instructions.
The average lifespan for a well cared for turtle varies but can be 30+ years.
It is a myth that turtles will only grow to the size of their enclosure, size is determined by genetics not by environment. Many aquatic turtle species can grow up to or exceed 12 inches and need very large aquariums. 1-2 hatchling sized turtles can be kept in a 30 gallon aquarium but they will soon outgrow it. A good rule of thumb is that for every inch of shell length you should provide 10 gallons of water. This means a single large female would need a 125 gallon aquarium. If you are unable to provide this you should look for a different reptile pet. Substrate can be bare bottom, sand, gravel, smooth river rocks. Be careful not to select rough substrates that could scrape turtle shells.
The best habitat for turtles is an appropriately sized outdoor pond with access to plenty of sun and areas of shade. If this cannot be provided an indoor aquarium is the next best.
Use a reptile safe water dechlorinator if you are using tap water. The tank should have enough water in it that the turtles can submerge completely and have plenty of swimming room.
It is vitally important to provide an area for turtles to climb out of the water and bask. This can be a large log, rock, floating platform, anything that offers enough room for all turtles to be out of the water.
A filter is also necessary because turtles produce lots of waste and will quickly dirty their water. A filter should have a filtration rate at least twice that of the size of your aquarium to ensure proper filtration. It is also important to perform 25% water changes weekly and change your filter media monthly.
Lighting & Heating
A submersible heater is required to keep the water between 75-80°F year round. Make sure to have an accurate thermometer so you can keep track of the water temperature. Fluorescent lights can be used above the aquarium but UV bulbs would be better as they provide both light and UV rays. A basking lamp should be hung over the basking area and it should provide UV as well as heat, the temperature should be about 90°F and all turtles should be able to bask at the same time if needed. This UV bulb should be replaced every 6 months to ensure adequate UV output.
The majority of aquatic turtles are omnivores and should be offered a varied diet. Quality turtle pellets can form the base of the diet but should not be overfed. Meaty foods that can be offered are earthworms, crickets, ;ish. Turtles should also be offered kale, escarole, greens, and other fresh vegetables. An adult turtle only needs to be fed 3-4 times a week. Any left over food should be removed from the water to prevent spoilage.
Signs Your Turtle is Sick
If you notice any of these signs bring your turtle to an experienced exotics veterinarian ASAP!
• Puffy eyes
• Nasal discharge
• Difficulty swimming
• Decreased appetite
• Pink coloration of shell/skin
There’s a neat little video in the article of the Chester Zoo keepers giving the retic an ultrasound heart scan.
Below are quotes (falsities) from HSUS propaganda followed by facts:
(aka why HSUS is full of shit. Please donate to your local shelters! HSUS is NOT your local shelter.)
"Boa constrictors — the most popular in the pet trade — have predictably established more invasive populations than any of the other constrictor snakes"
FACT: There is only one population (Deering Estate, south of Miami). This population is reportedly the result of release or escape of boas during a movie set in the 1960s. Regardless of the cause, it has been noted since the 1970s and in over 40 years, the snakes have not moved outside of this original parcel. They are struggling to survive on this small tract of land and have not “invaded” to form other populations. Also, Boa constrictors of the subspecies Boa constrictor imperator are native into the Sonoran Desert of northern Mexico. If they could be invasive into a large area of the U.S., they would be here now.
"Boa constrictors have killed one adult and injured numerous children — biting them in the face, ambushing them while playing in their yards, and even attacking them while sleeping in their beds."
FACT: Boa constrictors have not been documented “ambushing them [children] while playing in their yards.” There have been sensationalized stories and misidentified snakes that were actually native species, which still would not have ambushed anyone. While bites from snakes do occur, any animal, including humans, may defend themselves if they feel threatened or are handled inappropriately.
"boa constrictors have also been killing people’s companion animals."
FACT: There have not been any documented cases of feral Boa constrictors killing people’s pets.
"Constrictor snakes can attack suddenly and with deadly force, preying on unsuspecting people who encounter someone’s escaped or released constrictor snake"
FACT: Constrictor snakes are not in the U.S. “preying on unsuspecting people.” All incidents involving constrictor snakes occurred within the owner’s property. Even USGS (a Government science organization) recently published an article stating that no tourists in the Everglades have been attacked by pythons. There is unfortunately a population of Burmese pythons there as a result of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The pythons in southern Florida are not the result of irresponsible pet owners driving from all over the country to release their pets into the Everglades.
“Boa constrictors and reticulated pythons have already killed five adults and three babies, and the danger continues to escalate.”
FACT: There have been 3 total deaths reportedly from Reticulated pythons and Boa constrictors.* All three deaths were to adults and they were the owners of the snakes. One case involved a woman giving a 14’ Reticulated python a shot (administering medication) without assistance. The Boa-related death was very odd as reportedly there was another adult on site and in the same room. Boas do not get nearly large enough to be uncontrollable for two adults. All three deaths happened in the households where the animals lived and resulted from improper handling of the animals. The other deaths from large constrictors involved Burmese pythons or African Rock pythons, not Boa constrictors or Reticulated pythons. All these species have very different behavioral qualities and each is unique. Just like people, even individual animals have varying “personalities.”
*NOTE: There have been 10 constrictor snake-related deaths in the U.S. since 1990. At least one case has been noted as potentially fraudulent (i.e. the snake did not kill the person). No case occurred outside the household/facility that housed the snake. All incidents reported are tragedies, as are all premature and accidental deaths.
“Boa constrictors, the most popular of the nine large constrictor snakes in the pet trade, are predators who can grow up to 13 feet long…”
FACT: Most Boa constrictors in captivity are 5-8’ (males are much smaller than females) and weigh less than 25 pounds. Boas over 10’ in captivity are rare. Often reports of 10’ snakes (of any species) only measure about 7’. The record length snakes were in the wild, and were not captive bred and raised animals. Boa constrictor constrictor (BCC) is the largest of the 9 subspecies of Boa constrictor and they are not common as pets. By far, the most common pet subspecies is Boa constrictor imperator (BCI), which is found from northern Colombia through Central America to northern Mexico. Many populations in Central America and Mexico only reach 4-5’ in length.
“They die during capture and transport.”
FACT: This implies that these snakes are all wild-caught animals imported into the country. Nearly all large species of constrictor snakes are born and bred in the U.S. Very few animals are imported and even many of those are from breeders in other countries, not wild-caught animals.
"One study showed that Burmese pythons in the Everglades may have contributed to a 99 percent decrease in the numbers of certain small- to medium-sized mammals."
FACT: This study was not able to link Burmese pythons with the decline in mammal populations and very unscientific assumptions were made.
Western Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis proximus)
…a species of garter snake (Thamnophis spp.) which is distributed throughout western North America and Mexico. Like other garter snake species Thamnophis proximus cans several subspecies, 7 in total, which are distinct in range and appearance.
Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis (Emydidae) is a species of medium-sized to large (430 mm shell length) freshwater basking turtle, endemic to the west coast of peninsular Florida, eastward of the Ochlockonee River (US).
The Suwannee cooter inhabits in rivers and large streams, including alluvial, blackwater, and spring-run streams, often with dense aquatic vegetation upon which species feeds. Occasionally enters estuaries at river mouths.
Photo credit: ©Jake M. Scott
Locality: Gilchrist County, Florida, US
Researchers lure Manitoulin Island turtle predators with decoy
Researchers at Laurentian University are hoping a fake turtle will shed some light on a mystery on Manitoulin Island, ON, Canada.
Jackie Litzgus, a biology professor at Laurentian University, said a decoy Blandings Turtle will be used to determine which predators might be killing these endangered turtles.
Last year dozens of dead turtles were discovered near Misery Bay on Manitoulin Island.
Litzgus said the most likely culprit is some kind of predator. By using a turtle decoy, along with game cameras, researchers hope to capture video of what may be killing the turtles…
(read more: CBC News)
photos by Laurentian University and Markus Schwabe/CBC
Asked by hybridkite
Hey! That’s really awesome, you can make such cool, cool enclosures and it wont end up costing you that much!
First things first, here’s some links that I find helpful:
Josh’s Frogs has an amazing blog section where you can learn so many helpful things and they have “how to” guides that are extremely useful! Not to mention if you live in the US and the shipping isn’t too much you can buy plants/ accessories from their online store!
On Pangea there’s a crested gecko master plant list! This will be very helpful if you can’t buy plants from an exotics store and you have to resort to a garden center! Always be sure that the plants you house with your geckos are safe and will not harm them!
Another forum on Pangea where you can view topics regarding live vivs and gain inspiration from other projects! You can also ask questions if you get stuck or you’d like some experienced opinions.
Great lighting tutorial on NEHERP that explains everything about lighting and how to use it to your advantage when setting up a viv.
A little write up about terrariums, a break down of a good composition of soil and a more detailed description of plants that would work in certain conditions!
A video on how to set up a live viv with a styrofoam background
Also, if you ever get stuck, need inspiration, or help learning the several different steps you will need to take to create a successful, thriving vivarium I truly suggest you visit Dendroboard and check out their forums; extremely helpful and you will not find more information on vivs anywhere else on the internet (you’ll just need to take what you can learn from there and apply it to a crestie-happy viv!).
Supplies you will need to make a custom background:
Note: These are the supplies you will need if you use the foam background. If you would like to use the egg crate or styrofoam background method,(or using net cups) I can explain that as well!
-Plants (I highly recommend at least having one pothos, cresties love them!)
- Wood (I would recommend cork bark! However there are many options such as drift wood, bamboo, grapewood and manzanita!)
- GE silicone ll Window and Door silicone black or brown (one or two tubes, depending on your project size)
- Great Stuff Gaps and Cracks spray foam (red can with yellow lid, I would pick up at least two of these)
-Dry coco fiber OR dry peatmoss
-Knife and razor blade (be careful!)
How to make a background:
Here’s a very basic, very simple guide on how to make a background from Josh’s frogs. I know I have a ton of other links hanging around for more extravagant build and I’ll add them once I locate them!
I think the biggest piece of advice I can give you is planning ahead! Always have an idea of what your end-game viv will look like, this way you can plan ahead and not only make an enclosure in a timely matter but it will look so much more naturalistic and beautiful if you put the effor into making sure the viv flows well together. Another thing you should always focus on is making the viv FOR YOUR ANIMALS. As nice as some effects could be in the enclosure, you always have to remember who you’re making it for and plan accordingly. Have lots of hiding places, safe plants and climbing areas for your cresties!
I will probably add to this post as I locate more of my links and add advice as I come up with it!
Woma python (Ramsay’s Python, Woma)
The Woma python is an Endangered python belonging to the species Aspidites ramsayi (Pythonidae), distinguished from other Australian pythons by its narrow head which is barely distinct from the neck.
This species is found in the Australian interior, from central Australia into the south-western edge of Queensland, and into northern South Australia. There is also one coastal area in north-eastern Australia around the Pilbara coast where this species is found.
Photo credit: ©Jordan Vos
Locality: The Pilbara, Western Australia
Asked by p-regius
Asked by gtfo-im-a-turtle
Reptiles are not simple animals. They exhibit some really complex behaviour, and some really simple behaviour. Because we don’t really understand the complex behaviour as well, most people dismiss it and concentrate on the fact that reptiles exhibit some extremely simple, stereotyped behaviours, especially in territoriality, hunting, and mating.
We judge emotions from a mammalian perspective. Mammals have great emotional indicators: eyebrows, lips, eyes, tails, general body stance - all of these have fairly stereotypical expressions to express emotions in mammals. In reptiles, there is practically no muscular control of particular parts of the face; the stance is not very expressive; the tail moves for a variety of reasons. The ability to express an emotion does not preclude the ability to feel it. We honestly don’t know if herps are able to be happy or sad. We know that they can get depressed, but depression is more of a chemical imbalance than an emotion.
As for wanting to give them things that they have (maybe) not evolved, I like them the way they are. If they had evolved differently, I would like them that way too.