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The Orange (or Guyana) Spotted Roach, Blaptica dubia: an Interesting Pet and Valuable Food for Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Birds and Fishes – Part 3

[…](this varies with temperature and stocking levels). Miscellaneous The reduced wing size in female orange-spotted roaches (and similar species) is attributed to paedomorphosis, or the retention of juvenile characteristics, rather than to wing growth inhibition. Flight muscle is, metabolically, one of the most active of animal tissues, and very “expensive” […]
Read more » The Orange (or Guyana) Spotted Roach, Blaptica dubia: an Interesting Pet and Valuable Food for Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Birds and Fishes – Part 3

The Orange Spotted Roach: an Interesting Pet and Valuable Food for Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Birds and Fishes – Part 2

[…]then be less for you to observe. Treated in this manner, as you might any other unusual pet, orange-spotted roaches will provide you with many surprises.  We still have a great deal to learn about these insects…observant keepers stand a good chance of learning something new. Water I use R-Zilla […]
Read more » The Orange Spotted Roach: an Interesting Pet and Valuable Food for Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Birds and Fishes – Part 2

The Orange Spotted Roach: an Interesting Pet and Valuable Food for Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Birds and Fishes – Part 1

[…]roach, Panchlora nivea, sometimes available in the pet trade, is to my eye the most attractive. Orange-Spotted Roaches The orange-spotted roach ranges from tan to reddish-brown and black in color, and is mottled with light orange dots.  It reaches 1 ¾ inches in length.  The natural range is usually given […]
Read more » The Orange Spotted Roach: an Interesting Pet and Valuable Food for Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Birds and Fishes – Part 1

Feeding Pet African Bullfrogs Pyxicephalus adspersus – Part 1

[…]keeping your frog sated without resorting to rodents. For information on keeping and breeding the orange-spotted roach, please see my article “The Orange (or Guyana) Spotted Roach, Blaptica dubia.   Read Feeding Pet African Bullfrogs Pyxicephalus adspersus – Part […]
Read more » Feeding Pet African Bullfrogs Pyxicephalus adspersus – Part 1

New Cockroach, Discovered at a Tourist Resort, Jumps Like a Grasshopper

[…]used to study human mobility.     Further Reading Leaproach Photos and Information Keeping Orange-Spotted Roaches Table Mountain National Park Bush Cockroach image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Cyron Ray Macey Green leaf Cockroach image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by […]
Read more » New Cockroach, Discovered at a Tourist Resort, Jumps Like a Grasshopper

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Allergy: Popular Pet Insect Hosts Troublesome Mold

[…]new discoveries is an African cockroach that resembles and behaves like a grasshopper.   The Orange-Spotted Guyana Roach (Blaptica dubia) has much to recommend it as both a food animal and terrarium subject.  Please see the article linked below to read more about its natural history and care.    Further […]
Read more » Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Allergy: Popular Pet Insect Hosts Troublesome Mold

Frog Diets – Nutritious Foods for Popularly-Kept Frogs and Toads – Part 1

[…]relying upon wild caught invertebrates during the warmer months and saving crickets, waxworms and roaches for winter use.  However, even the occasional beetle or moth plucked from a window screen will go a long way in ensuring your pet’s good health. Collecting insects is actually quite interesting and a great […]
Read more » Frog Diets – Nutritious Foods for Popularly-Kept Frogs and Toads – Part 1

Feeding Large Insectivorous Reptiles and Amphibians: Problems and Solutions

[…]are also useful options for owners of large insectivorous pets.  Please see my articles The Orange Spotted Roach and Cicadas  for details.  For information on other types of canned invertebrates, please see Canned Insects and Other Invertebrates. Crayfishes are an ideal, high calcium food for many large herps.  Where legal, […]
Read more » Feeding Large Insectivorous Reptiles and Amphibians: Problems and Solutions

The Yellow-Spotted Sideneck Turtle , Podocnemis unifilis, in the Wild and Captivity: Natural History – Part 1

[…]18 inches.  The shell is attractively colored in muted olive, gray or brown, and bright yellow-orange spots mark the head.  These fade with age but often remain discernable through adulthood. Males are the smaller sex and have spotted heads with greenish eyes while females have plain, buff-colored heads and black […]
Read more » The Yellow-Spotted Sideneck Turtle , Podocnemis unifilis, in the Wild and Captivity: Natural History – Part 1

Thoughts on Keeping the Giant Bent-Toed Gecko and Related Species – Part 2

[…]with enthusiasm to moths, beetles and other wild caught insects. Please see my article on Raising Orange-Spotted Roaches  for more information. I believe it to be very important to offer a variety of invertebrates to bent-toed geckos. If at all possible, try to collect local insects…the Zoo Med Bug Napper […]
Read more » Thoughts on Keeping the Giant Bent-Toed Gecko and Related Species – Part 2

The Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum – Part I, Natural History

[…]populations breed where fishes are present, but only if dense aquatic plant cover is available. Spotted salamanders are members of the family Ambystomatidae – the mole salamanders. True to this name, the terrestrial adults spend most of their lives below logs or underground in self-excavated burrows or in those dug […]
Read more » The Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum – Part I, Natural History

An Accomplished Lizard Vocalist – the Tokay Gecko, Gekko gecko

[…]Morning Singers I once released a group of Tokay geckoes into a large zoo exhibit as a roach control measure (well, to be honest, mainly because I liked to watch them go about their business at night – few lizards can keep up with roach reproduction!).  In those days I […]
Read more » An Accomplished Lizard Vocalist – the Tokay Gecko, Gekko gecko

Pet-Safe Cricket and Roach Control for Reptile and Amphibian Owners

[…]simple technique, I’ve rid quite sizable exhibits, holding rooms and basements of established roach and cricket populations. Glue Traps Molasses can also be used to lure roaches and crickets onto glue traps, but most remain alive for some time. Killing the trapped insects, as I preferred to do when glue […]
Read more » Pet-Safe Cricket and Roach Control for Reptile and Amphibian Owners

The Best Live Foods for Pet Salamanders – Ensuring Dietary Variety

[…]wings and legs are indigestible; use the smallest acceptable size (please see article below). Orange-Spotted Roaches (Blaptica dubia) This insect’s soft exoskeleton suits it well as a salamander food.  By setting up a breeding colony, you can assure a steady supply of suitably-sized roaches for both small and large salamanders.  […]
Read more » The Best Live Foods for Pet Salamanders – Ensuring Dietary Variety

The Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum – Part II, Natural History

[…]breeding ponds by late July or August, after which the ponds usually dry up. Miscellaneous Adult spotted salamanders have lungs but rely largely upon cutaneous respiration (the absorption of oxygen through the skin). The skin must remain moist if this form of respiration is to be effective – they are […]
Read more » The Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum – Part II, Natural History

Spotted Salamanders Adapt to Salt and other Roadside Toxins

[…]skins, amphibians are especially sensitive to changes in water quality.  The recent finding that Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) may be evolving defenses against roadside toxins is a rare light at the end of the rather dismal “amphibian conservation” tunnel. “Salt Water” Salamanders Yale University researchers report (Science Papers, January, 2012) […]
Read more » Spotted Salamanders Adapt to Salt and other Roadside Toxins

2012’s New Species – Spiders, Roaches, Millipedes, Wasps – Which is your Favorite?

[…]was first described from a single specimen collected over 70 years ago.  Glowing patches on the roach’s body lead predators to confuse with a toxic click beetle. While several roaches gain protection by mimicking noxious beetles (i.e. the popularly-kept Domino Roach) no others, and indeed no other terrestrial animals, do so […]
Read more » 2012’s New Species – Spiders, Roaches, Millipedes, Wasps – Which is your Favorite?

The Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, – Care in Captivity – Part 1

[…]Snails usually reproduce readily in captivity, and small specimens will be eagerly devoured by spotted salamanders.   A single adult spotted salamander requires an enclosure of approximately the size of a 10 gallon aquarium.   Spotted salamanders may also be kept in ventilated sweater boxes on sheet moss or paper […]
Read more » The Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, – Care in Captivity – Part 1

Green Anaconda Relatives – Bolivian, Dark-Spotted and Yellow Anacondas

[…](E. notaeus) regularly appears in zoos and the pet trade, but field studies are lacking. Dark-Spotted or De Schauensee’s Anaconda, Eunectes deschauenseei Although described as a distinct species back in 1936, the habits of the Dark-Spotted Anaconda remain unstudied, and it rarely appears in public collections.  While working with Green […]
Read more » Green Anaconda Relatives – Bolivian, Dark-Spotted and Yellow Anacondas

Chameleon Diets – The Best Foods for Pet Chameleons

[…]following articles to learn about the proper care of feeder insects: Cricket Care Mealworm Care Roach Care When wild-caught insects are unavailable, the main portion of the diet should not be crickets, but rather a mix of roaches, crickets, butterworms, super mealworms and waxworms.  Caterpillars such as silkworms and tomato […]
Read more » Chameleon Diets – The Best Foods for Pet Chameleons

The Yellow-Spotted Sideneck Turtle , Podocnemis unifilis, in the Wild and Captivity: Natural History – Part 2

[…]consume insects, fish, carrion, snails and crayfish (the preferred diet of juveniles). The yellow-spotted sideneck sometimes utilizes a feeding method known as neustophagia to filter particulate food matter from the water’s surface.  The turtle opens its jaws at the surface and rapidly pumps the throat, which has the effect of […]
Read more » The Yellow-Spotted Sideneck Turtle , Podocnemis unifilis, in the Wild and Captivity: Natural History – Part 2

Breeding the Green and Gold Bell Frog and Welcoming its “Extinct” Relative – Part 1

[…]so the program has great potential, and may serve as a template for rescuing the even rarer Gold-Spotted Bell Frog. I think there is a lesson for herp keepers to be learned here – study and breed whatever animal catches your interest, as studies of even the most common amphibians […]
Read more » Breeding the Green and Gold Bell Frog and Welcoming its “Extinct” Relative – Part 1

New Species Found in 2014: Gymnastic Spiders and Other Invertebrates

[…]a few sea creatures glow in the dark, luminescence is rare among land dwellers. But the Lightening Roach, known from only a single specimen collected in Guatemala, has developed this ability to a remarkable degree. Entomologists theorize that this light-producing roach mimics a toxic, glowing click beetle found in the […]
Read more » New Species Found in 2014: Gymnastic Spiders and Other Invertebrates

Amphibian Breeding Migrations – Protecting a Spectacular Rite of Spring – Part 1

[…]height of the breeding season for many North American amphibians.  Terrestrial species such as Spotted and Tiger Salamanders, Wood and Gray Treefrogs, Spring Peepers and others leave their burrows or hibernation sites and journey in huge numbers to their breeding ponds.  The entire population of an area usually makes the […]
Read more » Amphibian Breeding Migrations – Protecting a Spectacular Rite of Spring – Part 1

Live Food Care – Reptile, Amphibian, Tarantula and Scorpion Diets

[…]needed.  Due to a high fat content (58%) and thick exoskeleton, they are best used sparingly. Orange-Spotted Roaches (Blaptica dubia) This insect has a soft exoskeleton and rarely flies.  They can be housed in bare-bottomed aquariums or sweater boxes stocked with egg crate or paper towel rolls.  Fine “insect screening” […]
Read more » Live Food Care – Reptile, Amphibian, Tarantula and Scorpion Diets

Turtles as Pets: New Species to Try in 2014

[…]making a comeback. It sports a yellow-rimmed, olive-gray carapace, with large, bright yellow or orange-yellow spots decorating the head.   The Yellow Spotted Sideneck inhabits northern and central South America, from Guyana, French Guiana and Venezuela to Columbia, Ecuador, northeastern Peru, northern Bolivia and Brazil; it may also be present […]

The Yellow-Spotted Sideneck Turtle (Terecay, Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtle), Podocnemis unifilis, in the Wild and Captivity – Care in Captivity

[…]quality and clarity, and will extend the time between filter medium changes. Light and Heat Yellow-spotted sidenecks are heliothermic (sun-basking) reptiles and require a source of UVB light in order to produce Vitamin D3 (which is required for calcium metabolism).  The Zoo Med Power Sun UV Mercury Vapor Bulb provides […]
Read more » The Yellow-Spotted Sideneck Turtle (Terecay, Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtle), Podocnemis unifilis, in the Wild and Captivity – Care in Captivity

Algae and Salamander Eggs – an odd partnership

[…]NY in mid-March). Amazingly, a species of green algae, Oophila amblystomatis, colonizes the spotted salamander’s globular egg masses. The algae most likely utilizes carbon dioxide and ammonia produced by the developing salamander embryos, and may in turn provide the embryos with oxygen (although the amount released is quite low). There […]
Read more » Algae and Salamander Eggs – an odd partnership

Rare But Unprotected – Red Tape Pushes 12 US Amphibians Towards Extinction

[…]known to be in need of protection are as follows: Frogs and Toads Arizona Treefrog, Colorado Spotted Frog, Oregon Spotted Frog, Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, Yosemite Toad, Relict Leopard Frog Salamanders Black Warrior Mudpuppy, Austin Blind Salamander, Jollyville Plateau Salamander, Salado Salamander, Ozark Hellbender, Georgetown Salamander Further Reading You can learn […]
Read more » Rare But Unprotected – Red Tape Pushes 12 US Amphibians Towards Extinction

Spotted Turtle Care: Is This Beauty the Perfect Small Turtle Pet?

[…]bred by hobbyists. Although somewhat shy at first, most soon learn to rush over for food when approached. Spotted Turtles must be watched carefully if housed in groups. Males often harass females with mating attempts, and may stress or bite them in the process. Males should not be kept together, […]
Read more » Spotted Turtle Care: Is This Beauty the Perfect Small Turtle Pet?

2010’s Amphibian Discoveries – New Species and New Information – Part 2

[…](Canada) biologists shocked the herp world by announcing that they had found living algae within Spotted Salamander cells, functioning as it does in the egg mass.  This is the closest known association between a vertebrate and a plant, mimicking in some ways the relationship between algae and coral. This discovery […]
Read more » 2010’s Amphibian Discoveries – New Species and New Information – Part 2

The Eastern Newt – the Many Subspecies and Hybrids of a Popular Pet – Part 2

[…]It occupies a small range that extends from southern Georgia to northern Florida. The Black-Spotted Newt (Notopthalmus meridionalis), also a distinct species, has large black spots in place of the Eastern Newt’s red ones.  It occurs from south Texas into Mexico and is limited to the moist areas around ponds […]
Read more » The Eastern Newt – the Many Subspecies and Hybrids of a Popular Pet – Part 2

I Found an Orange Salamander: Is it a Red Eft and Does it Make a Good Pet?

[…]has a wider distribution. Four subspecies have been described.   The olive-green, red-spotted adult newts are aquatic, and at one time were a pet trade mainstay. Many states now prohibit collection, but where ownership is legal they make wonderful introductions to amphibian care (please see the article below).   In […]
Read more » I Found an Orange Salamander: Is it a Red Eft and Does it Make a Good Pet?

Breeding the Green Basilisk and Related Species – Part 2

[…]these are an ideal food source for both young and adult individuals.  Soft-bodied roaches (i.e. Orange-Spotted Roaches) and silkworms are also favored. Young Green Basilisks should be maintained at 80 F, and have access to a basking site of 85-90 F.  Sexual maturity is usually reached by age 18 months, […]
Read more » Breeding the Green Basilisk and Related Species – Part 2

My Animal Collection: How a Herpetologist Keeps American Toads and Related Species, Part III

[…]their diets and temperaments suit them ideally to community terrariums. Compatible animals include spotted, tiger, marbled, slimy and other terrestrial salamanders (see photo), wood frogs (see photo), gray, barking, green and other native treefrogs and land snails. Assuming that space permits the establishment of a warm basking area (without over-heating […]
Read more » My Animal Collection: How a Herpetologist Keeps American Toads and Related Species, Part III

A Snake Breeder’s Delight – the African House Snake

[…]have a pair of white stripes on the head, but the body itself may be solid in color, striped or spotted. As you can imagine, breeders have great fun creating new colors and patterns, and a wide array are now available.  Anyone looking for experience in color morph creation need […]
Read more » A Snake Breeder’s Delight – the African House Snake

Amphibians as Pets – Common Frogs, Toads and Salamanders of the USA

[…]especially for growing youngsters.  Many will accept canned insects from feeding tongs. Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum This large, boldly-marked salamander spends most of its life below-ground in woodlands, but is often seen when migrating to breeding ponds in early spring. A 10 gallon aquarium stocked with damp sphagnum moss, a […]
Read more » Amphibians as Pets – Common Frogs, Toads and Salamanders of the USA

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Mexican Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum: Natural History – Part 2

[…]monstrosity”. I have written articles about axolotl relatives as well. Please see: The Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum – Part I and Part II Algae and Salamander Eggs – an odd partnership The abstract of an International Zoo Yearbook article detailing the use of the axolotl as a “flagship species” for […]
Read more » The Natural History and Captive Care of the Mexican Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum: Natural History – Part 2

Assassin Bugs – Captive Care and Notes on Spider-Hunting Assassins – Part 1

[…]in Captivity West Africa’s White-Spotted Assassin Bug (Platymeris biguttatus) and the Red-Spotted Assassin (P. rhadamanthus) of East Africa are the species most commonly offered for sale in the USA.  I’ll cover their care in Part 2 of this article. A number of North America’s many native species make fascinating terrarium subjects […]
Read more » Assassin Bugs – Captive Care and Notes on Spider-Hunting Assassins – Part 1

Assassin Bugs – Captive Care and a Spider-Hunting Assassin – Part 2

[…]insect screening over their terrariums to prevent escapes. Environment and Breeding Red and White-Spotted Assassins can be kept in large colonies.  They seem to prefer other insects to one-another as food…cannibalism is not a concern as long as they are well-fed and sprayed frequently with water.  Both are rainforest inhabitants, […]
Read more » Assassin Bugs – Captive Care and a Spider-Hunting Assassin – Part 2

Newt Toxins: Personal Observations and Interesting Facts – Part II

[…]general) and for additional newt-keeping observations. Tiny Newt vs. Giant Toad The familiar red-spotted or Eastern newt (Notopthalmus viridescens) is at its most toxic in the immature eft (land) stage, but the aquatic adults are none-the-less well protected. Decades ago, the mascot of an animal importer for whom I worked […]
Read more » Newt Toxins: Personal Observations and Interesting Facts – Part II

The Dwarf Chameleons – Notes on Captive Care and Natural History

[…]their value in improving your pets’ quality of life. Caterpillars, Snowy Tree crickets, Orange-spotted Roaches, Field Crickets Termites, Grasshoppers, Katydids, Sow Bugs and a wide variety of other invertebrates will also be consumed with great enthusiasm.  Houseflies are, in my opinion, vital when rearing young Dwarf Chameleons. Be sure to […]
Read more » The Dwarf Chameleons – Notes on Captive Care and Natural History

Feeding ReptoMin Select-A-Food to Aquatic Frogs, Turtles, Newts, Tadpoles and Shrimp

[…]of the diets of hatchling red-eared sliders and snapping turtles, and 30-40% of the diets of spotted, painted, musk, Asian box, Bornean pond and many other turtle species. Invertebrates Reptomin is eagerly accepted by crayfishes, fresh water shrimp and most aquatic snails, as well as a number of terrestrial invertebrates […]
Read more » Feeding ReptoMin Select-A-Food to Aquatic Frogs, Turtles, Newts, Tadpoles and Shrimp

Filtering Turtle Tanks – The Zoo Med Canister Filter and Submersible Models

Maintaining clean water is one of the biggest challenges facing aquatic turtle keepers.  Here at ThatPetPlace we stock a number of filters designed especially for use with turtles.  Most are submersible and will function even in very low water…one, the Turtle Cliff Filter, also doubles as a basking site and […]
Read more » Filtering Turtle Tanks – The Zoo Med Canister Filter and Submersible Models

The Red-Eyed Treefrog – Notes on Captive Care and Natural History

[…]under my care have accepted include “non-hairy” caterpillars, snowy tree crickets, tiny orange-spotted roaches, potato and other small beetles, field crickets and termites.  Houseflies are, in my opinion, nearly indispensible in the husbandry of these and other small treefrogs (please see article below). As regards crickets, use only ¼ to […]
Read more » The Red-Eyed Treefrog – Notes on Captive Care and Natural History

Rough and Smooth Green Snakes – Beautiful Insect-Eaters for Planted Terrariums – Part 2

[…]with potentially dangerous species. Other commercially available insects that can be tried include roach nymphs, waxworms, newly-molted (white) mealworms and super mealworms, butter worms and silkworms.  Canned silkworms may also offered via feeding tongs, but many Green Snakes are reluctant to feed in this manner. Green Snakes have high metabolisms […]
Read more » Rough and Smooth Green Snakes – Beautiful Insect-Eaters for Planted Terrariums – Part 2

Prepared Diets and Food Supplements for House Crickets – Product Review

[…]content) are based on the latest available research: Ziegler Monster High Calcium Cricket Food Orange Cube Cricket Food R-Zilla Gutload Cricket Supplement Dietary Supplements As has always been my practice, I add a bit of Tetra-Min Flake Fish Food to the commercial cricket foods.  Both are consumed ravenously, and the […]
Read more » Prepared Diets and Food Supplements for House Crickets – Product Review

An Introduction to Geckos

[…]regarded as good luck symbols. Some years back, a store in NYC even rented tokay geckos for use as roach-control agents. However, the males’ habit of calling loudly (“Tokay-Tokay!”) at 4 AM and their pugnacious dispositions rendered the scheme less-than-profitable! The ability of many geckos to climb sheer walls (even […]

Canned Insects and other Invertebrates – An Important New Food for Pet Reptiles and Amphibians

[…]Animals that normally consume non-living foods, such as box, musk, snapping, painted and spotted turtles, sharp-ribbed and fire-bellied newts and African clawed frogs, eagerly took most foods offered. I was also able to tong-feed the insects to several species of “live food only” amphibians, including horned frogs, green frogs, leopard […]
Read more » Canned Insects and other Invertebrates – An Important New Food for Pet Reptiles and Amphibians

Turtle Food: Pellets, Shrimp and other Prepared Diets

[…]Sidenecks, and Asian Box, Spotted and Painted Turtles, but is also useful for African Mud Turtles, Spotted Pond Turtles and others. I especially like the fact that it is available in both hatchling and adult formulas, with the levels of protein and other nutrients adjusted for each.   ReptiSticks This […]
Read more » Turtle Food: Pellets, Shrimp and other Prepared Diets

Conservationists Seek Public’s Help in Finding 100 Missing Amphibians

[…]of Congo and Rwanda, it has remained undetected since 1950. Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad This black-spotted, orange toad appears to have been killed off by Chytrid fungus infection, an emerging disease responsible for numerous extinctions.  It disappeared in 1995. Turkestanian Salamander This salamander is known from only 2 specimens, collected […]
Read more » Conservationists Seek Public’s Help in Finding 100 Missing Amphibians

Spring Field Trips: Amphibians, Reptiles, Invertebrates, Birds

[…]ponds in southern Westchester County, NY, where, if the weather and amphibian gods favor us, spotted salamanders, wood frogs and spring peepers can be observed breeding on the same night. As the large, vividly-colored Spotted Salamanders have always been favorites of mine, and are the most elusive of the “Big […]
Read more » Spring Field Trips: Amphibians, Reptiles, Invertebrates, Birds

Hunting the Huntsman – Keeping the Giant Crab or Huntsman Spider – Part 2

[…]run down their prey, and are quite ravenous.  I’ve observed youngsters being dragged about by roaches three times their size, and adults sometimes catch lizards and small bats. Huntsman Spiders are entirely arboreal and adapted to living upon flat surfaces, such as walls and tree trunks, as opposed to branches. […]
Read more » Hunting the Huntsman – Keeping the Giant Crab or Huntsman Spider – Part 2

Halloween Creatures – Orange Crabs, Ghost Frogs, Vampires, Goblins…

[…]a parrot-eating bat and the well-named Goblin Shark. Halloween Crab, Gecarcinus quadratus Bright orange color and brilliant “eye-spots” on a round carapace lend this crab a pumpkin-like appearance.  Highly terrestrial, it lives along forest edges from Mexico to southern South America, returning to the sea only to reproduce.  Studies have […]
Read more » Halloween Creatures – Orange Crabs, Ghost Frogs, Vampires, Goblins…

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Asian Flying Frog (Golden Treefrog)

[…]with shades of red, yellow or orange, while some specimens are nearly black.  The skin may be spotted, striped or plain in pattern – great fun breeding these fellows, as you never know what to expect in terms of the offspring’s appearances! Range Golden Treefrogs are extremely widespread throughout south […]
Read more » The Natural History and Captive Care of the Asian Flying Frog (Golden Treefrog)

The Eastern Newt – the Many Subspecies and Hybrids of a Poplar Pet – Part 1

[…]pass through a 1 to 3 year-long terrestrial stage, during which time they are known as Efts.  The orange or red Efts (please see photo) consume tiny crickets, blackworms, sow bugs, chopped earthworms, and whatever tiny invertebrates might be collected, but will not usually accept dry foods. Related Species, Subspecies […]
Read more » The Eastern Newt – the Many Subspecies and Hybrids of a Poplar Pet – Part 1

Breeding White’s Treefrogs and White-Lipped Treefrogs – Part 2

[…]White’s treefrogs usually feed vigorously, taking ¼ inch crickets, small waxworms, roach nymphs and similarly sized insects. If you are raising a large number of frogs, consider culturing flightless houseflies (available via biological supply houses). These insects are ideally sized, readily digestible and reproduce rapidly. The Zoo Med Bug Napper […]
Read more » Breeding White’s Treefrogs and White-Lipped Treefrogs – Part 2

The Natural History and Care of Newts – Japanese and Chinese Fire-bellied Newts

[…]been identified. The upper surface of this newt is dark brown to jet black and sometimes slightly spotted with red, while the abdomen is strikingly patterned in orange or deep red. The bright coloration serves to warn potential predators of the powerful skin toxins.  Toxin-containing paratoid glands, similar to those […]
Read more » The Natural History and Care of Newts – Japanese and Chinese Fire-bellied Newts

Garter Snakes in Captivity – Diet and Species Accounts – Part 4

[…]of NYC. The Eastern Garter Snake (T .s. sirtalis), exhibits the typical yellow-striped, black- spotted garter snake pattern.  Individuals vary widely, however…I’ve come across quite bland and nearly black individuals.  Exceptionally large specimens may approach 4 feet in length, but 24 inches is typical. Some common garter snake subspecies are […]
Read more » Garter Snakes in Captivity – Diet and Species Accounts – Part 4

Savu Python Care: Keeping One of the World’s Smallest Pythons

[…]undergo a radical color change with maturity, by which time most are dark brown and bear rusty-orange spots on the belly and sides. Some adults, however, are nearly black in coloration, while the scales of others retain an orange tinge.  Few adults exceed 5 feet in length, with most topping […]
Read more » Savu Python Care: Keeping One of the World’s Smallest Pythons

Breeding the Green and Gold Bell Frog and Welcoming its Extinct Relative – Part 2

[…]Part I of this article for the exciting story behind the “re-discovery” of Australia’s Gold-Spotted Bell Frog (Litoria castanea), which was assumed by herpetologists to have been  extinct since the 1970’s.  Today I’d like to discuss my experiences breeding a close relative that sometimes appears in the pet trade, the […]
Read more » Breeding the Green and Gold Bell Frog and Welcoming its Extinct Relative – Part 2

Leopard Geckos in the Wild – the Natural History of a Popular Pet

[…]movable eyelids.  The genus name means “true eyelid” while the species name translates as “spotted”.  In all other geckos, the eyelids are fused into an immobile, transparent cap known as the spectacle.  As in snakes, the eyes thus remain permanently open. Also unique is the Leopard Gecko’s lack of adhesive […]
Read more » Leopard Geckos in the Wild – the Natural History of a Popular Pet

The Best Diet for Captive Newts and Mexican Axolotls

[…]all those that one might encounter.  The following feeding recommendations can applied to Eastern Spotted, Ribbed, Japanese Fire-Bellied, Alpine, Paddle-Tailed, Crested and Marbled Newts, as well as to Mexican Axolotls.  With a bit of fine-tuning, other species can be accommodated as well…please write in if you need further information. Basic […]
Read more » The Best Diet for Captive Newts and Mexican Axolotls

Tarantulas: Are They The Right Pet for You?

[…]species, but the best long term results will be achieved by providing a varied menu which includes roaches, waxworms, silkworms, grasshoppers, earthworms and other invertebrates.   The “It Doesn’t Do Anything” Factor Ideally, the new tarantula owner will be interested in her or his pet for its own sake. But […]

My Frog’s Color is Fading! Diet Changes can Brighten Frog Colors

[…]Color: Why are Red Frogs Red? Pigments known as carotenoids are responsible for most of the orange, red and yellow coloration exhibited by frogs. Color is important not just from an aesthetic point of view (or a monetary one, for those who breed “designer frogs”!) but may also affect breeding […]
Read more » My Frog’s Color is Fading! Diet Changes can Brighten Frog Colors

The Black Ratsnake – Notes and Recent Classification Changes

[…]Keys vary greatly in appearance from northern populations, being various shades of yellow and orange in color instead of black. Formerly classified as distinct subspecies, known as Everglades ratsnakes and yellow ratsnakes – both also quite popular in the pet trade – they are now considered to be merely local […]
Read more » The Black Ratsnake – Notes and Recent Classification Changes

The Best Small Turtle Pets for Reptile Enthusiasts with Limited Space

[…]a smaller, more attractive and personable turtle pet! At an adult size of 3.5 – 4.5 inches, Spotted Turtles rank among the world’s smallest Chelonians.  They become as tame and confiding as any Slider, and will do fine on the Musk Turtle diet described earlier.  Some individuals will also take […]
Read more » The Best Small Turtle Pets for Reptile Enthusiasts with Limited Space

Hibernation/Brumation in Captive Bearded Dragons and other Reptiles and Amphibians: Request for Information

[…]reptiles and amphibians seems subject to a great many factors.  For example, I have noticed that spotted and Eastern box turtles, and other temperate North American species, vary greatly in this regard.  In captivity, wild-caught individuals usually slow down (activity and feeding) during the winter, even if kept warm and […]
Read more » Hibernation/Brumation in Captive Bearded Dragons and other Reptiles and Amphibians: Request for Information

Breeding the Great Crested Newt, Triturus cristatus – Part 1

[…]History The Crested Newt, which may reach 6.4 inches in length, is grayish to black above and orange with round black spots below.    Living a largely terrestrial existence for most of the year, both sexes enter breeding ponds in late winter or early spring.  At this point, the males’ […]
Read more » Breeding the Great Crested Newt, Triturus cristatus – Part 1

Inexpensive Homes for American Toads and Their Relatives

[…]Great Plains and Green Toads.  With a bit of modification, your set-up will also accommodate Red-Spotted, Colorado River and Marine Toads, and others with slightly different needs.  I’ll also mention money-saving alternatives to certain products, along with non-essential “extras” that can be added if you wish. Enclosure Toads spend their […]
Read more » Inexpensive Homes for American Toads and Their Relatives

Slider and other Semi-Aquatic Turtle Diets – Vegetables and Greens – Part 2

[…]little if any vegetation in their diets.  Chief among these are most of the Musk and Mud Turtles, Spotted Turtles, Diamondbacks and the various Softshells. Surprisingly, the Common Snapping Turtle, a voracious predator of animals ranging from tadpoles to ducks, also has distinct vegetarian leanings.  Their preferences seem to be […]
Read more » Slider and other Semi-Aquatic Turtle Diets – Vegetables and Greens – Part 2

Zoo Med’s Canned Freshwater Shrimp – an important new food reptile, amphibian, fish and invertebrate pets

[…]clawed), newts (eastern, marbled, ribbed), aquatic salamanders (sirens, axolotls) and turtles (spotted, painted, snapping, musk, mud). Tropical fish of all kinds also relish these shrimp, as do US natives such as Banded Sunfish and Tadpole Madtoms.  I have also fed them to other freshwater invertebrates, such as Bamboo Shrimp, African […]
Read more » Zoo Med’s Canned Freshwater Shrimp – an important new food reptile, amphibian, fish and invertebrate pets

Do Newts and Salamanders Make Good Pets? Five Points to Consider

[…]sow bugs.   Newts are simpler to feed than are terrestrial species, as nearly all (i.e. Red-Spotted, Crested, Paddle-tailed, Ribbed) will accept Zoo Med Aquatic Newt Food and Reptomin. These foods can anchor the diet, with live blackworms (sold in many pet stores as tropical fish food), guppies, chopped earthworms […]
Read more » Do Newts and Salamanders Make Good Pets? Five Points to Consider

Caring for Reptiles and Amphibians: Useful Foods, Medications and other Products from the Aquarium Trade – Introduction and Feeding Accessories

[…]came upon the idea of using the Cone Worm Feeder many years ago when raising axolotl and red-spotted newt larvae.  I fed them largely upon live blackworms, which always clump together, even when finely chopped.  I found that larvae of both species sometimes choked to death while trying to swallow […]
Read more » Caring for Reptiles and Amphibians: Useful Foods, Medications and other Products from the Aquarium Trade – Introduction and Feeding Accessories

Mazuri High Calcium Cricket Diet and Other Foods for Feeder Crickets

[…]additional nutrients.  I also offered this product (mixed with tropical fish flakes) to hissing roaches, earthworms, sow bugs, field crickets and earwigs, and was pleased to see that each consumed it with gusto. Other Cricket Diets and Water Sources House Crickets require a water source, but unlike many related species, […]
Read more » Mazuri High Calcium Cricket Diet and Other Foods for Feeder Crickets

Turtles Have Shells But They Still Need a Place to Hide! – Part 1

[…]top of the platform and tank’s wall form a nice underwater cave readily used by young painted, spotted, mud and other turtles. Next time we’ll take a look at a few species that have special needs, and I’ll add a note about an old turtle of mine that hides within […]
Read more » Turtles Have Shells But They Still Need a Place to Hide! – Part 1

Introducing the Nosy Be Gecko (aka Spearpoint Leaf-tailed Gecko), Part 1

[…]at some of \this lizard’s interesting relatives. Description The Nosy Be Gecko is tan, gray, orange-brown or dark brown in color, with a reticulating dark pattern, skin projections and a short, pointed tail; the over-all appearance is remarkably similar to that of a decaying leaf. At 2-4 inches in length, […]
Read more » Introducing the Nosy Be Gecko (aka Spearpoint Leaf-tailed Gecko), Part 1

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Pickerel Frog

[…]in color and is marked with parallel rows of “almost square” black spots; a bright yellow or orange patch is present on the inner thighs.  Pickerel frogs grow to a length of 2-3.5 inches and are slender in build. Range Found throughout much of eastern North America, from Nova Scotia […]
Read more » The Natural History and Captive Care of the Pickerel Frog

New Edition of Newts and Salamanders, A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual, is Published

[…]of the newts and salamanders that are discussed at length: Eastern Newt Mexican Axolotl Olm Tiger, Spotted and Marbled Salamanders Hellbender Lesser and Dwarf Siren Red-Backed Salamander Mudpuppy Fire Salamander One, Two and Three Toed Amphiumas California Newt Fire Bellied Newt Dusky Salamander Spanish Ribbed Newt Northern Red Salamander   […]
Read more » New Edition of Newts and Salamanders, A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual, is Published

The Keeled Box Turtle – a Hardy Species in Need of Captive Breeding – Part 2

[…]of 82F.  The carapace of the hatchlings, attractively marked in dark brown with a bright orange rim, is 1.4-1.6 inches long. Diet Keeled Box Turtles are reported to feed upon plants and fruits in the wild, but, judging from observations of captive animals, they likely consume carrion, insects, snails and […]
Read more » The Keeled Box Turtle – a Hardy Species in Need of Captive Breeding – Part 2

Breeding the Rosy Boa

[…]creamy specimen that emerged as darkness fell on the desert in Baja, Mexico and a pink and orange clad individual in Southern California. Reproduction Maxing out at 40 inches in length, these stout constrictors are more easily accommodated than most related species.  Temperatures of 78-85F, with a warmer basking spot […]

Why Do We Need Insects? – Some Amazing Facts and Figures

[…]Flies and Termites (Its True!) Say “insect pest” to most urbanites and the word “cockroach” comes to mind. Yet only 12 of the 4,500+ known species – or 0.3% – are household pests. The rest are important pollinators, decomposers, predators, and prey. Roach research has led to advances in understanding […]
Read more » Why Do We Need Insects? – Some Amazing Facts and Figures

Asian Leaf Turtle Care and Conservation: A Zookeeper’s Thoughts

[…]from southern China and forwarded to Florida (please see article linked below). Included among the Spotted Pond Turtles, Painted Terrapins, Spiny Turtles were a great many Asian Leaf Turtles (Cyclemys dentata). This impressive turtle had been a great favorite of mine ever since we first crossed paths decades earlier, during […]
Read more » Asian Leaf Turtle Care and Conservation: A Zookeeper’s Thoughts

Methylene Blue as a Treatment Option for Fungal, Protozoan and Bacterial Infections in Frogs and Salamanders: Amphibian Health

[…]in private and public collections for a range of amphibians, including Argentine horned frogs, spotted salamanders and Surinam toads.  It has been successful against fungus (most likely Saprolegnia) and certain bacteria associated with wounds and “red leg”.  I’ve had mixed success in using it to combat fungus on amphibian eggs […]
Read more » Methylene Blue as a Treatment Option for Fungal, Protozoan and Bacterial Infections in Frogs and Salamanders: Amphibian Health

Bird Aviaries as Outdoor Homes for Reptiles and Amphibians

[…]in the form of wild invertebrates. My first crude outdoor pen, populated by green frogs and spotted turtles, provided, even to an unskilled 10-year-old, a first peek at herp reproduction and hibernation. An outdoor aviary equipped with a can provide a lifetime of enjoyment….if you focus on native species, your […]
Read more » Bird Aviaries as Outdoor Homes for Reptiles and Amphibians

The Natural History of the Ball Python, Python regius: Ball Pythons in the Wild

[…]and marked with numerous, generally oblong blotches of tan, light brown, reddish-brown or yellow-orange.  The color of wild specimens varies tremendously among different populations, with pied and even albino individuals reportedly being encountered more frequently than is usual among other snake species.  This may account for the ease in which […]
Read more » The Natural History of the Ball Python, Python regius: Ball Pythons in the Wild

What Do Leopard Geckos Eat? – An Ideal Diet Based on Zoo Research

[…]of your pet’s diet, you should also include as many of the following as possible:   Orange-Spotted and other Roaches Sow or Potato Bugs (terrestrial crustaceans) Flightless Houseflies Butter Worms (moth caterpillars from Chile) Calci or Phoenix Worms (Black Soldier Fly larvae) Silkworms Tomato Hornworms Small Locusts (not sold in […]
Read more » What Do Leopard Geckos Eat? – An Ideal Diet Based on Zoo Research

Why Do My Crickets Keep Dying?

We all love our reptiles, but most of us loathe their lunch. Many reptiles that we commonly keep as pets are insectivores, and the most commonly available feeder insect is the domestic cricket. Yes, you read that correctly, “domestic.” Scientifically referred to as Acheta domesticus, the type of crickets sold […]

Interesting Facts and the Care of the Senegal Chameleon

[…]Chamaeleo senegalensis Hailing from tropical West Africa (Senegal to Cameroon), this dark-spotted, tan to olive chameleon inhabits brushy savannas and forest edges.  Often abundant and easy to collect, it has long been a pet trade staple. Some Cautions Despite its long history in captivity, the Senegal does not breed regularly, […]
Read more » Interesting Facts and the Care of the Senegal Chameleon

A Most Unusual Lizard – the Crocodile, Armored or Casque-headed Skink

[…]of thick, pointed scales line the back.  Its color is dark brown to black, with a striking red or orange area about the eye.  Crocodile Skinks average 6.5-7.8 inches in length. Range The Crocodile Skink is found only in Papua New Guinea and on the nearby Admiralty Islands.  One additional […]
Read more » A Most Unusual Lizard – the Crocodile, Armored or Casque-headed Skink

Amphibian Breeding Migrations – Protecting a Spectacular Rite of Spring – Part 2

In Part I of this article I wrote about the huge numbers of Spotted Salamanders, Spring Peepers, Tiger Salamanders, Wood Frogs and other amphibians that are right now (March/April, 2010) approaching and entering their breeding ponds.  Today I’ll highlight some important programs that you can become involved in if you […]
Read more » Amphibian Breeding Migrations – Protecting a Spectacular Rite of Spring – Part 2

The World’s Most Colorful Snake: 100 Flower Rat Snake Care

[…]variety of blotches, which vary in color from rust-red to black, mark the body.  Areas of red or orange usually adorn the head, and re-appear along the lower third of the body.  The jet black eye is encircled by brilliant orange.   Individual 100 Flower Snakes exhibit a mind-boggling array […]
Read more » The World’s Most Colorful Snake: 100 Flower Rat Snake Care

Cricket Care and Breeding – Keeping Your Live Food Alive

[…]option is to use fruits and vegetables, which also provide valuable nutrients, as a water source. Oranges are particularly good in this regard. If orange pieces dry out quickly, try cutting several “entry holes” into an intact orange to slow the drying process. Daily Care and Maintenance Daily chores include checking […]
Read more » Cricket Care and Breeding – Keeping Your Live Food Alive

Live Bloodworms – An Important Food for Small Amphibians and Their Larvae

[…](Hymenochirus spp.), small African Clawed Frogs (Xenopus spp.), young Surinam Toads and Eastern Spotted and similarly-sized newts.  When placed in a small dish with a tiny bit of water, they are sometimes taken by Marbled, Red-Backed and other terrestrial salamanders. Freeze dried and frozen Bloodworms offer a convenient means of […]
Read more » Live Bloodworms – An Important Food for Small Amphibians and Their Larvae

Introducing the Nosy Be Gecko (or Spearpoint Leaf-Tailed Gecko) – Part 2

Please see Part 1 of this article for information on an interesting newcomer to the pet trade, the Nosy Be Gecko (Uroplatus ebenaui).  Today we’ll take a look at some related species and the gecko family in general. Other Geckos in the Genus Uroplatus All 12 species that have been […]
Read more » Introducing the Nosy Be Gecko (or Spearpoint Leaf-Tailed Gecko) – Part 2

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Frilled Dragon or Frillneck Lizard, Chlamydosaurus kingii – Part I, Frilled Dragons in the Wild

[…]fascinating animals in captivity. Physical Description The body color ranges from grayish through orange-brown to nearly black, often with dark variegations along the sides, and usually matches the color of local tree trunks.  The inner surface of the frill (the large skin fold about the neck) is shaded in yellow, […]
Read more » The Natural History and Captive Care of the Frilled Dragon or Frillneck Lizard, Chlamydosaurus kingii – Part I, Frilled Dragons in the Wild

Multicolored Rainbow Toad, “Missing” since 1924, is Found in Borneo

[…]one of the 10 species granted highest priority (the Ten Most Wanted) had turned up – Ecuador’s Spotted Stubfoot Toad, Atelopus balios.  However, a 3-month-long search of the Gung Penrisser Mountains in Sarawak, western Borneo, revealed that the Rainbow Toad is still with us. Finding a Long-Lost Amphibian Prominent herpetologist […]
Read more » Multicolored Rainbow Toad, “Missing” since 1924, is Found in Borneo

New Species Found: Colorful “Bug-Eyed” Aquatic Frog May be in Trouble

[…]in my mind, to those of the more familiar Buddget’s Frog) and a beautiful, bright yellow to orange abdomen.   The only known population occupies a narrow stream of the Huaytara River, located in a valley on the Pacific slope of the Peruvian Andes. Herpetologists were surprised by its discovery […]
Read more » New Species Found: Colorful “Bug-Eyed” Aquatic Frog May be in Trouble

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Mexican Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum: Natural History – Part 1

[…]such well known species as the tiger salamander (A. tigrinum), marbled salamander (A. opacum), spotted salamander (A. maculatum) and Pacific giant salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus). Physical Description The Mexican axolotl is stoutly built and reaches 9-12 inches in length. The head bears large, bushy red gills and the laterally compressed tail […]
Read more » The Natural History and Captive Care of the Mexican Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum: Natural History – Part 1

Lizard Societies – Great Desert Skink Families Build Communal Homes

[…]much like the familiar Blue-Tongued Skink (please see photo) and sports rust to burnt-orange coloration that closely matches the red sands in which it lives; its Aboriginal name, Mulyamiji, means “red nose”.  The diet is comprised largely of beetles, spiders and other invertebrates, with termites being an important food source […]
Read more » Lizard Societies – Great Desert Skink Families Build Communal Homes

Rosy Boa and Sand Boa Captive Care and Natural History

[…]Three subspecies are known. Many are blue-gray and attractively marked with 3 stripes of pinkish-orange or reddish brown, but natural variations are seemingly endless.  Several individuals that I encountered while studying insects in Baja California, Mexico stand out as being among the most beautiful snakes I’ve seen.  A number of […]
Read more » Rosy Boa and Sand Boa Captive Care and Natural History

Tokay Gecko Care, Feeding and Terrarium Design

[…]Some years ago a pet store in Manhattan began renting them to customers as a form of “natural” roach control.  However, their habit of vocalizing in the wee hours of the morning doomed the scheme to failure. Nocturnal and highly arboreal, Tokay Geckos are stoutly built.  Males may reach 12-14 […]
Read more » Tokay Gecko Care, Feeding and Terrarium Design

A Nearly Perfect Reptile and Amphibian Food: Rearing and Using Earthworms

[…]Vitamins E and A, for many vertebrate species. A Valuable Food for Many Pets I have raised spotted and red salamanders and green, bronze and leopard frogs from metamorphosis through adulthood on an earthworm-only diet, and use them for 50-75% of the diets of many other amphibians.  Although refused by […]
Read more » A Nearly Perfect Reptile and Amphibian Food: Rearing and Using Earthworms

The Painted Turtle – Notes on Captive Care and Natural History

[…]in other countries certainly hold it in high esteem.  Unlike most turtles, the brilliant red, orange and yellow highlights do not fade with age – some of mine even appeared to intensify as time when on! I consider the Painted Turtle a much better choice as a pet than the […]
Read more » The Painted Turtle – Notes on Captive Care and Natural History

Albino and Leucistic American Bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana (Lithobates catesbeianus): a Request for Your Input

[…]creatures that might need a bit of help exiting the water.  I’ve also used this model for a spotted turtle that lost his rear legs in an accident…the gentle slope allows him to easily climb on board. In most situations, I prefer suspended platforms to rock piles, as the former […]
Read more » Albino and Leucistic American Bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana (Lithobates catesbeianus): a Request for Your Input

Breeding Brazilian, Columbian and other Rainbow Boas in Captivity

[…]much of Central and South America (Panama to Northern Argentina). Black rings on a rich red-orange background mark the most highly desirable of these, the Brazilian Rainbow Boa (E. c. cenchria).  The somewhat duller but still attractive Columbian Rainbow Boa (E. c. maurus) is more commonly available.  Both of these […]
Read more » Breeding Brazilian, Columbian and other Rainbow Boas in Captivity

Introducing the Fire Salamander, Salamandra salamandra: The Most “Personable” of All Amphibians?

[…]eagerly anticipate regular feeding times.  Typically colored jet-black and mottled with bright orange or yellow, one subspecies, Salamandra salamandra fastuosa is largely bright yellow with bold black lines going down the body, legs, and tail (please see photo). The many fire salamanders I have kept would, without exception, leave their […]
Read more » Introducing the Fire Salamander, Salamandra salamandra: The Most “Personable” of All Amphibians?

Reptiles and Amphibians in Outdoor Pens or Ponds: Preparing for Winter

[…]had success in overwintering some aquatic species outdoors (i.e. Sliders, Snappers, Musk, Mud, Spotted and Painted Turtles, Green and Bullfrogs, Northern Watersnakes) but my best results were in large outdoor zoo exhibits rather than backyard ponds.   In both my pens and natural situations, I was several times surprised to […]
Read more » Reptiles and Amphibians in Outdoor Pens or Ponds: Preparing for Winter

Recent Field Research – Reptile and Amphibian Feeding Observations

[…]murinus, in Venezuela.  Other notable Anaconda meals include a Red-Footed Tortoise and a Yellow-Spotted Side-Necked Turtle (please see article below for details and other observations).  However, when viewed in terms of predator vs. prey mass, the Hog-nosed Snake meals mentioned above are the largest I know of. Aquatic Surprises Most […]
Read more » Recent Field Research – Reptile and Amphibian Feeding Observations

The Natural History and Captive Care of Newts – Part 1

[…]natural history and husbandry, and in part 2 I’ll cover individual species such as Eastern Red-Spotted, Fire-Bellied and California Newts. Newt or Salamander? The terms Newt and Salamander are used interchangeably, with Newt usually being applied to semi-aquatic animals within the family Salamandridae.  The 79+ species in this family dwell in the […]
Read more » The Natural History and Captive Care of Newts – Part 1

Frog Diets: Supplement Raises Poison Frog Egg Output & Tadpole Survival

[…]Function and Sources Various plant pigments known as carotenoids are responsible for the yellow-orange color of egg yolks and skin among a huge array of animals. They also play a role in neonatal health, benefit the immune system by acting as antioxidants and function in the reproductive system. Animals cannot […]
Read more » Frog Diets: Supplement Raises Poison Frog Egg Output & Tadpole Survival

Keeping and Breeding Blue Tongue/Blue-tongued Skinks – Part 1

[…]and T. scincoides) are well established in the trade and relatively hardy (captive longevity approaches 30 years) in captivity.  Inquisitive, handle-able and with easily met dietary requirements (live insects not needed!), Blue Tongues are becoming ever more popular among lizard fanciers. Which Skink is Which? Blue Tongue Skink taxonomy is […]
Read more » Keeping and Breeding Blue Tongue/Blue-tongued Skinks – Part 1

Choosing the Ideal Substrate for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates – Part 2

[…]but please see the note at the beginning of this article. Sands of gold, black, white, mauve, orange and other colors allow one to mimic specific habitats when setting up terrariums.     Further Reading Please see my article Substrates for Animals Prone to Intestinal Blockages for more on this […]
Read more » Choosing the Ideal Substrate for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates – Part 2

Caring for Reptiles and Amphibians: Useful Products from the Aquarium Trade – Using Frozen and other Foods for Turtles, Aquatic Salamanders and Tadpoles – Part 1

[…]red-headed side-necked turtles, midland painted turtles, axolotls, tiger salamander larvae, red-spotted newts, sharp-ribbed newts, African clawed frogs and many others…with fine results in each case.  I heartily recommend that you include krill as part of the diets of your aquatic reptile and amphibian pets. Frozen Foods for Large and Small […]
Read more » Caring for Reptiles and Amphibians: Useful Products from the Aquarium Trade – Using Frozen and other Foods for Turtles, Aquatic Salamanders and Tadpoles – Part 1

Tales of Giant Centipedes – Bat-Stalkers, Escapees and Words of Caution – Part 2

[…]and other hefty prey items, but captives fare well on a diet comprised of earthworms, crickets, roaches and other invertebrates.    In properly-designed displays under night-simulating lighting, centipedes are fascinating to observe, but they are not well-suited to private collections (please see below). Centipedes in the Pet Trade I do […]
Read more » Tales of Giant Centipedes – Bat-Stalkers, Escapees and Words of Caution – Part 2

Paradise and Ornate Flying Snakes – New Research and Notes on Captive Care

[…]exhibiting rich and complicated patterns and hues of blue, green, black and, in some, red and orange. Captive Care Flying Snakes are rear-fanged and produce mild venom.  The venom affects only the animals upon which they feed, and is not considered dangerous to people, but care should be exercised by […]
Read more » Paradise and Ornate Flying Snakes – New Research and Notes on Captive Care

Monitor Lizards as Pets: Dumeril Monitor Care and Natural History

[…]sports a “typical” monitor build and averages 3-4 feet in length, with some individuals approaching 5 feet. Hatchlings and very young individuals are brilliantly clad in black and orange. Adults are attractively-marked in various shades of brown and tan. Extremely sharp claws (even by monitor standards!) assist it in climbing. […]
Read more » Monitor Lizards as Pets: Dumeril Monitor Care and Natural History

The Natural History of the Red-Tailed Ratsnake

[…]are common in Java, and yellow specimens are known from Thailand and the Philippines.  Orange and yellow/black speckled strains are being selectively-bred in the pet trade. Red-tailed ratsnakes average 5 feet in length, with rare individuals reaching 7.5 feet.  Females are generally longer and stouter than males. Range Red-tailed ratsnakes […]
Read more » The Natural History of the Red-Tailed Ratsnake

Choosing the Ideal Substrate for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates – Part 1

[…]the likelihood of ingestion. Moisture Retention: in some instances, such as where Poison Frogs or Spotted Salamanders are being kept, we will want a substrate that retains water and remains moist.  At the other extreme, reptiles adapted to arid habitats, such as Leopard Tortoises and Horned Lizards, are usually susceptible […]
Read more » Choosing the Ideal Substrate for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates – Part 1

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Brazilian Rainbow Boa

[…]5 feet in length, with exceptional individuals nearing 7 feet.  They vary in color from red to orange/mahogany-brown, and are patterned with dark lateral rings and spots.  In sunlight, the colors are brilliantly iridescent. Range   The most commonly available subspecies, E. c. cenchria, is found from southern Venezuela, Guyana […]
Read more » The Natural History and Captive Care of the Brazilian Rainbow Boa

Endangered Species Notes: Missing Frogs Found, Others Feared Extinct

[…]Simpsons TV show, the Monty Burns Toad had been hidden away in Columbia. Another surprise, a neon-orange Dart Poison Frog found in Panama, measures only 12.7 mm in length – the smallest among a huge array of tiny relatives. My favorites are the 14 species of Dancing Frogs recently found […]
Read more » Endangered Species Notes: Missing Frogs Found, Others Feared Extinct

Houseflies and Maggots as Food for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates

[…]and was soon happily involved in fly-farming (I fed them moist dog biscuits, evaporated milk and orange juice, instead of the less-agreeable foods they preferred!). Food and Exercise in One Houseflies can be a vital source of dietary variety for smaller herps that need soft bodied prey.  They are especially […]
Read more » Houseflies and Maggots as Food for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates

Round Island Boa Reintroduction – Back in Wild after a 150-Year Absence

[…]1975 and is presumed extinct. The Round Island Boa is oviparous, and changes in color from bright orange to grayish-brown as it matures.  There are some indications that females remain with their eggs for a time.  Unique scalation lends the alternative common name of Keel-scaled Boa.  Juveniles and some adults […]
Read more » Round Island Boa Reintroduction – Back in Wild after a 150-Year Absence

Chameleon Care Tips from a Herpetologist – Panther Chameleons as Pets

[…]Some can change to pure yellow or burnt-orange, and the eye turrets may flash green, orange, red and other colors. Range The eastern and northwestern coasts of Madagascar; Reunion and other nearby islands. Habitat In contrast to most chameleons, Panthers thrive in a variety of habitats, with some populations dwelling […]
Read more » Chameleon Care Tips from a Herpetologist – Panther Chameleons as Pets

The Best Filters for Red-Eared Sliders and other Aquatic Turtles

[…]should be used, so be sure to research these topics before making your selection.  For example, Spotted Turtles will be stressed by fast currents, Soft-shelled Turtles will kick sand about and dislodge intake tubes, the carapaces of Pig-Nosed Turtles are prone to bacterial attack in highly-oxygenated waters, and so on.  […]
Read more » The Best Filters for Red-Eared Sliders and other Aquatic Turtles

Crickets and Carotenoids – Study Examines Cricket Nutrient Levels

[…]than other species. Like the other popular crickets, it breeds year-round when kept warm. The Two-Spotted or Mediterranean Field Cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, resembles G. veletis and some other American Field Crickets, but is larger and “meatier” (please see photo). However, it is equipped with powerful mandibles, so caution is warranted. […]
Read more » Crickets and Carotenoids – Study Examines Cricket Nutrient Levels

Butterworms as Reptile-Amphibian Food: Nutritional Content and Care

[…]on par with that of crickets, phoenix worms and waxworms, and below that provided by silkworms and roaches. Fat content stands at 5.21%, which is less than (considerably so, in many cases) that of all other commonly-used feeders.   Please Note: The nutritional needs of reptiles and amphibians vary by […]
Read more » Butterworms as Reptile-Amphibian Food: Nutritional Content and Care

Day Gecko Care – Terrarium Set Up and the Best Supplies

[…]have climbing opportunities.  “High-style” aquariums make fine homes.  A pair or trio of Spotted, Yellow-Throated or other small species can be kept in a 15-20 gallon aquarium.  A 30-55 gallon tank will accommodate the same number of Standing’s, Madagascar or Giant Day Geckos.  Always opt for the largest terrarium possible. […]
Read more » Day Gecko Care – Terrarium Set Up and the Best Supplies

New Species of 2014: Fantastic Reptiles, Amphibians and Pterosaurs

[…]relative was something of a surprise.   Geminis’ Poison Frog is clad in “screaming” orange-red, similar to the related species pictured here, but without the areas of black coloration. It is known only from Panama’s Rio Belan Basin, where it seems limited to elevated sand ridges within rainforests. This unique […]
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Amphibian Medicine – Cold “Resurrects” Hellbender and Sick Frogs

[…]On Long Island, NY, Eastern Tiger Salamanders may migrate to breeding ponds in February, and Spotted and Alpine Salamanders will cross snow for the same purpose.  Wood Frogs occur within the Arctic Circle, and I’ve found Gray Tree Frogs hibernating beneath a mere 2” of leaf litter in NYC.  Several […]
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Giant Snapping Turtles – Size Records from a Survey of 84,000 Turtles

[…]in the incidental capture of rare and endangered species such as Wood, Bog, Blanding’s and Spotted Turtles. In the mid 1990’s, I spearheaded a project that sought to document mercury levels in Florida Soft-shell Turtles offered for sale in NYC food markets.  Dangerous levels were found, but red tape and […]
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Aggression in Male Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) and Nesting Behavior in Females: the Effects of Hormonal Changes and the Breeding Season

[…]changing their behavior. Males in breeding condition may exhibit a deepening of coloration in the orange-tinted areas of the head and body, and may head-bob and erect their crests.  Waxy secretions are usually present along the femoral pores, and dried semen is often found in their cages.  However, these changes […]
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Emerald Tree Boas in the Wild – Applying Natural History to Pet Care

[…]offers camouflage among flowering bushes and sunlit foliage.  The juvenile coloration of reddish orange or various shades of brown becomes green-flecked by age 4 months.  Highly arboreal, Emerald Tree Boas rarely descend to the ground. Diet Emerald Tree Boas are nocturnal ambush predators, relying upon sight and sensory pits (labial […]
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Pet Toads: Best Choices for Kids or First Time Pet Owners

[…]by zoos and hobbyists alike. Some of my favorite US natives include the Narrow-Mouthed, Red-Spotted, Spadefoot, Sonoran Green and Marine Toads.   Handling Toads learn very quickly where their meals lie, and will soon greet you as you approach their terrarium. They will even clamber up onto your hand to […]
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Geckos in the Terrarium – Feeding Day Geckos

[…]The information can be applied to most species, including Standing’s, Gold Dust, Giant, Spotted, Lined and Peacock Day Geckos.  However, details will vary.  Please post below for information on individual species. Natural History Madagascar is the center of Day Gecko diversity, but several species inhabit the Andaman, Comoros, and Round […]
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The Monitor Lizards (Family Varanidae) – Family Overview and Species Accounts; – Some Interesting Monitors and Their Care – Part II

[…]have a quite high metabolism, and does best when fed small meals every 3-4 days. Blue Tree or Blue-Spotted Tree Monitor, Varanus macraei This strikingly colored lizard only appeared in zoos in the late 1990’s, and was not named as a distinct species until 2001. Never-the-less, beauty and small size […]
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Rainbow Snake Care: Keeping a Colorful but Difficult Aquatic Snake

[…]me in my tracks. Vivid red and yellow stripes line the blue-black body, while the underside is orange to red in color.   Smooth, glossy scales add to the brilliance of these colors. The tail’s terminal scale is hard and somewhat sharp, leading some to mistakenly believe that the Rainbow Snake […]
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Choosing the Best Turtle Filters: 10 Vital Points

[…]that require mere seconds to maintain, such as the Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter.   Current Spotted, Bog and other turtles adapted to slow-moving water bodies cannot abide strong currents in their aquarium; the same is true for hatchlings of nearly all species. An overly-powerful filter outflow can even be a […]
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Rosy Boa or Colombian Red-Tailed Boa? Choosing the Best Snake Pet

[…]longevity for a Rosy Boa is 29+ years (living at time of publication), and many captives approach and exceed age 20.   Breeding Potential Both species breed reliably, and make an excellent introduction to this fascinating aspect of reptile-keeping. I especially like the fact that they bear live young, doing […]
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Snake Hunting with Romulus Whitaker – Learning from the Master

[…]a dry spell in mid-July, was the discovery of Dusky, Red-Backed and Slimy Salamanders, and Eastern Spotted Newts. A number of interesting spiders rounded out the day. (Note: all animals were released). Wonderful Encounters, Near and Far I’m rarely superstitious, but I believe that the man was truly charmed! It […]
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Reptile and Amphibian Conservation in the USA – 2012 Update

[…]see above).  Among these are many unique endemics, including the Arizona Treefrog, Colorado Spotted Frog, Black Warrior Mudpuppy and Austin Blind Salamander. Please see this article for further information. Tiger Salamander larvae are still used (live!) as fishing bait in some states. In addition to decimating populations, the bait trade has […]
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The Natural History and Captive Care of the Green and Black Poison Frog

[…]surface is brilliant green on a black background, and the stomach is mottled with yellow, blue or orange.  There are, however, at least 25 different color phases, with background colors ranging from nearly white to blue-green.  Pattern varies greatly as well, and may be in the form of wide or […]
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Indian Sand Boa Care: Keeping the World’s Largest Sand Boa

[…]4 months. Due to their large size (nearly 1/3 that of the mother) and unique coloration (orange with black rings) newborn Indian Sand Boas command high prices.   Unlike the young of other sand boas, they are large enough to take pinkies, and rarely “demand” lizards as food.   Temperament […]
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Small Pet Turtles: Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle Care

[…]each marginal scute (scale) is pointed and flared upwards. The carapace ranges from dark to rich orange-brown in coloration, and the plastron is black with a yellow border. Adults top out at a mere 4-5 inches in length.   Leaf Turtle Natural History The Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle ranges from southern […]
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New Reptile and Amphibian Species in 2013

[…]of the male is marked with brilliant yellow or white blotches, and the throat is bright reddish-orange or golden in color. The tiny, aptly-named Thimble Frog, Allobates amissibilis, is found only on central Guyana’s Wokrama Mountains.  Planned tourist facilities may threaten its future survival. Urban Lizards California’s legless lizard diversity […]

The Corn Snake and its Relatives – Natural History and Captive Care

[…]where they range from southern New Jersey to Florida and Texas.  Background colors may be red, orange, yellow or gray, and most are marked with red, brown or gray blotches.  Hybridization with related species and subspecies occurs where ranges overlap. Corn Snakes frequent forest edges, overgrown fields and farms, and […]
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Frog Reproduction Made Simple – Breeding Fire-Bellied Toads

[…]for instructions on creating a simple rain chamber. Yellow-Bellied Toads sometimes exhibit an orange or red stomach; such individuals are difficult to distinguish from European Fire-Bellied Toads.  Check the fingers on the front limbs – those of the European Fire Belly have tiny webs; the Yellow-Bellied Toad’s fingers are not […]
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North America’s Colorful, Venomous Lizard – The Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum

[…]bead-like in appearance.  The body is marked in widely varying patterns of pink, black yellow and orange blotches.   The blunt tail serves as a food-storage vessel – during lean times it may lose 20% or more of its mass.  Adult size ranges from 9 to 24 inches. Range Two subspecies, […]
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The Natural History and Taxonomy of the Blue Poison Frog, Dendrobates azureus (tinctorius)

[…]cannot convey the over-all effect of the startling mix of colors. The body and head are sky-blue spotted with black, while the arms and legs are a brilliant dark blue. Males have wider front foot toe pads than do females, and are a bit thinner in build. Otherwise, the sexes […]
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2012’s New Reptile and Amphibian Species – Snakes, Frogs and Lizards, Which is Your Favorite?

[…]look, however, herpetologists realized that the colorful creature was an undescribed species. The Orange-Flanked Rainbow Skink, C. rubigo, was first collected in the arid scrub and open woodlands of eastern-central Queensland. The Whitsunday Rainbow Skink, C. inconnera, is limited in range to 4 small offshore islands. Formerly considered to be […]
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Reptiles, Amphibians, Tarantulas among “World’s 100 Rarest Species”

[…]in keeping these amazing animals when they first appeared in the USA.  Brilliantly clad in black, orange and white, Luristan Newts were an immediate hit among private hobbyists, and captive breeding followed. But they face severe threats in the wild. Native to only 3 streams in Iran, dams, introduced fish, […]
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Tarantulas in Captivity – An Overview of Popular Species, Part I

[…]an adult mouse, but such is not recommended as food (dead mice are accepted). They fare well on roaches, earthworms, crickets and wild-caught insects such as grasshoppers and katydids. Mexican Red Knee Tarantula, Brachypelma smithi Quite different from the goliath in color, temperament and captive needs, the red knee is […]
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Vampire Crab Care: 2 New Land Crab Species Found Among Pet Trade Animals

[…]Geosesarma hagen and G. dennerle. Individuals vary in coloration, but in general they are bright orange and deep purple with cream blotches, respectively. Others I’ve kept, which exhibited similar lifestyles, sported shocking yellow eyes, brilliant red claws, and jet black carapace borders.   Land Crab Diversity As crab enthusiasts know, […]
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Captive Care of Latin American Ratsnakes – The Tiger Ratsnake

[…]color and pattern, but whether lemon-yellow with indigo-blue blotches or solid black speckled with orange, they are always stunning. Natural History The Tiger Ratsnake may be found from southern Mexico through Central America and across much of South America to northern Argentina. It also occupies Trinidad and Tobago. Five subspecies […]
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Cold Weather Tips for Reptile, Amphibian & Invertebrate Owners

[…](or hot summers), you may wish to tailor your collection accordingly.  For example, axolotls, spotted and slimy salamanders, wood frogs and many other temperate zone amphibians are quite content at 55 F (fire salamanders that I attempted to chill down remained active at 40 F), but many do poorly when […]
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The Natural History and Captive Care of the Black (Eastern) Ratsnake, Elaphe (obsoleta) alleghaniensis

[…]Keys vary greatly in appearance from northern specimens, being various shades of yellow and orange in color. Formerly classified as distinct subspecies, known as the Everglades’s ratsnake and yellow ratsnake (both popular in the pet trade), they are now considered to be local color variations of the black ratsnake. Range […]
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Amphibians as Pets: Care of Common and Unusual Types of Toads

[…]US natives that deserve more attention include the gorgeous desert-dwelling Sonoran Green and Red-Spotted Toads, the minute Narrow-Mouthed Toads and the subterranean, gnome-like Spadefoots.   The toad family contains the only live-bearing Anurans (Nectophrynoides and Nimdaphrynoides spp.)   One of these, the Kihansi Spray Toad, was declared extinct in the wild […]
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How to Care for American Wood Turtles (with Notes on Natural History)

[…]intelligent of all turtles.  Add to this a beautifully-sculpted carapace and brick-red to bright orange/yellow skin, and it becomes easy to understand their popularity among turtle enthusiasts.  The following information will enable you to meet their unique needs…please post any questions you may have, and be sure to share your […]
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Pet Newts: Spanish Ribbed Newt Care and Breeding

[…]in color, but some exhibit yellow or green hues, while others are nearly black. Rows of yellow to orange “warts” (poison glands) line the upper edge of the body. Amazingly, distressed individuals will contract their bodies and force the ribs right through the back’s skin, directly over these glands. The […]
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Pet Turtles: Ornate Wood Turtle Care and Breeding

[…]clad in subdued-to-vivid red and yellow blotches and eye-spots, and a complex pattern of red and orange lines marks the head. Adults average 7-8 inches in length, with males being the slightly-smaller sex.   Range and Habitat The four Ornate Wood Turtle subspecies range from Sonora, Mexico along the western […]
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Tarantulas in Captivity, Part II

[…]are usually rejected by arboreal and desert-dwelling spiders).  They will also take crickets, roaches, wild-caught insects and dead pink mice.   Mexican or Arizona Blond Tarantula, Aphonopelma chalcodes This is one of the few North American tarantulas to have become popular in the pet trade, and with good reason – […]

American Box Turtles as Pets – Care and Natural History

[…]purchase only captive-bred animals. Natural History Four Box Turtle species – the Eastern, Spotted, Ornate and Coahuilan – range from southern Canada through most of the USA and into Mexico.  Ten uniquely-colored subspecies, including the Florida, Gulf Coast and Yucatan Box Turtles, are also recognized. Box Turtles frequent woodlands, marshes, […]
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Giant Day Gecko Care and Natural History

[…]with large males reaching 12 inches.  Clad in brilliant green and bearing maroon to red head and orange dorsal markings, Giant Day Geckos must be seen to be truly appreciated.  Hobbyists have also developed an array of breath-taking color morphs.   Captive Gecko Behavior All day geckos are best considered […]

Care of the World’s Most Colorful Mantella: A Zookeeper’s Thoughts

[…]in length, it is still quite diminutive. Clad in a spectacular array of contrasting colors, with orange, black, yellow and green appearing to varying degrees on different individuals, it is well-named!   This species is easily confused with the Malagasy Painted Mantella (M. madagascariensis); tips and photos that will help […]
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Arachnids and Herps: A Zookeeper’s Scary Halloween Stories

[…]Crabs and numerous others are great creatures to investigate as the creepiest of holidays approaches. You can read more about them in this article.     Further Reading Tagging Anacondas in Venezuela Cobra and Python Escapes Working with Large […]
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