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Breeding Leopard Geckos

Leopard GeckosAt some point, lizard keepers usually think about breeding their favorite species.  The ever-popular Leopard Gecko, Eublepharis macularius, is an excellent choice for both novice and advanced hobbyists.  It is a reliable breeder, yet the conditions that must be established if one is to succeed are similar to those required by many other species; a beneficial learning process is thus ensured.  Experienced breeders have developed a huge array of color and pattern morphs, and many enjoy “tinkering” with the genetics of these in order to create unique new gecko strains.

Note: Before attempting to breed any animal, it is important that you arrange homes for the youngsters.  Please don’t assume that friends or pet stores will accept them…plan ahead.

Distinguishing the Sexes

Directly above the vent, you will see a series of “V” shaped bumps, the pre-anal pores. These are large and readily-visible in males and less-evident in females.  Between the vent and the base of the tail, mature males also exhibit a pair of bulges, beneath which are the hemipenes.  Please see the article below for a complete guide to determining your pets’ sex. Read More »

Scorpions as Pets – an Overview of their Care

Buthus ScorpionI can’t remember a time when scorpions did not fascinate me, and their lure grows stronger with each new species I encounter.  In the past, I’ve written on the care and natural history of Emperor, Flat Rock, Asian Forest and other popular scorpions.  Today I’d like to present a general overview.  I hope it will help you to decide if a scorpion is the right choice for you and if so, how to get started.

What’s in Store for Scorpion Fans

Among the world’s 2,000+ scorpion species we find an astonishing diversity of fascinating creatures, many of which make hardy pets that adjust well to small enclosures.  Several reproduce readily in captivity – lucky scorpion keepers may even be treated to the sight of a female feeding her offspring with crickets!  At least 15 species are established in the pet trade, and specialists are working with several others. Read More »

Caution – Female Turtles, even if Unmated, Must be Provided with a Nest Site

Blanding’s Turtle Laying EggsSpring weather often brings me questions concerning aquatic turtle nesting behavior. As temperatures warm (and sometimes before, as indoor turtles may be “ahead” of schedule) pet female turtles should be checked for signs that they are carrying eggs. While Red-Eared Sliders, Painted and Snapping Turtles and other largely aquatic turtles are among the hardiest reptilian pets, providing for gravid (egg-bearing) females can be very difficult…failure to do so, however, can result in the turtle’s death.

I’ve written about the problem of Dystocia, or retained eggs, in the past. Today I’d like to dispel a commonly-held belief concerning turtle reproduction, and add a few cautions. Read More »

Reptile Hobbyists – Helping or Hindering Reptile and Amphibian Conservation?

 Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima manniWhile over-collection and poorly-prepared pet keepers have certainly led to declines in wild populations of some species, private hobbyists have also contributed immensely to the conservation of amphibians, invertebrates and reptiles (as well as fishes, birds and mammals).  This is especially true of those animals which zoos lack the interest or space to maintain…often the very creatures most favored by private keepers.

The Asian Turtle Crisis

A lack of funds and space in zoos led the establishment of the Turtle Survival Alliance, the largest turtle rescue effort ever launched.  The Alliance was organized in response to unprecedented declines in freshwater turtle populations throughout Asia – a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Asian Turtle Crisis.

Soon after the group was formed, I traveled to Floridain the company of private and professional turtle enthusiasts to help rehabilitate and house nearly 10,000 turtles confiscated in China; many of the private sector people I met there now participate in rehabilitation and breeding initiatives in cooperation with zoos and museums. Read More »

Reticulated Python Natural History – a Giant Snake in Wild and Urban Habitats

Reticulated PythonThe massive Reticulated Python, Broghammerus (formerly Python) reticulatus is one of the world’s best known snakes, and always the main attraction at zoo reptile houses.  It is also widely bred in private collections, although such is ill-advised given the potential dangers inherent in keeping such a formidable beast (even after decades in captivity, most retain their irascible temperament).  Today I’d like to explore a lesser known side of this impressive snake – its habits in nature, and its amazing ability to thrive even in large, crowded cities.


The Reticulated Python, or “Retic” as it is known to herp enthusiasts, vies with the Green Anaconda for title of world’s longest snake  (an Anaconda would be twice as heavy as a Retic of the same length, however).  Stories abound as to its potential size, but the longest reliable measurement appears to be 32 feet, 9 inches; individuals longer than 23 feet are exceedingly rare. Read More »

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