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†††† Frequently Asked Questions about Reptiles - Snakes, Frogs

Which aquatic turtles can be kept together and what is the best way to care for these animals?

Size is the most important factor when choosing an aquatic turtle.†† Red Eared Sliders, Rio Grande Sliders, Cumberland Sliders, will all grow to a maximum length of about 8" to 10 inches.†† Cooters will get even larger, growing 12 to 14 inches. As adults these will need housed in an outdoor pond to be happy. If you cant provide a pond once the turtles are adults, consider getting a smaller species, such as a mud, musk, map, or painted turtle.† Most of these will only grow to a maximum of 3 to 8 inches.

A 10 or 20 gallon tank is a good choice for a baby turtle.† Cover the bottom of the tank with gravel or sand, and add several rocks or pieces of driftwood for your turtle(s) to bask on and hide under. Setup a good aquarium filter to keep the water clean. If you choose not to have a filter, you should change your turtle's water at least every other day.

The temperature should be maintained at† 75-85į F so provide a heat source such as an aquarium heater in the water or an overhead light placed over the basking area. Sunlight provides small amounts of the ultraviolet light that is essential for turtles to properly utilize calcium and to properly assimilate food, as well as for curing sundry minor scratches or skin ailments. Provide full spectrum lamps, which emit small amounts of beneficial ultraviolet light.

Sliders, Cooters, Maps, and Painted turtles can all be house together depending on how many turtles you plan to have in one tank. A good rule when choosing a tank appropriate for your turtles is to multiply the turtle's length in inches by 10 and round up to the nearest tank size.†† Musk Turtles, Reeves Turtles, Snappers Turtles, Mud and Softshells Turtles we recommend that these should not be housed with different species. All these aquatic turtles will eat a combination of raw fish, shrimp, and freshwater mussels. They can also be given cooked chicken or raw hamburger. There are several commercial turtle foods available, which are made from dried ant larva, which most turtles will not eat.† Also feed them a supplement of romaine lettuce and dandelion leaves.

Why are reptiles so popular?

Reptiles are very popular as pets in the United States: an estimated 7.3 million pet reptiles are owned by approximately 3% of households.† Because the most popular reptilesí species will not breed if closely confined, most reptiles are captured in the wild and imported. The number of reptiles imported into the United States has increased dramatically since 1986 and primarily reflects importation of iguanas, ball pythons, and savannah monitors.

Many species have characteristics that make them excellent captives docile, easy to maintain noiseless, non-allergenic, small space requirements.† Before you acquire any reptile or amphibian, learn all you can about its captive husbandry requirements diet, temperatures, and humidity and make sure you can provide proper care. Many of these animals have long life spans, so consider your ability and willingness to provide long-term care for the species you're considering.

Some popular reptiles don't make good animals for inexperienced keepers, or for children. Burmese Pythons, Anaconda or Green Iguanas all are great animals but get very large. Many people who buy the cute little Burmese or iguanas in the pet shop donít realize how large these animals become, nor do they understand their captive maintenance requirements.

Numerous reptiles and amphibians are captivity produced in large quantities. This reduces pressure on wild populations. Captive animals that are properly cared for should not have the parasites and diseases that wild animals can carry. Captive animals are better adjusted to captivity, which in many species makes them more docile, less stressed and better feeders.

Would a Bearded Dragon be a good choice for my child?

Bearded Dragons, Corn Snakes, and most aquatic turtle would be a good choice for a child eight years of age and older.† Bearded Dragons are omnivorous, and feed on a variety of insects, any small animal they can overpower, and flowers, greenery and fruits.

An average adult Bearded Dragon is usually between 38 and 51 cm (15-20 inches) in total length. Hatchlings have a total length of 11 cm (4.4 inches) and grow to adult size in approximately one and a half years.

Young Bearded Dragons are not as skittish as many other young lizards but should still be watched closely when out of the enclosure. As long as they feel well supported, they will generally sit fairly still as long as no sudden movements are made. Some young dragons may be a little more skittish than others, but most, if not all Bearded Dragons calm down as they reach maturity.

Bearded Dragons like all sun loving diurnal lizards (active during the day) need full spectrum UV lighting, proper heating, and calcium/vitamin supplementation to prevent metabolic bone disease. This species is docile, eats readily, and is a hardy animal that makes a great beginner lizard; however, hatchlings should be left for about a month without any handling to make sure they get on a good feeding schedule. Most people make the mistake of handling their animal too soon and they end up with a very stressed lizard that refuses to eat. For the first month, the contact you should have with your lizard should be for feeding, cleaning, and changing water only.

The Corn Snake is a medium sized snake with a very slender build. Hatchlings are typically between 23 and 36 cm, while adultís range in length from 76 cm - 137 cm (2.5-4.5 feet). Young Corn Snakes like most small snakes are highly sensitive to potential threats. They will typically rattle their tails and strike defensively when they feel threatened.† However, with very little effort they quickly become accustomed to being handled and rarely bite.

Adult corn snake can be housed a 30-55 gallon terrarium. Young snakes are better off housed in smaller 10 to 15 gallon. This species is docile, eats readily, and is long lived which makes it a hardy animal ideally suited for beginners.†

These reptiles are good natured, feeding habits, adult size, and availability as domestically bred stock it is an excellent starter snake. Hatchlings and juveniles will eat pink, fuzzy mice, hopper mice.† Adults should feed on large rodents such as rats every 6-10 days.

How do you care for Hermit Crabs?

Hermit is misapplied to our crab friends.† Hermit Crabs are quite gregarious and like to be around their own kind. In the wild, they travel in packs of 100 or more, scavenging the beach for food and shells. The reason they travel in packs is simple: Where there are more crabs, there are more shells for switching.

Hermit crabs in their native environment live up to 4 miles from the the beach. Their diet in the wild consists of leaf litter, fruits and vegetation. They also enjoy eating bark and have a special preference for decaying wood (except cedar and pine).†

A commercial food from a pet store is sufficient, however you should supplement their diet with fresh fruits and veggies, but you should make sure not to leave uneaten fruits or veggies in the tank for more than 24 hours. Hermit crabs need to be kept in a moist tropical environment. Misting from a spray bottle filled with lukewarm dechlorinated water works well. The crab enclosure should be maintained at 70% relative humidity, with the air temperature between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. About once every three months or so you should remove all the substrate from the cage, rinse it well without soap and let dry. Then add new or clean substrate to the cage.

Hermit Crabs need to change homes when they grow, so you will need to provide your crab with extra shells that are a little bigger than it's current shell. Hermit Crabs have a hard exoskeleton that does not grow as the crab grows. The crab will shed its exoskeleton and grow a small amount very quickly, until the new exoskeleton hardens; this is called molting. This kewl way of growing allows the hermit crab to replace lost appendages!

Hermit crabs do not like wet, sloppy homes.† Please do not use full spectrum lighting or heat Lamps in their aquarium.† Do not use corn cob or cedar shavings instead of gravel or sand. They tend to dry out the hermit crabs. It is a good idea to bathe your crabs once a week, as well as giving them an occasional misting outside the cage. Never attempt to remove a crab from its shell because it will allow itself to be torn apart rather than give up its protective home.

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