Monthly Archives: May 2016

7 Weird Facts About Crocodiles

As far as deadly reptiles go, you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who wasn’t afraid of crocodiles. These prehistoric monsters have been on the planet a lot longer than human beings and have evolved over time to become the perfect killing machine. Everybody knows how powerful these creatures are, but here are some facts you might not know about the monstrous reptiles.

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Crocodiles Sweat Through Their Mouths

Often crocodiles will lie by the side of a river with their mouths wide open. This is because when they’re too hot they sweat and that sweat comes from their mouth. Speaking of sweat, a lot of crocodile trainers will put their head into a crocodile’s mouth as part of a show, but if one bead of sweat drips from their own forehead onto the crocodile’s mouth, it’ll snap it’s powerful jaws shut.

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They Don’t Chew

Whilst crocodiles have incredibly powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth, they actually use stones to grind up their food once they’ve swallowed it. They eat stones from the river bed and use them to break food up so it can be digested easier.

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Herons Eat Them

Baby crocodiles have many animals to fear but perhaps none more surprising than the heron. It’s hard to image a simple bird taking down a crocodile but a small infant is nothing more than a tasty snack for the feathered fiend.

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They’re Huge

Okay, so everybody knows they’re big but did you know that saltwater crocodiles can weigh up to 1 ton? Imagine the power behind a beast that size.

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They Have Red Eyes

If you’re ever walking through the jungle at night and you have a torch with you, be on the look out for a set of red eyes. A crocodile’s eyes will glow red under the light.

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They’re The Best Biters

When it comes to biting power, there is not a creature on Earth that has a bite as powerful as a crocodile.images (2)

They Wipe Away Their Tears

Well almost. Because they work themselves up into a such a frenzy whilst eating, they have to push air out and their eyes can begin to froth causing them to wipe it away.

How to care for a Leopard Gecko Hatchling

Whilst you may know how to care for a leopard gecko, the rules for looking after a hatchling are slightly different. Just like human babies, newly hatched geckos aren’t as strong as their parents and will need certain assistance to ensure that they grow happily and healthily.

Feeding the Hatchling

how to care for a leopard geckoAdult leopard geckos should ideally be given access to fresh food every couple of days, but hatchlings (and breeding females) require access to fresh food every single day. They can generally eat the same food as adults such as live insects (which will help them hone their hunting skills) but I’d personally recommend mealworms as they’re easier to gut load and dust  and won’t cause any problems if your gecko doesn’t eat them straight away. Some people like to feed the hatchling pinkies (newly born mice) as well as they’re nutritious but – aside from being awful in my opinion – they are very fattening and addictive.

Dusting and gut loading are important when feeding hatchlings as they need a lot of vitamins and calcium. Make sure you put calcium powder in a bowl for them to lap up as well as this is an important part of their diet.

How to Care for a Leopard Gecko Hatchling: Shedding

Understanding the shedding process is a key part of understanding how to care for a leopard gecko hatchling.

As with other reptiles, geckos shed their skin as they grow. You can tell when the process is about to begin because the colour of their skin will fade and become pale. Generally, shedding is a quick and simple process for the gecko hatchlings and they’ll often eat their skin once they’ve successfully shed it.

Hatchlings will shed their skin more often than adults as they’re growing a lot more quickly, so it’s important that you provide them with the necessary conditions they require to successfully complete the process. The main thing a leopard gecko requires to shed its skin is a good level of humidity (20-40%). The humidity makes it easier for the hatchling to shed its skin because it becomes a lot more moist and thus easier to remove.

To monitor the humidity it’s important that you invest in a hygrometer as you can quickly identify any changes you need to make. You can raise the level of humidity by misting the tank, the hatchling itself or even the moist hide (a moist shelter which you gecko will shed it’s skin inside). Simply adding more water to the water bowl in the tank can also help to raise the level of the humidity in the tank. On the other hand, you can lower the humidity by creating more space for air circulation, allowing warm air to leave the tank and cool air to enter it.

A common problem that can occur during the shedding process is the skin becoming caught between the leopard gecko hatchlings toes. This can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet and can lead to several different health issues if not dealt with quickly enough. In order to help your gecko remove the trapped skin, you should dampen a cue tip and gently remove the skin from between its toes with the cotton. This is an extremely important part of knowing how to care for a leopard gecko hatchling because you are the only one who can truly help the baby lizard should this problem arise.

Substrate

The hatchlings can use the same bedding as their adult counterparts but it’s often recommended to let them walk on kitchen roll at first because it’s softer to walk on and also ensures that their prey is a lot more visible which will help them gradually develop their hunting techniques whilst also ensuring that they eat. On top of this, kitchen roll is also cheap and easy to replace in the tank when you have to clean it out.

Now that you have the key information that you’ll need to successfully know how to take care of a leopard gecko hatchling, you can help your gecko with the breeding process confidently.

Which is the Best Leopard Gecko Starter Kit?

Choosing the right type of leopard gecko starter kit is an incredibly important process as you want to make sure you find the right kit for your pet. On this page, you’ll find detailed information about two of the best starter kits you can find, so that you’re sure to make the perfect choice for your gecko.

Zoo Med Repti Habitat Leopard Gecko Kit

At 10 gallons the tank is fantastic for your pet and will ensure they have a lot of space to move around in. It also has a sliding screen top so you can easily access the inside of the tank for feeding or handling purposes.

The kit is extremely comprehensive, ensuring that you know how to look after your gecko after you’ve set the leopard gecko housing up.

To help you with this, you’ll receive a beginner’s guide to leopard geckos. This can be an invaluable tool for anybody who hasn’t owned a gecko before as it will tell you exactly how to take care of your pet.

I also really like that the kit includes a thermometer to help you regulate the temperature in the tank. This is a very important part of caring for a gecko and (aside from helping you save money buying your own thermometer) including it in the kit will make sure you can easily maintain the heat within the tank. Furthermore, you also get a fixture for your lamp which makes setting up the lighting extremely easy.The package also gives you a 2 in 1 bowl so you can give your gecko food and water in the same area, making it easier to clean the tank. My only issue with this is that it increases the chances of live insects drowning in the water, but ultimately I feel it makes life easier for you as the owner.

The package also gives you a 2 in 1 bowl so you can give your gecko food and water in the same area, making it easier to clean the tank. My only issue with this is that it increases the chances of live insects drowning in the water, but ultimately I feel it makes life easier for you as the owner.

All in all, I think this kit is a great investment for anybody purchasing a gecko. It holds your hand throughout the entire setting up process so your tank is definitely going to be healthy for your gecko to live in. However, I also love the fact that you get a beginner’s guide as it will ensure you can give your gecko the care it needs to enjoy a long and happy life with you.

Pros

⦁ Handy guidebook will give you all the information you’ll need to care for your gecko
⦁ Comprehensive equipment for heating and monitoring the temperature in the tank
⦁ Easy to assemble lighting
⦁ Combi Food and Water bowl

Cons

⦁ Need to buy substrate separately.

Leopard Gecko Starter Kit with LX24 Beech

A huge advantage of buying this kit is the size of the tank. It’s designed to hold two geckos which means that you won’t need to buy a new larger tank should you decide to buy another lizard or breed your current pet.

Heating a tank can be complicated if you’re not an experienced leopard gecko owner but this kit makes it almost too easy. As part of the kit, you’ll receive a Pro Rep Reptile Heat Mat to heat your tank as well as a Microclimate Matstat Thermostat to help you monitor and control the temperature. Finally, you’ll also get a thermometer which will come in handy when you want to check the temperature inside the tank.

Having these three items will make your life infinitely easier when caring for your gecko.
Lighting the tank correctly is one of the most important aspects of caring for your gecko. This kit includes everything you’ll need to make sure your gecko has the correct amount of lighting at all times.

 

You’ll receive a Red Spot Bulb which emits light that won’t bother your gecko but will allow you to see the lizard during the night. On top of this, you’ll also receive a lamp holder which has an on/off switch so you can easily control your gecko’s access to light. This is a fantastic perk of buying this kit as (along with the heating accessories) it makes the most difficult aspects of caring for a gecko easy.

The only downside to this product is that the substrate isn’t the ideal type I’d recommend for a leopard gecko. Whilst it’s acceptable to use the sand substrate, I’d personally recommend buying a different substrate separately because sand can cause digestion problems for your gecko if it eats the grains.

As an added bonus, you’ll also get a booklet chock full of tips and information for taking care of your gecko. Considering how much it would cost you to buy everything separately, the cost of £149.99 is a complete bargain – especially as it makes setting up the tank and monitoring the tank easy.

If you make the right choice and invest in this kit, you’ll be armed with a complete all-in-one gecko care package.

I honestly couldn’t recommend it any higher.

Pros

⦁ All-in-one leopard gecko housing kit
⦁ Costs a lot less than buying everything separately
⦁ Comes with calcium powder to feed to your gecko
⦁ The kit also includes 2 hides – one for the cool side and one for the warm side
⦁ Guide booklet helps with caring for your leopard gecko

Cons

⦁ Sand substrate isn’t ideal for your leopard gecko

10 Awesome Komodo Dragon Facts

The Komodo Dragon is one of the most beautiful and most deadly reptiles on the planet. It looks like something out of a Jurassic Park movie and yet we still don’t know an awful lot about these beasts.

Here are our Top 10 interesting facts about the Komodo Dragon.

Komodo Dragon Huge

The Komodo Dragon is the largest of all lizards. Whilst females can grow up to 6ft, adult males have been reported as being 10ft long and weighing around 200 pounds.

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Komodo dragons have flexible jaws which allow them to eat large prey. A komodo dragon can easily devour prey that’s as large as 80% of its own size – meaning a 9ft komodo dragon could easily eat a 6ft human. They can also reach speeds of up to 13mph when running.

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Female Komodo dragons can reproduce without any male partner. They can lay their eggs without needing a male to impregnate them. Once born, their babies use a special tooth to break the egg shell and escape.

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Baby Komodo dragons generally spend the first few years of their lives living in trees. This is because their mother (and other Komodo dragons) will happily eat them if they’re given the chance.6

Despite being incredible hunters, Komodo dragons prefer to lie in wait and ambush their prey rather than attacking head on.

They were discovered by the Western world in 1912 but were known to local people for many years before that. Whilst we call them Komodo dragons, local people called them “ora” meaning “land crocodile”.

Using their forked tongue, they can detect prey up to 2 miles away.

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After biting their prey, Komodo dragons let the bacteria and venom in their saliva simply weaken their victim down. Then they track them using their keen sense of smell before eating their prey.

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Although Komodo dragons are primarily land-based animals that love the heat, they’re also excellent swimmers.

There Be Dragons

They’ve been responsible for human deaths and, as a result, people who live on the islands with Komodo dragons have built their houses on stilts to prevent the beasts from breaking in and taking their loved ones.

What Do Leopard Geckos Eat?

A lot of first time gecko owners find themselves asking “what do leopard geckos eat?”

And it’s a good question.

Leopard geckos have a very diverse diet and need access to a lot of different vitamins and minerals; however, it’s surprisingly easy to provide your gecko with the perfect diet so that it has a long and happy life.

A lot of people ask me ‘what do leopard geckos eat to be healthy’ but before I discuss their diet, I want to point out that your gecko will require more or less food depending on it’s age and size, but as a general rule of thumb, a gecko shouldn’t be fed food larger than it’s head and with specific food (crickets in particular) they should be fed two insects per inch of its body i.e. a 4 inch gecko would require 8 crickets.

What Do Leopard Geckos Eat?what do leopard geckos eat

Having the correct diet for your leopard gecko is extremely important to both their health and their happiness.

I think it’s important to mention that you should never overfeed your lizard as they can become obese. I’d also highly recommend that you feed your gecko in the evening or at night as they’re primarily nocturnal hunters and will be more likely to eat at this time of day. Whilst adult geckos will only require feeding every couple of days, it’s important to remember that breeding females and hatchlings will require food every day.

Insects

The easy and quick answer to “what do leopard geckos eat?” is live insects.
It’s absolutely vital that you feed your leopard gecko live insects as they basically make up the entirety of their diet – both at home and in the wild. There are various types of insect you can feed to your lizard but I’d argue the best (and certainly the most common) type of diet is a combination of crickets and mealworms.

Crickets

Crickets are a great source of nutrients for your gecko and, because they move around a lot, are also a great way to ensure the gecko doesn’t get bored when eating them. Remember, in the wild, the gecko would hunt its food and it’s important that you give the creature the opportunity to do this in the tank as well.

I think it’s worth noting that there are different types of cricket and each type acts differently (some chirp a lot more or move a lot less) so you can give the gecko a nice variety of food just by feeding it different types of cricket.

Mealworms

Another extremely popular source of gecko food is the mealworm (which are most nutritious after they’ve just moulted). There are several benefits to feeding mealworms to your lizard but I think a very important factor to consider is the lack of opportunity for them to escape or even bother your lizard if left for too long.

Whilst crickets can escape the tank or will nibble at your gecko if he doesn’t eat them, mealworms will just remain in their container for the gecko to consume at it’s leisure – although this may be a bit dull for your lizard.

What Do Leopard Geckos Eat: The Different Types of Insect

As I’ve indicated, your lizard can eat a wide variety of insect, below you’ll find the most popular types of insect to feed to them:

⦁ Crickets
⦁ Mealworm
⦁ Locusts
⦁ Silkworm
⦁ Waxworm
⦁ Superworm

Different insects will offer the gecko different nutritional benefits; for example, locusts are extremely rich in protein whereas other insects offer more vitamins or calcium. I’d also recommend that you don’t buy a huge amount of insects at once as you’ll have to care for them before they’re fed to the lizard and many insects don’t have particularly long shelf lives and will die before you can use them.

As a quick side note, I’d like to point out that you should never give your lizard an insect you’ve found in the garden. Insects that live outside eat a wider diet than those bred in captivity and thus carry a variety of parasites and germs that will make your gecko ill.

Gut Loading

Now the question, “what do leopard geckos eat?” is a useful one to ask for any new leopard gecko owners, it’s also important to ask “how do I feed them?”

Whilst we’ve discussed the type of insects your leopard gecko will enjoy feasting on, it’s important to make sure that the insects are as nutritious as possible. One way to ensure this is to complete a simple task known as gut loading.

What do leopard geckos eatGut loading is basically giving the insects the opportunity to eat as many healthy nutrients as possible before you feed them to your gecko. This way, when the gecko consumes the insects, he or she will also consume and digest the calcium and vitamins they’ve eaten earlier.
It’s highly recommended that you gut-load the insects up to 12 hours before you place them in the geckos tank. This gives them enough time to sufficiently feed themselves so they’re completely stuffed full of good nutrients for your gecko.

I’d recommend giving the insects access to a small piece of lettuce or carrot as they’ll eat this quite happily which will make the gut loading process easier. Alternatively, substances such as hog mash are other ideal types of food to ensure the insects eat enough nutritious food before they’re fed to the gecko.

Dusting

A great way to ensure your geckos get as many minerals as possible is to use the dusting method to feed them. Dusting involves taking the live bait and placing them in a container or plastic bag alongside specific mineral-containing powders and shaking that container or bag so that the live bait is covered in the dust. Ergo, when the leopard gecko eats the live bait, it’s also consuming the powder on their bodies.

It’s advisable to do this just before you feed the insects to the gecko as some insects (crickets in particular) will clean themselves and remove the powder, thus preventing your gecko from receiving the nutrients it needs. This is another reason why mealworms are a useful food source, as they won’t remove the nutritious powder from their bodies before the gecko consumes them.

If you don’t want to use this method, you can give your gecko access to the powder directly (via a small container in its cage) and it will lick the powder it needs – it has an amazing self-awareness of the necessary nutrients.

What Do Leopard Geckos Eat That Makes Them Fat?

Leopard geckos are just like every other animal in the sense that they’ll become fat if they eat far too much food. So, whilst it’s important to make sure your leopard gecko has enough food, it’s important that you’re selective with the food you make available.

If you constantly feed your pet lizard pinkies (baby/newborn mice) or specific insects (waxworms and/or superworms) they’re likely to become obese. You can tell if your leopard gecko is obese by analysing their body – they store fat in their tails, so if your lovely lizard has a body which is larger than or as large as it’s tail, then it probably needs to go on a diet.
On top of this, leopard geckos can also become quite addicted to pinkies or the aforementioned insects so you should only provide them as treats occasionally.

Remember, your gecko will stop eating when it’s full so try to learn how much it can generally manage as there’s no point feeding your gecko too much food – particularly as live insects can and will cause problems for your lizard if they’re not eaten quickly enough. Most geckos will eat for about 15-20 minutes and adults should only need feeding every other day (babies and breeding females will require access to fresh food every day).

What Do Leopard Geckos Drink?

Your leopard gecko will need access to completely fresh water (don’t even add vitamins to it) as they can be susceptible to picking up bacteria from dirty water. A common problem is your gecko identifying it’s water bowl as a toilet so you need to watch out for this and continuously clean the bowl until it realises it’s a source of water instead. Finally, it’s also important to make sure the water doesn’t spill because a gecko will thrive in a dry environment so use a container than won’t be easy to knock over.

Now that I’ve answered the question what do leopard geckos eat, you can provide your pet with the ideal diet to help it grow into a happy and healthy part of your family.