Nov 162011
 
White's Tree Frog

White's Tree Frog, Litoria caerulea

Download Care Sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
4 – 5 inches

Life Span
16 years

Male/Female Differences
Sexing can be difficult. Females can be slightly larger than males, and males can develop larger, darker pads on their thumbs.

Compatibility
Keep singly, as uneven sized frogs will prey other each other. They also need a lot of room, so provide a large enough terrarium if keeping multiple frogs.

Origin
Australia and New Guinea
Climate Tropical species, so it lives in the warmth and humid.

Day Cycle
Mostly nocturnal.

Temperature
75 – 85 degrees. Provide a mild daytime basking light, with a low wattage bulb, and a heating pad for nighttime heat. Use a small aquarium heater in a bottle of water to provide both warmth and humidity.

Lighting
Provide UVA/UVB lighting during the day. Provide basking light for 12 hours

Humidity
Keep humidity at least 50 percent. Mist the terrarium daily to help maintain this. Using coconut bark or forest bark as a substrate, with plenty of moss, will also help keep these frogs moist. Do not use distilled water, as tap water contains trace minerals that these frogs need.

Habitat/Territory
White’s tree frogs live in the trees near water. White’s also make their homes in and near homes, near cisterns and other water sources.

Substrate/Bedding
Coconut bark and forest bark as a substrate. These are less likely to be ingested and will help keep the terrarium humid. Cage carpet can be used as it is easy to clean and can help reduce mites. Cover with damp moss to help maintain humidity.

Hiding Place/Den
Provide plenty of places to hide and climb with caves, vines, and hanging plants.

Cage Type
Can be housed in a 10 gallon aquarium. These frogs love to climb, so stand the tank on one end. Terrariums make excellent homes, as they are taller and have screen doors for easy access. Provide secure covering as these frogs can and will escape.

Diet
Insects such as crickets, mealworms, worms, and cockroaches and even pinkies are on the menu for the White’s tree frog.

Supplements
Dust food with a calcium/vitamin powder just before feeding. Ensure nutritionally complete crickets by feeding them a quality cricket food.

Diet Precautions
White’s tree frog will overeat if given the chance, so limit its food. If folds of skin begin to appear over the eyes, put your frog on a diet. Limit the amount of mealworms and waxworms that you offer your frog as these are high in fat.

Feeding
Feed a few gut-loaded insects 2 – 3 times a week. Offer mealworms in a shallow dish so that they do not escape.

Water Source
Mist the terrarium daily. Provide a shallow bath for the frog to rest in nightly. Change the water daily.

Grooming
White’s tree frogs groom themselves. Provide fresh water and plenty of humidity to keep their skin healthy and moist.

Oral and Foot Care
Maintain a sanitary cage to prevent foot and leg infections.

Proper Handling
Limit handling of your frog as they can get stressed. Rinse hands to eliminate contaminants. Keep hands most to protect their sensitive skin. Wash hands after handling.

Habitat Maintenance
Change the water in the dish daily. Also remove any excess water that has gathered in the bottom of the cage. Clean the whole cage every other week by removing soiled substrate and replacing with fresh. Wipe down any soiled areas.

Health Concerns
White’s tree frogs are susceptible to bacterial infections like red leg, as well as fungal infections. Most can be avoided by proper cage maintenance. Stress can also lead to illness. White’s tree frogs can also suffer from nutritional deficiency and metabolic bone disease if not provided with supplemental dusting of insects.

Nov 162011
 

Download care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Males up to 3 feet, females smaller.

Life Span
10+ years.

Male/Female Differences
Male adult water dragons are crested and have large heads and jowls. The neck on the male is darker colored. Females have larger femoral pores and are smaller.

Compatibility
Keep in groups of one male up to four females. Large rooms can accommodate more groups.

Origin
China, Thailand, into the Indo-Australian archipelago.

Climate
Warm tropical trees near water.

Day Cycle
Diurnal – active during the day.

Temperature
Mid 80’s during the day, slightly cooler at night. Provide higher heat – up to 90 degrees – above a basking spot.

Lighting
Provide UVB lighting for 8-12 hours per day to help utilize calcium, vitamin B, and vitamin D.

Humidity
Water dragons prefer 70-80 percent humidity. This can be maintained with daily misting, a waterfall, a large water dish, or automatic misting systems.

Habitat/Territory
These lizards spend their time on branches up in trees.

Substrate/Bedding
Reptile bark and shredded coconut fibers make ideal bedding in that they help hold humidity. Soil mixtures, although they can get dirty, can be planted with live plants. Reptile carpet can be used as it is easy to disinfect and prevents parasites.

Hiding Place/Den
Plenty of live or artificial plants and vines provide places for the animal to climb and hide.

Cage Type
The cage should be a minimum of twice the length of the animal – a 15 inch lizard needs at least an aquarium measuring 30 inches. Glass aquariums with screen lids are great homes as they help hold humidity. Larger and multiple animals can be housed in custom made enclosures. These active animals really need room to run and climb to prevent atrophy of the leg muscles, so provide as much space as possible.

Diet
Offer variety to these lizards. They are omnivores, so feed properly gut loaded crickets with an occasional waxworm or superworm. Larger water dragons can also be offered an occasional pinkie or fuzzie. Offer fresh vegetables, such as dark leafy greens and squashes, and fresh fruits, such as apples, bananas, strawberries, and melons. Continue to offer vegetables and fruits even if ignored the first few times.

Supplements
Feed crickets a proper diet to ensure adequate nutrition for you dragon. Dust crickets with small amounts of vitamin/calcium powder; lizards fed a properly balanced diet should need supplementation every week or two, but tiny amounts can be used every feeding.

Diet Precautions
Dietary imbalances and a type of gout can be caused by feeding a limited diet. Avoid over supplementing , especially with too much phosphorus. Do not feed too much fruit as this can cause diarrhea.

Feeding
Feed juveniles small crickets dusted with vitamin supplements every two days. Adult water dragons should be fed every three to four days. Offer smaller items, about one third of the animal’s head, instead of one large item.

Water Source
Provide fresh water daily. A large water dish will allow the dragon to soak and will help keep the humidity high.

Grooming
Proper humidity ensures proper shedding of skin – but too high can cause bacterial infections in the skin and mouth. Soaking daily in a large, tall sided container of water will benefit their skin and provide some much needed exercise.

Oral and Foot Care
Mouth rot from too much moisture. Toes can get caught on loose threads from the cage carpet. Providing climbing branches helps keep these lizard’s nails trimmed; they can also be trimmed by an experienced vet or here at Wilmette pet. Limbs can become atrophied if they are not given enough exercise.

Proper Handling
While water dragons do not enjoy a lot of handling, they are calm and relaxed in the hand for short periods. Keep nails trimmed to avoid scratches, and always wash hands after handling any reptile or amphibians. Use care when handling as their tail can break off.

Habitat Maintenance
Spot clean cage and replace water daily. Replace substrate when dirty, every few weeks.

Health Concerns
Bacterial infections can result from excessively high humidity and unsanitary conditions. Metabolic bone disease can result from improper diet, poor lighting. and lack of supplements. Water dragons can also suffer from internal and external parasites and atrophied leg muscles.

Nov 162011
 

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Males range from 6 to 9 inches long while females range from 9 to 12 inches.

Lifespan
20-40 years with proper care.

Male/Female Differences
Females are larger and have a smaller tail. Males have longer, thicker tails and longer front claws with the cloaca closer to the tip of the tail.

Compatibility
Interacting with red-eared sliders and socialization are important in the development of a young turtle to eliminate behavioral problems later. These turtles are best kept alone because of the space, water quality issues, and aggression. If cohabitation is preferred make sure they have a large aquarium (75 gallons for two 5 inch turtles), a powerful internal and biological filter, appropriate lighting, and that both turtles are of equal size.

Origin
Southern United States.

Climate
Ponds, lakes, marshes, creeks, and streams.

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
The proper temperature allows the turtle to regulate body temperature. As such the water temperature should be of 76-80°F, while their basking area should be 86-90°F.

Lighting
Appropriate lighting is important since wild red-eared sliders enjoy the full power of the sun; their captive habitat must attempt to replicate their natural environment as much as possible. The lighting should provide three things – UVB, UVA, and heat. UVB rays help the turtle by providing D3, a vitamin which allows for the metabolization and absorption of calcium. Heat and UVA rays help regulate the turtle’s feeding, activity, and mating. Lighting should be on for 10-12 hours a day with an emphasis on a consistent day/night cycle. Heat can also be provided with a submersible heater; make sure it is shatterproof since turtles tend to break them.

Humidity
Moderate; lightly mist the tank every couple of days to simulate rain.

Habitat/Territory
Red-eared sliders reside in areas with calm, fresh, and warm waters

Substrate/Bedding
River rocks, sand or no substrate, all make good choices for the aquatic part of the habitat. Small aquarium gravel poses a health risk as the turtle could easily mistake it for food and an impaction could occur. 70% of the habitat should consist of water and the rest should comprise of land. The water level should be no deeper than the total length of the turtle. For example, if the turtle is six inches, the maximum height of the water level is also six inches. Make sure the turtle can gain access to the land by using rocks that are not steep, like slate. Wood chips, river rocks, and sand are all good choices for the terrestrial area.

Hiding Place/Den
Non-toxic hiding places will provide a spot where the turtle can retreat to if they feel threatened or uncomfortable. This is especially important for younger turtles that may not always want attention.

Cage Type
Aquariums, plastic storage containers, and ponds all make excellent habitats. Since red-eared sliders can grow up to a foot, buy the biggest enclosure possible. A 36” x 13” enclosure is a good size to start with, and should house the turtle adequately for the next three years, but a fully-grown turtle should live in something no smaller than a 48” x 18” enclosure. Make sure the area is escape-proof.

Diet
A varied and balanced diet is important for the long-term health of the turtle. Simply put, an exclusive diet of commercial pellets will not meet the turtle’s dietary needs and may cause deficiencies, disorders, or even premature death. Their captive diet should be close match their natural diet which can include earthworms, small fish, shrimp, dandelion leaves, anacharis, duckweed, etc. Young turtles (1-5 years) should have a 60-40% ratio of protein and vegetable matter. Older turtles should have a 25-75% ratio of protein and vegetable matter.

Supplements
Calcium and phosphorus supplements are recommended since red-eared sliders often suffer from shell and bone inadequacies and the phosphorus will help to control their metabolism. Since these supplements are usually in powder form, simply sprinkle over their food.

Diet Precautions
Excess amount of protein in young turtles cause rapid, unhealthy growth that could lead to permanent shell deformity. Avoid a uniform diet. Inadequate amounts of calcium and phosphorus are also issues with feeding the same foods.

Feeding
Small amounts of vegetables and plants should be offered every day while the protein part of their diet – be it pellets, feeder fish, or worms – should be given every other day. Be careful not to overfeed.

Water Source
Red-eared sliders drink and absorb water while they swim so it is vital that a high water quality is maintained. 50% percent water changes should be performed every three days.

Grooming
Make sure the turtle is spending enough time out of the water because most illnesses aquatic turtles are prone to are due to their lack of drying off on land. Red-eared sliders should spend at least six hours on land daily.

Oral and Foot Care
The turtle’s nails may need to be clipped every couple of months depending on the level of their activity. Use cat safe nail clippers.

Proper Handling
Pick them up with both hands and make sure to support their body. Be careful to keep your fingers away from its face as it may mistake them for worms. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling a turtle with antibacterial soap.

Habitat Maintenance
Healthy turtles will relieve themselves a lot, so cleaning their habitat is very important. Turtles tend to defecate right after they eat, so it is advised to feed them in a small container filled with water. Large water changes should be done every three days to maintain clean water. The terrestrial part of the habitat should be cleaned out and replaced every week.

Health Concerns
Red-eared sliders are prone to metabolic bone disease/soft shell (MBD), dystocia (egg binding), shell rot, respiratory infections, fungal infections, ear infections, accidental drowning and obesity. MBD is a serious, but preventable condition brought on about by lack of calcium or vitamin D3. Appropriate UVB lighting and a differentiated diet will help counteract this disease. Dystocia affects female turtles when eggs are abnormally held within the body. Constructing a nesting area (consisting of moist soil, leaves, and sand) and meeting their calcium needs should prevent this anomaly. Shell rot develops when an injury to the shell becomes infected because of the turtle spending too much time within the water. Symptoms are discoloration, exposed tissue, and softening of the shell. Keeping the aquarium clean, antibiotics, and a lot of rest will help remedy this ailment. Improper temperatures cause respiratory infections, which may become fatal. Irregular swimming, breathing difficulties, and lethargy are all symptoms of infection. Consult your veterinarian immediately. Ear infections are caused by the poor water quality and the symptoms are erratic swimming and a swollen head. Consult your veterinarian immediately as he/she will need to prescribe antibiotics. Poor water quality and insufficient UVB lighting cause fungal infections. Cleaning the water, soaking the turtle in saltwater, and using sulfa blocks should help clear up the fungus. Aquatic turtles frequently drown by accidentally wedging themselves between the terrestrial part of the habitat. Lowering the water level and making sure the land mass is situated underneath rocks or bricks that are impenetrable, that is the turtle cannot jam itself between them. The causes for obesity are obvious, not enough exercise and bad nutrition. Feed less, focusing more on vegetables and make sure the turtle gets a decent amount of activity, be it by buying a bigger enclosure or letting them play outside under close supervision.

Nov 162011
 
Pacman Frog

Pacman Frog, Ceratophrys ornata

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
6 to 9 inches

Life Span
About 6 years, but up to 12.

Male/Female Differences
Females are larger – 9 inches – than the 6 inch males. Males croak, especially when grabbed from behind.

Compatibility
Pacman frogs will eat anything smaller than themselves, so keep these large animals by themselves.

Origin
Argentina

Climate
Tropical jungles.

Day Cycle
Eats during the day.

Temperature
Keep at about 80 degrees to maintain good digestion.

Lighting
Use a small heat lamp to prevent drying the cage out. An under-tank heater works well. Full spectrum lighting helps in the proper absorption of calcium.

Humidity
High humidity can be maintained by daily misting and a large water dish. Moss and shredded coconut bark help by holding moisture.

Habitat/Territory
Hidden in the leaf litter of forest and jungle floors.

Substrate/Bedding
Gravel makes a great base for the substrate as it is not as messy as soil and provides drainage. Moss and/or coconut fibers on top of the gravel to maintain humidity and to allow the frog to bury themselves.

Hiding Place/Den
Moss will offer plenty of humidity and places for them to hide. Real or artificial plants also offer plenty of hiding places.

Cage Type
Aquariums work well as they hold humidity. A 20 inch critter cage is fine for a home as these frogs are largely sedentary.

Diet
Large crickets, earthworks, superworms, and goldfish up to pinkies, fuzzies, and adult mice.

Supplements
Dust crickets with a high quality vitamin/calcium powder for juveniles once a week. Adults need less supplementation – every three to four weeks – as they should get all of the vitamins from a varied and balanced diet.

Diet Precautions
Feed prey items no larger then half the size of the frog. Offer some variety to ensure proper nutrition, and avoid over supplementing.

Feeding
Feed juveniles two to three times a week, and adults every one to two weeks. Dead prey items, such as frozen pinkies, may need to be wiggled in front of toad with forceps to catch the attention of these ambush predators.

Water Source
Mist the cage and change the water bowl daily to keep the humidity high. These frogs are not strong swimmers so the water dish should not be deeper than half their body.

Grooming
Pacman frogs maintain their healthy skin through correct humidity and minimal handling. Provide fresh water to help prevent infections and dehydration.

Oral and Foot Care
Bacterial infection called red leg is always a risk for captive frogs.

Proper Handling
Even though they get used to being handled, this should be kept to a minimum. Dry hands will irritate their skin, and always wash your hands after handling.

Habitat Maintenance
Change the water daily. Spot clean the cage as needed, and change the substrate every one to two weeks.

Health Concerns
Dehydration, internal and external parasites are a health concern for these frogs. Bacterial infections like red leg can be due to unsanitary conditions.

Nov 162011
 
Mali Uromastyx

Mali Uromastyx

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Up to 16 inches

Life Span
About 35 years

Male/Female Differences
Females are smaller and less colorful. They are usually tan colored with black dorsal spots while males are bright yellow with black markings. Females also have shorter claws than males.

Compatibility
An Uromastyx is very territorial but may be kept in groups with only one male as long as there is adequate space.

Origin
The Mali Uromastyx comes from African regions.

Climate
It is necessary for the Mali Uromastyx to have a hot and dry climate.

Day Cycle
Diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and asleep during the night.

Temperature
During the day, it is ideal to keep the temperature between 85-110 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night, keep the temperature between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. There should also be a basking area provided by a heat lamp that heats the area 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lighting
Full spectrum UVB bulbs as well as a basking light are necessary for proper absorption of calcium that benefit heart and kidney functions.

Humidity
The humidity level in their environment should be maintained at 20%. This may be monitored by a hygrometer.

Habitat/Territory
Rocks and branches are great for the Uromastyx. Placing a rock underneath the basking lamp allows the Uromastyx to feel the heat from both the top of its body as well as from the belly. Although they love it hot, branches and enclosures kept at cooler areas are recommended to help regulate body temperature.

Substrate/Bedding
A reptile carpet should be used as a substrate. Also provide a burrowing box filled with calcium sand to promote instinctual burrowing.

Hiding Place/Den
They love to have hiding places in order to feel secure so provide decorative rocks, logs, and plants that are stationary in order to prevent injury.

Cage Type
For the Mali, the larger the tank the better. A 36” glass terrarium with a screen top is recommended for proper ventilation. The size of the terrarium may vary with the size of the Mali.

Diet
Being herbivores, Mali’s should be mostly fed with nutritious leafy greens and vegetables. Fruits should also be provided as an occasional supplement. Good supplemental fruits can include red berries, melons, and plums in small quantities.

Supplements
A calcium supplement dusted on the food is necessary.

Diet Precautions
Malis should not be overfed. As a supplement, they can occasionally be fed insects however too much may become hard to digest.

Feeding
Mali Uromastyx must be fed every day with about one to two tablespoons of food.

Water Source
Provide a shallow and small bowl of fresh water. This should be changed out everyday.

Grooming
A very light misting of the terrarium as well as of the Mali is sufficient for their grooming.

Oral and Foot Care
It is vital to wash food and water dishes to prevent mouth infections. Provide safe climbing areas for healthy muscle development.

Proper Handling
The Mali should be allotted bout 3 to 4 days in order to adjust to its new home. After it becomes comfortable, careful handling for short periods of time is fine.

Habitat Maintenance
A proper cleaning of the entire terrarium is recommended to keep the Mali healthy. The tank and the fixtures inside should be completely washed out and disinfected every two to three weeks. Spot clean as necessary.

Health Concerns
Malis may be susceptible to parasites if the terrarium is not often cleaned. Egg binding could be a result from poor calcium levels and or from the first infertile egg cycle. Mali’s may face kidney problems, which can be due from protein rich diets or poor calcium and phosphorous levels. Trim nails when necessary. Respiratory problems may be caused by low heat conditions and excess moisture.

Nov 162011
 
Iguana

Iguana

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Specimen’s lengths can range from 4-6 feet and their weight can be between 14-20 lbs.

Life Span
20+ years with proper care.

Male/Female Differences
Males have dorsal spines that are noticeably longer and thicker than females. Males also have highly developed femoral pores on the underside of their thighs which secrete a scent. Females are generally smaller in size and have slimmer heads and wider abdomens.

Compatibility
Young iguanas are very timid and will not like human contact. Do not be intimidated by its tail whips, hisses, scratches, or bites; take slow steps and in time the iguana will be successfully socialized. It is highly advised not to keep multiple iguanas together because of their sheer size, territorial grounds, and aggression.

Origin
North, Central, and South America.

Climate
Arboreal, tropical parts of the Americas.

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
The appropriate temperature is critical in maintaining the iguana active and healthy. Keep the temperature at 80-95°F during the day and 75-80°F at night. Provide a temperature gradient across the habitat, with areas to bask and shade, so the iguana can regulate his/her own body heat

Lighting
Appropriate lighting is important since wild iguanas enjoy the full power of the sun; their captive habitat must attempt to replicate their natural environment as much as possible. The lighting should provide three things – UVB, UVA, and heat. UVB rays provide D3, a vitamin, which allows for the metabolization and absorption of calcium. Heat and UVA rays help regulate the iguana’s feeding, activity, and mating. Lighting should be on for 10-12 hours a day with an emphasis on a consistent day/night cycle. Be careful to place their heat source somewhere the iguana cannot reach it, because burns are a serious and common injury to reptiles.

Humidity
Humidity is essential to the general health of the iguana because these reptiles receive the majority of their water intake directly from the moisture in the air. Humidity within the enclosure should be maintained around 90-100% and monitored with a hygrometer.

Habitat/Territory
Green iguanas reside in the highest branches of arboreal and tropical areas.

Substrate/Bedding
Reptile carpet or anything that can be easily disinfected cleaned and dried. Bark chips can also be used, but must be changed a couple times a week, as bark can get dirty and moist very quickly. Bark chips may also harbor parasites and mites, which can be difficult to get rid of.

Hiding Place/Den
Non-toxic hiding places will provide a spot where an iguana can retreat to if it feels threatened or uncomfortable. This is especially important for young iguanas that may not always want attention. The best things you can add to their environment are animal safe branches, vines and plants. Iguanas are disposed to climbing high places and the vines and plants will replicate their natural surroundings nicely.

Cage Type
Aquariums can be used to house juvenile iguanas, but nothing less than a 30-gallon tank. As they grow, it would be cost effective to purchase a custom built cage designed to house a fully mature iguana. This means an enclosure at least 8 feet high, 8 feet long, and 4 feet wide. Many dedicated owners redesign a room specifically intended for their iguana given that they grow to be so large. Make sure the area is escape-proof.

Diet
A varied and balanced diet is important for the long-term health of the iguana. Make sure to offer a wide selection of vegetables and fruits so that they do not become selective and hooked on a few foods. Juveniles require a higher protein content and for this reason they should be fed commercial pellets as the staple until it is three years old. Their diet should consist of 90% greens and 10% fruits since iguanas are herbivorous. Healthy vegetables, fruits, and plants include mustard greens, collard greens, kale, green beans, peas, carrots, mangos, papayas, apples, bananas, melon, dandelion flowers, and hibiscus flowers. Most fruits are high in phosphorus and for this reason they should be given sparingly.

Supplements
Calcium supplements are recommended daily, given that young iguanas are prone to calcium deficiencies. Vitamin and mineral supplements should also be administered once a week. Since these supplements are usually in powder form, simply sprinkle over their food.

Diet Precautions
Try not to feed animal protein to iguanas because their bodies are not designed to deal with it. Doing so may cause rapid, unhealthy growth. Avoid a uniform diet. Inadequate and excessive amounts of calcium and phosphorus are also issues with feeding the same foods.

Feeding
Chop/grate all the ingredients into a size that can easily fit into the iguana’s mouth and then sprinkle calcium powder on top of it. Feed the iguana appropriate amounts twice a day. Be careful not to overfeed and make sure you are alternating both foods and supplements.

Water Source
Provide a constant supply of clean, fresh, and chlorine-free water. Change their water pan twice a day. Iguanas are capable swimmers and should be allowed to exercise. Fill up a kiddie pool or bathtub a couple times a week and drop them in. Keep a close eye on the iguana to make sure it is comfortable.
Grooming The habitat must have the correct humidity in order for the iguana to properly shed its skin. Allowing the iguana to swim in a bathtub or kiddie pool will also facilitate their shedding of old skin.
Oral and Foot Care The iguana’s nails may need to be clipped every month depending on the level of their activity. Use cat safe nail clippers.

Proper Handling
Juveniles should be picked up with both hands making sure to support their body. Adults should not be handled unless they are completely comfortable with you. Never grab an iguana by their tail, since it can easily break off. Always wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after handling a lizard.

Habitat Maintenance
Spot clean their enclosure daily; iguanas tend to relieve themselves in the water provided, so change the water often. They can also be trained to go on newspaper and in time will go on nothing but paper. Thoroughly clean their habitat once a week with a mild bleach solution, rinse it clean, allow it to dry, and replace the substrate.

Health Concerns
Iguanas are prone to metabolic bone disease (MBD), respiratory infections, kidney disease, severe burns, mites, and intestinal impaction. MBD is a serious, but preventable condition brought on about by lack of calcium or vitamin D3. Symptoms include lethargy, soft bones, and swollen limbs. Appropriate UVB lighting and a differentiated diet will help counteract this disease. Improper temperatures cause respiratory infections, which may become fatal. Irregular swimming, breathing difficulties, and lethargy are all symptoms of infection. Consult your veterinarian immediately. Kidney disease is mainly caused by dehydration. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, and frequent drinking. Correctly adjusting the humidity, offering clean water, and weekly swims should cure the problem. Severe burns are a serious and common injury to reptiles because they often get too close to their heat source and do not realize they are in harm’s way. Iguanas are susceptible to mites and parasites if their habitat is not disinfected or cleaned often. Intestinal impaction can occur if the iguana eats his/her substrate, toys, or any other non-digestible items.

Nov 162011
 

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Between 0.5-4 inches in length

Life Span
Potentially 6-15 years

Male/Female Differences
In males, the reproductive organ is located below the heart and open to the outside at the base of the last pair of legs, whereas in females, it is located at the base of the middle pair of walking legs.

Compatibility
Hermit crabs generally get along with one another as long as there are enough shells for them to hide in. Since they often outgrow their shells, there are often competitions for any available shells.

Origin
Most hermit crabs come from the Caribbean.

Climate
Coming from the Caribbean, hermit crabs enjoy a heated environment.

Day Cycle
Hermit crabs are mostly active during night.

Temperature
Hermit crabs enjoy a temperature between 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lighting No overhead light is necessary for fear of drying out the habitat. Regular house lights are sufficient enough for them.

Humidity
Humidity is key when it comes to the hermit crabs. It should stay between 70-80%.

Habitat/Territory
If there is more than one crab in a tank, there should be sufficient space between them to prevent them from running into one another. Shells varying in color and size should also be distributed around the tank in order for the crab to change shells.

Substrate/Bedding
Clean gravel or sand may be used as a substrate for the hermit crab. Using crushed coral will aid in calcium absorption for a strong exoskeleton. Provide a molting box with at least two inches of moist sand to encourage healthy molting.

Hiding Place/Den
A hiding shelter should be provided for the crab so that it has a place to sleep during the day. As mentioned before, scattered shells are also great to have.

Cage Type
Generally speaking, there should be about one gallon of space per two hermit crabs. The size of the glass aquarium strictly depends upon how many hermit crabs there are and how much space is to be allotted to them.

Diet
Hermit crabs are omnivorous meaning they eat both animal and plant matter. Bloodworms and baby shrimp are great choices for these fellows.

Supplements
Crushed cuttlebone is a great supplement for it provides them with calcium. This helps to strengthen them especially during the stages when they start to molt.

Diet Precautions
Although they are able to eat plant matter, hermit crabs should also be fed vegetables.

Feeding
Hermit crabs should be fed one teaspoon of prepared food in a powdered form. Hermit crabs are scavengers therefore, a variety of proteins such as fish meal and plant matter should be provided. Preferences are vegetables and fruits with natural sugar content.

Water Source
It is recommended to provide a soaked natural sponge with dechlorinated water.

Grooming
Hermit crabs are molters, which means that they shed their outer skin every so often. When it does this, gently clean it. However, a small bathing bowl should be provided with water that has no chlorine in it. This way, the crab may bathe when it wishes to.

Oral and Foot Care
Hermit crabs have very sensitive abdomens and should not be squeezed or dropped.

Proper Handling
Hermit crabs are docile animals and respond well to being handled however if frightened, they may pinch the hand that holds it. In this case, submerge the hand in temperate and dechlorinated water to get the crab to release. They will only snap their claws if they feel threatened or if they are pinched too tightly.

Habitat Maintenance
A deep cleaning of the tank every one to two weeks is highly recommended. Uneaten food and any molten skin should be removed daily. Water should also be rinsed and changed daily.

Health Concerns
Since the hermit crab molts, they become highly sensitive to their environment. They bodies are soft and sensitive to everything. If there are other crabs with it, it molten crab should be isolated from the others until it recovers. A shallow dish of dechlorinated water should be provided for the crab to walk around in to rinse the shell from excrement and to freshen the primitive gill. This should be done every two to three days for about ten to twenty minutes.

Nov 162011
 
Florida Tree Frog

Florida Tree Frog

 

Download Florida Tree Frog Care Sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
About 2.5 inches

Life Span
2-5 years

Male/Female Differences
Male frogs tend to have more of a wrinkled throat, which indicates a vocal pouch. They also tend to be smaller than female tree frogs.

Compatibility
Green tree frogs are communal, meaning they get along well with one another, as well as with other reptiles that are similar in size such as small green anoles.

Origin
These frogs come from southeastern parts of the US, particularly Florida.

Climate
Coming from southeastern parts of the US, it is necessary for the frogs to have a humid and warm climate. Setups should be semi-tropical.

Day Cycle
Nocturnal, meaning they are asleep during the day and active during the night.

Temperature
During the day, it is ideal to keep the temperature between 75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night, keep the temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lighting
Being nocturnal, no special light is needed. A fluorescent full spectrum light may be utilized for no more than ten hours a day. This will create a healthy appetite as well as supply emotional and physical health.

Humidity
The humidity level in their environment should be maintained between 70 – 80%. This may be monitored by a hygrometer.

Habitat/Territory
A semi-tropical environment is necessary for these creatures meaning that a routine misting is required. Since tree frogs love to climb, fixtures such as branches and sticks are also recommended.

Substrate/Bedding
Reptile carpeting topped with moist moss is the best choice for sanitary reasons. Soil or finely ground mulch is also good to create a humid and natural environment, however, it may promote the development of parasites.

Hiding Place/Den
Tree frogs enjoy hiding behind driftwood that is placed diagonally in their terrarium as well as behind leaves that are hanging from the walls. Live plants are great to help regulate humidity levels.

Cage Type
A minimal 10 gallon aquarium is fine for keeping the tree frog, however the bigger the better. It is always better to have the tank taller versus wider. There should also be a screen top for proper ventilation.

Diet
Being insectivores, green tree frogs will feast mostly upon crickets as well as mealworms and wax worms. It is recommended to feed supplements to the crickets so that they become ‘gut-loaded’.

Supplements
Phosphorous free calcium is good for absorption and should be offered periodically to prevent deficiencies.

Diet Precautions
Adult frogs should only be fed 4-5 times a week and should be provided with enough food to last throughout the night. Juvenile frogs should be fed everyday.

Feeding
In captivity, crickets make up most of their diet, other insects are recommended. Mealworms and wax worms are a good variety. Gut load insects by giving pieces of fresh green vegetables.

Water Source
A water bowl with fresh dechlorinated water should be available to the frog. This should be changed out everyday.

Grooming
Frequent misting of the terrarium as well as of the frog is sufficient for their grooming. A small water bowl may also be available for the frog to soak in, however, do not over saturate to prevent negative bacterial growth.

Oral and Foot Care
The substrate used should be checked in order to avoid the frog’s feet from becoming injured. Insects that have not been eaten should be removed and water bowls should be changed in order to prevent oral and digestive infections.

Proper Handling
Green tree frogs have sensitive skin and hardly like to be handled. In any case, careful and supervised handling should be utilized when handling them. Use wet hands to handle them due to the abrasiveness of human skin which may cause the frog’s skin to rub off.

Habitat Maintenance
Clean out the entire cage once a week including the fixtures kept inside. Everything should be cleaned with hot water. If using reptile carpet, change it once very week. If soil is used as a substrate, change out every two to three weeks. Fresh water should also be available.

Health Concerns
Tree frogs are highly susceptible to stress and should avoid being handled. Runny or red streaks in droppings, weight loss, inflamed skin, and discharge should be immediately brought to the attention of a vet. Also, unsanitary and stagnant conditions will cause bacterial infection.

Oct 162011
 

Tomato Frog: Dyscophus antongili

Adult Size
Males 3 inches, females 5 inches

Life Span
Up to 10 years

Male/Female Differences
Females are larger and brighter in color than the males.

Compatibility
Tomato frogs are fairly compatible and can live in small groups. Beware of mixing them with small frogs, as these will be eaten.

Origin
Madagascar.

Climate
Humid areas located close to water, forest floors.

Day Cycle
Diurnal, working the day shift.

Temperature
75 up to 85 during the day. Use a mild basking light or a small watt heat pad.

Lighting
Use high quality UVA light for emotional health and to stimulate their appetite.

Humidity
Tomato frogs need humidity. Provide this with a water bowl – an airstone increases the humidity – frequent misting, and moss.

Habitat/Territory
Banks surrounding small stream or pond.

Substrate/Bedding
Gravel makes a great base for the substrate as it is not as messy as soil and provides drainage. Moss and/or coconut fibers on top of the gravel to maintain humidity. Avoid heavy soaking of the substrate.

Hiding Place/Den
Moss will offer plenty of humidity and places for them to hide. Real or artificial plants also offer plenty of hiding places.

Cage Type
20” aquariums or critter cages are ideal homes as they help hold in humidity.

Diet
Feed crickets and small mealworms. Tomato frogs will also eat small fish, worms, other frogs and even small mice.

Supplements
Lightly dust crickets with a good calcium/vitamin powder just before feeding.

Diet Precautions
Gut load your crickets with high quality cricket food to prevent deficiencies in tomato frogs.

Feeding
Tomato frogs eat a lot of crickets. Offer a few crickets at a time during the day.

Water Source
Provide clean water in a bowl at all times. Mist frequently to keep humidity high.

Grooming
Tomato frogs need no grooming.

Oral and Foot
Care Clean the cage regularly to prevent foot and skin infections or an internal infection known as red leg.

Proper Handling
Tomato frogs are not ideal candidate for handling as our skin would both dry and irritate theirs. If you need to handle your tomato frog, wet your hands.

Habitat Maintenance
Spot clean soiled areas. Keep the water dish clean as this is a prime area for bacteria to grow.

Health Concerns
Tomato frogs are susceptible to skin lesions and bacterial infections called red leg.

Oct 162011
 

African Spurred Tortoise: Geochelone sulcata

Adult Size
20-26 inches, up to 110 pounds

Life Span
The oldest recorded specimen in captivity is 54, but may live much longer.

Male/Female Differences
Males have a concave plastron (belly part of the shell) and a longer tail then females. The angle between the scutes (shell segments) closest to the tortoise’s vent is wider in males; this is the most reliable way of sexing juveniles.

Compatibility
Males should not be housed together, as they can be quite aggressive.

Origin
Wide distribution throughout sub-Saharan Africa including: Ethiopia, Niger, and Senegal.

Climate
Hot and arid. These animals have adapted to live on the desert’s edge.

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
95° during the day with a basking point. Temperature should drop 10-15° at night. Tortoises can handle temp as low as 70° at night.

Lighting
Like all lizards, sulcata need a source of UVB in order to synthesize vitamin D and properly metabolize calcium. As a basking animal this is especially important for tortoises.

Humidity
These tortoises are used to an arid environment. Soak your tortoise several times weekly in shallow (tortoises sink), tepid water to keep it hydrated.

Habitat/Territory
Savannah. Grassland.

Substrate/Bedding
Suitable reptile sand substrate, aspen/alfalfa pellets, or mulch all make acceptable substrates (sulcata like to burrow), though be cautious of accidental ingestion. Cage carpet makes a safe and sterile substrate.

Hiding Place/Den
Spurred tortoises love to burrow, and appreciate a feeling of enclosure. Artificial dens like half-logs or sections of cork-bark will be favorites of your tortoise.

Cage Type
Hatchlings and juveniles can be housed in glass aquaria, but as your tortoise grows you will want to construct a pen, the larger the better. An area of 8×4 feet is suitable for a single tortoise. Puppy gates and playpens work well for sectioning of an area where heat/UV basking areas can be provided. Be careful to avoid chilly flooring.

Diet
Sulcata tortoises are grazing herbivores. Their digestive system has evolved to process large amounts of nutrient-poor foods. The majority of their diet should be hay, such as alfalfa, orchard grass, or timothy hay. Supplement the hay with a good variety of fresh vegetables. Avoid feeding too much of any one veggie.

Supplements
A calcium supplement should be provided daily, and a reptile vitamin once or twice per week.

Diet Precautions
Avoid feeding too many ‘wet’ veggies as this can lead to digestive upset. Do not feed bugs or meat to your tortoise. Be wary of commercial tortoise diets, as these may be too high in protein.

Feeding
Your tortoise should be fed daily. A slight decrease in feeding during winter months is to be expected.

Water Source
A shallow dish from which the tortoise can bend its head down and drink. The tortoise should also be soaked several (3-4) times weekly, or every day if you can, in shallow, tepid water.

Grooming
Soaking your tortoise will help to keep it clean.

Oral and Foot Care
Nails and beak may become overgrown in captivity. Placing rough edged rocks in the enclosure, while taking care to ensure the tortoise cannot hurt or flip itself, can help to wear down nails. Nails can be trimmed if overgrown by us at Wilmette Pet or by your exotic veterinarian. An overgrown beak can be filed down with a nail file.

Proper Handling
Hold your tortoise firmly with two hands. Avoid putting hands near its head, as a startled tortoise may pinch your fingers as it retreats into its shell.

Habitat Maintenance
Remove feces and change water daily. Substrate should be changed every four to six weeks, or when it begins to smell.

Health Concerns
Calcium deficiency or lack of proper lighting can lead to metabolic bone disease, characterized by soft limbs,inactivity, or refusal to feed. Over supplementation or too much protein in the diet can lead to pyramiding of the shell. Too cool temperature can cause respiratory infections.