White’s Tree Frog Care

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.

Water Dragon Care

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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.

Red-Eared Slider Care

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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.

Pacman Frog Care

Pacman Frog

Pacman Frog, Ceratophrys ornata

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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.

Mali Uromastyx Care

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.