Socotra Island Baboon Tarantula (Monocentropus Balfouri)

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A stunningly beautiful Old World communal tarantula species, electric blue legs and a rich sandy orange body contrast beautifully. An average adult size makes them a mid-sized tarantula species at around 4-5 inches. In the wild they occur, as their name suggests, on one Island off the coast of Africa, Socotra island.   The Island is relatively dry, however in captivity it is necessary to create a microclimate in an area that is quite high humidity, around 70-85% - this can be achieved by spraying their webs with water.  The rest of the enclosure can be kept at around 60-70% humidity. They will create quite an intricate system of webbing, especially when kept in communal groups. Provide a relatively large vivarium for groups, so they have room to go about…
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Jungle Carpet pythons – Morelia spilota cheynei

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Jungle Carpet pythons are a smaller, more brighter coloured variety of the Carpet python that occurs through many regions in Australia, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. Jungle Carpet pythons are found in the rainforest areas of Queensland in North Eastern Australia. Although a relatively easy species to maintain in captivity, they are best kept by those with some experience of keeping snakes. They are a medium sized snake (six to seven feet long) that is often a little bad tempered and many bite frequently in defence. However, for those that have the ability and tolerance they are a truly beautiful snake. Keep this species in tall vivaria as they are an arboreal species – they like to climb on branches and vines. We would suggest a minimum of three…
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Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus)

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Brown Basilisks are an overlooked species of Iguanid lizard, generally the flashier Plumed Basilisk with its bright green colouration and bigger crests take the attention of most potential keepers. That’s a shame, as given the chance the Brown Basilisk is a great vivarium subject and has the added bonus of being smaller than the Plumed. In the wild they occur in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Mexico, Central America and into Columbia and are relatively commonly found. They share the well-known ability to run over water on their hindlegs, their rear feet have developed skin between their toes that aids this – along with the superfast speed they can achieve. Along with the Plumed Basilisk they are not a commonly kept species in captivity, the large vivarium they will…
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Woodlice and Pillbugs

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Over the last few years here has been a revival of natural planted terraria – I say revival as the keeping of planted terraria has been very popular in the past too. Some people keep the terraria reptile or amphibian free and aim to just create a slice of natural terrain with plants and mosses only. However, that would just go against the grain for us, and of course we would add some nice frogs or light climbing lizards to complete the picture! Once there are animals added it becomes a true eco-system, that of course needs balancing – we need a clean up crew to deal with the mess the animals make. This is where we can take advantage of mother nature as there are already natural feeders of…
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Kenyan Sand boas

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Sand boas are a group of boas that are strange in several ways, they are very small, they are fossorial (burrowing species) and are relatively unusual occurring in the “Old World”, most Boa species occur in the “New World” (“Old World” is Europe, Africa and / or Asia and “New World” is the Americas). This sub-species may not be recognised as a separate sub-species anymore, depending on author, as a traditionalist I still recognise it as Gongylophis colubrinus loveridgei, some herpetologists regard it as monotypic with geographic variation. It’s worth mentioning that even the view of Boas in the “New World” and Pythons in the “New World” is also regarded as traditionalist – this author is guilty as charged. Kenyan Sand boas do not grow the large size of their…
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Golden treefrogs

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The Golden treefrog, Polypedates leucomystax, is a medium to large treefrog species with a large range within tropical and sub-tropical Asia. It is a very common frog in its natural habitat, which in itself is very varied, from tropical forest through to agricultural and urban areas. It’s fair to say this species is very adaptable and will thrive in many terrains. This makes it an ideal species of treefrog to keep in the home terrarium. A glass terrarium is really the only cost-effective method of housing a species that comes from damp, warm, tropical climates. A tall vivarium, of around 60-90cm is ideal, with good ventilation. They will do fine in a simple, minimalistic set-up; with plastic plants etc. However, with the surge in popularity of planted natural terraria this…
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Common boas

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The Common boa name covers a wide range of subspecies within the pet trade, and as most Common boas in the trade are now captive bred, it appears genetic lines are often a mixture of several sub-species. The species on a whole has a wide distribution range through Central and South America in mainly sub-tropical and tropical regions. This species is a large snake, females can grow in excess of three metres. For this reason, the topic of keeping this species should not be taken lightly – at the very least thought should be given to the large housing required. There is a movement within the hobby that views housing a snake that cannot fully stretch its own length is no longer acceptable. If you subscribe to this view point…
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Red Eyed Crocodile Skinks – Tribolonotus gracilis

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Red Eyed Crocodile skinks are an amazing species that occurs in Papua New Guinea, Admiralty Islands. They have become a very popular species since being imported into the country since the mid-1990’s. Their mini-dragon appearance and their bright red “eye-liner” are no doubt very appealing – add to this their slow movement making them a “tame” species too.   We have bred this species at Coast to Coast Exotics, it is a very easy species to keep and breed. In the wild they have lived on forest floors, in leaf litter and other debris, for tens of thousands of years. Unfortunately this is changing. As coconut plantations have spread into the Red Eyed Crocodile Skinks natural habitat, they are remarkably adaptable and are surviving now under the coconut husks. This…
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Smooth Sided toads – Rhaebo guttatus

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The Smooth Sided toad (Rhaebo guttatus) is a large species of toad found Amazonian Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, as well as the Guyanas. Females are the biggest quoted as growing to around 25cm. It’s natural habit is tropical lowland forests, living in the leaf litter and debris on the forest floor. They have a relatively potent toxin that they release from the paratoid glands behind their eyes. Generally speaking this poses no threat to humans, but if ingested can cause health complications.   In captivity this species needs a large vivarium as they are relatively active and have been known to inflict wounds by bouncing against the side of enclosures. We suggest a vivarium of around a metre in length, and again to avoid injury a minimum…
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Bearded Dragons

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Bearded dragons are now one of the most popular lizard pets in the world. They have a great character, relatively easy to manage and a great addition to many families – I say this due to the fact that they often become part of the family very much like a dog. This species really is that characterful, they could even be described as cheeky.   They originated from Australian deserts, and have been in the hobby for a couple of decades. In that time they have been selectively bred to produce many different colour morphs – some are startlingly different to the lizard seen in the wild. The topic of colour morphs is far outside the purpose of this small article, it’s fair to say this is now a hobby…
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