Leipzig Zoo

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Leipzig Zoo is a zoo full of history, first opening in 1878. It has been owned by the city since 1920, and has seen many changes as the Second World War broke out and the subsequent forming / passing of Eastern Germany. It has a fantastic mix of old and new and is similar in that respect to London Zoo.   The older parts include the aquarium and reptile house (pre-themed areas were all taxa are displayed). On this visit the aquarium was closed for renovation – but the reptile house was open and is still a charming place to see reptiles. I have visited Leipzig Zoo previously, and the aquarium was open, it’s a similarly charming old version of displaying animals – but my favourite part was the old…
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Photography at Coast to Coast Exotics

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There has always been a traditional interest and link with photography at Coast to Coast Exotics - the marriage of all our animals and a camera is inevitable. We have had several photographers spending time at Coast to Coast Exotics over the years, including myself, producing some very nice images. Recently we opened our doors to camera clubs, for an evening of animals and photography. Some of the photographers have had their images reproduced onto unique greetings cards, now available from our store in Darlington. The current ones are from Mike Atkinson, not only a well known photographer, but for those that have been around Coast to Coast Exotics a long time, father to Lianne Atkinson who worked at  the store for several years. Lianne is now a veterinary nurse :-)…
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Top Tips – June 2019

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Top tips; Cage locks - As we continue into the snake breeding season, its worth combating the wanderlust of horny male snakes. All too often we hear of reptiles escaping from their vivarium by sliding open their glass doors – especially with male snakes on walk about looking for a female. We always advocate the use of a vivarium lock anyway, but critical at this time of the year. They are easy to fit, the bar slides in between the two pieces of glass so the hood of the bar catches one piece of glass. The finger nut needs to be tightened and then the lock is slid onto the bar. Some locks need to have the key to lock, others lock as its slid onto the bar. It’s that…
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Keeping Dice snakes (Natrix tessellata)

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Dice snakes (Natrix tessellata) are a harmless European water snake widely distributed throughout Europe, North African and the Middle East. As it is a water snake, its primary habitat is around ponds, slow moving streams and lakes – but also found around human habitation such as irrigation channels and tanks. Although classified as harmless it’s reported to have a well developed gland in its mouth that produces a mild neurotoxin and produces a potent antihemorrhagin in its serum. However this is highly unlikely to effect humans. They also void the contents of their vent, which is a smelly defence. This species when I was a child, was a common pet snake – along with the related Grass and Viperine snakes. I remember visiting pet shops where a tank would be…
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Keeping a very unusual salamander species – the Siren

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Sirens are a fascinating fully aquatic salamander species that resembles an eel. They all have a distribution of the Southern United States into Northern Mexico.   As a captive they present few problems to maintain successfully – they are one of natures survivors and for this reason thrive in captivity. They are an evolutionary throw back, and seem to have an answer to every scenario – for example the adults have small lungs and gills too.  This means they have a survival mechanism to survive drought, they can seal themselves in the mud of their pond should it dry up, to venture back out once the rain fills it back up. The long thin body is ideal for aquatic life, but with serpentine action, and small front limbs they can…
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Looking after livefood in the summer months.

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As a seller of thousands of livefood insects we occasionally hear people making comments about shorter lifespan and dead on arrival livefood insects. Much of this is common sense, and some of it is totally out of everybodys’ control. For example whilst in transit conditions can easily kill or shorten the lifespan of livefood.   Temperature problems are the biggest killer of livefoods – it’s that simple. In the winter it gets too cold, and in the summer it can get too hot. The easiest months are spring and autumn! When we pack a tub of livefood in the winter we pack with extra insulation (no heat packs as the tub gets too warm and the livefood is killed). However, in the summer we cannot do this to insulate the…
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Arcadia LampGuardPro

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Arcadia LampGuardPro   LampGuardPro’ is a versatile lamp caging system that protects both your animals and UV lamps alike.   This easy to use lamp cage has been designed by experts to allow as much light through the mesh as possible. This ensures high levels of protection while maintaining maximum levels of essential UV-B. We achieve this by using a specially chosen mesh size and shape, paint colour and by applying a thick gloss coating over the wire. By doing so, we have been able to ensure that as much light as possible passes through the mesh and that your animals remain well supplied for. Commercial mesh coverings can reduce light-flow by 40% from new, LampGuardPro gets this down to around 15%* of total light energy and remains quite stable…
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Repashy Cherry Bomb

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Repashy Cherry Bomb   We are proud to introduce “Cherry Bomb” a complete gecko diet that builds on the success of our Pineapple Express seasonal blend. Pineapple was such a great appetite stimulant, that we decided to keep a healthy dose of pineapple in this new blend as part of the mix. The new main fruit ingredient is of course dried Cherry fruit. The cherries we are using are not the tart variety, but the sweet black (Bing) type. They have a great smell and sweetness that gecko’s can’t resist.   Some might ask why we are using cherries as a Spring seasonal blend when they are typically a Summer crop…. The answer revolves around the flowers. April is when cherry trees in North America typically are in full bloom.…
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Emerald Swifts (Sceloporus malachitus)

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When I was a child, over forty years ago I kept wild caught Sceloporus lizard species. They were commonly offered for sale, and were more often than not the spiny desert species originating from the USA. They were often sold as Fence lizards, and almost always kept as a desert species, no matter what their requirements consisted of. I cannot remember if this central American species was available, I don’t think it was, but certainly it’s reputation of being a difficult captive will likely originate from keeping them too dry and hot. Emerald swifts (Sceloporus malachitus) come from Mexico and further into Central America. Their habitat is quite specific, they occur in high elevation cloud forest – it’s quite cool and humid. Keeping them hot, as for example a Bearded…
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Aquarium of Genoa

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Whilst visiting the area, I thought I’d have a look at the aquarium in the historic old port of Genoa, Italy. The area has been developed into a series of attractions, and also includes a Biosphere and a Maritime museum. The aquarium itself boasts it is the largest aquarium in Europe and was opened in 1992 as part of celebrations of Christopher Columbus finding the New World – the whole area is very proud of their connection with Columbus.   For the marine and freshwater vertebrate / invertebrate lover, the aquarium boasts 33,000 square feet of large and small aquaria. Larger species includes manatees, various sharks, dolphins, turtles and Rays. There is a vast array of smaller aquaria with seahorses, fish, jellyfish, crabs and various others.   The reptile and…
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