Cope’s Grey Treefrog – Hyla chrysoscelis (recently reclassified as Dryophytes chrysoscelis)

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Cope’s Grey Treefrog is a species of frog that occurs in Southerly regions throughout North America at lower elevations. As their name ‘Treefrog’ suggests they are generally found in woodland areas. They are easily confused with several species including Hyla versicolor, Grey Treefrog. They breed between May and August, en masse, with choruses of calls by the males. As a point of interest, like many frog species the skin secretions are known to be a known skin irritant to some people – but this is rare. They are an easy species to keep in captivity, with of course some basic needs being met. They are best kept in a tall glass terrarium, of around 90cm tall. They are best kept in naturally planted terraria – and look stunning displayed with…
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Togo Starburst Baboon – Heteroscodra maculata

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A very impressive species, but perhaps left to the more experienced spider keeper. Colouration and larger size (leg span to around 13cm) makes them a very popular species within the hobby. They can be aggressive in nature and have a relatively potent venom. They occur naturally in West Africa, mainly in Togo and Ghana. An arboreal species, although younger individuals will often burrow. We would recommend a tall glass vivarium, with a deep layer of substrate such as ProRep SpiderLife and provide plenty of branches – this will provide for both tendencies. Provide a temperature of around 26C, with a small drop at night. Lighting is not required. Provide a small water bowl for drinking and spray with water daily to maintain a high level of humidity. A reliable source…
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The Lake Cuitzeo Garter Snake – Thamnophis eques cuitzeoensis

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The Lake Cuitzeo Garter Snake is a sub-species for the Mexican Garter snake and only occurs in Lago de Cuitzeo, Michoacán, Mexico. It is a relatively heavy bodied larger Garter snake, but still of a size that would be described as a small to medium sized snake – around a metre in length. It is an attractive species that tends to grow into a black adult, with an appealing blue hue, especially around the neck region. Not a commonly seen or kept species in captivity, one for the Garter snake enthusiast. In captivity they are an easy species to cater for, as long as some basic needs are met. They are a basking diurnal species and are active during daylight hours. We provide 6-7% UVB light during the daytime hours.…
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Mourning geckos – Lepidodactylus lugubris

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Mourning geckos arrived in the reptile keeping scene over the last few years, and have become very popular – especially with natural terrarium enthusiasts. They are a pretty gecko, small and characterful, but in many ways they have captured peoples imaginations due to their breeding habits. This species breeds with no males, they are parthogenic, only females exist and they reproduce without the opposite sex. They do copulate, this is known as pseudo-copulation. They are a very easy species to breed, and produce large amounts in a short time. In the wild they naturally occur in coastal areas in lowland forests in the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. However they have been introduced, probably by hitch hiking on docked ships, in several areas around the world. A very successful species.…
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Oriental Fire Bellied toads – Bombina orientalis

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The Oriental Fire Bellied toad occurs throughout Korea, North East China and into Russia. Geographically it varies in body colouration and intensity of the red belly. The belly is used to deter predators, this toad is mildly poisonous – the toad raises its arms, and flattens itself to show off the red belly when under threat. It is reported that they will flip themselves on their back under extreme provocation – but I have never seen such an extreme display. The toxins are very mild, and only likely to (rarely cause skin / eye irritation). Like all Bombina species it lives in areas of shallow water marsh land.   We always advise the use of plastic or glass vivaria. Provide a shallow water area (around 15-20cm deep), many keepers provide…
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Desert Hairy Scorpions – Hadrurus arizonensis

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The Desert Hairy Scorpion naturally occurs throughout the Sonoran and Mojave deserts in North America. The hairs detect vibrations and aid them catching prey in such harsh hot conditions. They live in long elaborate tunnels, up to around three metres long. They are known for being a grumpy species, however we find them to be a very manageable species that pose no great difficulties to the experienced scorpion keeper. Their venom is described as being comparable to a bee sting, - however even a bee sting can cause an allergic reaction, and fatalities from this scorpion species have been recorded. As with all species, be careful – and we advise only adult keepers. A plastic or glass tank provides the most suitable housing, heated by a heat mat under or…
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Golden geckos – Gekko ulikovskii

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Golden geckos are a nocturnal species, generally becoming active at dusk, and remaining active throughout the dark hours. They occur in lowland rainforest in Vietnam, often around human habitation – they take advantage of electric lights that attract flying insects that they consume.   This species is generally available as wild caught, and is not a species currently bred in large numbers. We always recommend that wild caught species are only kept by experienced keepers with a view to establishing breeding programmes – there are many captive bred species freely available that will suit the less experienced keeper. Having said this, the Golden gecko is an easy species to keep, and shouldn’t provide any difficulties in breeding.   They are an arboreal species, so provide a tall glass vivarium of…
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For the sake of our Chameleons

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An interesting article, initially published in a trade magazine, Peregrine Trade News. Written by Petr Necas and Bill Strand. For the sake of our Chameleons, we must understand this (respiratory) disease and answer the crucial questions that will allow us to finally eliminate this plague from our terrariums. To do this we will explore what a respiratory infection is, how it takes hold, what the symptoms are, and how we can treat it. What is a Respiratory Infection? A respiratory infection (RI) is a condition where air borne pathogenic bacteria has been allowed to reproduce unchecked in the respiratory tract and cause inflammation. Bacteria are microscopic living organisms that, like all living organisms, give off waste products as a result of their metabolism. In some cases, this waste product is…
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“True” Tomato frogs

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For many years the “true” Tomato frog has not been available in the trade, being listed as CITES 1 to protect them within their natural habitat. The species has now joined its closely related species Dyscophus guineti, downgraded to CITES 2, which allows sustainable trade more easily. This is good news! They occur in a small geographical area around Antongil Bay (hence the latin name) in Madagascar, up to around 200 metres elevation. Habitat includes tropical and sub-tropical lowland forests around marshes, slow moving rivers, plantations, parks and gardens in urban areas, ponds and drainage ditches. In captivity they do fine in a moderately warm terrarium of around 22-24C. They like to burrow, a substrate such as  Arcadia EartMix or ProRep BioLife Forest will allows for this. They thrive in…
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Philippine Leaf Insect

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There are many Leaf Insects, the Philippine Leaf Insect is the commonly available species and easy to cater for. House them at room temperature (around 20-25C), in a glass vivarium with a mesh ceiling (this will aid them shedding their skin). Plenty of twigs and branches for climbing, and food consists of bramble leaves (older leaves, young hairy ones can be toxic to them), rose and oak leaves. Of course make sure all food offered is free from pesticides. Place the bramble twigs, complete with leaves in a jar of water to keep fresh – for safety use a sponge to stop the insects drowning in the water. Winter can be a problem obtaining food, keep this in mind. Spray the vivarium lightly with tepid water every day. Having a…
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