Speke’s Hingeback tortoises (Kinixys spekii)

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This species of tortoise is a highly evolved species with excellent protection from predators by means of a fully closable shell design. Once closed the rear legs are not available to be bitten. They have also evolved to live in a very specific habitat – hot and dry most of the year, with a specific wet season. They are quite a flat species, ideal for living in rocky terrain. For this reason they have some very different requirements to more commonly kept tortoise species. They occur in savannah dry bush areas in East Africa. This effects their heat, light and diet requirements – not to mention the challenge of replicating their natural terrain. Speke’s Hingebacks are not a large species rarely growing more than around 20cm. For this reason a…
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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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Burgers Zoo – Netherlands

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Burgers Zoo – Netherlands Burgers Zoo, named after the original owners, opened in 1913 and I one of the largest zoos in the Netherlands. It is a mix of old and new, like many old European zoos, but does not have many of the original buildings. There are several themed areas, when I visited I enjoyed many of the sections including the oceans, bush, desert, mangrove. Safari and the newest, Rimba (South Eastern Asian Rainforest). Much of the signage is supplemented in English too. The ocean section has two large tanks, each 3000000 litres, and in total there is 8000000 litres – sharks, state of the art coral and tropical fish. My least favourite exhibits were the gorillas and chimpanzee enclosure - this has altered little since it was built…
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Taiwan beauty snakes – Orthriophis taeniura friesei

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Taiwan beauty snakes - Orthriophis taeniura friesei   A large colourful Colubrid snake species that occurs  almost completely in Taiwan . A sub-species, other similar looking sub-species and the nominate occur throughout a wide range of South Eastern Asia. This sub-species can be a large snake, but slender, at a maximum of nearly 3 metres long – most grow to around 2 metres in captivity. When I first bred this species, from wild caught stock, in the 90’s large specimens were quite common, but most seem to be smaller nowadays. Their natural habitat varies, unlike several of the sub-species who mainly occur in caves – this sub-species can be found in wooded, agricultural, human residential and other areas. Often found climbing in trees, under debris and generally active (in the hot…
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Fan Foot Geckos – Ptyodactylus guttatus

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Fan Foot Geckos - Ptyodactylus guttatus (some imports are hasselquistii) A small to medium sized gecko species that commonly occurs in North Africa and western Asia.They are very adaptable as a species, and are found in a variety of habitats including around human habitation, wooded areas, stone walls, agricultural and many others. They can be found in relatively dry terrain, and also in more humid areas. In captivity they are easy to maintain. A vivarium measuring a minimum of 3x2x2 is fine, three feet tall would be better. Daytime temperatures should be in the region of around 30-32C, dropping by a few degrees at night – perhaps to around 22-25C. Lighting for species like this is a debatable topic, the more recent school of thought is to provide a “scattered”…
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Natural Terraria Department

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We are always looking to give a better experience at Coast to Coast Exotics. We installed a new department some four years ago dedicated to natural terraria, as this has become more and more popular with our customers we have relocated and refurbished the department. It's now closer to the main showroom, right next door, in fact. Natural terraria are nothing new in the hobby. When I first started, some forty years or more ago, all my terraria were planted with real plants, complete with drainage layers and what is now referred to us clean up crew (Woodlice etc). It's documented as long ago as two hundred years, there are several books on the topic from that long ago. The idea is to keep a natural ecosystem where plants and animals benefit…
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Reptile Egg Incubation

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There are many ways if incubating reptile eggs. By far the easiest is to use a purpose designed reptile incubator. There are several brands to choose from, virtually all the big names offer an incubator. One of the cheapest and most popular ones is the Lucky Reptile Egg-o-bator. At first glance it looks a little novelty based with its egg shaped design and cheerful graphics. But it does the job for a clutch or two of small species eggs, such as geckos and snakes.   There are some options that will make incubating reptile eggs much easier. The first is the incubation kits from Hatchrite. The are available in small and large size and include everything you need to successfully incubate your eggs once you have purchased the incubator. Follow…
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Trip to Australia – Northern territory, Darwin and Kakadu National Park

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After leaving the “Red Centre” we visited the Darwin area and the vast Kakadu National Park. It’s a huge area of varying terrain and habitat. Our base was another small holding, relatively close to both Darwin and Kakadu in a rambling place called Humpty Doo. The small holding was owned by a family that were heavily into animals, and again like the one we stayed near Alice Springs the local animal knowledge was invaluable. We needed to visit Darwin, as a friend has (now had) a reptile exhibit at Crocosaurus Cove. The city is quite small scale, generally with low level buildings and lots of public Parks. There are lots of opportunities even within the city to see wild native reptiles and amphibians. Crocosaurus Park, whilst worth a short one hour…
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