środa, 20 lipca 2011

Tortoise - Common snapping turtle

The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is a large freshwater turtle of the family Chelydridae. Its natural range extends from southeastern Canada, southwest to the Rocky Mountains as far east as Nova Scotia and Florida. This species and the larger alligator snapping turtle are both widely referred to as snapping turtles or snappers (though the common snapping turtle, as its name implies, is much more widespread overall).

Common snappers are noted for their belligerent disposition when out of the water, their powerful beak-like jaws, and their highly mobile head and neck (hence the specific name "serpentina", meaning "snake-like"). In some areas they are hunted very heavily for their meat, a popular ingredient in turtle soup. These turtles have lived for up to 47 years in captivity, while the lifespan of wild individuals is estimated to be around 30 years

Chelydra serpentina have rugged, muscular builds with ridged carapaces (though ridges tend to be more pronounced in younger individuals). The carapace (upper shell) length in adulthood may be nearly 50 cm (20 in), though 25–7 cm (9.8–2.8 in), is more common, with C. serpentina and its subspecies commonly weighing 4.5–16 kg (9.9–35 lb). Exceptionally large (often captive and overfed) individuals may reach 34 kg (75 lb).

The common snapping turtle is not an ideal pet. Its neck is very flexible, and the turtle can bite its handler even if picked up by the sides of its shell. The turtle can amputate a finger with its powerful jaws. It will make a hissing sound when it is threatened or encountered; however, when in the water and unprovoked, they are fairly docile toward humans.

It is a common misconception that common snapping turtles may be safely picked up by the tail with no harm to the animal; in fact, this has a high chance of injuring the turtle, especially the tail itself and the vertebral column. Lifting the turtle with the hands is difficult and dangerous. Snappers can stretch their necks back across their own carapace and to their hind feet on either side to bite. Also, their claws are sharp and capable of inflicting significant lacerations.

It may be tempting to rescue a snapping turtle found in a road by getting it to bite a stick and then dragging it out of immediate danger. This action can, however, severely scrape the legs and underside of the turtle and allow for deadly infections in the wounds.

środa, 6 lipca 2011

Tortoise - Russian tortoise/Horsfield's tortoise/Central Asian tortoise

The Russian tortoise, Horsfield's tortoise or Central Asian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii, but see "Systematics" below) is a species of tortoise that is a popular pet. It is named after the American naturalist Thomas Horsfield.

The Russian tortoise is a small tortoise species, ranging from about 15 to 25 cm (6-8 inches for males, 8-10 inches for females). They are sexually dimorphic in that the females grow slightly larger, males tend to have a longer tail that is generally tucked to the side, and females tend to have flared scutes on their shells, while males do not. Coloration varies, but the shell is usually a ruddy brown or black, fading to yellow between the scutes, and the body itself straw-yellow and brown. They have four toes. They live for so long (about 75 years) that people who keep them as pets often leave them in their will. They are usually rather social with humans. They are a popular pet.

The Russian tortoise ranges from Afghanistan to north-western China, through the countries of Russia,m Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Pakistan. It usually lives in dry areas with sparse vegetation.

Russian tortoises hibernate during winter and estivate during the summer when temperatures are high. They are avid burrowers and can dig large burrows that might be two meters (six feet) long. They are herbivorous, and active grazers when the temperature is right, consuming a wide variety of weeds and grasses. In captivity, suitable foodplants include:

- Lactuca sativa lettuce, especially Romaine and green and red Looseleaf cultivars
- Dandelions, a favorite

In the wild, the Russian Tortoise is considered vulnerable to extinction in the mid-long term. Human construction encroaching upon its habitat is the main cause of endangerment; it is also hunted locally for use in folk medicine. Trade in wild animals is restricted, and captive-breds should be preferred as pets as they are hardier. They also tend to be less shy than other tortoises and have an appealing, pugnacious temperament.

In captivity
Russian tortoises are popular pets primarily because of their small size, and they are also an extremely hardy species. While captive breeding is becoming more commonplace, large retailers rely on wild caught specimens to sell as pets. These are sometimes in poor health because of the stress of capture and transport. Russian tortoises kept as pets readily consume a wide variety of greens and weeds. While they will also eat fruit, it should not be given, as excess sugars can cause bacterial blooms in their stomachs. They need exposure to UVB lighting to metabolize food.

First tortoise in space
The first tortoise in space, and one of the first animals of any kind in deep space was a Russian Tortoise, sent by the Soviet Union (along with wine flies, mealworms and other biological specimens) on a circumlunar voyage from September 14 to September 21, 1968.

piątek, 1 lipca 2011

Reptiles - Savannah Monitor

The savanna monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) is a species of monitor lizard native to Africa. The species is known as Bosc's monitor in Europe, since French scientist Louis Bosc first described the species. It belongs to the subgenus Polydaedalus, along with the Nile, the ornate and other monitors.

The generic name Varanus is derived from the Arabic waral (ورل), which translates as "monitor" in English. The specific name exanthematicus is derived from two Greek words: exanthema meaning "eruption" and mata meaning "idle".[citation needed] French botanist and Zoologist Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc originally described this lizard as Lacerta exanthematicus in reference to the large oval scales on the back of the neck.

The savanna monitor has powerful limbs for digging and climbing, very powerful jaws that can easily crush bone, and very strong, sharp teeth. Maximum size is usually 2.5 feet and rarely more than 5 feet in length. Most are usually around 3.0 to 3.5 feet. The pattern on the back of Varanus exanthematicus is uniformely grey to pale yellow. The monitor has a short, box-like head and large dorsal and nuchal scales. Its short tail is round, and stores fat as an energy reserve.

The savanna monitor typically defends itself with its strong bite and powerful jaws. Its thick hide makes it resistant to most animal bites, and herpetologist Robert Sprackland claims the lizard is immune to most snake venom. When confronted by a snake or other large predator, the monitor rolls onto its back and grasps a hind leg in its mouth, forming a ring with its body and making itself harder for the animal to swallow whole. Savanna monitors, like most monitors, will expand their throat and body. They also will gape and let out a slow, deep hissing sound when threatened.

The savannah monitors are carnivores or insectivores, generally a low-fat diet. Although the savannah monitor is willing to eat mammals, it is not recommended for them be fed mammals, such as mice, in captivity. Mammals are high in fat and cause the liver to enlarge, and can even lead to fatty liver disease. Monitors will eat insects, small mammals, eggs, birds, smaller monitors, snakes and dead animal remains. The feeding response of a savannah monitor is very aggressive. Monitors should not be hand-fed or fed near other monitors. They find and track prey by using their Jacobson's organ, which is located in the roof of their mouths. The Jacobson's organ is a secondary olfactory sense organ for many animals, including reptiles.

środa, 22 czerwca 2011

Gecko - Madagascar Day Gecko

Madagascar day gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis madagascariensis) is a diurnal subspecies of geckos. It lives on the eastern coast of Madagascar and typically inhabits rainforests and dwells on trees. The Madagascar day gecko feeds on insects and nectar.

This lizard is one of the largest living day geckos. It can reach a total length of about 22 cm (8.7 in). The body color is light green or bluish green. The skin between the scales often has a light color. A rust-coloured stripe extends from the nostril to behind the eye. On the back there are brownish or red-brick coloured dots which may form a thin line along the mid back. These geckos do not have eyelids, and they have flattened toe pads.

This species inhabits the whole east coast of Madagascar. It can also be found on the islets Nosy Bohara, Ste. Marie and throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Also, the gecko was deliberately introduced to a restaurant in the Florida Keys, US, by reptile experts. This was due to the garden surrounding the restaurant and the great possibilities it provided for reproduction. The experts come back every year and remove all excess geckos to sell in pet shops.

sobota, 11 czerwca 2011

Spiders - Brachypelma albopilosum

Sorry that you have to wait so long for new post.
In last week I had 5 exams, and no time for myself. Next week it's going to be only 3, and I will post more and more :)

Brachypelma albopilosum (The Honduras Curlyhair Tarantula) is a species of tarantula known commonly as the Honduran curlyhair or simply curlyhair. Its native range includes Central America, from Honduras to Costa Rica . They are terrestrial, opportunistic burrowing spiders. This tarantula is covered in long hairs that have a characteristic curl to them giving them a unique look.

The Curlyhair Tarantula is an ideal tarantula species for a beginner because of it's docile temperament and relatively large size. Although fairly common and easy on the pocket, this species is more than just a brown tarantula. Up close, Curlyhair Tarantulas have gold and tan hairs covering their bodies. The legs are a darker brown, in contrast to the practically bronze carapace. This comes out to be one fine-looking spider without being exceedingly colorful. Also, true to their common name, most Curlyhair Tarantulas have hair that looks curly (actually more wavy than curvy, but we'll let that slide). They are very hardy tarantulas that make lasting pets. They also make great "show" spiders since they can be taken out and handled, although handling should not take place frequently because there's always the possibility of the tarantula falling off your hand and splitting it's abdomen open (likely fatal). Curlyhair Tarantulas seem to have more personality (tarantulality) than the conventional starter species, the Chilean Rose Tarantula. Overall, Curlyhair Tarantulas are great for anybody, and yours may easily become a favorite in your collection!

piątek, 3 czerwca 2011

Reptiles - Leopard Gecko

The leopard is a nocturnal ground-dwelling gecko naturally found in the deserts of southern Central Asia, and throughout Pakistan, to the northwestern parts of India. Unlike most geckos, leopard geckos possess movable eyelids. It has become a well-established and popular pet in captivity.

Leopard geckos were first described as a species by zoologist Edward Blyth in 1854 as Eublepharis macularis. The generic name Eublepharis is a combination of the Greek words Eu (true), and blephar (eyelid), as having eyelids is what distinguishes members of this subfamily from other geckos. The specific name, macularius, derives from the Latin word macula meaning "spot" or "blemish", referring to the animal's natural spotted markings.

Leopard geckos are related to many different geckos including the African fat-tailed gecko. There are five subspecies, including the nominative species: Eublepharis macularius macularius, E. m. fasciolatus (Günther 1864), E. m. montanus (Börner 1976), and E. m. smithi (Börner 1981).

The native habitat of the leopard gecko is the rocky, dry grassland and desert regions of south-Asian Afghanistan, Pakistan, north-west India, and parts of Iran. Winter temperatures in these areas can be quite low, below 10 °C (50 °F), forcing the animals underground into semi-hibernation, called brumation, living on fat reserves. As nocturnal creatures, they spend the day hidden under rocks or in burrows to escape the daytime heat and emerge at dusk to feed by hunting insects. These Geckos are solitary, and do not usually live with other animals.

Leopard geckos are typically small in size. Hatchlings tend to be 6.5 to 8.4 cm (2.6 to 3.3 inches) in length and weighing about 3 grams while the adult geckos are about 20.5 to 27.5 cm (8.1 to 10.9 inches) in length and weigh about 45 to 65 grams.

Those found in the wild typically have a darker, dull, and drab coloration than those kept in captivity as pets. Those in captivity generally have an assortment of skin colors and patterns. The skin of a leopard gecko is very durable, which provides protection from the rough sand and rocky terrain of their dry environment. Their dorsal side is covered with small bumps, which gives a rough texture and appearance while their ventral side is thin, transparent, and smooth. Like all reptiles, leopard geckos shed their skin. In the few days before the shedding, the skin will turn color to a translucent whitish gray. Adults shed an average of once a month, while juveniles will sometimes shed twice as much. The gecko will eat its old skin after shedding, revealing a brighter colored one. Eating the shed skin is a means for obtaining protein and vitamins for growth.

poniedziałek, 30 maja 2011

Crustaceans - Rainbow crab

Cardisoma armatum - It is sometimes referred to as the (African) rainbow crab, (Nigerian) moon crab or patriot crab. Adults are sometimes labelled as soapdish crabs in the pet industry. This name derives from their aggressive nature as adults and when being shipped to pet stores, they are often packed in soap dishes to prevent them from killing each other. The names moon crab and soapdish crab are sometimes applied to other similar crab species, leading to frequent confusion with other colourful crabs such as the three remaining species of Cardisoma, Gecarcinus ruricola and G. quadratus (all except C. carnifex from the Americas).
Cardisoma armatum originates from coastal regions of western Africa, but it also occurs inland along some deltas (e.g. the Volta river delta), and on islands such as Cape Verde.
When young, these crabs typically have a blueish/violet carapace, red–coloured legs, and whitish claws. This coloration usually fades as the animal grows older. They can reach a carapace size of 20 cm across, although captive individuals rarely reach this size.
Their diet consists mainly of fruit, vegetation and carrion. They are known to be cannibalistic, and will consume smaller crabs, small reptiles and amphibians, molluscs, fish, and insects if they can catch them. While juvenile and adult crabs spend most of their time on dry land, the females must return to the ocean to release their eggs. The eggs hatch into microscopic larvae, and later on develop into young crabs. If the young do not make landfall by the time they are fully developed they will drown.