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.

niedziela, 29 maja 2011

Reptiles - Chinese Water Dragon

Chinese Water Dragons (Physignathus cocincinus) are also known as Asian Water Dragons, Thai Water Dragons, and Green Water Dragons. A related species, P. lesuerurii, is often called the Eastern or Australian Water Dragon.

Chinese water dragons can grow up to 90 cm (3 ft) in length for males and up to 60 cm (2 ft) for females. Colouration ranges from dark to light green. Diagonal stripes of green or turquoise are found on the body, while the tail is banded from the middle to the end with green and dark brown. Their undersides range from white, off white, very pale green, or pale yellow. But more attractive are their throats, which can be quite colourful (generally yellow, orange, or peach), some with a single color, some with stripes. Adult males have larger, more triangular heads than females, and develop larger crests on the head, neck and tail, and are larger in general. The tail, slightly over two-thirds of the entire body length, can be used as a weapon, for balance, and to assist swimming. Like many other reptiles the Chinese water dragon possesses a small, iridescent, photosensitive spot between their eyes referred to as the pineal gland (or colloquially as the third eye) that is thought to help thermoregulate their bodies by sensing differences in light to assist with basking and seeking shelter after sunset. Since it recognizes differences in light, the pineal gland can also help the lizard avoid predation from birds and other aerial threats. Seventy percent of their length is in the tail.

Native to the lowland and highland forests of India, Northern and southern China, and eastern and southeastern Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma), Chinese water dragons are most commonly found along the banks of freshwater lakes and streams. They are active during the day (diurnal), and spend most of their time in the trees or plants (arboreal). If threatened, the dragon will drop from the trees into the water and either swim to safety or remain submerged for up to 25 minutes. Water dragons live in areas with average humidity levels of 60–80% and temperatures ranging from 80–90 °F.

Though they will also eat vegetation, the diet of the water dragon consists mainly of insects, supplemented with an occasional small fish, mammal or reptile.

For the captive lizard, crickets, locusts, cockroaches and mealworms are good stable foods, and they may eat as many as 3–5 during feeding, depending on the size. Insects should be gut loaded prior to feeding with foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, or bran oats. This increases the nutritional value of the insects. Insects can also be dusted with calcium and nutrient-rich powders, which can be found in reptile pet-stores. Powders such as this should be used in moderation and as specified. Meal worms and wax worms are favorites, though wax worms should be fed in moderation, as their nutritional value is low. Worms from the garden are also considered a nice treat, however, if any pesticide has been used in the area, it may be a good idea to avoid them. Head out into the woods near a creek and gather some worms there. Adults will eat young mice known as pinkies and fuzzies. At pet stores, you may buy a package marked mealworms. They are beetle larvae that bite, so use tweezers. To make sure they are healthy, put a little bit of calcium dust in the package and then shake it up.

czwartek, 26 maja 2011

Reptiles - Veiled chameleon

The veiled chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus, is a large species of chameleon found in the mountain regions of Yemen, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. It is also sometimes referred to as the Yemen Chameleon.

The male veiled chameleon is green in color and, depending on the animal's emotional state, this green will range from a bright lime green to a red olive drab. Surroundings only partly contribute to a chameleon's "decision" to change color. The green base color is marked with stripes and spots of yellow, brown, and blue. Non-breeding females and juvenile chameleons are generally a uniform green color with some white markings. Breeding and gravid females are a very dark green with blue and yellow spots. The prominence of these markings is dependent on several factors including health, mood, and temperature of the lizard.

Male chameleons of the species have small spurs or heels on the back their rear feet; while females do not. This spur is present on males from hatching, and can grow larger with maturity. Aside from the previously mentioned color differences, adult male veiled chameleons are large animals. It is possible for them to reach an overall length of 24 inches (60 cm). Most specimens usually reach between 14 to 18 inches (35–45 cm). Females are smaller with the average overall length being just under 12 inches (30 cm). Males and females both have a decorative growth called a "casque" on their heads. The casque of a male chameleon is much taller than the female's.

Like most chameleons, veiled chameleons are specialized tree dwellers. They have a flattened body meant to mimic a leaf and feet specially designed for grasping limbs and branches. They have a prehensile tail that acts as a fifth appendage and aids in climbing. Their eyes work independently of one another allowing the chameleon to look in front of and behind itself at the same time. They have a long sticky tongue that they use to capture their insect prey. Veiled chameleons are ambush predators and are capable of lying still for very long periods of time waiting for an unsuspecting locust to wander by.

Veiled chameleons are omnivores. While their main diet consists of insects, they will occasionally consume the leaves, blossoms, and fruit of various plants. This is especially true in times of drought when water is scarce. Like all chameleons, veiled chameleons prefer to drink water that is in drops or on leaves. They do not always recognize standing water and may dehydrate if that is their only source.

Female veiled chameleons can produce up to three clutches of eggs a year, as early from 4-6 months of age. Each clutch may contain 20–70 eggs. The eggs dissimilar to chickens. They retain sperm, which is why they lay so many clutches. Egg-laying sand must be provided for mature females in an incubated bucket or etc. with approximately 8-10 inches of organic garden soil, or they can die of egg binding.

wtorek, 24 maja 2011

Reptiles - Green iguana

The Green Iguana or Common Iguana (Iguana iguana) is a large, arboreal herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana native to Central and South America. The green iguana ranges over a large geographic area, from southern Brazil and Paraguay to as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean Islands; and in the United States as feral populations in South Florida (including the Florida Keys), Hawaii, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

A herbivore, it has adapted significantly with regard to locomotion and osmoregulation as a result of its diet. It grows to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) with bodyweights upward of 20 pounds (9.1 kg).

Commonly found in captivity as a pet due to its calm disposition and bright colors, it can be demanding to care for properly. Space requirements and the need for special lighting and heat can prove challenging to an amateur hobbyist.

niedziela, 22 maja 2011

Snakes - Mandarin Ratsnake

The Mandarin Ratsnake (Euprepiophis [Elaphe] mandarina) is found in southern and central China, with a few specimens known from countries adjacent to this area. There they inhabit open forests and rocky scrubland. Originally thought to be a montane species, they are now also known to inhabit lower elevations in many parts of their range, often being found in agricultural areas. Adult and sub-adult specimens are frequently imported in large numbers for the pet trade. These specimens are heavily loaded with parasites, badly stressed and very nervous and the keeper who successfully acclimates one and gets it to feed is rare indeed. Avoid purchasing these animals - your financial support, will only further encourage the additional importation and resulting death of more specimens. Adequate captive-bred stocks are now present in US and European collections to insure the availability of quality specimens for all.

Approximately six to eight inches long at birth, they average four feet in length as adults. Occasional specimens may attain five feet in length, and there are a few records of six-foot specimens.

Color and Pattern Phases: There is much variation in this species, particularly in the amount of black pigmentation present. Patterns may also vary somewhat, with some specimens being cleanly banded and others very speckled in appearance. Many specimens also exhibit red coloration on the centers of each scale, particularly along the sides, Hypomelanistic specimens are present in US collections.

środa, 18 maja 2011

Snakes - The Corn Snake

The Corn Snake (Elaphe guttata), or Red Rat Snake, is a North American species of Rat Snake that subdues its small prey by constriction. The name "Corn Snake" is a holdover from the days when southern farmers stored harvested ears of corn in a wood frame or log building called a crib. Rats and mice came to the corn crib to feed on the corn, and Corn Snakes came to feed on the rodents. The Oxford English Dictionary cites this usage as far back as 1676. Corn Snakes are found throughout the southeastern and central United States. Their docile nature, reluctance to bite, moderate adult size 3.9–5.9 feet (1.2–1.8 m), attractive pattern, and comparatively simple care make them popular pet snakes. In the wild, they usually live around 6-8 years, but in captivity can live to be up to 23 years old.

Wild Corn Snakes prefer habitats such as overgrown fields, forest openings, trees, palmetto flatwoods and abandoned or seldom-used buildings and farms, from sea level to as high as 6,000 feet. Typically, these snakes remain on the ground, but can ascend trees, cliffs and other elevated surfaces.They can be found in the southeastern United States ranging from New Jersey to the Florida keys and as far west as Texas.

In colder regions, snakes hibernate during winter. However, in the more temperate climate along the coast they shelter in rock crevices and logs during cold weather, and come out on warm days to soak up the heat of the sun, a process known as brumation. During cold weather, snakes are less active and therefore hunt less.

wtorek, 17 maja 2011

Snakes - Green tree python

Morelia viridis, the green tree python, is a species of python found in New Guinea, islands in Indonesia, and Cape York Peninsula in Australia.

Adults average 120–200 cm (3.9–6.6 ft) in length, with a maximum growth (although rare) of about 7 feet. The supralabial scales have thermoreceptive pits.

A mostly arboreal species with a striking green or yellow color in adults. The color pattern on this species can vary dramatically from locality to locality. For example, the Aru local is a vivid green with a broken vertebral stripe of white or dull yellow scales, the Sorong local is a bright green with blue highlights and a solid vertical stripe, and the Kofiau local is mostly yellow with varying highlights in white or blue. Cyanomorphs (blue morphs) are also known to occur but are not considered common at this time. Juveniles are polymorphic, occurring in reddish, bright yellow and orange morphs.

Primarily arboreal, these snakes have a particular way of resting in the branches of trees; they loop a coil or two over the branches in a saddle position and place their head in the middle. This trait is shared with the emerald tree boa, Corallus caninus, of South America. This habit, along with their appearance, has caused people to confuse the two species when seen outside their natural habitat.

niedziela, 15 maja 2011

Snakes - Boa madagascariensis

Boa madagascariensis is a species of the Boidae (boa) family that is endemic to the island of Madagascar. A common name is Madagascar (or Malagasy) ground boa.

The species is included in the Boidae family of snakes, subfamily Boinae, no subspecies are currently recognized by ITIS. It is also described as a species in the genus Acrantophis.

Adult females can be up to 10 feet (3.05 metres), males are typically smaller, the average size of the population is 8 feet (2.44 m) in length. This is the largest snake species found on the island of Madagascar. Boa madagascariensis, like others in the family, dispatch their prey by constriction.

The color pattern consists of a pale reddish-brown ground color mixed with gray, overlaid with a pattern dorsal rhombs outlined with black or brown. Sometimes this creates a vague zigzag impression. The sides are patterned a series of black ovoid markings with reddish blotches, often bordered or centered with white.

sobota, 7 maja 2011

Spiders - The Goliath bird-eater Spider (Theraphosa blondi)

The Goliath bird-eater Spider (also called the Goliath Birdeater) (Theraphosa blondi) is an arachnid belonging to the tarantula group, Theraphosidae, and is considered to be the second largest spider in the world (by leg-span; second to the Giant huntsman spider), and they may be the biggest by mass. The spider was named by explorers from the Victorian era, who witnessed one eating a hummingbird.
The colouration is yellowish-brown with several irregularly distributed dark spots on the rear half. The legs have wide dark bands before the first bend. Like all huntsman spiders, the legs of the giant huntsman spider are long compared to the body, and twist forward in a crab-like fashion.
Apart from its size, the H. maxima can be distinguished from other species of Heteropoda (also known as Huntsman spiders) by genital characteristics: On males, the cymbium is much longer than usual, at least three times longer than the tegulum. The female is distinguished by a characteristically shaped epigyneal field with two anterior directed bands, and the course of their internal ducts.

środa, 4 maja 2011

Spiders - Pterinochilus murinus

The baboon spider Pterinochilus murinus, an old-world tarantula, was first described in 1897 by Reginald Innes Pocock. This species is found on the African continent, in Angola, as well as central, eastern, and southern Africa.
This species is incredibly defensive and should not be held. The bite of this species, while not serious, is extremely painful. Moreover, the species is more than willing to inflict such a bite before presenting the typical threat display. Caution when dealing with this species is advised.
Female P. murinus can grow to 4–6 inches in size (measured from the tip of the front left leg, to the rear right leg), while males typically range from 3–4 inches. The spider's abdomen, carapace, and legs have the same basic coloration, though the legs typically have brightly colored rings. The carapace has a star-shaped pattern, with a fishbone pattern present on the abdomen. The eyes are clustered together on a raised part of the carapace (in common with all tarantulas). The body is covered with short hairs, with longer hair present on the legs.

Spiders - Brachypelma vagans

Brachypelma vagans is a species of tarantula known commonly as the Mexican red rump or Mexican black velvet. It ranges predominantly in Mexico, but can be found as far south as Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Florida. They are terrestrial, burrowing spiders. The reason for the name red rump is because of its distinctive red hairs on its abdomen. Like most tarantulas, they will eat anything they can overpower, which is usually insects, but small lizards and rodents may also be consumed. They can grow to a 5 inch leg span, with males typically being smaller and thinner than the females. They prefer scrubland habitats.

In 1996, Brachypelma vagans was discovered in the wild in St. Lucie County, Florida. It is now considered an established non-native species in that state, where it is thought to have been introduced through either accidental or intentional releases of specimens imported via the pet trade, although their numbers have been dwindling due to many B. Vagans eating insects poisoned by pesticides.

wtorek, 3 maja 2011

Spiders - The cobalt blue tarantula (Haplopelma lividum)

The cobalt blue tarantula is a medium size tarantula with a leg span of approximately 13 cm (5"). The cobalt blue tarantula is noted for its iridescent blue legs and light gray prosoma and opisthosoma, the latter of which may contain darker gray chevrons.[1] Males and females look the same until the ultimate (final) molt of the males. At this point the male will exhibit sexual dimorphism in the form of a light tan or bronze coloration and legginess. Additionally males will gain embolus on the pedipalps and tibial apophysis (mating hooks). The cobalt blue tarantula is a fossorial species and spends nearly all of its time in deep burrows of its own construction.