Nature Mikey

Nature Mikey

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Video of the Day: What Parrots do when Their Owners are Away

On the internet, no one knows that you're a parrot.

Breed of the Day: American Bulldog

Country of Origin: United States
Group: Working; unrecognized by the AKC
Purpose: Wild/feral hog hunter, livestock guardian, watchdog
Average Life-Span: 11 to 12 years
Acceptable Colors: Solid white or white with patches of black, brown or red
Grooming: Brush weekly, being sure to wipe down the wrinkles with a wet wash cloth
Height/Weight: Dogs, 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder, 75 to 125 pounds; Bitches, 20 to 25 inches at the shoulder, 60 to 100 pounds.

    All-around working dog is an apt description of the American Bulldog. Originally brought to the American South by English working-class immigrants, this breed helped farmers and ranchers with many everyday tasks such as driving cattle and catching wild or feral hogs and guarding the property. Today's American Bulldog is still used as an all-purpose working partner, guard dog and family companion. They are loyal and confident, with a large head, thick, muscular neck, wide nose, powerful jaws and a solid but agile build. Due to an emphasis on ability rather than looks, the height, weight and even appearance can vary among individual American Bulldogs. The American Bulldog's short, stiff coat is most commonly white with brown, black or red blotches. This brave, determined breed benefits from plenty of socialization and training from an early age. Although its strong protective instincts may cause it to be reserved with strangers and possibly aggressive towards other dogs, the devoted American Bulldog demands to be with its family and adores children.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Video of the Day: Fire-Breathing Cockatiel

Cockatiel breathes fire

Species of the Day: Chacoan Horned Frog

Scientific Name: Ceratophrys cranwelli
Family: Leptodactylidae
Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches in length
Range: Native to the Gran Chaco region of Argentina
Habitat: Inhabits a wide variety of environments, from dry savannas to seasonal wetlands

    The Chacoan horned frog, also called the Cranwell's horned frog, is a terrestrial frog endemic to the dry Gran Chaco region of Argentina. Like most members of the horned frog family they are often referred to as "Pac-Man" frogs because of their resemblance to the video game character and their voracious appetites. Also, like most horned frogs, they are beautifully colored, and come in different color patterns and varieties through selective breeding. Chacoan horned frogs are ambush predators and so spend most of their time lying in wait for prey to come to them. This being said, they require very little space and will thrive in a 10 gallon aquarium with moist ground coconut husks lining the bottom about two to three inches deep. Chacoan frogs hardly ever present feeding problems in captivity and can be fed a variety of prey items such as crickets, cockroaches, mealworms, feeder fish and occasionally pinky mice. Keep in mind that these frogs will pretty much eat whatever they can overpower, which includes other frogs, so they should be kept separately. Prey items should be gut loaded to make them more nutritious as well as dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements for proper bone growth.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Video of the Day: Duck Attacks Rooster

A plucky duck has a rooster by the tail until the rooster finally turns and puts it in its place!

Species of the Day: Costa Rican Red Tarantula

Scientific Name: Brachypelma angustum
Range: Forests of southern Mexico and Central America
Type: Terrestrial
Diet: Appropriately sized insects
Adult Size: 3 1/2 to 4 inches
Growth Rate: Moderate
Preferred Temperature: 75 to 80 degrees F
Preferred Humidity: 75 to 80%
Temperament: Semi-docile and nervous
Housing: Spiderlings can live in a clear plastic deli container with holes, adults can live in a 5 to 10 gallon tank; floor space is more important than height. Substrate can be 2 to 3 inches of peat moss or potting soil. Logs, driftwood and cork bark make good hiding places.

    Although they do not have red bodies, Costa Rican Red Tarantulas are appealing, medium-sized tarantulas. They get their name from the thick, red hairs on their legs and abdomen. Costa Rican Red Tarantulas actually have a black to dark brown overall body color. They resemble the Mexican Red-Rump Tarantula although the Red-Rumps are larger. These spiders are not as docile as most others in the Brachypelma family of tarantulas, but they are just as rewarding, and like them are prolific hair kickers. They are also a little smaller than most Brachypelma tarantulas, but are still heavy bodied. Costa Rican Red Tarantulas can be pretty hard to find but surprisingly are not usually expensive. If you're a beginner, but looking to move on to a slightly more difficult-tempered tarantula, the Costa Rican Red Tarantula is a good bet!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Video of the Day: Top Gear: Porsche Challenge

The Top Gear hosts James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are all given the challenge of finding a second-hand vintage Porsche using only 1,500 British Pounds.

Species of the Day: Black Mamba

Scientific Name: Dendroaspis polylepis
Family: Elapidae
Adult Size: Averages about 8 feet in length, sometimes growing up to 14 feet in length.
Range: Ranges southward from central and eastern Africa in Somalia and Ethiopia to South Africa
Habitat: Prefers dry woodlands, shrubby savannas and coastal bushlands over more arid, desert-type habitats. Although persistently arboreal when active, they seek refuge in burrows, tree cavities or termite nests.

    The Black Mamba is a long, slender snake; in fact, the longest and one of the most deadly in Africa. It is also the fastest snake in the world, able to travel at speeds of 10 to 12 miles an hour. It's name is actually derived from the black lining in the mouth rather than the color of the body, which varies from a dull yellowish-green to a gun-metal grey. Appropriate for a snake of it's reputation, the head is described as being shaped like a coffin. When provoked, the Black Mamba with raise the forward third of its body off the ground and flattening their  necks into a narrow but discernible hood, gaping their mouths and hissing loudly just like their cobra cousins.
    That being said, these snakes should only be kept in zoo conditions or by hardened enthusiasts that are well educated and practiced in the keeping and handling of such venomous snakes. These snakes require tremendous amounts of room to be happy, with adults living comfortably in a 125 gallon aquarium at the minimum. Black Mambas are extremely intelligent snakes and so are great escape artists and you will need a very secure enclosure for them. A trap-box with a locking door in the enclosure is a must for any venomous snake as it will provide a way to keep the snake in a safe and secure place and allow the keeper to safely clean and work around the enclosure. The trap-box will be most readily accepted in a quiet area of the enclosure and always in the same place. This short profile is not to be used as a venue to describe safe handling of this species, if there are any. These snakes are fast and agile, making clamp-sticks and snake hooks risky to use and trap-boxes the safest option. Sturdy, well anchored branches for climbing should be used for climbing, keeping the enclosure simple to facilitate safe handling. Cypress, fir, aspen chips are excellent choices for substrates. A large water bowl should be provided for the snake to soak and drink from. Keeping the snake well hydrated and the humidity in the enclosure fairly high will help assure complete, healthy sheds. Unlike most snakes, Black Mambas have a very high metabolism and will require feedings about twice a week of appropriately sized rodents. Black Mambas are also active year around and go through no brumation period.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Video of the Day: Bearded Dragon Feast

A juvenile bearded dragon participates in one of his favorite past times. Eating.

Species of the Day: Desert Tortoise

Scientific Name: Gopherus agassizii
Family: Testudinidae
Adult Size: 10 to 14 inches long, 8 to 10 pounds
Range: Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southern California, southern Navada and Arizona with some isolated populations in Mexico.
Habitat: Inhabits areas occupied by creosote bushes, yucca trees and grasslands associated with alluvial plains. The Sonoran populations can be found on the slopes of rocky washes.

    The Desert Tortoise is native to the Mojave desert and Sonoran desert of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Their shells are high-domed and are a greenish-tan to dark brown in color. Males are generally larger than females. In years past it was a relatively common practice to pick up a desert tortoise when they were found because of their docile nature. Due to education and conservation, this has slowed down considerably. Even so, it is still suspected that there are more Desert Tortoises in captivity than there are in the wild. They are now protected throughout their ranges and are listed at threatened. It is a federal offense to take them over state lines or take them from the wild. They are also not allowed to be sold or traded, but can be adopted through various rescue groups. The Desert Tortoise always does best when housed in a large, secure enclosure outdoors. Despite being very adaptable, they do not tolerate the cold and damp. If given free range of a well-planted backyard or enclosure, the require minimal care. Desert Tortoises should be maintained almost exclusively on grasses and weeds. It is important to mix in variety so the diet can be supplemented with dark leafy greens and vegetables, and fruit only on occasion. Desert Tortoises are strictly herbivores; they should not be given any animal protein in any shape or form. Even though this is a desert dwelling animal, water should still be available at all times.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Video of the Day: Dramatic Prairie Dog: James Bond Edition

The classic "Dramatic Prairie Dog" video with a James Bond motif!

Breed of the Day: Blanc de Hotot

    The Blanc de Hotot is a large, white rabbit with thin, black eye-rings around each eye. The breed was developed in Hotot en Auge in Normandy near the port of LeHavre in northern France. The Blanc de Hotot (White of Hotot) was developed by Eugenie Bernhard, chatelaine du Calvados. She kept a large rabbitry of Flemish Giants and Great Papillion Francais (Checkered Giants) and is the second woman ever to be credited with developing a new breed of rabbit.
    Bernhard's breeding goal was a rabbit for meat and fur, with a white coat and black eyes. Sometime around 1902, she crossed the Papillion with White Vienna and Flemish Giants, but progress toward her goal was slow. She saved only the lightly marked animals that were the product of 500 crosses, and by 1912, was eventually able to produce the Hotot that we see today. Bernhard continued to be troubled by the thin, black eye-rings. The breed was shown for the first time in 1920 at Exposition Internationale d'Aviculture in Paris as the Geant (Giant) Blanc de Hotot. The French rabbit governing body recognized them as a breed on October 13, 1922. The first french standard does not mention the eye-rings, but instead specifies black eyelashes and lower eyelids that were more or less colored grey. The Blanc de Hotot was brought to America in 1921, but they soon died out. Switzerland imported them in 1927, and it was the Swiss that appreciated the eye markings. During World War II the Blanc de Hotot nearly vanished in France, Holland and Germany.
    In 1978, Bob Whitman of Texas imported 8 Blanc de Hotots. The breed was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association's standards on March 5, 1979. Because of the very small gene pool and a body type that greatly needed improvement, breeders began crossing Blanc de Hotots with Blue-eyed White Beverens, White New Zealands and White Satins. It was not until 2004 that additional Blanc de Hotots were imported into this country from Germany, Holland and England.
    The breed is known for its lustrous fur, an abundance of guard hairs that gives the fur a frosty white sheen, and the striking eye-rings, which should not be over an eighth of an inch wide. Rigid selection is necessary to assure proper markings. The Blanc de Hotot is a large rabbit with bucks weighing 8 to 10 pounds and mature does 9 to 11 pounds. They are an active and hardy breed and are easily raised in all wire hutches. They make fairly good mothers, have good-sized litters and the young grow quickly. Despite a recent increase in importation into the United States, the breed is globally endangered.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Video of the Day: Yet Another Scare Compilation

A bunch a people getting their kicks to the music of Frank Sinatra

Species of the Day: Bibron's Gecko

Scientific Name: Pachydactylus bibroni
Family: Gekkonidae
Adult Size: 6 to 8 inches long
Range: Southern Africa
Habitat: Arid environments containing rocky outcroppings

    The Bibron's Gecko is a moderate-sized, thick-toed gecko with a stockier build than most other geckos. Males are generally larger than females. It has a brown base color with a beaded dorsal pattern with horizontal black stripes and white dots. The belly is white or a very light brown. Hatchling geckos will have more solid patterns, becoming paler and more broken with age, with females sometimes lacking the white dots. The Bibron's Gecko is both terrestrial and arboreal. It is territorial, with males being especially aggressive towards one another, so they should be kept separately. These geckos are very fast runners, so care should be taken when handling to prevent escapes.
    This hardy wall crawler is simple to keep if a few basic criteria are met. Being nocturnal, Bibron's Geckos spend the majority of the day out of sight in a favorite hiding place. These can be in rocky crevices or between slabs of tree bark. Then they will come out at night under cover of darkness to hunt. Coarse sand or gravel works well as a substrate, with various rocks and pieces of driftwood covering the floor for climbing. A water bowl is not necessary as long as the terrarium is misted every day to allow the gecko to drink up the water droplets off the rocks and walls of the enclosure. Bibron's geckos are insectivorous, with crickets and meal worms providing the bulk of the diet, but supplementing with various other insects is always a wise course of action. Day time temperatures can reach the low 90s F, but preferred nighttime hunting temperatures should be in the 80s or even the 70s.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Video of the Day: Dancing African Gray

Boy, this parrot really likes the Eurythmics!

Breed of the Day: Birman

    The legendary Birman takes your breath away with its stunning pointed, semi-longhaired coat and bewitching deep sapphire eyes. The silky coat is light in color and ideally misted with a golden hue. They have white gloves on all four feet and white laces up the backs of their hind legs contrasting with the main point color. These gentle cats have a stocky build and a powerful musculature, which is kept in fine condition through their love of play.
    The Birman has a lovely legend about being raised by the Kittah priests in their temple in Burma. The story tells of a golden-eyed, white cat that stood guard over his dying holy master and was transformed into a cat with a dark brown head and dark brown legs and tail, but his coat became a creamy color with a golden glow from his master's golden goddess. As his master died and his soul passed on to the cat, the cat's paws and hocks, where he sat on his master's chest, stayed pure white as a sign of his master's purity. As the cat gazed up at the golden goddess, his gold eyes turned into a beautiful sapphire blue, the same as his master's goddess. There are many versions of the legend, and this is just a very short one. As for fact, the Birman was first recognized and shown in France in the 1920s. England then recognized the breed in 1966. The Birman was first imported into the United States in the 1960s and was recognized and shown in 1967. The Birman is now recognized and loved world-wide. The breed has consistently remained in the top 10 most popular cat breeds for many years.
    The Birman is a great family cat. It dwells peacefully within a single cat home or a home with multiple cats. With a constant response from his owner when the cat meows, the Birman can become quite a talker. If you prefer just the quietness of his purr, lack of response will easily discourage the cat from vocalizing. With lots of love, good food, regular grooming and proper health care, the Birman makes an all around perfect pet.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Video of the Day: Caique Loves Pens

Some Caiques tend to covet and collect certain things, like this White-Bellied Caique who has a fondness for ball-point pens.

Species of the Day: Azuero Conure

Scientific Name: Pyrrhura eisenmanni
Adult Size: Just over 8 1/2 inches long; 54 to 70 grams
Adult Coloration: Both adults mostly green; black/brown forehead and crown to nape; frontal band to lores and around the eyes thin and red; buff/white ear coverts; faint blue nuchal collar; darker brown upper breast scalloped with white; dark green/blue lower breast scalloped with buff/white and yellow; green wing bends; black bill; bare, gray/brown eye ring; eyes are brown/yellow.
Call: Calls made in flight are short; some single loud notes from birds contacting the flock; while perched, harsh guttural notes; soft notes while preening

   Like its cousin the Painted Conure, this is an active, shy and nervous parrot; new birds are easily stressed and quite susceptible to disease. However, once acclimated, they lose all their shyness and can become friendly, playful and sweet-natured pets. Azuero Conures are particularly smart, and can learn simple tricks with the greatest of ease.

Captive Status: Almost unknown in captivity.
Average Life-Span: About 12 to 15 years
Housing: Large cage or aviary no less than 6 1/2 feet long
Diet: Fruits such as apples, pear, papaya, bananas, oranges, pomegranates, and kiwis; vegetables such as carrot, celery, green beans and peas in the pod, and fresh corn; leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale, dandelion greens, sowthistle, Romaine lettuce and chickweed; seed mixes such as spray millet, millet, canary seed and smaller amounts of oats, buckwheat, safflower and small amounts of hemp; supplement with soaked or sprouted sunflower seeds, cooked beans and pulses, boiled maize, limited cubed hard cheeses and complete pellets.
Enrichment: Enjoys chewing. Provide untreated flowering tree branches such as fir, pine, willow and elder branches, wooden or vegetable-tanned leather toys, foraging/puzzle toys, ladders, swings, a variety of perches and ropes. Also provide small water bowls and overhead misters for bathing.

World Population: Less than 2,000 left in the wild
Threat Summary: Habitat destruction.
Range: Southwest Azuero Peninsula and Central Panama
Habitat: Found up to 5,445 feet in elevation in humid, hilly forested areas, forest margins and sometimes nearby partly cleared areas
Wild Diet: Feeds on fruits, flowers, seeds algae and invertebrates.
Ecology: Flocks usually stay in one area, may move depending on the availability of food. Usually seen in pairs or small groups, sometimes seen in flocks of up to 20 individuals. Stays up in the forest canopy where it is camouflaged amongst the foliage. Noisy and visible in flight.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Video of the Day: Welcome to the World, Tortoise!

A time-lapse video of a hatching tortoise

Breed of the Day: Alaskan Klee Kai

Country of Origin: United States
Group: Non-Sporting; Unrecognized by the AKC
Purpose: Companion
Average Life-Span: 10 to 13 years
Color: All colors permissible so long as the mask on the face is distinct and clearly visible with a contrasting lighter color on the throat, chest and underside.
Grooming: Heavy shedder; Brush frequently. Bathe only as needed, or ideally twice a year.
Height: Up to 17 inches at the withers
Weight: 10 to 25 pounds

    The Alaskan Klee Kai is an extremely rare breed of dog of the spitz type. The name Klee Kai is derived from Alaskan Athabaskan words meaning "Little Dog". The breed was developed to create a companion-sized version of the Husky, resulting in an energetic, intelligent apartment dog that still retains the regal appearance of its northern working heritage. The breed was developed in Wasilla, Alaska during the mid 1970s by Linda S. Spurlin after she observed the result of an accidental breeding of a Husky and a small dog of an unknown breed. The Alaskan Klee Kai was further developed by breeding huskies with Schipperke and American Eskimo Dog to bring down the size without having to create genetic dwarfism by inbreeding. As a result and relative to other new breeds, the Alaskan Klee Kai is remarkably free of genetic defects. However some health conditions linked to the breed include juvenile cataracts, liver disease, Factor VII deficiency, pyometra, luxating patellas, cryptorchid, cardiac issues including PDA and thyroid diseases including autoimmune thyroiditis. Going through a responsible breeder who has their sires and dams health tested and registered with the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) for cardiac, patellas and thyroid health. Alaskan Klee Kais are now accepted by CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) if they have passed their OFA and CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) eye exams.
    The Alaskan Klee Kai is a highly intelligent, active and curious breed. Unlike Huskies, which they closely resemble, Alaskan Klee Kais are typically stand-offish and cautious around unfamiliar individuals, which makes them excel as watch dogs despite their small stature. However, because of this they will need continual socialization throughout their lives. Also, unless they are properly introduced and raised with smaller pets (cats, birds, rabbits, etc), they have strong prey drives and my injure or kill them. Alaskan Klee Kais are distinctly intolerant of being mistreated (poked, pinched etc.) by children and may get nippy with them, unlike the Husky, which is considered to be great with children. Even so, they make great pets for families with responsible children. They have a high drive to please their owners and so excel at obedience classes as well as many other types of activities. Just because they can be kept in an apartment doesn't mean they don't still have all the energy of their working breed heritage. They will need lot of exercise to burn off all of that energy and prevent behavioral problems. Highly active Alaskan Klee Kais will greatly benefit from agility courses and competitions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Video of the Day: Another Common Pinktoe Video

Another nice, informative video of the Common Pinktoe tarantula

Species of the Day: Cane Toad

Scientific Name: Bufo marinus
Family: Bufonidae
Adult Size: Usually measure up to 8 inches in total length, with one specimen recorded as 15 inches long.
Range: Native to the extreme southern United States and Central and South America. Introduced in the islands of the Pacific, the Caribbean and most notoriously in Australia.
Habitat: Inhabits both tropical and semi-arid environments

    The Cane toad, also known as the Giant Neotropical toad or Marine toad, is a large, terrestrial toad native to Central and South America and southern Texas, but has been introduced to various islands throughout the Pacific and the Caribbean. The Cane toad is a prolific breeder and an opportunistic feeder. It will eat both dead and living matter, and there large size allows them a much greater prey variety. They will eat anything that they can overpower, including vertebrates. The Cane toad, along with their tadpoles, are also highly toxic, possessing poison glands in the lumps behind their eyes. Because of their voracious appetites, they have been introduced to many habitats to combat crop-damaging insects, but this plan has had catastrophic effects, especially in Australia. The Cane toads would compete for food and breeding areas with native amphibians, easily pushing them out and taking over. Also, because they are so toxic, they have no predators to keep down their exploding numbers. If you are going to keep these toads, take care that they are never allowed to escape and never release them into the wild.
    The Cane toad can be kept simply in captivity when provided with a few basic requirements. A large plastic storage bin will work as an enclosure, with the lid being modified to allow for proper ventilation. Of course, a large aquarium a minimum of 35 gallons works just as well, but will be more expensive. Damp paper towels provide a suitable substrate, but will have to be changed frequently. Two to four inches of peat moss or ground coconut husk will also work well for a substrate. A large water bowl will also be necessary to ensure proper hydration. Room temperatures in the mid to upper 70s are suitable for this species, with higher temperatures being avoided, as this can stress the animal. Cane toads eat a variety of food under captive conditions. As with many amphibian species, they can be maintained solely on crickets. Supplementing crickets with Super Worms, Earthworms, large Silk Worms and captive-reared Tomato Hornworms will ensure that the toad will maintain proper body weight. The diet can also be occasionally supplemented by pinky or fuzzy mice, but not too often to prevent obesity.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Video of the Day: Monitor Omelet

A video tutorial for those stubborn monitors who love eggs, but wont eat their bugs.

Species of the Day: Curlyhair Tarantula

Scientific Name: Brachypelma albopilosum
Range: Montane and cloud forests of Central America
Type: Terrestrial
Diet: Appropriately-sized insects along with the occasional lizard or pinky mouse
Adult Size: 5 to 5 1/2 inches
Growth Rate: Slow
Preferred Temperature: 70 to 85 degrees F
Preferred Humidity: 75 to 80%
Temperament: Docile and calm
Housing: Spiderlings can live in a clear plastic deli cup with air holes, adults can live in a 5 to 10 gallon tank; floor space is more important than height. Substrate should be 2 to 3 inches of peat moss or potting soil. Logs, driftwood, cork bark, etc. all make good cover and hiding places.

    The Curlyhair tarantula is an ideal tarantula species for beginners because of its docile temperament and relatively large size. Although fairly common and easy on the wallet, this species is more than just a brown tarantula. Up close, Curlyhair tarantulas have long, beautiful gold and tan hairs covering their entire bodies, hence their name. The legs are a darker brown in contrast to the bronze carapace. It's a fine looking spider without being exceedingly colorful. They are very hardy tarantulas that make lasting pets. They also make great teaching tarantulas since they are very tolerant of being handled, and also seem to have more personality than the conventional starter species, the Chilean Rosehair tarantula. Overall, Curlyhair tarantulas are great for everybody, novice or expert, and yours can easily become the favorite in your collection.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Video of the Day: Macaws Playing Catch

Macaws love to learn tricks, just like this Greenwing Macaw and Blue and Gold Macaw playing catch with a rolled-up sock.

Species of the Day: Ball Python

Scientific Name: Python regius
Family: Pythonidae
Adult Size: Average 4 to 5 feet in length
Range: Occurs in sub-Saharan central Africa, and can be found from Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Sierra Leone and Liberia on the west coast, east to southern Chad and Uganda.
Habitat: Grasslands and savannahs.

    Ball Pythons, also known as Royal Pythons, are native to central and western Africa. They get their name from the defensive behavior of curling into a tight ball with their heads tucked in the middle. Ball Pythons are one of the most popular pet snakes because of their docile temperaments and manageable size. Selective captive breeding has produced over 100 unique color variations and patterns to choose from, making them a beautiful and rewarding animal to keep. Ball pythons do not need much space, but the enclosure needs to be secure and well ventilated to provide the right humidity levels and to prevent escapes. A 20 to 40 gallon aquarium with a locking screen top is ideal. There are many acceptable substrates you can use including aspen shavings, cypress mulch, newspaper or paper towels, or astroturf. The enclosure can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, so long as the snakes needs are met: a proper temperature gradient, 2 hide boxes and a heavy crock full of fresh water. Optimal temperatures for ball pythons should be between 75 to 88 degrees F. The best way to provide heat to your snakes is through an undertank heating pad put under one side of the enclosure to proved a hot side and a cool side for your ball python to regulate its body temperature. There should also be some sort of hide box both on the cool end and the warm end of the tank so that the snake feels secure. Ball pythons can be maintained exclusively on appropriately sized rodents for their entire lives, but will sometimes accept feeder chicks.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Video of the Day: Dirty Jobs Bloopers

Some outtakes from another one of my favorite shows, Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe

Species of the Day: Common Snapping Turtle

Scientific Name: Chelydra serpentina
Family: Chelydridae
Adult Size: 12 to 15 inches with some individuals being up to 19 inches. Generally no larger that 35 pounds in the wild, but some captive specimens have grown to 90 pounds. Males are generally larger than females.
Range: Natural range covers the entire eastern United States and southern Canada, extending from Nova Scotia and Maine in the northeast, to Florida in the south, and eastern New Mexico and eastern Montana in the west. Introduced into the Rio Grande river in New Mexico, and habitats in California, Oregon and Washington.
Habitat: Generalist. Found in lakes, farm ponds, shallow wetlands, small streams and river systems. Commonly found moving overland in search of new bodies of water.

    The Common Snapping turtle is a large freshwater turtle known for its belligerent disposition when out of the water. This species is much smaller and has a much wider natural range than it's cousin, the Alligator Snapping turtle. In some areas they are hunted quite heavily for their meat, a popular ingredient in turtle soup. These turtles have lived for up of 47 years in captivity, with wild specimens only living to be about 30. That being said, snapping turtles do not make good pets. Their powerful, razor-sharp beaks and long, highly flexible necks and mobile heads make them nearly impossible to handle safely, as they can reach right around to the hands of its keeper and deliver a nasty bite. Because these turtles have evolved in such a way that they cannot properly fit inside their shells, they are much more aggressive than other turtles and can even shoot their heads out and snap in the blink of an eye. Also, their claws are very long and sharp and capable of inflicting serious damage.
    If you must have one, however, keep in mind that along with their atrocious temperament, their living requirements make them difficult animals to keep. They need huge amounts of space to be happy, such outdoor ponds or large stock tanks. The water should be deep, but shallow enough for the turtle to be able to stretch it's neck up to the surface to breath. The preferred water temperature should be around 75 to 87 degrees F, and these turtles do occasionally bask in the wild and will need a basking area with both a 90 degrees basking spot and full-spectrum UVB/UVA lighting. The habitat must be both extremely sturdy and secure, as Common Snapping turtles are surprisingly good climbers. Common Snapping turtles are considered omnivorous, but mostly prefer animal protein to the aquatic plants that it sometimes consumes in the wild. Along with various leafy greens and lettuces, any cooked lean meat, such as chicken, turkey and fish are all excellent staples. Good supplements include large night crawlers, pinky or adult mice and commercial turtle pellets.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Video of the Day: Cockatoo Musings

More Goffin's Cockatoo babble

Breed of the Day: Beveren

    The Beveren was recognized in 1898 and was named after the town of its origins in the Waas region of western Belgium. The original color was a blue that was that mostly came about through selection of the self-blue St. Nicholas (St. Niklass). The early blue Beverens showed varying depths of color, but the preferred color by the furriers was a light lavender-blue. Early weights for the breed were also controversial issues and two types would eventually emerge: the Standard Beveren and the Giant.
    Blue Beverens were imported into Britain by Mrs. A.M. Martin and showed for the first time at Norwich in 1905. Though the judges did not care for the breed initially, this soon changed. On May 29, 1918 in Birmingham, 17 people met and founded the Beveren Club. The breed quickly grew to become the most popular fur breed in the United Kingdom. The strong Beveren Club began to recognize other breeds of fur rabbits and in 1925, changed its name to the British Fur Rabbit Society and later to the British Rabbit Council.
    Both Standard and Giant Beverens arrived in America about 1915, but were listed in the standards under the spelling of "Beverin". By 1919, the United States had a number of all blue rabbits: the American Blue, Beveren, Giant Beveren, Barbancon Blue, Blue Imperial, Blue Vienna and Blue Flemmish Giants. Edward H. Stahl of Holmes Park, Missouri imported the blue-eyed white Beveren in 1933 from England where they had appeared as Sports (mutations) in 1916. A black breed known as the Sitka, which was already in America, became known as the Black Beveren. For some reason the breed never became popular.
    Today's Beveren is recognized in three color varieties; solid blue, solid black and blue-eyed white. The fur has a gentle rollback and the coat should be dense and glossy. Fur length is rather long at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches. This breed has a pronounced mandolin-shaped body with mature bucks weighing in at 8 to 11 pounds and does at 9 to 12 pounds. They are certainly a multi-purpose rabbit used for meat and fur. Litters are large, the young grow fairly fast and the does are typically docile and make good mothers. The Beveren is a hardy breed that is easily reared in all-wired hutches.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Video of the Day: Confused Cockatiel

This cockatiel is a little muddled at hearing his owner's voice on an answering machine.

Species of the Day: Bearded Dragon

Scientific Name: Pogona vitticeps
Family: Agamidae
Adult Size: Up to two feet in length
Range: Central and inland areas of Australia
Habitat: Interior deserts to coastal woodlands

    Having owned one myself, there is not enough to be said about the bearded dragon's potential for becoming a cherished family pet. They are known as one of the all-time best pet lizards. They come in three distinct personalities to fit the needs of any owner. Twangs, as I call them, are alert and active almost to the point of being hyper, perfect for the reptile owner wanting a rambunctious pet to watch all of their antics. Then there are the boring bearded dragons, who love nothing more than laying around like a pet rock, for the owner wanting a sedate pet to sit in their lap and watch television with them. Last but not least, are the cuddlers, a great mix of the two former personalities, that are best for families with children. Cuddlers are alert, confident and happy dragons with a twinkle in their eye. They are always interested in whats going on around them and seem to genuinely enjoy being around their owners. Bearded dragons certainly are a joy to watch, whether it be them chasing down and eating crickets in a frenzy or their interesting social behaviors, such as arm-waving, head-bobbing or push-ups.
    Captive-bred bearded dragons are very common in pet stores and through private hobby breeders, and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Their manageable size, relative ease of care and their moderate life-spans (6 to 10 years), make them great starter reptile for people just coming in to the hobby. However, their spacial requirements are quite large, a 55 gallon aquarium being the minimum size for a pair of adults. Bearded dragons love to climb, so some sturdy branches should be provided for enrichment, along with rocky piles and crevices to hide in. Sand mixed with untreated potting soil is a common substrate for adult bearded dragons, with news paper or paper towels being safer for babies, who may accidentally ingest the sand and get impacted. Bearded dragons are desert dwellers and enjoy high temperature gradients between 80 and 90 degrees F, with a basking spot of 100 degrees F. UVB and UVA lighting is a must for these lizards, assisting them in synthesizing in Vitamin D3 and aiding in calcium absorption for proper bone growth. Bearded dragons are omnivorous, enjoying both plant matter and animal protein in varying degrees depending on their age. Young bearded dragons will require more protein while adults will eat a 50/50 mix of insects and greens. Bearded dragons have voracious appetites and will readily accept any appropriately sized insects and the occasional pinky mouse of feeder anole.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Video of the Day: Araucana Chicken

This is a breed of chicken called the Araucana, which are simply adorable with their tail-less look.

Breed of the Day: Bengal

    Loved by those who appreciate it's inquisitive and loving nature, the Bengal is a medium to large cat renowned for its richly colored, highly contrasted coat of vivid spots, rosettes or marbling. Originally developed from crosses the domestic cat and Asian Leopard cat, the Bengal is the only domestic cat that can have rosettes like the markings on leopards, jaguars and ocelots. Today's domestic Bengal cat comes only from breeding Bengals to other Bengals and requires no specialized care. Since their beginnings in 1986, the Bengal's regal beauty and alluring charm have quickly made it one of the most popular and sought-after breeds. Employing scientific insights and a cooperative spirit, Bengal breeders continue to develop these stunning cats with careful selection for temperament, health and beauty.
    Throughout history there are indications of a profound human fascination with the large and small wild felines that inhabit the jungles and forests of the world. In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a fire-side tabby and the striking look associated with wild felines. The modern Bengal breed traces back to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980s. The breed's name is a reference to the scientific name of the Asian Leopard cat, Prionailurus bengalensis. The hybrid crosses are registered as Foundation (F1, F2 and F3) Bengals, and are not eligible to compete in the International Cat Association's (TICA) conformation rings, with only the females used for breeding.  Accepted as a new breed in TICA in 1986, Bengals gained championship status in 1991. They are now one of the most exhibited breeds in TICA.
    While you can train a Bengal to have good manners, they are an active, inquisitive cat that loves to be up high. If you don't like cats that climb all over the place, a Bengal probably isn't for you. Bengals are busy bodies by nature. They are very affectionate and can be a "lap cat" whenever THEY want to be, but in general their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing and investigating. They'll often save cuddle time for when they want to sleep. Many Bengals enjoy water and may join you in brushing your teeth or even in the shower. Some Bengals are more vocal while others are quiet. For families or individuals who enjoy a rambunctious, funny, beautiful and dynamic feline companionship, consider the Bengal.