The Reptile Zoo Down Under... Water

 

With the expansion of The Reptile Zoo we have had the unique opportunity to add two new semi-aquatic exhibits and plenty of beautiful new animals to our list of exhibits. One of a kind semi-aquatic displays have been integral since Prehistoric Pets' creation, way before The Reptile Zoo was even considered. We started with our 2,000 gallon pond which is most known for it's always hungry residents, red-eared slider turtles. 

This original display has served as a great resource for the community as all of the turtles who call the Prehistoric Pets pond home have been rescued or dropped off to provide a better home. To help care for these animals while also providing an entertaining hands-on experience visitors are given the opportunity, with a small fee, to feed these rambunctious turtles and fish their favorite snack, superworms. Every once in a while these visitors get a little more than they bargained for with a splash of Shamu proportions created by the feeding frenzy, which only adds to the entertainment for everyone.

When we decided to make the plunge and renovate to make way for The Reptile Zoo we knew we wanted to encorporate a splash of fun. This of course came in the form of "Gator Island" the 3,000 gallon all glass enclosure.  It took a couple years for this dream to become a reality, but once it was finally complete we liked it so much we built a smaller version, The Caiman Swimming Hole.

Not only do these new enclosures provide the perfect display environment for our exotic reptiles like Asian Water Monitors, the Motley Crew our Caiman Lizards group, and Darthgator the American Alligator, but also some of their aquatic friends. 

    

Gator Island is home to the largest of our aquatic specimens including Pacu, dark colored carnivorous fish who can reach over 50 lbs and are closely related to pirrahna which is pretty obvious whenever its feeding time!

Even larger than their Pacu neighbors Gator Island is home to both Tiger Shovelnose Catfish and Redtail Catfish who can both reach almost 6 feet in length. Appropriately the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is identified by it's tiger like markings and flattened nose while the Redtail Catfish has a distinctly red tailfin and white stomach.

The prize from most secretive resident of Gator Island has to go to our Common and Alligator Snapping Turtles who only seem to make an appearance when there is food involved. Each currently weighs about 15lbs but have the potential to grow up to 200+ lbs with some records claiming even 400lbs!

In the Caiman Swimming Hole the animals are smaller, but that definetly doesn't describe their personalities which more than compensate. They were practically jumping out of the water to make sure they got in the photo!

We have 2 baby Hypo Alligator Snapping Turtles call The Caiman Swimming Hole home. Just like their older relatives at Gator Island these guys have some huge potential which will make them beautiful to look at with their unique Hypo, missing most black pigment, coloration.

Our fish residents in The Caiman Swiming Hole are both Tiger Oscar Fish, one with normal coloration and the other is bright albino each will grow to be about 18 inches.

Last but not least we are lucky enough to have a Fly River Turtle, also known as a Pig Nose Turtle which describes his unique snout like nose who looks more like a sea turtle with his cute grey flippers which help him glide through the water.

Next time you are at The Reptile Zoo make sure you don't miss all of our underwater friends, who knows they might even swim up to say hello!

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Skinks for Sale!

We've recently celebrated the births of 14 Blue Tongue Skinks. They're cute, they're scaly, and they're so gosh darn little! But what exactly IS a Blue Tongue Skink? 

Their most obvious characteristic is their name which comes from their tongue; it is indeed blue. Whoever first discovered this species decided to keep it simple with its name!

In recent years, this lizard has become a common pet among reptile enthusiasts. They stay relatively small, only growing up to about 2 feet in length usually. We're fans of this species too as they are quirky enough to fit in with our other critters, but unique enough to stand out as a favorite among staff and guests alike.

In the wild, they spend their days eating diets of insects, snails, wild berries, and sometimes even wildflowers. Night is spent seeking shelter in hollowed out logs and other debris where they aren't very likely to be discovered an eaten as a midnight snack.

Supposedly, these creatures are shy, but ours are far from it! In fact, we have a team of them that love being in the spotlight at our Jurassic Parties. Several more soak up the attention in The Reptile Zoo.

As you can see, the Blue Tongue Skink isn't exactly built for speed. Its legs are stubby, and definitely not meant for running or climbing. Still, when it comes time to eat or make a run for it, they can perform the task with surprising agility. Since they call Australia home, it's not a stretch to assume they call on this agility quite often with so many deadly predators lurking about.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about them is that they give birth to live young. Baby Blue Tongue Skinks will develop in embryos inside of their mother and when they are fully developed after about 100 days, they emerge in litters of up to 15! For the first few days of their life, the babies will live off of their embryo which they absorb into their stomachs before birth, then they start off on smaller insects. Much like human babies, they ease their way into devouring adult foods!

Our little ones are ready to take on the world; some of them are for sale in Prehistoric Pets. They grow up so quickly!

If you need a new lizard for your collection, come check them out!

Here's a video to help you do some preliminary research...or just learn more about these little guys.

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Another new member at the Zoo!

That’s right; we have another new resident, a Surinam Toad! This interesting critter is also known as a Pipa pipa, and is native to the Amazon rainforest. Unlike most toads, the Pipa pipa is a bottom dweller who surfaces for air.

 

Still, the strong back legs of Surinam Toad make them supercharged jumpers. Its legs keep us on our toes as we have to be sure to cover the cage to prevent escapes.

When you first look at the Pipa pipa, it appears to be…well…dead; it lays motionless on the bottom of its cage. This behavior isn’t a result of laziness, but rather a skill mastered to help with hunting. As potential prey swims by thinking there’s nothing to worry about---SLURP! Dinner is served.

So what’s for dinner when you’re a 6 to 8 inch toad? In the wild, they prefer live fish but also consume worms and other bugs. Since ours is still on the small side, worms have become its dietary staple. We may have to upgrade soon as two worms can be consumed in only a few short seconds like a single piece of spaghetti! Maybe its been taking eating lessons from Bane the Black Throat Monitor who can also make short work of his food…

Eating is done by the non-polite method of slurping since these guys have no teeth or tongue. If a meal doesn’t swim by making vibrations in the water, the Toad will use its long fingers to forage. If slurping fails to catch the meal, those same fingers can scoop the prey into its waiting mouth. One way or another, dinner is served for these persistent hunters.

In the animal kingdom, Surinam Toads are most known for their strange breeding habits. A female will lay eggs, then the male will fertilize them, and pass them back to the female and places them on her back where they are absorbed into her skin. The young toads develop through their tadpole stage while still on….or rather inside of mom and when they emerge they do so as fully developed frogs. We're not sure what role our toad will play in the breeding process since we have yet to determine its gender. We're excited about our new resident either way!

The Youtube video below doesn't feature our new star, but it shows baby Pipa pipa emerging from their mother. It's strange for sure, but definitely worth watching!

(Youtube video courtesy of user TheRoachKeeper).

Perhaps even more strange is the appearance of the Toad; not only his tendency to play dead, but also a strange characteristic mark that runsdown their torsos… a black “T” that makes them appear to have already been dissected. No need to worry, our Pipa pipa, nor anyother you may come across, has not been loaned out to Dr. Frankenstein. This mark is just one of many things that make this toad incredibly unique.

The coolest thing about this species though is that they are not endangered despite all of the issues with deforestation in their home region. One of their cousin species, the Myers’ Surinam Toad, a native of Panama, is unfortunately.

Our newest addition is so new that it doesn’t have an official home yet, but we’ll keep you updated so as soon as it makes her debut you can come see this Toad-ally awesome creature. (C’mon, that was punny…)

Until then, come visit Twinkie, Frank, and the rest of the gang! 

 

 

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Ring around the Rosy, Pocket full of MONEY!

It’s a warm sunny Friday and the shop seems a buzz with cheerful herps and herpers alike.  Beyond the hustle bustle of Tim tending to the Retics, Mike and Craig feeding snakes or Mandy’s loud and proud customer service, you can take a trip down the various isles of herps we carry alongside the crazy awesome deals on starter kits and complete set-ups!   We’ve got plenty of stock and deals for all your reptile needs; from accessories and equipment, to Herps and their feed, we’ve got a broad list of options.

One deal in particular that’s proving to be a more and more popular choice is the Rose Hair Tarantula and a complete set up!  That’s right, we have had such a positive response to all our previous deals and sales…. We decided to keep it rollin’!  Interested in owning your very own Arachnid?  Check out THIS deal…

Prehistoric Pets is offering an amazing deal on Rose Hair Tarantula with a complete set up kit.  This package includes the Tarantula and Exo-Terra Habitat Kit.  Sound like something’s missing?  Well, youre right.  YOU are missing!  Hee Hee, This Habitat Kit includes EVERYTHING you need to properly care for and set up your new Invertebrate.  The kit itself provides a small glass terrarium, all necessary décor, rock terrarium background, Compact hood lighting system WITH bulb, substrate, water dish, hide, thermometer, hygrometer and MORE!!!  Talk about money in your pocket!!  With this incredible deal, you save OVER $25 which leaves plenty of room for purchasing neat “extras” or even an informative publication on your new pet.

Don’t forget, Rose Hair Tarantulas make one of the best beginner T’s for any new Herper and a great addition to any experienced Herp collection. 

All of us here at Prehistoric Pets are eager to send you home with a cool new Herp to call your own and we are more than happy to answer your questions and find you the perfect Herp for your home.  So don’t be shy and feel free to stop in or call us for any information.

Ciao!

^O^…………..Priscilla!

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South African Photo Safari

FINALLY Founder Jay Brewer and the Prehistoric Inc. team have returned from their travels to South Africa! While they were there they kept busy visiting much of South Africa including Kruger National Park, Prehistoric Pets distributor Arno Naude, as well as the 2012 SOS² Reptile Expo where they got to see the exciting and growing reptile community of South Africa. We decided to keep today's blog text light and photo heavy, because photos of animals this majestic can do the talking all on their own! Check back in the coming weeks for video and even more photos from their trip !

 

 

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Destory the Gauntlet!

After many long years of precariously working in the famed Prehistoric Pets gauntlet it's time for destruction has come! 

 

 

By removing the gauntlet not only are we making more room for expansions to The Reptile Zoo, but also expansions for Prehistoric Pets breeding and caretaking faciliites! 

 

 

The large reticulated pythons who were previously housed in the gauntlet are already enjoying their new digs inside the top secret addition! Breeder and all around Go-To Man Tim O'Reilly has been in charge of the renovation while founder Jay Brewer is visiting Prehistoric's African fans at the SOS Reptile Expo.

 

 

As always Tim did not let Jay down! This part of the renovation and relocation was finished ahead of schedule with only the best precision!

 

 

 

Tim and Jay have taken this rennovation opportunity to re-think and re-design these new enclosures from top to bottom. This is just part of the Prehistoric way! We are always re-imagining re-building and planning for our next big move!

 

 

 

Check back in the next couple months to see what progress we've made and maybe what babies will be the first to be produced in the newest top-secret addition to Prehistoric Pets!

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Jurassic Fact of the Week: Bane The Black Throat Monitor

What’s got four feet of scales and can walk on a leash?

No, it’s not a Saint Bernard with a skin condition; it’s one of The Reptile Zoo’s newest residents, Bane the Black Throat Monitor!

Bane has been with us for two months after being acquired from loyal customer Anthony, and is not only on display in The Reptile Zoo, but is also quite a party animal in his work with Jurassic Parties. In fact, Bane has already been to a handful of parties in his short career with the company.

When you’re a four foot lizard, a party can make you a star in two ways. Like most large reptiles, if not socialized and familiar with human interaction, Bane could be an aggressive party pooper. Luckily, he is being trained so the more sweet and mild side of his personality shines making him the life of the party.

Like most of us in sunny Los Angeles, this gentleman likes to keep things natural, especially his tough toenails. A favorite behavior of monitors is to “hug” their handlers using them as a tree, and his long toenails have caused a few of his experienced handlers to take a needle and thread to their uniforms after an event. Maybe we can point out that all the celebrities get manicures and convince him to get one?

Bane doesn’t mean any harm, he just loves to hold on to people he likes. He values their love and affection like all other Monitors. Not to mention, sometimes you just need a good hug.

Now about Bane’s “training,” since Bane is a still getting the hang of the party circuit, he requires someone with experience to help him get used to having so many people around. Being a celebrity can be overwhelming after all!

Despite being a monitor, Bane, like all Black Throat Monitors is not a swimmer. In the wild, they prefer to burrow or climb throughout the area that they call home in Tanzania. Despite their small natural habitat, Black Throat Monitors are not considered endangered. This is good news for all of Bane’s distant relations back home!

Bane’s reptile family at The Reptile Zoo includes “big brother” Boss who is only slightly larger than our new scaly pal. Their lengths are literally a big deal since most of the time a Black Throat Monitor will only reach 3-3.5 feet. Still, at four feet, Bane and Boss are small compared to the largest known of their species who was 7 feet long! That’s about 1/3 of Twinkie!

Boss is definitely more experienced than this new kid on the block. He has two years of being the center of attention at parties behind him and has fine-tuned his manners as a result of his wisdom. While the lighter Black Throat Monitor scarfs his snacks down in no time, Boss has mastered a “suave” attitude to match his darker coloring and savors his protein filled food. Can you blame Bane though? He IS a growing young man after all... Well, perhaps more young than growing... Hey, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food!

Manners or not, Bane is a new favorite at TheReptile Zoo and we look forward to many years of hugs and quick meals with this handsome Monitor.

Come visit Bane soon...and who knows, he might be rockin’ his leash while out for a walk.

 

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Cinco de Mayo Everyday at The Reptile Zoo!

 

 

¡Gracias a nuestros muchos seguidores en todo México! Ciudad de México y Guadalajara están en las 10 ciudades para los amantes de Prehistoric Pets! Estamos dedicando este blog para ti! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

 

 

Here at The Reptile Zoo we love our reptilian friends from Mexico and South America. Many parts of Mexico have a great climate for reptiles with almost 200 native varieties within the country including the common Iguana and Boa.

 

 

We are excited about the timely arrival of our newest addition to The Reptile Zoo a beautiful Gila Monster. We have been keeping a colony of Beaded Lizards at The Reptile Zoo for a little over a year now and we are excited to add their close relative and only other recognized venomous lizard to the ever updating exhibits.

 

 

Both the Gila Monster and Beaded lizard are part of the genus Heloderma which translates to studded skin from the Acient Greek. The unique skin, a key characterstic of these animals, is underlaid with beady scales made from  bony osteoderms. 

 

 

The Heloderma genus includes only these two species with six sub-species all carrying the venemous charactersitics. Unlike snakes their venom glands are located in the lower jaw and can only render the venom by chewing on the predator. Studies conducted using this venom have been found to treat affects of diabetes, Alzheimers, HIV and possibly breast and lung cancer. 

 

 

At The Reptile Zoo we are lucky enough to keep a colony of Beaded Lizards, which means when the breeding season comes we may have BABY Beaded Lizards! Beaded Lizards become mature around 7 years old and females normally lay their eggs between October and December. The size of these clutches can vary  from 2-8 eggs with the babies hatching in the summer of the following year. 

 

 

Thanks for celebrating Cinco de Mayo with us! Hopefully you learned something while still enjoying yourself. If you're ever in the area be sure to stop by The Reptile Zoo to check out our collection of Mexico native reptiles and of course our Beaded Lizards and Gila Monsters!

 

 

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THIS WEEKEND: Jay Brewer at SOS² Reptile Expo

Last week we let you know founder Jay Brewer was travelling with some of his team to South Africa where he would be enjoying the sites and native wildlife, but for those in South Africa we left the best part out. This weekend you can come meet him and check out some of our unique pythons at the 2012 SOS² Reptile Expo!  

 

 

This is Jay's first time visiting the expo, which is in it's 10th year as the leading South African Reptile Expo. This year it will be held at the Emperor's Palace in Kempton Park centrally located near Johannesburg International airport. Visit SOS² this Saturday and Sunday, the 5th and 6th of May between 9 AM - 4 PM for your chance to view and even take home some of the best reptiles the South African reptile community has to offer!

 

 

Jay has been excited for this trip, and especially this expo for months! South Africa is one of his favorite places to visit and he is looking forward to finally meeting the whole reptile community and sharing Prehistoric Pets one of a kind boas, burmese and reticulated pythons that have been previously unavailable in South Africa!

 

 

We have been luck enough to partner with organizer Arno Naude to set-up a permanent distributor relationship within the country, just like our friends The Reptile Room in Europe. We have sent Arno a great selection of animals, which if not all snatched up at this weekend's expo, will continue to be available within the country. 

 

 

If you live in the area make sure to stop by this weekend's event it is sure to be filled with the best animals South Africa has to offer and plenty of great people to meet. If you happen to see Jay while you're there be sure to stop him and say hello he always loves a good chat about animals, especially the new reticulated python projects we are working on right now!

Don't forget that's Saturday and Sunday 9AM-4PM SOS² Reptile Expo at Emperor's Palace in Kempton Park! See you there!

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Ordering One Molt To-Go

 

Imagine opening a cage and finding this beauty looking at you! At first I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at. I knew what I was supposed to be looking at... an Emperor Scorpion, one of the largest species from Africa, but was the scorpion eating a frog? Was it eating another scorpion? Was it breeding? No it couldn't be. 

 

 

All of these thoughts seemed plausible until I considered the most obvious answer... the scorpion was molting! What's molting? Molting is basically the arachnid version of shedding. Each time a scorpion gets larger it grows out of it's skin and produces a new larger version underneath.

 

 

It then slowly walks, crawls, wiggles and inches it's way out of the outer skin. This process can take from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the humidity and animal. HINT: If you have your own creepy crawly scorpion at home you can help this process by adding a little moisture to the surrounding bedding to help increase this humidity.

 

 

As it is coming out the scorpion will usually be discolored, sometimes even white. This is because the outer skeleton has not hardened, immedietly after molting the new skin is soft and susceptible to damage. HINT: If your scorpion is molting be sure not to handle or feed it during this time as it can cause injury. 

 

 

Once fully hardened, taking up to a day, the new exo-skeleton will become shiny and regain it's normal coloration. Once you see this change the molting process is complete and it will look like your scorpion has cloned itself! Don't worry the scorpion is not radioactive (we'll talk more about that later) or part of some crazy science experiment. 

 

 

The scorpion has just left behind it's molt which looks like a transparent clone of itself. The scorpion no longer needs this molt, it does not eat it, so it can now become your trophy or better yet great gag gift to suprise your friends with!

HINT: Both the old molt and new skin glow bright turquoise under a black light which is sure to raise the spooky factor for your arachiphobia friends!

 

 

As you can see the Emperor Scorpion can be a pretty exciting pet... just check out Priscilla's blog about everything you need called  I AM EMPEROR , but if you're not up to that you can enjoy an up-close and personal look at the scorpion along with some of his reptile friends at your next Jurassic Party!

 

 

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