Miracle Babies

Here at The Reptile Zoo we see every reptile birth as a special miracle, but last week there was no doubt how special our newest addition was!

We were more than surprised to find a TWO-HEADED Reticulated Python with huge potential. As you can see in the photo these little guys are conjoined right at the neck with two completely separate heads and a shared body, very similar to our longtime two-headed mascots Thelma & Louise, but unlike Thelma & Louise who are Texas Ratsnakes these retic newbies have the potential to grow over 200lbs! Just imagine that!

 

 

Snakes, just like humans can have twins which share one egg when developing, but in some cases the two can grow together to create conjoined twins. Just like with humans depending on the area and severity of the connection the two can live a long unhindered life. For example Thelma & Louise have been at The Reptile Zoo for over 10 years, which is long for any ratsnake let alone two-headed!

Now that these two have been out and about getting used to their new environment we are anxiously waiting their next steps into maturity and stability which include their first shed and first meal. These markers will help us guage their health and status, but after already trying to nibble on our fingers we don't think limited appetite will be their problem!

Be sure to keep an eye on the blog to keep up with their progress and even be part of naming these amazingly unique animals. We'll also be updating Facebook with quick glimpses at the newbies!

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Big News for TWINKIE!

When we announced on Twitter and Facebook TWINKIE had big news our fans were quick to guess exactly what was up. TWINKIE has found LOVE and is PREGNANT... well technically gravid, but we couldn't be more excited for her.

We have always been hesitant to allow TWINKIE to breed in case there were any complications in childbirth, but over the past two years we have noticed a steady change in her personality, food cycle, and activity. We cautiously kept watch of these changes hoping she would be able to overcome them without intervention.

Although few would guess it on TWINKIE's normal diet she is offered a medium sized meal every other week, but during this period she has had little to no appetite. Eating a small meal once every couple months. We also noticed she was frequently going into a shedding cycle, which is uncommon for an animal who is not undergowing a large growth spurt. After 2 years of observing this combination, plus her lack of interest in her surroundings when knew it was time to step in. We tried minor changes in late 2012, but with no success. When February came around we knew what just might make all the difference in the world.

 

LOVE! TWINKIE was looking for love! She has always gotten plenty of attention from her adoring fans here at The Reptile Zoo, but as a mature lady she was ready to form a romantic relationship with someone just like her. Although she reached her sexual maturity many years earlier we had never provided an opportunity to breed. As such a unique specimen our staff was fearful the risks outweighed her natural desire to reproduce. But when we saw the negative impacts this decision caused both emotional and physical we carefully considered the best plan of action and began to find a suitable mate in early February.

After their first introduction we knew this was the right decision, because the two immediately started to breed. Just like humans this does not always guarantee offspring, but appropriately on Valentines Day our experts where able to determine that she is in fact GRAVID! Which means in about 3 months TWINKIE will be the proud mother of 40-70 baby Reticulated Pythons.

Want to meet dad, learn about his family, or even find out what special characteristics the new babies could have? I'm sure you have these questions and more, but we will have to wait to answer these in another blog. We'll be keeping you up to date on how TWINKIE is doing, what comes next, and any other questions you send us both here on The Reptile Zoo Blog and on TWINKIE's official fan page www.Facebook.com/WorldsLargestSnake

Until next time. Love is in the Air!

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Breed my pretties, BREED!

So I posed a question to all of you Herpers this morning, asking what kinds of questions YOU had about reptiles and such.  After scanning thru the many responses I noticed a lot of you asked several questions in regards to breeding.  So I decided to base today’s blog around lizard breeding since snake breeding has SO many points and aspects to cover, it’s much easier to leave that to individual training.  Luckily, lizards are in such popular demand that this blog entry should help lots of you guys learn to breed and start your own lizard community at home. =)

 

First of all, you should know that if the lizards are comfortable enough in their surroundings to breed, it shows that the artificial environment provided is adequate. But in order for this to happen, you have to take care of as many variables as possible.  So step one, the artificial environment needs to be large enough, have separate hides for each lizard and offer the same humidity as the natural habitat of your lizard, so make sure you study up on the natural environment of your pet and simplify the caging to  something they are accustomed to.  Secondly, in the wild, male lizards naturally stake out their home territory and defend it from other males. When the home territory is as small as a 30-gallon terrarium, having just one male per cage becomes even more vital.  However, most lizards do well when kept in trios of one male and two females.  Pssh, of course it works smoothly with multiple females than males! =P 

Day and Night cycles should equate with the breeding cycle in the lizard's area of origin.  If your pet is wild, they require at least one year of adjustment to a change in light cycles and the confines of captivity.  So what happens if you have a pair of lizards, you've done everything right – but so far there's STILL no breeding?  There are a few things you can do, first try separating the lizards. Many breeders prefer to keep the sexes separate until breeding is desired. Then the lizards are placed together for a week or so or until breeding takes place then separated again.  This helps keep the stress levels to a minimum and encourage the desire to breed.  Another helpful trick is to add a second male to the cage in hopes the males will create breeding displays between themselves, which tends to arouse breeding interest in the female.  Us gals are always impressed by showy displays of affection and desire =P.  You may need to also provide a period of dormancy/hibernation for lizards that hibernate, if you're unsure of what your lizards require in dormancy length, begin with three weeks to avoid putting too much stress on them.  At the end of the dormancy cycle, restore lighting and temperature levels and offer food and after the lizards have regained their activity levels, put the lizards together. 

Once your lizards have bred, for the egg-laying species, provide an egg deposition site.  For live-bearing lizard, provide a secluded area where the female can give birth to her young without fear of attack by another lizard.  Females may become very aggressive toward other lizards in the cage during and after child birth. Make sure you have a suitable supply of tiny insects (i.e. flightless fruit flies, cricket hatchlings) accessible when the young are born or surface from their eggs.

Now you all should be expert lizard breeders =P!  When you adapt all these requirements in your pet’s enclosure, you should have great luck and success with the finalized breeding.  For any more questions, feel free to call us here at the shop, we will be happy to help you!

Ciao

^O^……………Priscilla

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