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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Something Fishy in the pond.

If you have visited our store here in Fountain Valley before, then chances are you are quite familiar with our infamous ponds in the retail and zoo portions of the shop.  Whether you were feeding the Red Eared slider turtles or watching Frank go for a swim, no doubt you noticed the vast array of beautiful fish we house in the ponds.  Ever feel like asking, “What kind of fish are in the ponds?” or “How do they cohabitate with so many different species?”   Luckily, were MiNd ReAdeRs (O.o) and have the answers for you in today’s edition of The Reptile Zoo’s blog!

First, let’s introduce you to our newest arrival, the Plecostomus fish, a.k.a. “Pleco” or “sucker fish”.  These cool fish are extremely popular pets due to their ability to clean tanks by eating algae and dead fish! YUCK! >.<!  The Plecos are friendly-natured fish and require larger aquariums due to their maximum growth averaging around 2 feet.  However, BEWARE, as they age and grow Plecos become more aggressive and it is best to keep them in separate tanks.

Next, there’s the oh so popular Red Tail Catfish that’s most recognizable in the ponds thanks to their obvious Red tipped tails.  Red Tailed Catfish diet in the wild consists of fish, large crustaceans and, unexpectedly, fruit.  Bloodworms, earthworms and good quality pellets or tablets designed for carnivorous catfish are a good main diet when they are young.  The Red Tailed Catfish is the largest of the catfish available in the hobby, with the ability to grow up to 5 feet!  Look at his colors!

A little less popular is the docile Leopard Shovelnose Catfish.  This aquatic beauty is a cross between a Red Tail Catfish and a Tiger Shovelnose Catfish.  These buggers have the ability to grow at or around the same size as their parent species would attain.  Their main appetite consists of absolutely anything (such little piggy’s!).  Along with their large appetites, come large messes.  Large tanks, a really good filter system and fortnightly water changes are highly recommended when housing such a fish. 

Most commonly seen in our ponds are the Pacu, cousin to the Piranha.  Full-grown pacu are much larger than piranha, reaching up to 60 pounds in weight, in the wild.  Pacu and Piranha have similar teeth, the difference is jaw alignment; piranha have pointed, razor-sharp teeth in a obvious underbite, whereas Pacu have squarer, straighter teeth in a less severe underbite.  Look at these big guys!

Last but not least, this little guy is the Channel Catfish.  The “Channel Cat” is the official fish of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Tennessee.  They thrive in small and large rivers, reservoirs, natural lakes and ponds.  Interestingly, Channel catfish have very keen senses of smell and taste which allows them to find food in dark, stained or muddy water with ease. 

All of these fish are able to cohabitate due to their conflicting dietary needs.  Although some are carnivorous, they do not feed on their own species because their size makes it impossible to do so even if they tried.  Have you gotten your chance to check out all these cool fish we display in our ponds?  How about a chance to feed them some yummy Super worms alongside the turtles?  If not, plan a trip to The Reptile Zoo/ Prehistoric Pets on your next day out, we will be waiting!

^O^ …………..Priscilla

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