If you are looking to buy a...

-normal ball python

-bearded dragon

-red eared slider (or any large pond turtle)

-green iguana

-large tortoise species

-other large snake species

Please please consider checking our your local reptile rescue and adopting because there are a HUGE number of these species in shelters. These are certainly not the only reptile species in shelters (the one I interned at had everything from leos, cresties, and corns to tegus, rare monitors, and box turtles) but these are usually the most commonly abandoned and the most difficult to house long term.

Benefits of adopting from a shelter:

-adult animals are usually hardier

-a reputable shelter will thoroughly health check animals

-shelter will usually have socialized the animal (and if not will give you an honest idea of current socialization level)

-shelter will be able to give you an idea of animal’s adult temperament (temperament of young animals can often change when they reach sexual maturity)

-shelter will have switched snakes to frozen/thawed before adoption

-some shelter allow fostering of an animal as a trial period

-sometimes the shelter will supply fully equipped enclosure along with the animal

-shelter will offer support and information following the adoption

-the adoption fee is a fairly minimal part of their overall funding, so they are in it for the sake of the animal and adopter not for the money

-adoption fee is usually cheaper than buying a new animal

I was so lucky to see this guy on the side of the road in Panama. Certainly the largest green iguana I have ever seen. I pulled over and was able to get out and lie down on the road to have a little facetime, before he quickly moved down the bank. I was actually relieved as he was too close to the edge of the road and there was no shoulder. (click for a much better look.)

Hello! This is Salem, his favorite colour is green and likes the sticky frogs jackets very much! Unlike many green iguanas, Salem loves other reptiles and has helped me tame many aggressive lizards when I ran an exotic shelter. We love your blog very much and we’re happy to see other exotic enthusiasts loving their often misunderstood friends, sending many pats and treaties to the sticky frogs!

Hello Salem! 😀🐸😀

Gumby sends you a very big kissie and speedboat of green iguana treaties!

Gumby loves your friendly face and very cool green onesie with ultimate spiny mohawk! She says thank you for helping out all the other lizard friends too! 😊🐸

shkedia  asked:

hi! to clarify, i am 100% in support of aza accredited zoos. i was just wondering - my local zoo cohabs two green iguanas and two boas (i forget which species) all in the same exhibit. i know cohabiting most large reptiles is a bad idea in pet care, and i was wondering why it's different in zoos? thank you!

I’ve never gotten an answer on this that I’ve really liked, but the short version is: because they’re the experts. What I’ve been told is that zoo reptile staff have the expertise to carefully track the health of the animals they’re cohabitating and that they’ve got a lot of time they can purposefully dedicate to observing them. I’m sure there’s got to be a process behind how they choose what animals go in with each other, both in regards to species and individual personality, but the few reptile staff at zoos who regularly cohouse herps have I’ve been able to talk to were pretty much like ‘we just throw shit together and see if it works’ which was not only not useful but super frustrating, because now that’s what I’ve got as primary data to tell you guys about. 

majahawt  asked:

Hey, I don't know if you've covered this before but are there any details on what specifically in marijuana that's harmful for reptiles/what it does? Even without the smoke, just the substances. I've... Got a guy talking about feeding cannabis plants to iguanas

Yeah, the substance itself is actually quite toxic! There’s been a few studies done on marijuana toxicity, but most of them refer to the smoke. There’s a few other citations, but the best comprehensive thing I know of is from this vet textbook called Reptile Medicine and Surgery. The second edition’s fairly recent (within the past decade) and everything that’s come out after typically refers to this book and the stuff cited within. (Side note: This book is an excellent resource and honestly quite worth signing up for the free Scribd trial just to download and have on hand. For most reptile owners, the detailed vet procedure stuff won’t be as useful, but the pictures and stuff about common diseases and how they present is invaluable.)

Here’s what the book’s got to say about marijuana toxicity and what it does to reptiles:

Marijuana continues to be by far the most used illicit drug in the United States. Cannabis sativa has been used for centuries for its hemp fiber, as rope, and for its psychoactive resins. Totally or partially herbivorous captive reptiles may encounter growing marijuana plants or ingest dried stems, leaves, and flowers. The main active ingredient of marijuana is tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). The highest concentration of this psychoactive constituent is found in the leaves and the flowering tops of plants. Hashish is the dried resin of flower tops. The precise mechanism of action of THC is unknown, but the psychoactive effects of this drug are thought to stem from a number of sites within the CNS, including cholinergic dopaminergic, serotonergic, noradrenergic, and GABA receptors. Ingested marijuana shows effects much more slowly than the results of the inhaled smoke; however, the effects of ingested THC last much longer. Clinical signs after ingestion of marijuana include mydriasis, weakness, ataxia, bradycardia, hypothermia, and stupor. The extent of clinical signs after marijuana ingestion is almost totally dose related. Treatment for marijuana ingestion is primarily supportive and symptomatic. Marijuana toxications are rarely fatal because of the wide margin of safety of THC. Activated charcoal administration is recommended to decrease enterohepatic recirculation. Despite its relative safety margin, recovery after ingestion may be prolonged and take up to 3 to 4 days. Fluids and monitoring of body temperature may be beneficial. We have seen two reptiles ingest fairly large amounts of marijuana. A 10-pound Sulcata Tortoise showed no effects after eating four marijuana cigarettes. However, a 6-pound male Green Iguana was stuporous after eating into a “baggie” of marijuana and needed support. Both animals recovered completely. Undoubtedly other “under-the-counter” drugs have been blundered across by reptiles. Various “over-the-counter” drugs kept on nightstands, kitchen counters, or bathroom shelves may be encountered by captive reptiles given free range in the house. For their own safety, captive animals should be confined and all medications kept in their original containers in child-proof and animal-proof cabinets.

So yes, it’s toxic. Do the animals usually die from eating it? Well, no, because the plant itself is relatively safe. Is it a good idea? Absolutely not, why would you put your animal through that??

anonymous asked:

So I'm guessing it's a necessary thing to use like calcium? I feel bad cause I didn't know and they haven't been taking it (and mine are also adopted and I don't think the previous owners had it either). I'll start it ASAP but do you think they'll be alright?

Yes.  Calcium is absolutely vital and you should start supplementing with calcium/calcium+D3 ASAP.  I can’t say if your reptile will be ok or not; I’m not a vet and, even if I was, I’d need to personally examine the animal before making any diagnosis.  A vet visit is your best bet, so you can know the severity of your pet’s metabolic bone disease and the proper steps in treating it.

Thanks for sending this in; this is actually a topic I feel we don’t talk about in enough detail.  People quote “you need twice as much calcium as phosphorus!” without understanding what this actually entails and WHY it’s important.  


[edit so i can’t do cuts in ask, woops, but anyway beyond here we GET INTO A SCIENCE)

Relationship to Phosphorus aka “Why are we talking about a non-calcium thing when we’re trying to talk about calcium?”

Ok, so the first step to understanding the importance of calcium is to talk about bones.  First step in THAT is to stop thinking about bones as fixed.  They’re not an unchanging system; they’re constantly in flux, always either releasing or absorbing calcium as necessary, normally in relation to how much calcium is in the serum around bones.  When there’s not enough calcium in the serum, bone releases some.  When there’s a lot of calcium just floating around, bones are able to use it.

Bones themselves are made of calcium phosphate.  In order to form calcium phosphate, a phosphorus molecule needs to attach itself to one calcium molecule.  Thus bone is born! But wait.  We need calcium for ALL KINDS OF STUFF in the body!  It’s used to moderate the heart rate, the nervous system, the absorption of OTHER minerals… so the bones start worrying and will RELEASE calcium from themselves, which eventually makes them all spongy and fragile.  This eventually leads to a form of MBD (metabolic bone disease).  Yes, there are different types of MBD (more on that in a bit).  This particular one is called Osteomalacia and is the most common in reptiles.

I’d  like to make it clear that phosphorus is not bad; we shouldn’t try to eliminate that from a reptile’s diet, since it plays important parts in almost all of a body’s processes. The best thing we can do is make sure a reptile has plenty of calcium to spare.

With this in mind, the best ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 2:1.  We need twice as much calcium as phosphorus in our reptiles’ diets (with the notable exception of snakes; their meals are naturally very high in calcium, so they don’t need help.  Go, snakes!).

How do reptiles in the wild handle this?

In many different ways!  Non-basking reptiles handle it by consuming a wide variety of prey, including many that are high in calcium.  We’re talking 40 or more species PER DAY.  We simply can’t match that in captivity.  Vegetarian or omnivorous species consume many different plants.

Basking—-and non-basking, to an extent—-deal with this by sitting around in the sun and absorbing UVB rays, which helps metabolize vitamin-D3.

Vitamin D-what?

D3, D2, all sorts of D’s just flying around!  Vitamin-D3 is more properly known as cholecalciferol. It’s bound within serum protein and transported to the liver, where it’s metabolized into another form (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), which is actually usable by the reptile.  Reptiles who have access to UVB can make their own vitamin-D3, which has been superior to calcium D-3 that’s included within a diet (Bernard, et al).  Now that the reptile has a nice dose of vitamin-D3, it can use calcium more effectively. Basically, it helps make calcium more usable.

Honestly, the best thing is natural sunlight.  So far, we haven’t created a perfect UVB bulb.  This is actually why I suggest that animals who require a lot of UVB (tortoises come to my mind first because of their unique needs; they can’t absorb UVB through their shells and are prone to being burnt by bulbs that are placed too close to them) are kept in outdoor pens at least partially.  

But since a lot of reptiles aren’t appropriate for outdoor pens, it’s up to the owner to research their needs.  A diurnal reptile who lives in the desert is best kept with 10-12% UVB, while a reptile who’s nocturnal or lives in a thick jungle environment does better with 2-5% UVB.

UVB may not be appropriate for all reptiles.  Albino geckos, for example, may suffer eye damage. Use your knowledge.  

There’s a particular rumor going around that vitamin-D3 is ‘easily overdosed’.  I have yet to see a single substantiated case of vitamin-D3 overdose.  While it’s theoretically possible, it’s highly unlikely.  I personally have seen way more MBD cases than even POSSIBLE vitamin-D3 overdoses.  

Ok, so how much calcium, calcium-D3, and multivitamins do I use?

It strongly depends on your reptile!  Baby and juvenile reptiles require calcium with every meal, multivitamins once a week, and D3 at LEAST every other meal.  I usually give my adults calcium every other meal, multi once a week, and D3 once a week (depending on species and UVB availability).

So… what about those OTHER MBDs you mentioned?

I’m only going to touch on these because most aren’t commonly seen in reptiles.  

Osteoporosis – if you’ve lived through the 90’s, you probably remember those Got Milk commercials where they claimed milk would prevent this.  This… isn’t entirely true since true osteoporosis isn’t caused by a calcium deficiency, exactly; it’s caused by a protein deficiency and can be more accurately attributed to lack of movement.  Reptiles who are kept in extremely confining shelters are prone to this.  

This is a risk of those ‘minimum-space’ racks.  You can prevent this by providing plenty of space for reptiles to roam and lots of things for it to interact with (climbing branches, digging places, swimming areas for appropriate species, etc).  

Secondary Nutritional HyperparathyroidismThis starts when the calcium levels in the serum are too low.  The thyroid is stimulated to produce parathyroid hormone (PTH).  This in turn causes the bones to release calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin-D3. Calcium becomes more easily absorbed in the gut.  Once again, bones are robbed of calcium and there’s simply not enough calcium to replace it.

Many of these conditions are entirely preventable simply by providing the right sort of diet and UVB exposure.

Shit, I think my reptile has MBD.  What do I do?

Go to a vet.  As I said before, I’m not a vet.  I can’t diagnose or treat your pet.  If caught early, MBD IS treatable.  Some bone damage may even be reversible.  It’s treated by calcium in various forms (some forms are more easily usable than others), injections, and UVB exposure.  It’s a plan you’re best off discussing with your vet.  


Bernard, J.S., O.T. Oftendal, P.S. Barboza, M.E. Allen, S.B. Citino, D.E. Ullry and R.J. Montali. (1991) The response of vitamin D deficient green iguanas (Iguana iguana) to artificial ultraviolet light. Proc Am Vet 1991:147-150.

Frye, Fredric F. “The Importance of Calcium in Relation to Phosphorus, Especially in Folivorous Reptiles.” Nutritonal Society. Cambridge University Press, 1 Feb. 2001. Web. 21 Jan. 2017. <https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/div-classtitlethe-importance-of-calcium-in-relation-to-phosphorus-especially-in-folivorous-reptilesdiv/1CA93A72A18AA800D3FF9ACD2A234411>.

Center for Avian And Exotic Medicine - https://avianandexoticvets.com/metabolic-bone-disease-in-reptiles/