Creature Feature: Schneider’s Skink

Schneider’s Skink

Novoeumeces schneideri

schneiders_skink

Reptiles Alive Name: “Schneider”

Hissstory: Schneider came to live at Reptiles Alive on June 23, 2003 as an unwanted pet.

Zoo Diet: Schneider LOVES to eat super worms, but we also feed him: meal worms, earthworms, roaches, greens, vegetables, and fruit.

Natural Diet: Schneider’s skinks are omnivores, so they eat both meat and plants.  Insects, vegetation, grasses, fruit, berries can all be a part of their diet.

Range: Northwestern Africa to western Asia.

Habitat: Dry grasslands, rocky steppes, semi-desert, and oasis.

Size: Grows 13 – 18 inches.

Lifespan: Lives over 20 years.

Reproduction: Females lay 3-20 eggs under moist sand and coil around them for the 6 weeks of incubation

Conservation: Most Schneider’s skinks found in the pet trade are still wild caught. This means they have been kidnapped out of the wild and sold to pet stores. Many are shipped to the United States in horrible conditions.

Cool Facts: Like many lizards, they can break off their tail when danger threatens. Nerves in the tail will cause it to wiggle on the ground for several minutes after detaching, giving the lizard time to escape. With enough food and time, the lizard can usually grow the tail back. The tail however, does not grow back as long or as flexible as it once was. This makes it more difficult for the lizard to escape in the future.

Creature Feature: Tokay Gecko

Tokay Gecko

Gecko gecko

tokay

Reptiles Alive Name: Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon

Hissstory: We received Freddy as an unwanted pet on April 29, 2005.

RA Diet: Crickets, mealworms, earthworms, roaches, and dead mice.

Natural Diet: Anything that moves and is smaller than the gecko.  Tokays will eat birds, snakes, other lizards, insects, frogs – you name and they will eat it!

Range: Tokay geckos naturally occur in Southeast Asia and Malaysia, but they have been Introduced in Florida, Hawaii and many other tropical places around the world.

Habitat: The understory and canopy of tropical rainforests. They can also be found living in cities and even inside of homes in tropical areas.

Size: Tokays can grow to 8 – 10 inches – that is a BIG gecko!

Reproduction: Tokays lay 2-3 sticky eggs in the crevices of tree bark and rocks.

Lifespan: Can live over 50 years.

Conservation: Tokay geckos are important in controlling pests such as cockroaches and locusts.  However, they can also eat small birds, mammals, frogs, and other reptiles, which makes them a potentially damaging invasive species in locations where they have been introduced – such as Hawaii.

Cool Facts: Tokay geckos get their name from the loud “Tow-kay” call they make. Like most geckos, Tokays can walk vertically or even upside down on nearly any surface,  including glass.   They do this by using microscopic scales in the shape of hooks on the bottom of their feet. These scales grab on to microscopic imperfections found on every surface. Scientists are studying gecko feet in order to develop super strong tape, and maybe even gloves and shoes you could wear to walk up a wall.  Just like Spider-man – or GECKO MAN!

Creature Feature: Tegu

Tegu

Tupinambis teguixin

tegu_outside

Reptiles Alive Name: “Tupinambis”

Hissstory: Tupinambis was an unwanted pet that came to live at Reptiles Alive in 2005.

RA Diet: We feed him mostly dead mice, but he also gets some fruit, eggs and occasionally, a giant cockroach.

Natural Diet: Tegus are opportunistic omnivores, which means they eat almost anything!  Fruit, insects, invertebrates, eggs, small mammals, snakes, fish, and carrion could all be eaten by a hungry tegu.

Range: Northern South America, including the Amazon Rain Forest.

Habitat: The forest floor of tropical rain forests where they spend a lot of time hiding in burrows.

Size: Adults reach between 3 and 4 feet in length and usually weigh about 8 pounds.

Lifespan: Can live 10-20 years.

Reproduction: Females will lay 30 – 50 eggs which hatch in about three months. Hatchlings are a beautiful jade green. This color fades as they age.

Conservation: Some people hunt these lizards for their meat and skin. Other tegus are captured for the pet trade and many tegus you might find in a pet store are wild caught.  Tegus do not make good pets.  In south Florida, unwanted pet tegus have been released into the wild and are now becoming a problem species.  Never release unwanted pets into the wild – you never know what damage can occur.

Cool Facts: Tegu scales are round in shape making the animal feel like it is covered in beads. Tegus fill the same ecological niche as monitor lizards do in the Old World, (monitors don’t live in the Americas).

Name that Boa Contest

We have some new scaley faces here at Reptiles Alive this summer.  The new arrivals will be in quarantine for a few months while we double check that they are healthy and ready to go to shows with us.

Our first new arrival is a baby albino boa constrictor we received from a reptile facility in Tennessee.  She is healthy, gorgeous and we named her Sunflower.  Sunflower is only about 15 inches long right now and weighs less than a pound.  She will grow to over 6 feet long and could weigh over 50 pounds.  She is an up and coming star.  You may begin to see her next fall.

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Sunflower the albino boa constrictor

Our next arrival is a 14 pound, 6 feet long albino burmese python – the same kind of snake as Sunshine.  We have decided to name this new python “Moonlight.”  Moonlight was rescued from a pet store that was not taking care of its animals.  The python is relatively healthy, despite the neglect, but it does have snake mites.  Snake mites are not contagious to humans, but they can spread to many different species of reptiles.  As soon as I received Moonlight, I soaked him for about 2 hours and picked off all the mites I found.  After his bath, Moonlight then recieved an massage in canola oil.  He is doing great and his skin will be oh so soft.

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Moonlight, the albino Burmese python

The third new arrival is a “normal” colored boa constrictor that was an unwanted pet.  This snake is very pretty and he seems healthy as well.  But, he needs a name.

We know for sure he is a he (he was breeding with a cage mate before we received him.)  Boa constrictors come from Mexico, Central and South America.  So, we are looking for show name that would be good for him.  If you can think of a good show name for our new boa – please let us know.  If we like your  idea, we will use the name you chose.

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Name this boa constrictor