Sand in herpetoculture: perspectives from a herpetologist

amphitherels:

markscherz:

Let me preface this post that I would never claim to know as much about keeping animals as many of the members of the herp community here on tumblr. That being said, I do professionally study reptiles and amphibians, and have been studying them in a scientific sense for almost a decade. I may therefore be qualified to offer some opinions on the contentious issue of having sand in terraria based on intimate knowledge of reptiles and their habits, but I urge also against taking my word for gospel. I am just as liable to being wrong on these issues as anyone else; I am not, after all, totally objective (though I like to think I have the best interests of the animals at heart).

I reckon the majority of tumblr’s herp community will have seen the debate that has flared up over using sand as an appropriate substrate for particular species of reptile, specifically Pogona vitticeps, the bearded dragon. Before I talk about bearded dragons in particular, I want to talk generally about sand.

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I know I have heard there is one species of sand boa that can, perhaps, be safely kept on sand. I do not believe it is specifically the Kenyan Sand Boa, though. Any time I have researched their substrates it has been a very big no on sand.

I make this claim re:Kenyan Sand Boas based on a review of the literature on their distribution and habitat in peer-reviewed literature, not off the top of my head, and also not at all consulting people who keep them. It is a scientific, and not a herpetocultural approach to their husbandry, and may therefore suffer from the lack of the experience gained by people who have kept them for years. Also I would not recommend pure sand, as i say, but rather, a mix of sand and soil to recreate the more substantial, but still loose, partly sandy soil to which they are adapted.

Eryx miliaris is also found in pure sand habitats I believe, but I have not gone as far into the literature on that species, so I say this as a mere point of interest.

A message from Anonymous
what do you think of about wonder geckos (teratoscincus scincus) on sand? they have specialized feet for loose sand and burrow, and are native to sandy deserts.

I would keep them on a 4 parts sand 1 part medium-stone gravel mix, judging by habitat photos I have found. It adds texture while maintaining naturalistic appearances. Maybe feed them away from the sand if you are worried about ingestion. Add some slate rocks in there to give levels and create hunting ground.

mo-mtn-girl:

This is from one of my all time favorite days. 

We met up with Stan in Arkansas and he took us to this abandoned gold mine (this is the same mine that David Attenborough visited to film a portion of "Life in Cold Blood") and we helped him with his yearly survey of the slimy salamanders (Plethodon albagula) that use the mine for a good portion of the year. 

They were EVERYWHERE. 

That is freaking awesome.

Sand in herpetoculture: perspectives from a herpetologist

Let me preface this post that I would never claim to know as much about keeping animals as many of the members of the herp community here on tumblr. That being said, I do professionally study reptiles and amphibians, and have been studying them in a scientific sense for almost a decade. I may therefore be qualified to offer some opinions on the contentious issue of having sand in terraria based on intimate knowledge of reptiles and their habits, but I urge also against taking my word for gospel. I am just as liable to being wrong on these issues as anyone else; I am not, after all, totally objective (though I like to think I have the best interests of the animals at heart).

I reckon the majority of tumblr’s herp community will have seen the debate that has flared up over using sand as an appropriate substrate for particular species of reptile, specifically Pogona vitticeps, the bearded dragon. Before I talk about bearded dragons in particular, I want to talk generally about sand.

Read More

membracid:

blujayart:

This is one of the craziest things I’d ever heard of, and I spent the entire rest of the day after learning this being super excited (and slightly terrified) about it.
If you can’t read my handwriting, this is Epomis dejeani. There are all kinds of crazy videos of these things taking down frogs and toads (you might not wanna watch if you’re squeamish, they get a bit gruesome). In that last link, the frog eats the larva, which continues moving around inside it until the frog spits it up two hours later, at which point the larva turns around and eats thefrog HOLY CRAP
Also did I mention the adults actually paralyze their victims? Scientists aren’t even sure how they do it— they bite the back, but the spinal cord is actually intact
So yeah, that’s freakin nuts. Here’s an article with more information on this ridiculous species. I STILL can’t get over this.

Ha! Love this! :)


AWESOME. AWESOME. AWESOME.
membracid:

blujayart:

This is one of the craziest things I’d ever heard of, and I spent the entire rest of the day after learning this being super excited (and slightly terrified) about it.
If you can’t read my handwriting, this is Epomis dejeani. There are all kinds of crazy videos of these things taking down frogs and toads (you might not wanna watch if you’re squeamish, they get a bit gruesome). In that last link, the frog eats the larva, which continues moving around inside it until the frog spits it up two hours later, at which point the larva turns around and eats thefrog HOLY CRAP
Also did I mention the adults actually paralyze their victims? Scientists aren’t even sure how they do it— they bite the back, but the spinal cord is actually intact
So yeah, that’s freakin nuts. Here’s an article with more information on this ridiculous species. I STILL can’t get over this.

Ha! Love this! :)


AWESOME. AWESOME. AWESOME.

membracid:

blujayart:

This is one of the craziest things I’d ever heard of, and I spent the entire rest of the day after learning this being super excited (and slightly terrified) about it.

If you can’t read my handwriting, this is Epomis dejeani. There are all kinds of crazy videos of these things taking down frogs and toads (you might not wanna watch if you’re squeamish, they get a bit gruesome). In that last link, the frog eats the larva, which continues moving around inside it until the frog spits it up two hours later, at which point the larva turns around and eats thefrog HOLY CRAP

Also did I mention the adults actually paralyze their victims? Scientists aren’t even sure how they do it— they bite the back, but the spinal cord is actually intact

So yeah, that’s freakin nuts. Here’s an article with more information on this ridiculous species. I STILL can’t get over this.

Ha! Love this! :)

AWESOME. AWESOME. AWESOME.

aquazazz:

the-shark-blog:

Source

Truth. Spread it.
S.O.S.  (Save Our Sharks!)
aquazazz:

the-shark-blog:

Source

Truth. Spread it.
S.O.S.  (Save Our Sharks!)
aquazazz:

the-shark-blog:

Source

Truth. Spread it.
S.O.S.  (Save Our Sharks!)
aquazazz:

the-shark-blog:

Source

Truth. Spread it.
S.O.S.  (Save Our Sharks!)

aquazazz:

the-shark-blog:

Source

Truth. Spread it.

S.O.S.  (Save Our Sharks!)

astronomy-to-zoology:

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)
…a common species of salamandrid salamander which is distributed throughout most of southern and central Europe, where they are common in more elevated areas. Fire salamanders typically inhabit deciduous forests where they will spend their time in moist hidden areas like under stones, tree trunks, and in leaf litter. Like other salamanders fire salamanders are carnivorous and will feed on a variety of arthropods, earthworms, and molluscs. They are also known to occasionally eat small frogs or salamanders.
If threatened fire salamanders are capable of exuding the neurotoxic alkaloid “Samandarin" from their skin, which will cause muscle convulsions and hypertension in vertebrates. 
Classification
Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Caudata-Salamandridae-Slamandra-S. salamandra
Images: Didier Descouens and Marek Szczepanek

In other words, don’t pick them up without gloves on, numbnuts.
astronomy-to-zoology:

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)
…a common species of salamandrid salamander which is distributed throughout most of southern and central Europe, where they are common in more elevated areas. Fire salamanders typically inhabit deciduous forests where they will spend their time in moist hidden areas like under stones, tree trunks, and in leaf litter. Like other salamanders fire salamanders are carnivorous and will feed on a variety of arthropods, earthworms, and molluscs. They are also known to occasionally eat small frogs or salamanders.
If threatened fire salamanders are capable of exuding the neurotoxic alkaloid “Samandarin" from their skin, which will cause muscle convulsions and hypertension in vertebrates. 
Classification
Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Caudata-Salamandridae-Slamandra-S. salamandra
Images: Didier Descouens and Marek Szczepanek

In other words, don’t pick them up without gloves on, numbnuts.

astronomy-to-zoology:

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)

…a common species of salamandrid salamander which is distributed throughout most of southern and central Europe, where they are common in more elevated areas. Fire salamanders typically inhabit deciduous forests where they will spend their time in moist hidden areas like under stones, tree trunks, and in leaf litter. Like other salamanders fire salamanders are carnivorous and will feed on a variety of arthropods, earthworms, and molluscs. They are also known to occasionally eat small frogs or salamanders.

If threatened fire salamanders are capable of exuding the neurotoxic alkaloid “Samandarin" from their skin, which will cause muscle convulsions and hypertension in vertebrates. 

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Caudata-Salamandridae-Slamandra-S. salamandra

Images: Didier Descouens and Marek Szczepanek

In other words, don’t pick them up without gloves on, numbnuts.

A message from jelllybaby
question: in your printed-out email about creationism vs. Darwinism, which one was it that you were defending?

edwardspoonhands:

I’ve gotten this ask several times and it seems very odd to me that people would think it possible for me to have ever been a creationist. HOWEVER I realize now, after having thought about it, that lots of people change they’re mind about stuff all the time and that’s wonderful and fine.

I was on the evolution side of that argument then. My position since then has changed somewhat and I am now simply post-argument. The evidence for evolution is so overwhelming and it’s so necessary for a scientific understanding of life on Earth that I assume that people who deny it do so for personal and spiritual reasons that I have no desire to argue about or even interfere with.

Post-argument is a beautiful way of putting it.

word-stuck:

fuubutsushi 風物詩

Basically everyone who has reblogged this has been like ‘ahh yes, halloween, I love it’, but I’m stuck here reading it aloud and snickering to myself.

wapiti3:

The brown leaf chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) is a small chameleon found on a small island off the eastern coast of Madagascar. Its appearance mimics that of a dead leaf. on Flickr.

photo by Lubomír Klátil
Threats and conservation
Like other Brookesia chameleons, the brown leaf chameleon is threatened primarily by habitat destruction, which is the result of agricultural expansion, timber extraction, and small-scale mining. Harvesting for the international pet trade does occur, but is unlikely to be threatening its survival. Since 2005, export quotas have been set at 200 individuals per year.
The brown leaf chameleon is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that trade in this species should be carefully controlled to be compatible with their survival. It is also known to occur in a number of protected areas, including Befotaka-Midongy National Park, Mantadia National Park, Analamazoatra Special Reserve, and Kalambatitra Special Reserve. Although illegal harvesting and other activities that degrade the forest habitat may lessen any benefits this bestows, this species is more tolerant of forest disturbance than other leaf chameleons.

This is the most common of the Brookesia species. If you say you were in Madagascar and saw a dwarf chameleon, I will guess that it was most likely this one.

One of the cool things about this species (and possibly a few others, I haven’t handled more than six), is that, when you pick them up, they vibrate. Hard. The idea being, I suppose, to shake themselves out of the beak of the bird that has snatched them up, or possibly put them off? Who knows. But it’s super funny to have a Brookesia lying in your hand, pretending to be dead, while at the same time vibrating like a small engine.

"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."
Jane Goodall
astronomy-to-zoology:

Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)
…is a unique species of burrowing toad found only in Mexico, parts of southern Texas and Central America. As its common name suggests the Mexican burrowing toad is fossorial and spends most of its time in underground burrows feeding on insects like ants and termites. Like the purple frog the burrowing toad often emerges from its den after long periods of rain and mates. Also like the unrelated purple frog when threatened or calling the Mexican burrowing toad can inflate its body.
Phylogeny
Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Anura-Mesobatrachia-Rhinophrynidae-Rhinophrynus-dorsalis
Image Source(s)
astronomy-to-zoology:

Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)
…is a unique species of burrowing toad found only in Mexico, parts of southern Texas and Central America. As its common name suggests the Mexican burrowing toad is fossorial and spends most of its time in underground burrows feeding on insects like ants and termites. Like the purple frog the burrowing toad often emerges from its den after long periods of rain and mates. Also like the unrelated purple frog when threatened or calling the Mexican burrowing toad can inflate its body.
Phylogeny
Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Anura-Mesobatrachia-Rhinophrynidae-Rhinophrynus-dorsalis
Image Source(s)

astronomy-to-zoology:

Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)

…is a unique species of burrowing toad found only in Mexico, parts of southern Texas and Central America. As its common name suggests the Mexican burrowing toad is fossorial and spends most of its time in underground burrows feeding on insects like ants and termites. Like the purple frog the burrowing toad often emerges from its den after long periods of rain and mates. Also like the unrelated purple frog when threatened or calling the Mexican burrowing toad can inflate its body.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Anura-Mesobatrachia-Rhinophrynidae-Rhinophrynus-dorsalis

Image Source(s)

supremegecko:

Yes, that is a bottle cap. Paroedura androyensis are super tiny.

#geckos #gecko #Paroedura

A message from Anonymous
Hello! I reached your page via Hox genes (though coincidentally, Madagascar is on the very top of the list of places I would like to do field research, but, for now, research in a South African zoo will be as close as this Berkeley graduate student will get in the near future). But I digress. I will be presenting my research on Hox genes to a lay audience at the Bay Area Science Festival, and wondered if you'd mind if I flashed (credited, of course) the photo of your unborn gecko mutant.

That photo is not mine; I reblogged it from zondvloed, but I cannot confirm whether it is their photo or not. I tend to think not, as the photo apparently appeared on the internet in 2009, when it was uploaded to photobucket and posted on a forum called ReptilX by a user named “godlesshenk”.

Best of luck with your presentation.