Stolen Bearded Dragon Found

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Frivista-cdn.reptilesmagazine.com%2Fganga.jpg%253Fver%253D1403627042&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reptilesmagazine.com%2FLizards%2FInformation-News%2FWomans-Stolen-Bearded-Dragon-Recovered-Safely%2F&h=378&w=516&tbnid=4XjQxww5YtJeVM%3A&zoom=1&docid=hNkUp3Sz-Dwd8M&ei=BZi8U8-RBIudyASoo4K4BQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CCMQMygFMAU&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=1065&page=1&start=0&ndsp=26

I have not posted anything in a while (sorry!), but I figured I should share this story because it involves one of my favorite reptiles and, although it involves one of my worst nightmares, it has a happy ending. This will probably be the only article I write that could be classified under the category of crimes against lizards, but the dangers and message of the story should serve as a reminder to all pet owners of who you should and should not trust with your beloved pets.

A woman in Alhambra, CA was going on a vacation and needed to board her 7-year-old bearded dragon, Ganga, while she was gone. Being that she had been a patron of her local pet store for over twenty years, the woman decided to leave her beardie under the care of the pet store owners until she returned from her trip. The vacationing woman called the pet store to check on her bearded dragon regularly and the day before she was due to arrive back in Alhambra, she was advised that Ganga had been stolen while one of the store clerks was cleaning out his cage.

The article goes on to state that the pet store did not think to file a police report and had not planned on reaching out to the owner to let her know what happened; the only redeeming news that the pet store could eventually provide was that they had the crime on tape and knew that the man who took Ganga also bought two hamsters that day. The Alhambra police released a public statement asking the public to help locate the missing lizard (http://ktla.com/2014/06/22/publics-help-sought-in-finding-bearded-dragon-stolen-in-alhambra/) and, amazingly, they were fruitful in their efforts and found little Ganga. The thief was not arrested and was only charged with a misdemeanor while Ganga was returned to her owner, malnourished and with a tail that had been burnt, allegedly, by the criminal.

Oh, the horror! This situation would rank as one of my highest fears in life because of how much my Kermit means to me. I couldn’t even imagine the amount of sadness and worry that this woman went through while the authorities were trying to find her beardie. It is fortunate that this story had a happy ending and that Ganga was returned home, but it is also a reminder that even if a person or establishment seems reputable, they may not watch over your pet as carefully as they should. A few years ago, I went on a trip and had actually looked into finding a place to board Kermit while I was gone; it was nearly impossible. I finally found a dog kennel that was willing to house Kermit if I provided them with detailed instructions for how to care for him and paid a steep boarding fee (nearly double what it would cost to board a dog). Luckily, I ended up finding someone at the last minute and avoided paying a small fortune to have my lizard looked after in questionable conditions. If I had boarded Kermit, and by some horrific turn of events he was kidnapped, I would be completely devastated, as I am sure most pet owners would be.

Another notable piece of information that I found disturbing in this article is that the kidnapper was not arrested, even though he stole and burnt the lizard. I will not get into detail about how I feel regarding the lenient laws against people who hurt animals (and children), but I am sure you can gather some hints from reading my posts.It made me really happy, though, to see that the police issued a statement asking for the general public to help find the missing lizard because it assures me that there are people out there who take reptiles seriously and who understand that they are lovable creatures.

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20140623/alhambra-police-detectives-find-stolen-dragon-in-pomona

Advertisements

Quality Time With Kermit: Happy Fourth Birthday, Kermit!

Image

 

Today is Kermit’s fourth birthday! I don’t think he is nearly as excited as I am about this milestone (see his expression in the picture above), but I can tell you that he is enjoying all of his gifts and treats. On Kermit’s birthday, he always gets to have as many berries as he wants and he usually gets to go for a long walk outside. Unfortunately, this year his walk will have to be a little shorter than normal due to my schedule, but I know he will still enjoy being outside in the warm weather.

Some reptiles, namely turtles, can live to be up to 80 or more years old, but bearded dragons like Kermit generally only live to be about ten years old. Since his lifespan is so short, I want to make sure that I help Kermit celebrate each year to the fullest because he really is a special little lizard. I feel that Kermit is more than just a pet to me; he is a family member and I care about him almost as much as I do some people. If any of you, my readers, have ever had a pet that was dear to you, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

I was seriously debating whether or not to get Kermit a little brother for his birthday, but then I remembered that he is used to being the only ‘child’ and would probably not enjoy the company of another lizard on his special day. Instead, Kermit got a new vest to wear outside (unfortunately, he is too chubby to fit into it properly) and an adorable travel home that he can sit in when we go on car rides. Kermit also got an e-card from his veterinarian, which he thought was pretty interesting because of all the colors on the monitor.

Whether you like reptiles or not, I hope you can appreciate how cute and full of personality Kermit is. Though he may not be everyone’s favorite animal, I certainly am happy that I get to have this little lizard in my life for another year. Happy birthday, Kermit!

Nice To Meet You: Gecko

Image

 

Today, I am going to introduce you to a type of lizard that you are probably already familiar with due to it’s prevalence in popular culture and appearances in everything from magazines to Geico commercials: The gecko! This lizard can be found in nearly every country on Earth, and you can even buy them at your local pet store. Even though geckos are some of the most famous lizards on the planet, there are many things that you may not have known about these adorable little reptiles.
 
There are roughly 1,500 species of geckos that can be found in warm climates throughout the world, ranging in size from 1 to 60cm in length. Since there are so many morphs and varieties of geckos, it would be too difficult to name them all, but here are some samples of the types of geckos there are and which landmasses they are native to: The Western Banded gecko is native to southwestern parts of the United States, the Tokay gecko can be found in Southeast Asia, the Cosmopolitan gecko can be found on South America and the Caribbean, the Gold Dust Day gecko can be found in Madagascar, and the crocodile gecko can be found in parts of France and Greece. As you can see, there are no limits as to where these lizards can be found or what they can look like. In fact, geckos are some of the most colorful lizards in the world, ranging in color from light peach to lime green to lavender.
 
In addition to coming in a rainbow of color morphs, geckos also have other physical traits that set them apart from other lizards, namely their eyes and their toes. Geckos have toes that allow them to adhere to most surfaces by both the use of their adhesive toe pads and by the use of their double-jointed digits that can extend in the opposite direction of one another. The most widely accepted theory about how and why geckos can climb smooth, slippery surfaces can be explained in depth by van der Waals force (this isn’t exclusively about reptiles, but it is interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_der_Waals%27_force). As far as their eyes, geckos lack eyelids and in place of them have a thin, transparent membrane that they lick to keep moist. Geckos also have larger eyes than most other types of lizards and this is due to the fact that they are mostly nocturnal. Being awake at night, the iris of the gecko’s eye enlarges, allowing them to have better vision in order to hunt for mosquitoes and other insects.
 
Geckos also differ from other reptiles because they are the only lizards that have a voice box. Geckos can communicate with one another by using chirping noises that sound like small bird chirps.
 

Doctors Perform C-Section to Save Turtle

Image

A female turtle in China’s Chengdu City Zoo was acting sickly and tired, so zookeepers decided to take her into the herpetologist’s office to try and figure out what was wrong. Upon doing some x-rays, the doctors at the zoo found that the reason Dabao, the turtle, was acting so lethargic was because she had 14 eggs caught in her birth canal. Since Dabao had so much congestion within her body, she was having a difficult time laying her eggs. Zookeepers then decided that the best option for their turtle was to take her in for an emergency C-section to have her eggs removed.

Dabao was taken to Chengdu 416 Hospital (a hospital for humans) where she was operated on using tools that were designed for the human body. Doctors at the hospital used a surgical skull saw to cut through Dabao’s shell, and then resealed it with epoxy resin. According to the article, the most difficult part about the surgery was trying to anesthetize the turtle because she kept putting her head inside of her shell. Doctors did end up removing all 14 of Dabao’s eggs and then they buried them in sand so they could incubate until they hatched. Dabao is said to be making a full recovery and her babies are still waiting to hatch.

http://digitaljournal.com/article/120714

Pilot Delays Flight to Save Garter Snake on Runway

Image

A flight headed from San Francisco to New York was delayed yesterday because there was a garter snake sitting on the runway. The pilot of the Delta Airlines plane refused to drive on the runway where the 6-inch snake was sitting and instead had one of the airline’s workers rescue the snake so that it wouldn’t be killed. The snake was then taken to a snake sanctuary where it could live safely and without the fear of being hit by an airplane. 

The garter snake is the single most widely distributed genus of reptiles in North America, living everywhere from Alaska to the southernmost areas of the United States. Even so, the San Francisco garter snake is an endangered species and has been on the list of endangered animals since 1969. Many of these snakes are collected and kept as pets, which has played a part in why the snake is facing a decline in population. Garter snakes have a diet that is primarily composed of shrews, rats, and other rodents and it poses no threat to humans. 

Many people would probably not agree with the pilot’s decision to delay a flight just because of a tiny snake, but I happen to admire what he did and would hope that others would follow in his footsteps. Included in the article are some examples of Tweets from unidentified sources talking about the flight’s delay in a sarcastic tone and making it sound like what the pilot did was unbelievable and against the norms of society. It makes me sad to see that some people think that human beings are “above” taking a little time to help a harmless creature from being killed. I think one of the greatest displays of someone’s true character is how they treat animals and how they interact with these creatures when there is nothing for them to gain. If the animal in the runway would have been a fluffy rabbit, I’m sure the pilot would have received more praise for his actions, but since it was a snake he didn’t get the positive attention he should have. I am so glad that the little snake was spared by the pilot and is now safe and living happily in a sanctuary.

http://nypost.com/2014/05/16/pilot-refuses-to-run-over-tiny-garter-snake/ 

Quality Time With Kermit: Lizard Gifts

Image

 

I had a particularly trying day today. At the end of the day, though, I find happiness in knowing that I can still come home to two of my favorite things: Kermit and my reptile blog (this includes all of my awesome readers!). 

I, unfortunately, missed out on telling everyone about a very special day that happened on Monday, which was World Turtle Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Turtle_Day). Next year, I will be more mindful of doing a post specifically about bringing awareness to the turtles of the world as they are some of the most lovable reptiles there are! 

Today’s post, on the contrary, is not about turtles, it is about trying to find the perfect gift for the lizard who has everything! I’m talking about my little Kermit, of course. Kermit is undoubtedly one of the most spoiled lizards living in Ann Arbor (perhaps even in the state of Michigan?) because he has anything a lizard could ever want; a huge terrarium all to himself filled with all kinds of reptile climbing rocks, all the crickets he could fathom, and he even gets to go outside for walks when it is nice out. What, then, would I ever be able to get a lizard like this as a gift?

Many people look at me like I am insane when I tell them tales of Kermit’s personality and charming characteristics, but I still continue to try and convince people that reptiles are loving and personable pets, just like dogs and cats. I feel that it is my duty to attempt to help people keep an open mind when it comes to what kinds of animals they consider to be friendly and approachable. If you are someone who doesn’t like reptiles, I would encourage you to spend even ten minutes interacting with a little lizard like Kermit and not fall in love with their adorable ways.

June 10th is going to be Kermit’s fourth birthday and I think it is important to celebrate every year of his life because of what a great pet and friend he is. I usually bake him a cake and give him his favorite food, which is either raspberries or blueberries (depending on his mood) and I take him outside to explore for a few hours. On top of that, I always try to get him a gift that he will be able to enjoy all year long, but I am out of ideas! I took a walk through the pet store and felt a bit discouraged because all of the best items are aimed at mammals and mammal owners; there are no great items available for reptiles. I suppose I could always go the route of getting Kermit another rock for his terrarium, but I was hoping to come up with something more clever than that. I will continue to brainstorm and peruse the reptile forums of the internet for gift ideas, but for now, I will leave you will the image in your mind of Kermit living like a king in his interesting little world. 

 

Threatened Ontario Turtles Need Help This Spring

Image

 

Since the temperatures are finally warming up, I thought now would be the perfect time to remind everyone of the importance of helping out our little reptile friends who may be emerging from their nests for the first time this year. Many creatures, such as turtles and frogs, are finding that their environments are now warm enough for them to come out and begin searching for food and nesting sites, and, oftentimes, while making their journey, they must cross a road or two to get there. Some of these animals are lucky enough to reach their destination without being harmed, but many of them are struck by passing cars when they cross the road. Obviously, being hit by a car is most common among turtles (being that they are slower than most other creatures), but this issue is especially concerning for one type of turtle that is considered to be an endangered species in Ontario, Canada: The Blanding’s turtle.

The Blanding’s turtle is a species of turtle that can be found in southern Ontario, parts of western Quebec, Nova Scotia, and in parts of the United States (primarily around the Great Lakes). These turtles are known to hibernate from the months of October to
May, and emerge from their hibernation in order to search for food and a place to lay their eggs in the spring. Since the Blanding’s turtle is semi-aquatic, a portion of their time is spent on land, but the majority of their time is spent in the water. In fact, the Blanding’s
turtle actually hibernates underwater, building their burrow at the bottom of ponds and marshes and staying beneath the frozen water until the temperature starts to rise. The Blanding’s turtle has the ability to hibernate underwater (and surprisingly many other species of amphibians and reptiles can too) because when they are brumating, they slow down their metabolism and use only a small amount of oxygen for breathing during this time.

The Blanding’s turtle has a unique physical appearance that is different than any other species of turtle in Ontario. These turtles
have a smooth, domed black shell that can grow up to 28cm long and have large, protruding eyes. In addition, the Blanding’s turtle has a bright yellow chin and throat, making it the only turtle in Ontario to have that distinct color pattern. In addition, the Blanding’s turtle has the longest overland movement of any Ontario turtle, traveling up to six kilometers from where they hibernate in the winter to where they nest in the summer.

Though the Blanding’s turtle can live to be 70 years old in the wild, their eggs and newborn hatchlings have an fairly low survival rate due to their habitats being destroyed by shoreline development, and due to the fact that many of these turtles are taken from the wild to be used as pets or as food.

Blanding’s turtles are currently listed as a threatened species under the Ontario Endangered Species Act of 2007, the Federal Species at Risk Act, and the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Due to the fact that they make the longest yearly journey of any other turtle in Ontario, it makes them especially vulnerable to crossing roads, and, unfortunately, getting struck by cars. Since spring is the time of year that the Blanding’s turtle (and most all species of turtle) comes out to find their future homes for the summer, it is especially important to watch for them as they often cross many roads to get to their destination.

If you happen to see a turtle crossing the road in the upcoming weeks, please stop and help it get to the other side so that it doesn’t meet an untimely fate. Stopping to help might make you arrive a few minutes later to where you are going, but it could have a lasting impact on the entire species of a turtle. Turtles are generally very timid and do not pose a threat to humans; their main defense mechanism is retreating into their shells. Please help our adorable reptile friends so that they may live many, many more years and bring more reptiles into the World!

http://www.orilliapacket.com/2014/05/02/threatened-ontario-turtles-need-our-help