Three Popular Pets - Corn Snake, Ball Pythons and Bearded Dragons

14/03/2011 17:48

Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragon is the name used for any agamid lizard in the genus Pogona. They are native to Australia, and are sometimes the first reptile people get as pets.

Bearded Dragons are popular pets, notably the species Inland or Central Bearded Dragon. These animals are also affectionately called "Beardies" by those who breed or raise them. They are a ideally suited to children, because of their friendly and calm nature, along with the low amount of work they need to be cared for.

Beardies have broad triangular heads and flattened bodies, the adults growto approximately 18 to 24 inches from head to tail with males and females being of comparable size, although males usually sport a larger head and a thicker tail base than the females.

Beardies have a distinctive set of spines running horizontally from the head to the base of the tail. They range in colour from light tan to dark brown, depending on their native soil, often with highlights of black, brilliant red, or gold, and can change greatly depending upon their internal condition, mood or temperature darkening when cool. Some spefically hand reared have been selectively bred for more brilliant colorations.

Beardies are omnivorous, capable of subsisting on a wide variety of food sources, including both insects and vegetable food. A typical diet for captive beardies includes leafy greens and vegetables, and regular meals of feeder insects.

All species are from Australia, but they have been exported the world over and bred successfully in captivity. Beardies live about 8–15 years with proper care in captivity, though some can live up to 20 years old

Corn Snake
The corn snake, or red rat snake, is a North American species of rat snake that subdue their small prey with constriction. The name "corn snake" comes from the fact that they have markings on their underside that looks like corn. They are found throughout the south-eastern and central United States. Their placid nature, reluctance to bite, moderate adult size 1.2 to 1.8 metres, attractive markings, and comparatively simple care make them popular pet snakes. In the wild, they usually live around 10-15 years, but can live as old as 23 years in captivity. Like all rat snakes, corn snakes are non-venomous.

They have a diet mainly consisting of rodents, mostly mice and rats, which they kill via crushing. They are accomplished climbers and may climb trees in search of birds and bats. Pet Corn Snakes are usually fed by their keepers on a diet of commercially available rodents, predominantly mice, while younger and smaller snakes may eat live or dead rat or mouse pups of various sizes. Frozen mice are preferable, as live prey can possibly carry disease or injure the snake if it has not been raised on live prey.

The Corn Snake was one of the first snakes to be kept in captivity by people, and remains one of the most popular. Large volumes are bred annually to ensure that there is a constant supply, lowering the need to collect specimens from the wild. keeping more than one together is inadvisable in captivity, as these are naturally solitary animals.

Owners of Corn Snakes have emphasised a cage with no chance of escape. Corn Snakes are excellent escape artists and will often get out of any home that is not properly secured. More first timers lose their snakes to escapes than death. They are good at climbing, squeezing out of tiny holes, and can also use their bodies to push the lid off of a poorly-fitted aquarium.

Royal or Ball Python
The Royal Python or Python Regius is a non-venomous python species found in Africa. This is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular as a pet snake. Adults generally do not grow to more than 90-120 cm in length, although some examples have reached 152 cm and even 182 cm, around 6ft, but this is very rare. The build is stocky while the head is relatively small and the scales are smooth.

The colour marking is typically black with light brown-green side and dorsal blotches. The underside is a white or cream that sometimes can include scattered black markings. However, owners and breeders have, through selective breeding, developed many mutations with different colours and patterns.

The name ball python comes from the snakes tendency to curl into a ball when worried or scared. The name royal python is rumoured to have come from the story that Cleopatra allegedly wore the snake around her wrist.

Ordinarily when wild, the diet consists mostly of small mammals, such as African soft-furred rats, shrews and striped mice. Younger snakes have also been known to feed on birds. Captive pets usually do well on domestic rats and mice, either live, pre-killed, or frozen-thawed

There are obviously many more reptile types kept as pets, and no doubt the favourites will change, but any of the three named above will make great pets, and a great introduction to keeping reptiles.


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