Sunday, 12 July 2015

My Top 10 Favourite Reptiles

There are so many wonderful reptiles throughout the world and I have been lucky to be able to see lots of different reptiles in person. In today's post, I am going to try and list my top 10 favourite reptiles and a few reasons why I have chosen them for my list.

1. Ball Python/Royal Python (Python Regius)

I have selected ball pythons because I have 9 of them in my small collection of reptiles. I love the fact that they come in a variety of paint jobs and the genetics behind them is extremely interesting. They are also quite easy to care for and have such a lovely nature, they would never strike out at a person for no good reason. They are furthermore impressive without growing overly large.

2. Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius)

I have selected Leopard Geckos as they make wonderful pets and are one of the easiest lizards to care for and similar to ball pythons they come in amazing colours and patterns. They usually have a docile nature and are simple to handle although they can drop their tail, so they do have to be handled gently. If they do drop their tail it will regenerate but not look the same as before.

3. Crested Gecko (Rhacodactylus ciliatus)

I just love crested geckos and hope to own one soon. They are very photogenic and come in some beautiful morphs that don't break the bank. They are inquisitive and love to jump; don't be surprised if one jumped from your shoulder to your head in an instant!!! Similar to a leopard gecko, they can drop their tail if spooked and sadly they are unable to regenerate it.

4. Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)

I have selected Burmese pythons due to the fact that they are in general less feisty than other large constrictors. Burmese pythons are not for everyone as they need a large space to roam and are large snakes with a heavy body. To keep one I would advise doing lots of research and only recommend them for a responsible adult with experience. Although they are a large constrictor they in NO way deserve the negative reputation bestowed upon them by the media. I have handled a few Burmese pythons and find them to be timid. Any incidents that occur are usually down to owners' negligence.

5. Rhino Iguana (Cyclura cornuta)

Rhino Iguanas are stunning and not commonly kept in the pet trade. They are a large and impressive lizard that can live for up to 80 years in captivity. They are omnivores who like a bit of protein in their diets. They are for advanced keepers as some can have a bit of an attitude! They are quite prehistoric in appearance and look like a mini dinosaur! 

6. Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)


I don't know why but I have a fascination with rattlesnakes. Every time I hear the sound of one rattling it gives me goosebumps! They are an adept hunter that uses hemotoxic venom to incapacitate their prey. They look visually stunning and come in a variety of morphs. They should never be kept in captivity by an inexperienced keeper as a bite from one could ruin your life. Depending on where you live you may need a permit or license to keep one in captivity.



7. Hog Island Boa (Boa Constrictor Imperator)

I love hog island boas due to their docile attitude and the fact they do not reach large lengths, typically 5-6 foot. I have found them to be inquisitive but not aggressive despite some negative reputation. They are visually striking and have bright tails! They also bare live young.

8. American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

American Alligators are fairly large and could be considered quite dangerous. They live in semi aquatic environments. When in captivity they are not for the faint hearted. They average between 6-9ft with males being larger than females. They are carnivorous and feed on a variety of meats.

9. King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)

King Cobras are the peacock of the snake world, they are visually stunning and make an impressive display animal. Similar to the rattlesnake, king cobras use a venom which unlike the rattlesnake is neurotoxic to incapacitate their prey. Like all venomous reptiles they are not to be taken light heartily in the pet trade as a bite from one can be fatal. 

10. Chameleons (Chamaeleonidae)

Chameleons are visually beautiful and can lighten and darken their colour depending on their mood and environment. They have independent eyes, which allows them to have a better view of their surroundings. They also have a tongue that is 1.5 to 2X the length of their body. They are perfect for experienced keepers as they need a high humidity and can be feisty.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Pigmy Rattlesnakes (Sistrurus Miliarius)

Pigmy Rattlesnakes have three different subspecies which are:

Carolina Pigmy Rattlesnake

Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake

Western Pigmy Rattlesnake

They are also known as ground or sand rattlers and are found in the southeast and southern midwest USA basking on sunny days in the morning and early evening. Just like their larger relatives, pigmy rattlesnakes have the distinctive rattle although because it is small it can be more difficult to hear, resembling more of an insect buzz than a rattle. They vary in colour from pale greys to black, brown, red, pink, orange, blue and lavender although there are always a series of black or brown blotches down their backs.

Pigmy rattlesnakes average around two feet in length although some Dusky Pigmies have been recorded over 30 inches.

Pigmies can live more than 20 years with proper care and become sexually mature at around 3 years.

A fully grown adult pigmy rattlesnake can live in a 20 gallon long aquarium (or 2-3 ft vivarium) and pairs or trios can be housed together in a 30 or 40 gallon 'breeder' tank. If they are housed together, separate them at feeding time to avoid accidents. Remember, these are venomous snakes so a completely secure, lockable, escape-proof enclosure is a necessity.

As previously stated, pigmies enjoy basking and therefore should be provided an area in the upper 80 - low 90 in Fahrenheit. Ambient temperatures should be in the low 80s with an optional drop at night of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't forget to ensure the enclosure is large enough for the snake to thermoregulate.

Due to their size, pigmies look great in naturalistic displays although substrate can range from newspaper to cypress mulch.

Neonates can eat a variety of food such as mouse pinkies, small lizards, small fish, insects and smaller snakes. Juveniles to adults should eat appropriately-sized rodents. As with other reptiles, clean fresh water should be provided at all times. Pigmies may quickly hide from being misted but will explore after the misting is done.

Safety and Venom
Safety is a MUST for these snakes. They are NOT for beginners. The enclosure needs to be secured and locked. Due to their smaller size, pigmies are more difficult to hook and do not try to 'tail' them as they are fast. Their hemotoxic venom is delivered in small amounts and no documented fatalities have been recorded in human adults but there are records of prolonged hospitalization and necrosis in children who have been bitten. If an adult is bitten, they will experience several unpleasant days. Careful consideration and extensive research must be conducted before deciding to purchase one of these animals. In the UK, a DWA (Dangerous Wild Animal) license is required to keep these snakes however there may be protocols/licenses/requirements in other countries that the owner must adhere to. Please check with your authorities before owning one of these animals.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Alternative LED Lighting

LED lighting is a great way to add colour to any reptile room. There are various types of LEDs available for reptiles which come in different colours, shapes and sizes.

As long as the LED does not emit heat you can use them for most reptiles. When it comes to albinos, always ensure that the lights are not overly bright as this can lead to eye damage.

Here are some examples of different LED lighting that vary in price. 

Price Approx £45.00

Price Approx £8.00

Price Approx £14.00

I decided to invent a cheaper method to create my own LED coloured lighting system in my reptile room. I purchased LED push lights from a local bargain store. I then coloured  the LEDs by using coloured transculent sweet/candy wrappers to give a rainbow effect. This effect could also be achieved by colouring the LED with a coloured Sharpie pens. The price of the LED lights were £1.00 for two and the sweet/candy wrappers are byproducts which would have been thrown away in the trash.

LED covered with sweet/candy wrapper

The end result

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Latest Addition

I recently got a new addition to my ever-expanding collection of reptiles- a desert royal python whom I have fittingly named as Drogo (after Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones). I have now got 14 reptiles in my collection.

An interesting fact about the desert gene is that desert females are infertile unless there are other genes in the snake. Therefore any single gene desert female has to be sold as "pet only".

Currently this little guy is assist feeding on a mixture of pinky mice and fuzzy mice. Royals are known for being fussy and sometimes can be difficult to feed. Hopefully Drogo will start striking soon. 

In the next few weeks I shall try and take a video of an assist feeding and share it on my YouTube Channel.

If you have Instagram and would like to follow me: leannreptile1234. I am on Instagram more often than my blog. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

New Photos

A few photos of my first royal python Blaze and my first boa Kaarme. Due to being preoccupied I have been neglecting my blog lately. I promise a new post soon!

My boy Blaze

Bumblebee ball python

Bumblebee royal python

Blaze the bumblebee


Hog island boa

Super hypo hog island boa

My girl Kaarme

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Crested Gecko Morphs

Following my latest blog post on crested geckos, I thought I would write another post all about crested gecko morphs. Like most reptiles, cresties come in a variety of patterns and colours, these are often refered to as 'paint jobs' or morphs.

Red Patternless

Red Bi-Colour with Spots


Extreme Harlequin



Super Dalmation

Red Spot Dalmation

This is just a small selection of morphs available for crested geckos! To view more please click here

Monday, 16 February 2015

Crested Geckos

Lately I have been falling in love with crested geckos. They are a beautiful and extremely cute lizard species and everytime I see a photograph of one I fall more in love with them. Hopefully someday I will have one in my collection!

Crested geckos (Correlophus ciliatus) are native to Southern Grand Terre, New Caledonia. They are semi aboreal and spend a lot of time in trees and shrubs. They are nocturnal and find hides to sleep in during the day usually on the ground.

Crested Gecko


Crested geckos are omnivorous meaning they eat live food and vegetation. Their diet consists of small soft fruit (non citrus) and insects within striking distance. In captivity they are commonly fed: fresh soft fruits, baby food particularly banana, peach and apricot. As for live food crested geckos will eat crickets, small locusts and roaches. There is debate over whether it is safe to feed them mealworms as they can cause impaction. All live food should be dusted with calcium powder such as D3 and gut loaded, (this means feeding your insects healthy food so the gecko gets the best nutrition possible). Also ensure that insect feeders are the correct size and should be no bigger than the distance between the geckos nose and eye. I recommend buying Bug Grub to feed to insects and the odd fresh vegetation such as lettuce. There is also a special food available to feed crested geckos. All you need to do is mix the special food with water and place in a feeding dish.

A water dish should also be available at all times filled with fresh water. Crested geckos are also known to drink from dew in the wild, so spraying once daily will help to ensure that they are kept hydrated.


A glass enclosure is recommended for crested geckos as they live in cooler climates. They are also aboreal so a taller form of housing is better than a wider one. 18in x 18in x 24in is the minimum size of housing for a crested gecko.

Coco Husk is the ideal bedding for a crestie as it retains humidity without getting mouldy. As crested geckos are nocturnal they need to be provided with hides for during the day. Greenery is also a great addition for making more hiding spots and this helps the gecko to feel more secure.

Exo-Terra Enclosure



Cresties enjoy lower temperatures compared to most other reptiles. Keeping them above 30 degrees Celsius will stress them and impact their health. The ideal temperature for a crested gecko is 24 degrees Celsius during the day with a night time drop to 13 degrees Celsius. This means that in some cases they will not require a heat source depending on your ambient temperature. However, a heat mat can be attached to the back or side of a terrarium. Always ensure that when you're using a heat mat that it is attached to a thermostat as this stops the mat from overheating. Also check temperatures regularly with a reliable thermometer.


Similar to leopard geckos, crested geckos need to have a day and night time cycle. It is recommended that a 5% UVB light is used for 10-12 hours per day. This can be achieved by attaching a timer to the UVB light.

Reptisun UVB Bulb


Generally cresties are a good gecko to handle although they do like to jump. Don't panic if one minute one is in your hand and a second later jumps to your shoulder. Always handle gently and NEVER lift one by the tail. Crested geckos can drop their tail when they feel threatened and unlike leopard geckos, their tails will never grow back, resulting in 'frog butts'.


Crested geckos require a moderate humidity. To check your humidity you can purchase a hygometer. Humidity should be 50%. Cresties should be provided with higher humidity (80-100%) for a few hours each day. This helps aid with the shedding process. This can be achieved by heavy misting with water. Although it is vital that humidity levels go back down to normal levels for the majority of the day. Prolonged high humidity can cause infections.

Water/Spray Bottle


Crested geckos can be co-habited although never two males as they will fight and could end up injuring one another. A male can be kept with a colony of females as long as the enclosure is large enough. A group of females can be housed together. Personally I would not recommend co-habiting as I don't want to risk cross-contamination.


As with all reptiles, keeping your housing clean and spot checking daily is important for your animals' health and well-being. Dead food should be removed on sight as should excrement. A deep clean once a month is also recommend. Remove all substrate and clean the enclosure with a reptile safe disinfectant. Also clean decor and hides at this time and water bowls when needed as sometimes reptiles will poo in their water bowls.