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Husbandry and Nutrition of Chelonians and Lizards

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  1. Husbandry and Nutrition of Chelonians and Lizards July 24, 2008 Ryan Thames NCSU-CVM Class of 2010

  2. Basic Reptile Taxonomy Class Reptilia Subclass Anapsida Diapsida • Order • Chelonia/Testudines • Turtles and Tortoises • Squamata • Snakes and Lizards • Crocodylia • Crocodiles, Alligators, Caimans • Rhynchocephalia • Tuatara

  3. Reptiles: General Characteristics • 6000 – 7000 species • Ectothermic • Pulmonary respiration • Amniotes • Epidermal scales www.ashtonbiodiversity.org

  4. Reptiles: General Characteristics • 3 – 4 chambered hearts • Tetropods • Internal fertilization • No sweat glands • All continents except Antarctica coolsprings.org

  5. Turtle Tidbits • 250 – 300 species • Appeared 215 million years ago • Long lived • Varied habitats • Turtle vs Tortoise vs Terrapin www.oceansofkansas.com

  6. Chelonian Taxonomy • Order: Chelonia/Testudines • 2 Suborders: • Pleurodira ( 2 families, approx. 75 spp.) • Side-neck turtles: unable to retract neck • Aquatic – semi aquatic • Cryptodira ( 11 families, approx. 200 spp.) • Able to retract neck straight back into shell • Terrestrial, aquatic, and semi-aquatic

  7. Chelonian Taxonomy • Suborder Pleurodira • Pelomedusidae • Chelidae Mata Mata Snake Neck Turtle

  8. Chelonian Taxonomy • Suborder Cryptodira • Chelonidae: marine turtles • Chelydridae: snapping turtles • Emydidae: pond & river turtles • Kinosternidae: mud & musk turtles • Testunidae: land/true tortoises • Trionychidae: soft-shelled turtles www.answersingenesis.org

  9. Chelonian Taxonomy • Suborder Cryptodira • Chelonidae: marine turtles • Chelydridae: snapping turtles • Emydidae: pond & river turtles • Kinosternidae: mud & musk turtles • Testunidae: land/true tortoises • Trionychidae: soft-shelled turtles www.commons.wikimedia.org Alligator Snapping Turtle www.kbs.msu.edu

  10. Chelonian Taxonomy • Suborder Cryptodira • Chelonidae: marine turtles • Chelydridae: snapping turtles • Emydidae: pond & river turtles • Kinosternidae: mud & musk turtles • Testunidae: land/true tortoises • Trionychidae: soft-shelled turtles garyshey.blogspot.com Eastern Box Turtle student.britannica.com Red Eared Slider

  11. Chelonian Taxonomy • Suborder Cryptodira • Chelonidae: marine turtles • Chelydridae: snapping turtles • Emydidae: pond & river turtles • Kinosternidae: mud & musk turtles • Testunidae: land/true tortoises • Trionychidae: soft-shelled turtles www.jamesriverpark.org Musk Turtle www.rfadventures.com Mud Turtle

  12. Chelonian Taxonomy • Suborder Cryptodira • Chelonidae: marine turtles • Chelydridae: snapping turtles • Emydidae: pond & river turtles • Kinosternidae: mud & musk turtles • Testunidae: land/true tortoises • Trionychidae: soft-shelled turtles animals.nationalgeographic.com Galapagos Tortoise ivorytortoise.com Leopard Tortoise

  13. Chelonian Taxonomy • Suborder Cryptodira • Chelonidae: marine turtles • Chelydridae: snapping turtles • Emydidae: pond & river turtles • Kinosternidae: mud & musk turtles • Testunidae: land/true tortoises • Trionychidae: soft-shelled turtles www.herpnet.net

  14. Chelonian Characteristics • Shell • 50 – 60 bones • Fused w/ ribs & vertebrae • Scutes • Shell variations • Trionyx spp. (softshells) • Pancake tortoise • Box and Mud turtles • African hingebacks www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

  15. Chelonian Characteristics • Shell • 50 – 60 bones • Fused w/ ribs & vertebrae • Scutes • Shell variations • Softshells • Pancake tortoise • Box and Mud turtles • African hingebacks www.herpnet.net

  16. Chelonian Characteristics • Shell • 50 – 60 bones • Fused w/ ribs & vertebrae • Scutes • Shell variations • Trionyx spp. (softshells) • Pancake tortoise • Box and Mud turtles • African hingebacks

  17. Chelonian Characteristics • Shell • 50 – 60 bones • Fused w/ ribs & vertebrae • Scutes • Shell variations • Trionyx spp. (softshells) • Pancake tortoise • Box and Mud turtles • African hingebacks www.birdwatchersdigest.com

  18. Chelonian Characteristics • Shell • 50 – 60 bones • Fused w/ ribs & vertebrae • Scutes • Shell variations • Trionyx spp. (softshells) • Pancake tortoise • Box and Mud turtles • African hingebacks www.americanheadhunters.com

  19. Chelonian Characteristics • Coelomic cavity • Respiration • Rhampotheca/Tomium • Skin • Scaled vs. scale-less • Uncoordinated shedding • No external ears • Oviparous turtlestuff.com

  20. Lizard basics • ~ 4,500 spp • Appeared ~ 200 mya • Life span • Smaller < Larger • 3-6 years, 10-15 years • Large size variations • Caribbean Gecko: 3-4 cm • Komodo Dragon: 3 m (10ft) mvhunt.net student.britannica.com

  21. Lizard Taxonomy • Order: Squamata • Suborder: Sauria/Lacertilia www.feenixx.com

  22. 5 Infraorders: • Iguania (10-14 families) • Gekkota (3 families) • Scincomorpha (11 families) • Diploglossa (3 families) • Platynota (4 families)

  23. 5 Infraorders: • Iguania (10-14 families) • Gekkota (3 families) • Scincomorpha (11 families) • Diploglossa (3 families) • Platynota (4 families) Green Iguana www.the-lizard-lounge.com Veiled chamaeleon

  24. 5 Infraorders: • Iguania (10-14 families) • Gekkota (3 families) • Scincomorpha (11 families) • Diploglossa (3 families) • Platynota (4 families) www.dkimages.com Leopard Gecko www.jaysanimalencounters.co.uk Tokay Gecko

  25. 5 Infraorders: • Iguania (10-14 families) • Gekkota (3 families) • Scincomorpha (11 families) • Diploglossa (3 families) • Platynota (4 families) www.indonesia.faithfreedom.org Blue-Tongued Skink www.montgomerycountymd.gov Five Lined Skink

  26. 5 Infraorders: • Iguania (10-14 families) • Gekkota (3 families) • Scincomorpha (11 families) • Diploglossa (3 families) • Platynota (4 families) coolsprings.org Eastern Glass Lizard www.curator.org Legless lizard

  27. 5 Infraorders: • Iguania (10-14 families) • Gekkota (3 families) • Scincomorpha (11 families) • Diploglossa (3 families) • Platynota (4 families) www.gotpetsonline.com Savannah Monitor Lizard www.britannica.com Gila Monster

  28. Lizard Characteristics • Epidermal scales • Vomeronasal (Jacobson’s) organ • Oviparous vs. Viviparous • Not shared by all: • External ear openings • Tail autonomy • Eyelids

  29. General Husbandry Considerations • Enclosures • Substrates • Temperature • Photoperiod • Light Quality • Humidity

  30. Chelonian Enclosures • Size • ~5L x 5L: length x width • Terrestrial • Plastic containers, aquariums, outdoor pins • Semi-aquatic & Aquatic • Aquariums, ponds • Haul out & basking areas • Hiding places www.ball-pythons.net advocacy.britannica.com

  31. Chelonian Enclosures • Size • ~5L x 5L: length x width • Terrestrial • Plastic containers, aquariums, outdoor pins • Semi-aquatic & Aquatic • Aquariums, ponds • Haul out & basking areas • Hiding places members.aol.com

  32. Chelonian Enclosures • Size • ~5L x 5L: length x width • Terrestrial • Plastic containers, aquariums, outdoor pins • Semi-aquatic & Aquatic • Aquariums, ponds • Haul out & basking areas • Hiding places www.unc.edu

  33. Lizard Enclosures • Size: 3L x 3L • glass, plastic, plexiglass, wood • Climbing spaces: branches, rocks, plants • Basking sites • Hiding places • Escape proof!!! • Tight lids w/ ventilation www.geocities.com www.herpcenter.com

  34. Lizard Enclosures • Size: 3L x 3L • glass, plastic, plexiglass, wood • Climbing spaces: branches, rocks, plants • Basking sites • Hiding places • Escape proof!!! • Tight lids w/ ventilation www.geocities.com

  35. Substrates • Can be artificial or natural • Should be: Inexpensive, easily cleaned, absorbent, digestible, physical support, psychological security • Should not: cause impaction, dermatological disease, respiratory disease

  36. Substrates:The Good • Newspaper • Cypress chips/mulch • Coconut Shells (shredded) • Large rocks • Astroturf • Clean Water

  37. Substrates:The (possibly) Bad • Gravel &small stones • Rabbit pellets • Sand • Dirty Water

  38. Substrates:The Ugly • Cedar shavings • Crushed corn cob • Pecan/walnut shells • Cat litter www.arcatapet.com www.canamindustries.com www.petzoo.co.uk

  39. Temperature • Provide temperature gradients! • Behavioral thermoregulators • Preferred Optimal Temperature Range (POTR) • Necessary for proper: • Metabolic rate • Digestion • Growth • CV function • Immune function • Reproductive performance

  40. Temperature • Diurnal spp - daytime temp • Ambient temp: 27-35oC • Basking area: 49-54oC • Nocturnal spp – daytime • Ambient temp: 21-27oC • Warmer area: 32-35oC • Water temp: 24-30oC • 5-7oC< for nighttime temp • Seasonal fluctuations may be necessary

  41. Temperature • Sources of Heat • Ambient heat • Central heat/AC • Basking area • Incandescent bulbs, Ceramic heaters, heating pads • NO Hot Rocks!!! • Water • Submersible aquarium heater

  42. Temperature * Always monitor heat with an in cage thermometer!

  43. Photoperiod • General rule: • 14 hrs during summer • 12 hrs during winter • Temperate zone reptiles: • 15 hrs – summer • 12 hrs – spring/fall • 9 hrs – winter • Tropical spp • 13 hrs – summer • 11 hrs – winter • Timers can make this very easy!!!

  44. Lighting • Quality very important • UVB – Vitamin D3 • UVA – Behavior • Natural vs. Artificial • Can also provide heat

  45. Humidity • In general: 35% – 70% • If too low: • Dysecdysis, Dehydration • If too high: • Respiratory infections, Dermatitis

  46. Humidity • Humidity boxes • Water bowls • Damp substrate • Humidifiers, Fogging devices • Misting • Monitor with gauges www.toppetshop.co.uk www.reptiles.swelluk.com

  47. Hibernation • May be required for temperate and sub-tropical species • General: • Lower temperatures gradually • 35 – 50oF for min. of 10 wks • Access to heat source for sub-tropicals • No feeding • Avoid false hibernation

  48. Nutrition: Water • Always provide fresh water! • Water bowls • Misting leaves and rocks • Soak terrestrial chelonians daily or EOD • Dehydration, gout, renal disease

  49. Nutrition: Feeding Herbivores • ~ 95% vegetables • Mustard & collard greens, dandelions, kale, parsley, watercress • ~ 5% fruit • Grapes, apples, tomatoes, mangos, stawberries • Need vitamin & mineral supplements • Blend together! www.sdturtle.org

  50. Nutrition: Feeding Omnivores • 50% animal/high protein foods • Earthworms, crickets, slugs, snails, pinkies • 50% plant material • 75% vegetables • 25% fruit www.the-lizard-lounge.com