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

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Presentation on theme: "Husbandry and Nutrition of Chelonians and Lizards July 24, 2008 Ryan Thames NCSU-CVM Class of 2010."— Presentation transcript:

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

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

6 Chelonian Taxonomy Order: Chelonia/Testudines 2 Suborders: 1.Pleurodira ( 2 families, approx. 75 spp.) Side-neck turtles: unable to retract neck Aquatic – semi aquatic 2.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 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

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 Alligator Snapping Turtle

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 student.britannica.com Eastern Box Turtle 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 Musk Turtle 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 ivorytortoise.com Galapagos Tortoise 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

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

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

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

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

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, 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

22 5 Infraorders: 1.Iguania (10-14 families) 2.Gekkota (3 families) 3.Scincomorpha (11 families) 4.Diploglossa (3 families) 5.Platynota (4 families)

23 5 Infraorders: 1.Iguania (10-14 families) 2.Gekkota (3 families) 3.Scincomorpha (11 families) 4.Diploglossa (3 families) 5.Platynota (4 families) Green Iguana Veiled chamaeleon

24 5 Infraorders: 1.Iguania (10-14 families) 2.Gekkota (3 families) 3.Scincomorpha (11 families) 4.Diploglossa (3 families) 5.Platynota (4 families) Leopard Gecko Tokay Gecko

25 5 Infraorders: 1.Iguania (10-14 families) 2.Gekkota (3 families) 3.Scincomorpha (11 families) 4.Diploglossa (3 families) 5.Platynota (4 families) Blue-Tongued Skink Five Lined Skink

26 5 Infraorders: 1.Iguania (10-14 families) 2.Gekkota (3 families) 3.Scincomorpha (11 families) 4.Diploglossa (3 families) 5.Platynota (4 families) Eastern Glass Lizard coolsprings.org Legless lizard

27 5 Infraorders: 1.Iguania (10-14 families) 2.Gekkota (3 families) 3.Scincomorpha (11 families) 4.Diploglossa (3 families) 5.Platynota (4 families) Savannah Monitor Lizard 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 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

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

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

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

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: o C Basking area: o C Nocturnal spp – daytime Ambient temp: o C Warmer area: o C Water temp: o C 5-7 o C< 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 D 3 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

47 Hibernation May be required for temperate and sub- tropical species General: Lower temperatures gradually 35 – 50 o F 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!

50 Nutrition: Feeding Omnivores 50% animal/high protein foods Earthworms, crickets, slugs, snails, pinkies 50% plant material 75% vegetables 25% fruit

51 Nutrition: Feeding Carnivores Turtles: Whole fish, skinned mice & pinkies, shrimp (w/shells) Insects in moderation Many omnivorous w/ age Lizards: pre-killed whole prey Rodents > chicks > fish Ca supplement?

52 Nutrition: Feeding Insectivores Most Lizard species! Common types: Crickets, meal worms, wax worms, earthworms, grasshoppers Captive raised - low Ca Dusting or “Gut loading”

53 Nutrition: Feeding Frequencies Most tortoises and lizards: Daily Aquatic/Semi-Aquatic chelonians: 2-3x a week Large carnivorous lizards: 2-3x a week

54 Cleaning Daily/EOD: Remove feces and wash bowls Monthly: Disinfect entire cage and furnishings Clean or change substrate Bleach (1:30 dilution) Roccal-D (1:200 dilution)

55 Take Home Message Provide proper thermal gradient and photoperiod Provide a variety of foods and clean water! Clean regularly Be familiar with your species!!!

56 References Ackerman L (1997). The Biology, Husbandry, and Health Care of Reptiles. Volume I: Biology of Reptiles. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Ackerman L (1997). The Biology, Husbandry, and Health Care of Reptiles. Volume II: Husbandry of Reptiles. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Barnard SM (1996). Reptile Keeper’s Handbook. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Ernst CH, Barbour RW (1989). Turtles of the World. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press Flank L (1998). Herp Help. New York: Howell Book House Madar DR (2006). Reptile Medicine and Surgery, Second Edition. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Inc. Mattison C (1992). The Care of Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity, Revised Third Edition. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing McArthur S, Wilkinson R, Meyer J (2004). Medicine and Surgery of Tortoises and Turtles. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing


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