Do snakes Eat Inserts

Do reptiles pee? Is my reptile’s poop and waste normal? Buckle up – you’re about to read an entire article devoted to reptile waste elimination!

If you’re new to herpetology, you might be wondering what normal waste looks like. Should it be white? Solid or liquid? How often should you be cleaning it up? The truth is that poop consistency and frequency will vary depending upon the species, but there are some general guidelines to normal-looking waste and things to watch out for that might indicate a problem with your pet’s health.

Do reptiles pee?

Reptiles “drink” water differently than mammals do. Of course, they can drink it directly through their mouth, but did you know that many species can actually benefit from soaks or baths to keep them hydrated as well? They can also derive moisture through food they eat.

Why do we bring this up you ask? Well, because reptiles don’t typically drink water in the same manner as mammals, they also don’t urinate separately the way that mammals are accustomed to doing.

The short answer is that yes, reptiles do pee. However, in healthy reptiles, their pee is always accompanied by solid waste. They do not pee and poop separately.

snake poop

What should my pet reptile’s poop look like?

Have you ever seen bird poop on a car, statue or sidewalk? It’s usually white and liquidy with some brown or black solid elements to it. Reptile waste is very similar to bird poop in this manner. The white and liquid parts are comparable to urine and of course, the solid part is the poop. So, reptiles poop and pee simultaneously for the most part.

When examining your reptile’s waste, you should notice three components. There should be a clear or yellowish liquid urine, a semi-solid white or opaque urate and a solid, brown or black poop.

It should be noted that depending upon your pet’s substrate, you may or may not notice the liquid element of the waste. Many substrates are fairly absorbent and therefore you may only notice white and black/brown stool.

How frequently should my pet reptile go to the bathroom?

Lizards will evacuate more frequently than snakes. Because snake metabolisms are pretty slow, they really only need to eat a meal once a week or so. Therefore, they poop less frequently since they eat less frequently.

Lizards with big appetites, such as bearded dragons, should be eliminating at least once per week, if not a bit more frequently. Fun fact: bearded dragons are notorious for pooping in their water dishes…particularly right after their owner changes the water!

In general, it’s also good to know that babies eliminate more frequently than adults.

There is no set schedule for when or how often your reptile should eliminate. The main thing you want to consider is what is normal for your pet. Your pet is likely healthy and fine unless you notice that it suddenly isn’t pooping and/or eating in its normal manner.

bearded dragon poop

What if my pet reptile isn’t pooping?

If your reptile appears constipated, it could be a tell tale sign of dehydration. The solution? Lots of water of course.

You can start in the obvious place by making sure your pet has a bowl filled with fresh drinking water every day. You should also mist or spray water inside the enclosure so that your reptile can drink water off of leaves and other cage furniture.

Another really great option is to soak or bathe your reptile for 10-15 minutes in room temperature water daily until it poops. The baths will not only help hydrate your pet, they can also stimulate the digestive system. Many reptiles will poop in their water source or during baths. Actually, we’ve found that bathing can be an effective way to help keep your pet’s enclosure cleaner. It’s almost akin to toilet training!

Impaction could be another possible reason why your reptile isn’t using the bathroom. This is when your pet has accidentally ingested something that blocks its digestive tract, typically substrate. For this reason, we do often advise that owners feed their pets outside of their usual enclosure.

Finally, if you still can’t get your pet to poop after lots of baths, you can try administering a natural laxative. For reptiles, this could mean anything from a few drops of olive oil, some juice/water mixture with no added sugar, or even pureed squash. There are lots of options that are easy on the digestive system and natural too.

How do I clean up reptile waste?

Most reptile owners choose to spot clean their pet’s enclosure as needed. You can scoop out dirty substrate and change out water dishes as needed.

We recommend wearing gloves to handle reptile waste. Depending upon the type of substrate your pet has, you can buy special poop scoopers to accommodate and make clean up easy.

Eventually, you will need to clean your pet’s entire enclosure. That is an entirely different blog article topic though! But just know that it’s always a good idea to clean at least monthly to combat bacteria and keep your pet reptile in peak health.

Arboreal reptiles such as chameleons will tend to poop on the plants and perches within their enclosure. This can make spot cleaning a pain in the rear end, but it is still necessary to keep your animal healthy.

We’d also like to note that this article discusses terrestrial reptile elimination. Aquatic turtle poop is a completely different topic, mainly because the clean up process is much different due to water filters, pH levels and aquatic environments.

chameleon poop

Conclusion

While it might seem like a strange thing to pay close attention to your herp’s stool, in truth, it’s a very good indicator of your pet’s health. We recommend noting how often your pet uses the bathroom and checking to make sure that whatever waste you do clean up appears normal according to the guidelines in the article above.

If you notice anything strange or your reptile’s pooping habits are suddenly different, it could be a sign that there is a problem. You might need to adjust temperatures, humidity levels, feeding habits or all of the above.

Have reptile poop questions? Ask us in the comments! You can also email our knowledgable customer service team at sales@backwaterreptiles.com. We’re happy to help.

Is It Safe to Dress My Reptile Up for Halloween?

Part of the fun of Halloween involves dressing up all family members, pets included. But is it safe to dress up your herp for this holiday?

While it’s highly appealing to dress your reptile, amphibian or even tarantula in a cute costume for Halloween, it might not be the best idea to do so. Whether or not your pet is suited for playing dress up depends upon your pet’s species, individual personality, and consistent level of human interaction. It’s ultimately a matter of personal discretion and judgement.

What species are good to dress up for Halloween?

There are some species that will tolerate wearing a Halloween costume better than others. These are typically lizards and snakes that are used to being taken out of their cage and have been captive bred.

Bearded dragons, leopard geckos, Savannah monitors and iguanas that have been socialized are all usually agreeable when it comes to getting dressed up.

Ball pythons, corn snakes and boa constrictors are usually bred in captivity and therefore tend to be used to human care and handling. This means that they are good pet reptiles to wear simple costumes for Halloween.

What species are not good to dress up for Halloween?

Backwater Reptiles sells many varieties of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. We sell them because we think the they make great pets for different types of people who are looking for different things in their exotic pet. However, that does not mean that all of the animals we sell are good fits for Halloween costumes.

Because frogs, salamanders, newts and other amphibian species have very sensitive skin, we would not recommend dressing them up. A costume with sleeves or a lot of coverage on their body could unintentionally throw off their skin’s balance by removing moisture and causing respiratory distress. Any type of clothing item on your amphibian’s body or torso area is highly ill-advised.

We would say that the same is true for all of the invertebrate species we sell. It’s simply not practical to try to dress up an arachnid with eight fragile limbs, nor does it make much sense to try to clothe a feisty scorpion with a dangerous stinger. We hope that this is common sense to most invertebrate owners.

What types of Halloween costumes are safe for my pet?

Because pet reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates are delicate and should not wear full-blown clothing items as costumes, no matter how festive the holiday, we recommend only simple Halloween costumes.

For example, tiny hats are safe for most animals, provided it does not cause the animal undue stress to have something as unnatural as a hat on its head. There are plenty of adorable images on the Internet of snakes, lizards, frogs and even spiders wearing lightweight, simple and very easily removable hats with no adverse effects.

Lizards can also wear cute little cloaks or “dresses” that are worn essentially like a blanket would be. Because these types of costumes basically only sit on top of the animal and do not impede its movement or functioning in any way, these are acceptable. Again, we highly advise that you take into consideration your pet’s individual temperament and attitude towards interaction with people when playing dress up for Halloween.

If you are concerned about a costume or your pet’s ability to wear a costume, we recommend that you purchase some themed props instead. It might not be safe to clothe your pet, but you can set up a backdrop and some items for it to interact with and encounter little to no issues.

Conclusion

In the end, there is no hard and fast rule for safety when it comes to dressing up your herp for Halloween. We recommend that you utilize common sense and monitor the emotional state of your pet as you try on any type of simple costume.

We strongly advise that you never dress up your pet in a costume that causes it clear distress, impedes its movement or function or could cause physical injury. It’s simply not worth risking your pet’s health and wellbeing for a cute Halloween photo.

The Top 5 Most Unique Pet Reptiles and Amphibians

What are the most unique pet reptiles and amphibians?

Reptiles and amphibians are considered somewhat unconventional pets on their own. But because there are so many different species to choose from, we wanted to take the time to outline our top five most unique species. In our estimation, Budgett’s Frogs, Red-Eye Crocodile Skinks, Western Hognose Snakes, Sirens, and Surinam Toads are the most unique reptiles and amphibians that are commonly kept as pets.

What makes Budgett’s Frogs (Lepidobatrachus laevis) unique?

Budgett’s frogs take the cake when it comes to uniqueness. They have an unmistakable appearance plus they certainly know how to speak their mind, which is quite an interesting talent for a frog to possess.

When you first see a Budgett’s frog, we wouldn’t be surprised if you thought the frog was rather blob-like. They are primarily aquatic and their body shape and design reflects this. They have small but very protruding eyes, super long fingers and also tend to be quite flat when not fully submerged. The overall effect is quite comical.

In addition to their funny appearance, Budgett’s frogs can have attitude. If you upset or stress a Budgett’s frog, they will certainly let you know. They rear up on their hind legs and inflate as large as they can. They open their mouths wide and emit a loud scream to make them seem far more threatening than they truly are. While we don’t recommend annoying your frog enough to make it display this behavior, if it ever happens, it truly is a sight to behold.

Backwater Reptiles sells healthy, captive bred Budgett’s frogs with Frog Ranch genetics. You can learn more here.

What makes Red-Eye Crocodile Skinks (Tribolonotus gracilis) unique?

In general, we find skinks to be quirky and original lizards. They tend to be long and slinky with shorter arms which means their locomotion is fun to watch. But, in our estimation, the most unique skink is the Red-Eye Crocodile Skink.

Red-Eye Croc Skinks look like little dragons and this is initially what attracts so many owners to this adorable lizard. Their scale formation coupled with their boldly orange or red rimmed eyes is reminiscent of the mythical creature that so many of us envision in our imaginations.

Similar to opossums, Red-Eye Croc Skinks will play dead if they feel overly stressed or threatened. They simply become unresponsive and it can be quite scary and shocking to experience as an owner if you have never witnessed it before. Luckily, once your skink has had time to calm down and feels secure once more, it will spring back to life magically and its normal patterns of behavior will resume.

You can purchase your own Red-Eye Crocodile Skink here.

What makes Western Hognose Snakes (Heterodon nasicus) unique?

We are huge fans of the variety of morphs of Hognose Snakes that you can find these days. They range in coloration and pattern and are quite beautiful to behold. However, our favorite physical trait of this unique snake species has got to be its adorable little turned-up nose! This trait is what this snake is known for and we feel that it is very aptly named.

Another little known fact about Western Hognose Snakes is that they are rear-fanged venomous. There is heated debate amongst herp keepers and enthusiasts as to whether or not this species should actually be considered venomous. Truthfully, their venom or modified saliva, depending upon who you talk to, is only dangerous to their prey.

Because hognose snakes are rear-fanged, they don’t have a typical venom delivery system like rattlesnakes, cobras or other well-known venomous snakes do. A hognose would have to bite you and chew or gnaw in order for their saliva to get into the wound and cause any type of reaction in a human. Because these snakes would rather play dead than gnaw on a human, we’ll head right on into our next point about why we think Western Hognose Snakes are so unique.

In simple terms, hognose snakes have developed a playing dead behavior in order to get potential predators to leave them alone. When a hognose feels threatened, it will roll over and display its belly scales, open its mouth wide and let its tongue loll out of its mouth. They even go so far as to emit a stinky smell that mimics death and rotting. What a unique and fascinating trick!

You can purchase your own Western Hognose Snake from Backwater Reptiles by clicking here.

What makes Sirens unique?

We didn’t specify a species when discussing sirens simply because they are all similar and they all possess very similar unique traits as well.

In case you are unfamiliar with sirens, it’s helpful to know that they are salamanders that possess neotenic traits. In other words, they possess larval traits of salamanders, namely gill tufts that remain with them throughout their entire life, not just their larval stage.

So although sirens are amphibians and should technically undergo a two-stage life cycle, they do remain fully aquatic their entire life. They grow quite large and ultimately do resemble the salamanders that so many of us know and love, but they don’t really emerge from the water.

While there are several species and varieties of siren that can be kept as pets, Backwater Reptiles sells Lesser Sirens. While sirens are cool and unique pets, we do only recommend them for experienced herp owners. Their aquatic lifestyle and habitat requirements coupled with their large size at maturity can make them a challenge to successfully keep in captivity.

What makes Surinam Toads (Pipa pipa) unique?

Surinam Toads are so ugly you can’t help but think they are cute! Not only do they have flat bodies, they also have triangular-shaped heads. Their beady little black eyes also contribute to their bizarre physical appearance.

Probably the most unique characteristic of this species is the manner in which they reproduce. Males produce a strange underwater clicking noise and a female then releases eggs into the water. The male proceeds to fertilize the eggs and push them onto the female’s back where they stick to her skin. Eventually, the skin grows up around the eggs forming a network of pockets or pouches of protection. When the toadlets are ready to emerge, they stick their snouts out of her back skin which makes for quite a strange view.

In part due to their nontraditional body shape and lifestyle, this amphibian is primarily aquatic. Once again, we do only advise that experienced herp keepers invest in Surinam toads as they do have specific care requirements.

Conclusion

There are many wonderful kinds of reptiles and amphibians out there that we feel make excellent pets for different kinds of people. If you are interested in a species that is unique for one reason or another, we hope you found our list helpful!

If you are in the market for a reptile, amphibian or invertebrate with particular characteristics that we did not discuss in this article, please feel free to reach out to our talented customer service team. They would be happy to make recommendations and can be reached by emailing sales@backwaterreptiles.com.

Misters Versus Foggers

Do I need a mister or a fogger for my pet reptile or amphibian?

If you have a pet reptile or amphibian, then you probably understand that some species require more humidity than others. In order to maintain proper humidity levels, many owners rely on misters or foggers. So, which machine is better suited for your pet?

What is the difference between a mister and a fogger?

Both misters and foggers operate by using water. They each disperse water through different methods with the end goal of raising the humidity level within your pet’s enclosure.

A mister is a machine that essentially creates rain. Machines have one or more hoses with a nozzle on the end that create a water spray. It’s similar to what you might create by using a water spritzing bottle manually.

As its name implies, a fogger uses water to create a smoke-like fog within your pet’s enclosure. It tends to keep moisture in the air rather than allowing it to collect on objects within the enclosure in droplets.

Which animals need misters?

Animals that enjoy humid, wet environments benefit from using misters.

Many reptiles that drink water that collects on leaves in the wild enjoy misters. Chameleons, geckos and tropical lizard species are great examples of herps that often have misters used in their enclosures.

Although they won’t necessarily drink water from the mister, a lot of arboreal snake species benefit from misters too. Ball pythons, tree pythons and some boas have misters within their enclosures and this can help avoid shedding problems from lack of humidity.

Owners of amphibians including salamanders, frogs and toads will also often use misters to keep substrate and the immediate environment wet.

Which animals need foggers?

Foggers are great options for reptiles and amphibians that are used to high humidity tropical climates. Many species that are native to rain forests thrive when a fogger is used.

Dart frogs, tree frogs and tropical geckos benefit from foggers.

Sometimes, herp owners will even use both a mister and a fogger alternating in order to replicate natural environments to the best of their ability.

dart frogs need foggers

How do I know if the mister or fogger is doing its job?

The easiest way to tell if your machine is doing its intended job is to be keenly aware of the health of your pet. If shedding is going well, the animal is eating regularly and eliminating waste normally, then odds are your machine is functioning properly.

We do typically recommend that owners invest in a hygrometer to measure humidity within the enclosure. Even if everything seems to be going well, it is always good to have hard data to back up your observations. Typically, humidity should be within a specific range of values for any given species and a hygrometer is certainly a useful tool to help you ensure that your enclosure is within those important measurements.

How do I buy a mister or fogger?

There are a few factors to take into consideration when purchasing either a fogger or a mister.

First, you will need to consider the size of your enclosure. Small enclosures will require less powerful machines with fewer outputs. Large enclosures for bigger animals such as monitor lizards, full-grown iguanas and large snakes will probably need a machine with multiple hose output capabilities.

Another feature that is important for many owners is programmability. Usually, it’s safe to assume that you’re buying a mister or fogger to automatically mist or fog on a schedule. Therefore, many owners want a machine that includes a timer and the ability to turn on without having to manually press a button. Most models come equipped with a timer function, but some of the fancier ones can sync up with your hygrometer and turn on when the reading falls below a certain level. It’s quite handy for herps that require very specific environments.

These days, you can buy both types of machine online very easily. You can also find basic models at large retail pet store chains too. Even vendors at reptile expos have been known to carry these types of supplies.

fogger

Conclusion

Both misters and foggers are excellent options for maintaining proper humidity levels within your pet’s enclosure. Whether or not you need a mister, a fogger, or even both types of machines will depend upon which animal(s) you own, what type of environment they require and how much maintenance you can personally perform.

In the end, we recommend that you research the individual needs of your particular animal and choose a mister or a fogger accordingly.

What Are the Most Colorful Pet Tarantulas?

Spiders come in all shapes and sizes. This might get you wondering – what are the most colorful pet tarantulas?

There are many species of tarantula available that are safe to keep as pets. Some are larger than others, some are more docile than others and – you guessed it – some are more colorful than others. In this article, we’ll discuss the most colorful species of tarantula commonly kept as pets and give some useful care tips for each kind.

Greenbottle Blue Tarantula (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens)

One of the main things that gets us excited about keeping this beautiful spider is that they are typically a safe bet for beginners. Maintaining a terrarium that suits them is simple enough given that they prefer dry substrate and moderate temperatures.

Although they are skittish, fast and kind of considered “scaredy cats,” they are lovely to look at once you get past the spiderling phase. After a few molts, their gorgeous colors will begin to appear and you can watch the magic continue to unfold as you raise your tarantula.

If you are interested in a tarantula with blue or teal-colored legs and a bold, rusty-orange red abdomen, then Backwater Reptiles has got you covered! Keep in mind that we typically offer juveniles of this species, so you will be able to enjoy watching your tiny little one grow and color-up.

Mexican Fireleg Tarantula (Brachypelma boehmei)

This colorful terrestrial species is known for being very docile and grows to have a leg span between 5 to 6 inches at maturity. When fully grown, they display red and black/very dark brown coloration with their legs being particularly bright.

Here’s a fun fact about this species: females can live around 25 years in captivity, whereas males are known to live around six or seven.

Although Mexican Firelegs are best kept by intermediate level hobbyists, many consider them to be one of the more docile species of tarantula. In our experience, this can vary as some can be prone to flick urticating hairs while others are calm around people. It all depends upon the individual spider and the attention that the handler pays to the spider’s body language.

This is a popular display species because they actually do spend quite a bit of time outside of their burrow. This means that you can usually watch them eat, drink and molt without them feeling distress.

If you are interested in a Mexican Fireleg taratula, Backwater Reptiles can help you out. We sell a range of sizes of this particular spider, so you can choose a baby and watch it grow or an adult that is already sexed and displaying lovely colors.

Here’s a picture of one of our employees handling one of the larger fireleg sizes we offer.

Gooty Sapphire Ornamental Tarantula (Poecilotheria metallica)

The Gooty Sapphire is probably the most sought after tarantula species. As its name suggests, the gooty is a dazzling blue spider with yellow accents. It is also called the peacock parachute spider for its ability to catch prey mid-flight.

This is an exceedingly colorful tarantula that does well in captivity. Because of its heftier price point, rarity and supply and demand, we advise that you do a lot of research and prepare your habitat accordingly.

The basic things to note when obtaining a Gooty Sapphire are:

  • This is an arboreal species and should therefore have an arboreal set up. This means your enclosure needs to be taller rather than longer. Height is important.
  • This species grows fast! If you acquire a spiderling, be prepared for it to eat, molt and mature quickly.
  • This is considered an ornamental and display species. It is best left to its own devices and they typically don’t enjoy being held.

If you are interested in buying a gooty sapphire sling, you can visit Backwater Reptiles to do so. The bluish colors begin to show after just a few molts.

Purple Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia purpurea)

As you might be able to surmise, the Purple Pink Toe Tarantula is know for its purple sheen. When you see the semi-iridescent nature of the purple, you will understand why this spider is on our list of the most colorful pet tarantulas.

Purple pink toes, while colorful, are known to be on the smaller side. They usually don’t exceed legspans of 4-5 inches. Females have been known to live 12 years or so in captivity, while males typically reach around 5-6 years old.

This is an arboreal species. We’d also like to mention that they are excellent climbers and as such, they are excellent escape artists. If you are planning on buying this species, make sure you have an enclosure with a secure top! Spiderlings are especially notorious for “going missing.”

We recommend this species for intermediate-level tarantula owners. It’s propensity for escaping and its speed make it a spider that requires at least a modicum of experience.

Purchase your own gorgeous purple pink toe tarantula sling here. Please note that baby spiders (spiderlings) of this species do not typically possess the shiny purple sheen that their juveniles and adult counterparts do. It can take several molt cycles for this coloring to appear.

Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia versicolor)

This species of spider actually has several different common names including the Martinique Pink toe and the Martinique Red Tree Spider. It hails from the Caribbean, Martinique and Lesser Antilles. When it is mature, it has a pink or red abdomen and legs with a greenish blue head. It is quite a strong contender in the most colorful pet spider competition.

It should be noted that this arboreal species needs very good ventilation in its enclosure in order to thrive. While humidity is important to its health, it cannot live in conditions that are overly wet or misty. Make sure that proper airflow can be achieved. The good news is that this is a “room temperature” spider, meaning that if you are comfortable with the temperature, your spider should be too.

A word of caution: this is not an overly timid, shy or fearful species of colorful tarantula. While they make excellent display pets, they are very prone to jumping. If you open the spider’s enclosure to mist or feed, be aware of where your spider is at all times. They have been known to jump out onto owners unexpectedly which can be startling and potentially harmful to all parties involved if the response is panic.

Conclusion

While there are many species of colorful tarantulas, we’ve covered the most popular ones in this article. All of the spiders we discussed tend to display colors other than brown, black or grey and are highly sought after by hobbyists for display pets.

One thing that is important to keep in mind when buying a spiderling tarantula of any species is that baby spiders do not look like their adult counterparts. As we’ve mentioned, it takes many molts and some time to mature before the brilliant colors are displayed.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the tarantulas listed above, Backwater Reptiles has got you covered! Check out our list of spiders for sale and discover the tarantula that speaks to you.

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