November Offers

New Angell Pets offers now available for the whole of November including Beta, Arden Grange, Pedigree, Burns, Barking Heads and many more. Stocks of some of the more popular items do sell out quickly as they are better than supermarket pries so don’t hang around if you want to grab a bargain this month.

beta-adult

Beta Adult Chicken 2.5kg ONLY £4.99 RRP £7.49

Beta Puppy

Beta Puppy Chicken 2.5kg ONLY £4.99 RRP £7.79

Sanicat clumping cat litter

Sanicat Clumping 20L ONLY £5.99 RRP £7.99

Arden Grange Adult Lamb & Rice 2kg ONLY £5.49 RRP £8.80

arden grange adult lamb and rice

Arden Grange Adult Lamb & Rice 12kg ONLY £31.99 RRP £41.50

Any 3 for £3.00 on the following pedigree products (Only available in store or on telephone orders):

Pedigree Jumbone

Pedigree Jumbone Beef Medium 2 Piece

Pedigree Rodeo chicken

Pedigree Rodeo 8 Stick Chicken

Pedigree Schmacko

Pedigree Schmacko’s 20 Stick

More offers also available in the web store.

Catsan Hygiene Cat Litter

Catsan Hygiene Cat Litter 20L ONLY £8.49 RRP £11.33

Kong Widgets Bones

Kong Widgets Bones Small ONLY £2.69 RRP £3.99

Kong Widgets Cookies

Kong Widgets Cookies Large ONLY £2.69 RRP £3.99

 

Lick N Chew Chicken Rolls 4 Pack ONLY £4.49

Chicken rolls

Barking Heads 400g Tins 2 For £2.50 (Only available in store or on telephone orders)

Barking Heads Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day

barking heads

Fusspot

barking heads

Fat Dog Slim

barking heads

Tender Loving Care

More offers also available in the web store.

burns toy and small breed

Burns Adult Toy Breed ONLY £6.65 RRP £8.68

shavings

Animal Dreams Compressed Lavendar Shavings Large ONLY £3.89 RRP £4.89

rabbit food

Natures Feast Rabbit Nuggets 1.5kg ONLY £2.99 RRP £3.99

guinea pig food

Natures Feast Guinea Pig Nuggets 1.5kg ONLY £3.79 RRP £4.79

 

So get your November deal whilst stocks last.

 

The Angell Pets Team

 

 

October Offers

Angell Pets October offers are now available in store, over the telephone or on line in our web store. Included in this months offers are some excellent products to help dogs and cats with stress over the Halloween and firework periods.

FREE LOCAL DELIVERY is available for orders over £5.

 

active-longevity-chicken

Hills Feline Mature Active Longevity Chicken 2kg ONLY £12.49 RRP £18.39

optimal-care-chicken

Hills Feline Adult Optimal Care Chicken 2kg ONLY £12.49 RRP £18.29

deli-twist

Good Boy Deli Chewy Twists With Chicken ONLY £1.75 RRP £2.99

serene-um

VETIQ Serene – Um – Extra 60 Tablets ONLY £8.99 RRP £13.99

catsan-hygiene

Catsan Hygiene Litter 20L ONLY £8.49 RRP £11.33

 

agail-chicken

Felix AGAIL Individual pouches 3 for £1.00 RRP 50p each

Chicken

Tuna

timothy-hay

Selective Timothy Hay 2kg ONLY £5.99 RRP £8.99

pedigree-fish-oil

Pedigree Mixed Selection With Fish Oil In Jelly 12 Pack ONLY £5.49 RRP £7.39

bakers-beef

Bakers Complete Beef 14kg ONLY £18.49 RRP £27.75

bakers-chicken

Bakers Complete Chicken 14kg ONLY £18.49 RRP £27.75

Bags On Board Rolls 120’s ONLY £3.49 RRP £4.99

patterned

Patterned

scented

Scented

neutral

Neutral

tetramin-tropical

Tetramin Tropical Flake 52g ONLY £4.95 RRP £7.40

calming-spot-on-dog

Beaphar Calming Spot On Dog ONLY £4.75 RRP £5.99

calming-spot-on-cat

Beaphar Calming Spot On Cat ONLY £4.75 RRP £5.99

iams-cat-chicken

Iams Cat Adult Chicken 3kg ONLY £8.99 RRP £16.49

fish-bite

Hollings Fish Bites 75g ONLY £1.49 RRP £1.99

sprats

Hollings Sprats 100g ONLY £1.49 RRP £2.49

duck-drumsticks

Pet Munchies Duck Drumsticks 100g ONLY £1.75 RRP £2.99

venison-sticks

Pet Munchies Venison Sticks 75g ONLY £1.75 RRP £2.99

The Angell Pets Team

Rankins Dragon Care Sheet

The Rankins dragon is the smaller cousin of the bearded dragon. For those who want to own a beardie but don’t have the space requirements, the Rankins dragon could be the one for you.

rankins

Generally a Rankins dragon requires a smaller vivarium than a bearded dragon as an adult. I would recommend 30” as around the size for one adult although 36” would be better for more dragons. A very young Rankins dragon can at least look a bit lost in a large viv. though and some do seem (at least at first) to get a bit nervous in a large viv. (they will hide away a lot, sometimes to the point of not getting enough UV light) so starting off in a smaller viv is definitely OK, although by no means essential.

If you wish to keep more than a single Rankins dragon (and they seem to be more sociable than beardies) then ensure you only have one male, with a couple of females. Obviously you  will need a bigger enclosure. If you wish to have ore than one male Rankins dragon a much larger space is required and it is not recommended.

Rankins dragon heating

A Rankins dragon requires a good temperature gradient (a “hot end “and a “cold end”) to enable them to regulate their body temperature with the hot spot at the hot end at 35-40 C and the cool end around 25 C (so you are going to need two thermometers). There are a lot of opinions out there on heating a Rankins dragon viv. and I’ll not get into it all here. I use a heat mat combined with a basking lamp (sized to the viv.) to create a hot spot. I have mounted mats on the side and on the bottom of the viv. with equal success. I have seen comments saying never use a heat mat and cannot agree. I have never had a problem, ever and this is over a number of years with a large number of animals. That said, there are alternatives and they are fine too (with the exception of “heat rocks” – they really are a bad idea, if you bought a Rankins dragon starter set up from a certain well known pet supermarket you will have one of these, please throw it away to avoid any risk).

A thermostat will help avoid over temperature. A Rankins dragon can tolerate lower temperatures (i.e. if your spot lamp blows) for quite some time but will suffer quite quickly from over temperature. Even with a thermostat you should always check your thermometers at least daily – thermostats can fail.

Rankins dragon lighting

A Rankins dragon needs relatively high levels of UVB light to manufacture vitamin D3, enabling them to assimilate calcium. You will need a 10-12% UVB lamp on 12 – 14 hours a day. Remember UV light does not travel too far from these lamps so make sure they are not too far from where your dragon likes to bask. I don’t use hides with dragons, sometimes they can spend too much time under it and not get enough UV – not common but best avoided.

A basking lamp will give a bright “hot spot” for a Rankins dragon to bask in when it wants to heat up. Obviously the lamp needs to be a proper basking spot, energy efficient lamps are efficient because they do not give out wasted energy as heat, which is what you want.

Rankins dragon substrates.

Substrate (what your Rankins dragon lives on) is probably the most controversial subject in the hobby. I am not going to tell you what not to use, there is not a substrate currently in use that can’t cause problems. I use beech wood chips (the coarser variety so it cannot fit in the Rankins dragon mouth when small) or desert bedding in the main, although I have used others. I have never had any issues with impaction with a Rankins dragon so I can’t comment on what is worst for this. However I avoid calci sand, as calcium is an essential nutrient for a Rankins dragon, so they will eat as if they feel they need it – why tempt fate? Also, most of my vivs. are front opening,  with sliding glass and the sound of sand in the runners makes me cringe!

rankins dragon

Rankins dragon decor

A Rankins dragon does require a water bowl, although they are rarely seen to drink (I know some individuals seem to love getting in their water bowl see the little Rankins dragon above). Do change the water regularly and keep the bowl clean. It is hot in a Rankins dragon viv. and bacteria will grow very quickly around the rim of the water. A feed dish is a good idea for the veggie component of a Rankins dragon diet, to help avoid the risk of impaction by picking up bits of substrate.

Your Rankins dragon will  love something to climb on, branches, rocks etc. Avoid anything sharp, they may suddenly jump down and you don’t want them to get injured. Anything else in there is up to you. Some people like to put in things to encourage activity and don’t mind what it looks like, so use anything they can find. Others like it to look as natural as possible. It’s really up to you but I would suggest you read a good book for the more advanced aspects of setting up a vivarium both for further advice and for ideas if, like me, you’re not that creative yourself.

Rankins dragon feeding

Your Rankins dragon is an omnivore. They eat a wide range of foods including crickets, locusts, cockroaches and various lavae, vegetables and fruit etc. In captivity they also need vitamin and calcium supplements to ensure continued good health. I feed mine to a regular regime. It is necessary for the health of the Rankins dragon and with the amount of animals I have to feed it is more convenient to stick to a plan and this gives us confidence our animals have received a varied and balanced diet. You will find your own regime that suits you. I will give you mine just to illustrate what a balanced Rankins dragon diet looks like, not to suggest this is superior to any other feeding plan for a Rankins dragon.

Day one – cricket or locusts dusted with Nutrobal vitamin supplement.

Day 2 – salad vegetables.

Day three – crickets or locusts dusted with calcium powder.

Day four – salad vegetables.

Day five – crickets or locusts dusted with calcium powder.

Day six – fruit or veg.

Day seven – crickets or locusts without any supplement.

I vary this further by changing the crickets and locusts for calci worms from time to time and very occasionally wax worms. I don’t use meal worms myself for a Rankins dragon due to the higher level of chitin in the jaws and the consequent increased risk of impaction but occasional meal worms would be OK. I must confess the type of veg I use depends very much on what is on offer at the local supermarket or my garden but favourites of my Rankins dragon are rocket salad or herb salad, grated carrot, romaine lettuce, curly kale and cucumber.  I haven’t had a lot of success with fruit with a Rankins dragon but common ones used are strawberry, mango and banana.

One way of getting veg. into a more obstinate Rankins dragon is to feed the veg. to the insects. Whatever they eat, your Rankins dragon is eating. I do this sometimes but usually I have gut loaded them on a gut load formula any way.  For a very young Rankins dragon I dust every feed to ensure the rapidly growing youngsters are getting enough calcium but I only ever use vitamin powder once a week. The risk of over dosing the Rankins dragon far outweighing the risk of under dosing when using such a balanced diet.

It is important to consider the size of the insect food. It is a bad idea to give anything longer than the distance between the eyes of your Rankins dragon. Too many over large insects will not be properly digested and you will see the half digested remains in the Rankins dragon poop, possibly along with some blood! Alternatively your Rankins dragon may regurgitate the meal, again with the risk of damage to the Rankins dragon digestive tract from the sharp bits of exoskeleton.

rankins-dragon

Things to avoid feeding a Rankins dragon are obviously anything toxic. This sounds really obvious but people have been caught out with plants. The Rankins dragon may not eat the plant but the insects probably will. The Rankins dragon will then eat the now toxic insect.The use of live plants with a Rankins dragon and with bearded dragons is becoming more popular do make sure you know what plant you have and that it is safe. Also I avoid broccoli and cabbage leaves with a Rankins dragon as these contain oxylates that can prevent calcium being available to the metabolism.

Common problems with Rankins dragon feeding include the notorius addiction to wax worms. I have seen a bearded dragon fed these exclusively. Not only is this a bad idea from a nutritional point of view but you often end up with a Rankins dragon that will only eat this one source of food and frequently only when fed by hand! However I have not yet seen the Rankins dragon that cannot be weaned back onto a balanced diet with a little perseverance.

That said, a Rankins dragon can be fussy as they get older. The basic message is that as they are omnivores, it probably doesn’t matter as long as they get a balanced diet.

A reminder about Rankins dragon UVB

UVB lamps are essential to the well being of the Rankins dragon. Unfortunately as soon as you switch one on, the level of UVB output starts to deteriorate. Over time this will drop to zero, so although the lamp is lit, it is providing no benefit at all to the Rankins dragon. The lamps should be replaced between 6 months to 1 year (depending on type and manufacturer). We always replace all our UV lamps every 9 months WITHOUT FAIL. The consequences to a Rankins dragon of not replacing the UV lighting regularly are loss of appetite and metabolic bone disease.

Kept correctly a Rankins dragon should live over 8 years and prove to be a very inquisitive, interactive and easy to handle little lizard.

The Angell Pets Team

Reptile Boarding

Our Reptile Boarding facility here at Angell Pets has grown rapidly in popularity since being launched a couple of years ago.

reptile boarding

Most of our customers, lucky enough to go on holiday each year, are returning to book their animals in each time and new people are hearing about our reptile boarding service and using us for the first time. Peak times are now booked up months in advance. For example Easter and August this year were both virtually fully booked two months in advance.

small animal boarding

We have some space this summer left in July and September with a few odd days only in August for reptile boarding. We do have a little space left for birds and small animals but not much.

reptile boarding

Hermann’s tortoise

If you wish to take advantage of our excellent reptile boarding rates and have your animals looked after by top qualified staff please do book now to avoid disappointment.

Contact us on 01452 501882 to reserve space.

The Angell Pets Team

Hog Island Boa Care Sheet

Hog Island boas are an island variety of common boa. The two main differences are size and colouration. Hog Island boas are naturally hypomelanistic (low in black pigment). This allows the other colours to stand out more, giving a lovely muted pattern of light browns and pinks to orange and even blue. Adult female common boas may reach 12 feet but it is very rare for a Hog Island boa to get above 6 feet and males generally reach 4 feet. Common boas would make great first snakes if it were not for their adult size. The smaller size of the Hog Island boa makes it a great alternative to the often fussy royal python as a choice of first snake. This Hog Island boa care sheet sets out the basics for you.

hog island boa

Housing

Obviously the other “advantage” the Hog Island boa has over the larger commons is that being smaller, they require less space, allowing for a smaller enclosure. The old rule of thumb, length of vivarium plus depth of vivarium equals length of snake shows a three foot vivarium large enough for all but the largest specimens and a four foot enough for even a large female. So for someone wanting a boa but without the space (or the funds) to house a large common, the Hog Island boa makes an obvious choice.

As to keeping a smaller Hog Island boa in a small box until it is bigger and more confident. Can you? Well, yes you can. Do you have to? Well, no you don’t. If you want to house a young Hog Island boa in the vivarium that will last into adulthood and beyond, that is fine. Just ensure there are plenty of places for it to hide away in different areas of the viv.

Heating

The Hog Island boa comes from the tropical Cayos Cachinos Islands off the coast of Honduras. So they need heat and a reasonable level of humidity (although not wet). Around 29C at the hot end and a humidity level of around 60% is fine. I prefer heating with a ceramic heat emitter and this must have a cage around it to prevent contact with the snake and consequent burns. Due to the smaller size of the Hog Island boa you could use a heat mat (mounted on the end wall of the viv. to prevent thermal blocking). Which ever you use, a thermostat to control the temperature is essential. Over heating will damage a snake much more quickly than under heating. Of the two methods of heating mentioned, heat mats and on/off thermostats are cheaper, whilst ceramics and pulse proportional thermostats give a finer level of control.

hog island boa

Lighting

The Hog Island boa generally does not require specialist lighting but why have a snake in a vivarium and then not be able to see it? I find the best modern solution to be LED lighting. Most are neat, quite stylish, don’t generate heat so don’t need to be guarded, can come in a variety of colours (some will automatically change from day to night lighting if you want to be flash), are low voltage inside the viv, are energy efficient, last the lifetime of the snake so don’t require regular replacement of blown lamps…As you can see I am quite sold on them. However properly guarded incandescent lamps can be used (but take the heat generated into consideration) and fluorescent tubes work well but will need to be replaced occasionally.

hog island boa

Substrate

I prefer bark chips (orchid bark) for a Hog Island boa. The dark colour sets off the snake well and this substrate works well as a holder of moisture, helping to maintain some humidity. Other substrates can be used, aspen, lignocel, beech chip, cage carpet etc. Humidity can be maintained by positioning of the water bowl – at the hot end increases humidity as the water evaporates. Water should be changed daily anyway so it will not be there long enough for it all to disappear. In the end the choice of substrate is yours, most cost around the same so that shouldn’t be a factor. Whatever you want for your Hog Island boa.

Decor

As with most snakes, a hide of some description is a must so the Hog Island boa has somewhere to go when it feels the need to be secure. More than one is better, so the snake can choose the temperature of the hide it wants to use. A hide is also a good place to put some damp moss for localised increase of humidity when shedding. Some form of branch is good (environmental or habitat enrichment to get all professional) to allow climbing behaviour. Aside from these it’s your viv. so it’s your choice. Silk plants are an attractive addition to a vivarium (real plants work too but you may spend more time looking after them than the Hog Island boa) and of course a skull always looks good with a snake coming out the eye socket. No? Just me then.

Feeding

Apart from an Amazon Tree Boa I had once (there is always one), every boa I have had has been a good feeder. The Hog Island boa is no exception. I have heard that they can go off their food if they feel insecure but if you have the correct set up in your vivarium this is not going to happen. Mice for smaller specimens is fine but I would get onto rats as soon as possible as larger ones are going to need larger food and there is a possibility it could get habituated to mice. Not the Hog Island boa examples I have had though. They eat anything (well not really anything but you get the point). As with any snake, don’t feed too large a mouse or rat though. There are a lot of risks associated with this, from refusing food to regurgitating later to damage to the insides of the snake from sharp rat claws etc. It’s just not worth risking it for no perceivable benefit to the snake. I feed once a week on smaller food up to once every two weeks for larger. The snake will let you know. Oh and I always use tongs for feeding. A nice smell of rat coupled with a nice warm hand can result in a snake striking at the wrong thing. A Hog Island boa is no exception to this potential confusion.

Handling

The Hog Island boa is quite a docile snake and certainly doesn’t seem to mind being handled (I can’t speak snake so I wouldn’t like to say they enjoy it). As with all snakes, the more secure they feel the less likely to try to escape, strike etc. The more points of contact on its body, the more secure the snake will feel. Always approach a snake from behind, never from in front of its head. The Hog Island boa has a lot of very highly tuned sensors (nostrils, eyes, tongue and Jacobson’s organ and heat pits) Continue reading

May Offers from Angell Pets Gloucester Pet Shop

Our May offers are now available on line in our webstore or in our Gloucester pet shop

Harringtons Dog Food Lamb & Rice 15kg

harringtons dog food

 

Harringtons Dog Food Turkey & Veg 15kg

Catsan Hygiene Litter 10L ONLY £3.99 RRP £6.26

catsan

Russel Rabbit Tasy Nuggets 2kg ONLY £1.99 RRP £3.99

russel rabbit

Lick N Chew Strips ONLY £1.99 RRP £2.99

Chicken Strips

angell pets

Healthy Heart Strips

Beautiful Coat Strips

Combat Stress Strips

Flexible Joints Strips

Pointer Salmon Burgers 500g ONLY £1.49 RRP £1.99

pet shop gloucester

Pointer Liver Squares 500g ONLY £1.49 RRP £1.89

Mikki Nail Clipper Large ONLY £6.99 RRP £11.99

pet shops in gloucester

Winalot Shapes 2kg ONLY £2.69 RRP £3.49

winalot shapes

Ancol Ergo Univeral Slicker Brush

dog grooming

Small ONLY £2.99 RRP £4.55

Medium ONLY £3.49 RRP £5.70

Large ONLY £4.25 RRP £6.90

FIPROtech Spot On Medium Dog 3 Treatment ONLY £8.99 RRP £12.00

flea treatment

Meowing Heads Purr Nickety 250g ONLY £2.85 RRP £4.19

meowing heads

Omega Tasty Dog Original 15kg ONLY £14.99 RRP £22.99

omega tasty

Omega Tasty Dog Chicken 15kg ONLY £14.99 RRP £22.99

omega tasty

Pedigree Dog Pouches 4 x 100g Sachets ONLY 95p RRP £1.29

pedigree pouches

Chicken & Beef

Chicken & Lamb

Puppy

Senior

Aquarian Goldfish Flake 25g ONLY £2.39 RRP £2.89

aquarian goldfish

Green – Um Lawn Burn Control 100 Tablets ONLY £6.99 RRP £10.99

green um

Visit our on line webstore or in person at Angell Pets in our Gloucester pet shop for more offers.

The Angell Pets Team

Grain Free Dog and Cat Food – New varieties added

Grain free dog and cat foods are fast becoming the most popular way to feed cats and dogs in the UK amongst owners who want the best for their pets. Angell Pets excellent range of APL pet foods has now been extended to include more grain free varieties of premium dog and cat food at great value prices.

grain free

 

Dogs are carnivores but most dog food on the market still contains at least some grain. The cheaper the food, generally the more grain it contains, to the point that some foods contain much more grain than meat. Whilst this would be good news for a human it is bad news for a dog. The grain is only there in most cases to provide a cheap filler to keep the price of the food down, not to benefit the dog. With some of the really bad foods, there is so little meat protein present that the grain (in this case wheat, the least desirable grain to use) is actually providing the bulk of the quoted protein content of the food (wheat gluten is a vegetable protein). Grain free dog and cat food on the other hand naturally contains more meat as virtually all the quoted protein content has to come from this source.

Grain Free

Angell Pets have sold high quality, high meat content, grain free foods for years. These provide the optimum diet for your dog. Angell Pets has been able to provide a grain free product of our own (APL grain free range) for some time and we are pleased to add new varieties to our own APL Grain Free, high meat content dog and cat foods. The range so far includes APL Grain Free Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry, APL Grain Free Salmon, Trout, Sweet Potato and Asparagus,  APL  Pork, Sweet Potato and Apple, APL  Lamb, Mint and Sweet Potato,  APL  Duck, Orange and Sweet Potato and APL Puppy Chicken, Sweet Potato, Carrots and Peas. Whilst we make no claim the ingredients are as fresh as say Orijen, we are satisfied that the meat content is now sufficiently high to offer this as a cheaper alternative to premium ranges such as Acana, Orijen and Canagan. In our view Orijen remains the best bagged dog food on the market but at this price ours is now a viable alternative and works out cheaper per day to feed.

We also now do a grain free range of dog and high meat content cat treats to compliment the grain free food.

APL GRAIN FREE FOOD IS NOW AVAIALBLE IN STORE OR ON LINE IN 2KG AND 12 KG BAGS and 2kg bags of grain free cat food. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL THE SHOP, DROP US A LINE OR POP IN A VISIT US AT ANGELL PETS.

Exo Terra Approved Supplier

Exo Terra, along with all the other Hagen brands such as Fluval, Marina, Glo, VivExotic etc. was starting to suffer from poor after sales support from some of the on line sellers of their products. The brand recently took the decision to regain control over who could sell their products to ensure buyers could be confident the seller knew what they were selling, could give advice where needed and provided after sales support and of course, actually held their products in stock.

Angell Pets have been through Hagen’s (Exo Terra parent brand) rigorous approval process and have obtained approved supplier status. This is because we stock the products, have access through a number of routes to replacement stock, have qualified staff that are able to give advice both on the products and the animals associated with them and are able (and willing!) to give after sales support to customers that use our on line web store and our “real” shop in Gloucester.

You can tell if a supplier is approved and therefore able to sell and support Exo Terra products because they will display the logo. If this logo is not displayed, don’t buy from that “supplier” as the products have not come through the official channels.

exo terra

The Exo Terra range is a well known and respected brand within the hobby and is constantly being reviewed, updated and improved. This is why we are proud to be listed as approved Exo Terra (and other Hagen brands) stockists.

Exo Terra

If you wish to buy an Exo Terra product you can go on line to our web store and order that way, call us on 01452 501882 or drop by the shop in Gloucester. If you have any questions regarding Exo Terra products or keeping any animal do feel free to contact us by any of the above means or using the contact form on this site.

exo terra

 

The Exo Terra range is quite large (the full Hagen brands range absolutely huge!) and we do not claim to have every product in stock at all times. Those we do not currently have are only a few days away at most however so if you need an Exo Terra product that you cannot see on our web site just call us and we will order it in for you.

 

Don’t forget, local Exo Terra customers also benefit from Angell Pets’ FREE LOCAL DELIVERY service on all purchases.

The Angell Pets Team

 

Pet Shop Gloucester tips on general snake handling

Pet Shop Gloucester tips. Just a brief post on 5 top tips on handling NON VENOMOUS snakes from your favourite Gloucester pet shop.

  • If your snake has just fed, DON’T HANDLE IT. Handling a snake after it has just fed can be at best unpleasant and at worst dangerous. Snakes swallow their food whole and rely on strong stomach acids to break it down. Whilst this happens relatively quickly, for the first 24 – 48 hours the snake has a large, hard object in a small, confined space. In the wild they would lay up during this period and allow the acids to do their work. Handling causes the snake to move around and this puts pressure on its stomach (or in the case of inexperienced handlers they may actually squeeze the area). This action can make the snake regurgitate the meal (if it hasn’t already as a threat response), bringing up the very strong stomach acid with it, which can cause damage. Even worse, if the snake doesn’t regurgitate and the meal is still undigested other internal organs can be damaged by the pressure, if handled roughly (or dropped). Then of course there is the risk to you. Even a docile snake may strike when it has just been fed or is digesting its meal. It knows you shouldn’t be picking it up even if you don’t.
  • pet shop gloucester reptile boarding

    One Of Our Reptile Boarders Being Fed

For more advice on feeding snakes come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester.

  • If your snake is shedding, DON’T HANDLE IT. It’s not so much that it dangerous for the snake (although it may lead to incomplete shedding) but with its eyes clouded over it can’t see. Would you be in good mood if you suddenly had one of your senses taken away? The snake still has other, very accurate senses, so it can and will tag you.

For more advice on problem shedding come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester.

  • So assuming your snake is not shedding and has not been fed within the last 48 hours the most important things is to BE CONFIDENT. Most people who keep snakes will tell you the snake can sense it if you’re nervous. I don’t think they have any ability to sense nerves in you at all, however they can pick up on your body language. If you go in with a hesitant hand, that’s shaking or moving in then pulling back etc. the poor old snake doesn’t know what is going on. When they are unsure of a situation they naturally get defensive and may well strike. I can and have, on several occasions, demonstrated this in the shop where I can simulate a nervous owner and get even a cornsnake to strike or conversely, be confident with a rather nippy kingsnake and not get tagged. In fact someone once brought such a kingsnake into the shop, complete with viv. (as they couldn’t get the snake out, it was so aggressive). The snake was hissing and striking at the glass. I opened the viv. picked the snake straight up and it was quite calm. The owner then hesitantly took the snake off me and promptly got bitten on the neck. Which takes us to the next point.

For more advice or demonstrations on snake handling come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester.

  • Keep the snake away from your face. If a snake does bite it should only be able, at worst, to get your hand. If it gets anywhere else, guess what? That was your fault. Staring up close into the face of a snake is a bad idea. Snakes are carnivores, their senses for the most part are binocular and forward facing in order to judge direction, distance and to strike accurately. This means they are particularly sensitive to anything immediately in front of them that moves. If you wave your hand about in front of your snakes head, or worse your nose (especially if it’s as big as mine) you are much more likely to get tagged. Also all reptiles can carry salmonella. Letting a snake touch your face near your mouth (i.e. kissing it!!) is really a bad idea.

For more advice on being bitten by snakes (especially if the snake won’t let go !!) call us at our pet shop Gloucester.

  • Wash your hands afterwards. As stated, snakes can carry salmonella. This bacterium is quite likely to be found on the snakes skin. They poop in the viv and move around – it will transfer bacteria onto its skin. You will be letting the snake run through your hands, you will touch it near its cloaca (vent) where the poop comes out so you will get bacteria on your hands. If you don’t wash your hands immediately you will be transferring bacteria everywhere you touch. Salmonella is a dangerous infection, potentially fatal in infants, the elderly and immune suppressed individuals. If you are fit and healthy you will survive but you will never want to get it again. I have had the disease. It is unpleasant, debilitating, incredibly painful and will take some time to recover from. All you have to do to avoid getting it, or giving it to your family, is wash your hands, preferably with an anti bacterial hand wash. We sell them, so you have no excuse. Also some snakes carry diseases that can be passed onto other snakes, the one that springs to mind is IBD (inclusion body disease) that can infect boids (pythons and boas). It is highly contagious and always fatal to the snake. Always disinfect when moving from one boid viv. to another or any other enclosure for that matter. Cross contamination by the owner is the commonest vector for the spread of mites, for example. An alcohol hand wash will kill any eggs on your skin (it dehydrates them) as well as any bacteria and the mechanical action also helps lift dirt that is harbouring other pathogens.

For more advice on reptile hygiene contact us at our pet shop Gloucester 

I hope these tips are of use. If you have any more questions or need more advanced help with anything just get in touch with our pet shop Gloucester and we will try to help.

Fire Salamander Care Sheet

Fire salamander is a name given to a group of related species of salamander of the genus Salamandra from across Europe (excluding the fringes such as Britain and Ireland) and North Africa round to the Levant. The fire salamander is a terrestrial amphibian that only really goes to water to breed, spending most of its relatively long adult life rooting around in damp leaf litter looking for prey. They rarely come out during the day (unless it has recently rained or they are breeding) and actively avoid higher temperatures by burrowing into the litter or under logs if it gets too warm. In warmer climates they become inactive during hot months and in cooler climates they do the same in colder months.

fire salamander

The fire salamander lays eggs (timing dependant on species and location) directly in to water that hatch immediately as they are deposited into the larval form, which is completely aquatic although the stage at which the larvae emerge at varies widely (some species emerge as the adult “metamorph”). Normally larvae are about an inch long and metamorphose into the adult form when they have roughly doubled in size. The adult fire salamander reaches between 5 and 12 inches in size.

Most species of fire salamander inhabit lowland forests and woodland although some species prefer higher forests and some are alpine. There are also some species of fire salamander that can inhabit quite arid regions such as the Levant.

The fire salamander has quite a large territory for such a relatively small animal and males will defend this territory during breeding season so as large an enclosure as possible is best to allow natural behaviour.

Housing

The fires salamander actively hunts its prey through the forest floor litter. A large enclosure will allow this behaviour in captivity. A minimum of 45cmx45cm for the smaller species is OK but larger is better. Glass enclosures work best due to the high humidity but wood (melamine) could be used if very well sealed (the surface as well as the edges). The fire salamander hides away during the day so lots of hiding places (logs, cork bark etc.) will be appreciated.

Substrate

The fire salamander is generally a forest animal and a substrate to mimic this works best. We use a mixture of coir, bark chips, leaf litter and moss to create a varied forest floor effect. Others use more utilitarian set ups, particularly some breeders and if the animals are breeding then hey ho, who am I to argue. I just prefer a natural looking set up for display. A completely natural set up with drainage media, bio active substrate, detrivores in the soil to dispose of waste and plants to use the nutrients produced would also work very well although I find I end up focussing more attention (and expense) trying to look after the plants than the fire salamander!

Heating

The fire salamander does not like temperatures much above 20C. Some alpine species in particular will not tolerate higher temperatures and must be kept below this. All species should be kept no higher than the low 20s with a night time drop of up to 10C. So in a modern, well insulated house it is unlikely that extra heating is going to be necessary. If you have a particularly cold house (for instance a wife that has the heating off and the window open when it’s minus 4C outside) then a small heat mat may be necessary but if this is the case a thermostat is an essential.

Lighting

The fire salamander is nocturnal. Specialist lighting is not required. A day night cycle is beneficial but in a glass vivarium natural light will provide this. Of course in a display vivarium lighting can make all the difference to the look and modern LED lighting works well here. Units that switch between white daytime lighting and blue night time lighting work well and look good. Of course if you go for a bioactive set up with real plants then you will need lighting to stimulate plant growth.

Feeding

The fire salamander actively hunts and eats invertebrates such as worms, insects, spiders etc. The key is variety. Offer a range of foods including crickets. calci worms, wax worms, meal worms etc. Gut loading the live food is always a good idea but supplement powders should not be necessary if the diet is varied. A diet of just crickets for example is bad idea and supplement powders would then be necessary. Regular misting of the enclosure to maintain humidity (they require high humidity, especially in the substrate but not “wet”) will also provide all the free water the fire salamander needs. A water dish is only necessary for breeding. If you put one in at any other time they are unlikely to use it.

For smaller or newly metamorphosed adult fire salamander smaller prey items will be more appropriate, such as fruit fly, smaller calci worms, white worms etc. For a larval fire salamander a range of aquatic foods are available such as daphnia, bloodworm, white worm etc. Most are available live or frozen.

So the fire salamander makes a fairly easy to care for, low cost animal to keep. However as with all animals remember you are taking on responsibility for its care for the rest of its life which in the case of some species of fire salamander can be up to 30 years in captivity.