Iguana Care Sheet

Iguana. The very first thing to consider when buying an iguana is its adult size. The commonest species, Iguana iguana gets very large. Females around 5 feet, males 6 to 7. Even though a lot of this is tail they are still a large and bulky lizard. Eventually they are going to need a very large enclosure (small room size) so don’t get one if you can’t accommodate this amount of space. If you are sure you can then read on.

red iguana

The next thing is longevity. 12 to 15 years is the norm, 20 years is possible in captivity. So the room you have decided to set aside for the iguana when it reaches adult size needs to remain a “spare room” for that length of time. One of the commonest things we hear is “Do you want my” boa, python, monitor lizard, even bearded dragon. “We’ve a baby on the way and we need the room now”. Things change, who knows what they are going to be doing five years from now, let alone 20. You need to factor your responsibility to your animal into your plans. If you have the space and a contingency if things should change then read on.

An adult iguana is a large animal with powerful jaws, claws and a long tail, which it can use as a very effective whip in defence. Regular short periods of handling when young, so the iguana gains confidence in its owner, will stop it getting truly aggressive but you need to be confident in yourself in handling a large animal. If you have never owned a lizard before (they are very fast as well, especially as youngsters) then think about getting something a little easier first to gain experience. OK, you’re confident you have the space, can accommodate the iguana in any changes that may occur and are sure you can handle such a large beast, what do you have to do to look after it?

Firstly source your iguana. Get a captive bred one. They are generally more docile, do better in captivity, don’t come with a full load of parasites and you will not be contributing to environmental damage. If you buy one on line or on social media from someone who just needs to “get rid” then how confident are you going to be that such an unwanted iguana has been properly looked after. Of course this is true of any animal, not just an iguana. I have seen corn snakes that have been kept in shoe boxes under the bed and just chucked a mouse every few weeks when the “owner” has remembered, bearded dragons with MBD because the UVB lamp has never been changed since they got the lizard, so called breeders who don’t even have the necessary equipment for the babies so just try to sell them off as quickly as possible so they don’t have to get any and so on and so on. Make sure you are using a reliable source, that has a premises you can visit and see the iguana as they are being kept and have the knowledge and experience to give you the advice you need and importantly, with a written  iguana livestock policy. If the seller cannot give you the information you require, don’t buy from them as they cannot have been looking after the iguana properly themselves and you could be buying a problem. If there is a problem, how likely is it you can return the iguana? We want to see you too. We don’t sell our animals on line as we feel we have a responsibility to the iguana not to be selling it to someone who cannot look after it. Buy from someone who knows and who cares.

Housing

As already discussed your are going to need a very large enclosure (up to 12’x6’x6′ for a large adult male iguana) eventually. However a baby iguana is going to look lost in such an enclosure and there are other reasons for starting out in a somewhat smaller vivarium. Firstly it is supposed that a baby iguana can sometimes find it difficult to find the food and water in a large enclosure. Certainly not the ones we have had! Also you wonder how the wild ones get on outside. I think that is maybe truer for animals that have to hunt insects. That said, why take a risk when there are other reasons to start smaller. Catching a nervous baby iguana is not easy in a large space. I am getting on now and bending down is not as easy as it once was. I had to try to catch an iguana in the shop that escaped whilst a customer was viewing it the other day and could only do it once I had in cornered in a smaller space. Much easier to catch an iguana in a smaller vivarium. Also catching them will be quicker and therefore less stressful to the iguana. You are trying to get it used to being handled and not to see you as a threat. Much better they get used to you opening the viv’ and just quickly picking them up than chasing them round a room first.

Heating

The iguana comes from tropical and sub tropical America (mainly central and south). They like it warm and humid. A basking area hot spot of up to 48C dropping to 25 and the coldest end. Heating is best achieved with lamps although some background heating may be required in a larger enclosure. Importantly there must be a temperature gradient with areas for the iguana to sit in so it can move around the enclosure to regulate its body temperature. They do better with heat coming from above. A heat mat on the floor can result in thermal blocking with any larger animal so if using a mat for overnight temperature in a smaller vivarium, have it mounted on the end wall, off the floor so the iguana cannot lay on top of it and overheat. A UVA  basking light for daytime heat and an infra red lamp or ceramic heat emitter for night time heat is ideal, although you do need to ensure the iguana cannot touch the lamp and burn. In the adult enclosure more than one lamp or heat source will be necessary. Only one may heat the animals head but it is 6 feet long so the body would not get any benefit. In other words increase the size of the basking area as the iguana grows. Keeping any animal at such high temperatures is almost impossible without some way of controlling the temperature. Ambient temperature is going to change. A heat source that achieves 45C on a cold winters night is going to be considerably hotter on a hot summers day so a thermostat is essential. Overheating will kill an iguana much quicker than it being kept too cool.

Lighting

An iguana is a diurnal lizards. They are active during the day (they have an organ under the skin on the top of their heads often called a third or parietal eye that detects light and some movement). An iguana will also require UVB lighting. This is not the light provided by the basking spot lamp (unless you use a combined heat and UVB lamp). Normal basking lamps DO NOT provided UVB light although some do provide UVA. UVB is essential for allowing the iguana to manufacture vitamin D3 in its skin. Vitamin D3 is used in the metabolism of calcium from the diet. Without a good source of UVB the iguana cannot get calcium from their food and their bodies will then start to scavenge it from the only source left which is the bones. This leads to metabolic bone disease (MBD) and can be fatal. It is even more likely in a growing iguana as the calcium demand is higher. Of course in the wild they are in full sunlight and you cannot get a better UV source than that (so taking your iguana into the garden on a hot summers day is a good thing – do make sure you don’t have toxic ornamental plants though).

One thing often overlooked is that UVB bulbs and tubes, whilst they may carry on working as a light source, stop giving out UVB after a while (depending on which type). After 6 moths UVB tubes start to deteriorate and after a year are not producing any appreciable UVB light at all. You will need to change tubes at around 9 months usage, so make sure you record when you last changed the lamp. Also UV does not travel very far from the source. Having a lamp on the top of a 6 foot high enclosure and expecting the UVB to reach an iguana on the ground is beyond wishful thinking. You will need to provide a basking area close (around 12 inches) to the UVB lamp to ensure the iguana is getting enough to manufacture vitamin D3. This is OK as iguanas are mostly arboreal and so will spend most of their time on strategically placed branches and ledges.

 

Substrate and decor

Substrate choice is always a subject that creates debate (or in a lot of cases out and out slanging matches). I have my own personal preferences and my own reasons for that choice and you may have yours. As I don’t know your choices and reasons I will give mine instead. Certainly for a smaller enclosure I prefer bark chips (also known as orchid bark). I like it as it looks natural and also as it can help maintain the humidity of the vivarium by retaining some moisture. There is a perceived risk of an iguana accidentally ingesting it and subsequent impaction but I have never known this and by using a large food bowl and disposing of uneaten, spilt food this can be avoided. Sometime I have mixed it with coir (coco fibres) to make it go further and sometimes added a layer of dead leaves or moss for an even more natural look, particularly when going the whole hog and setting up a naturalistic environment complete with detrivores to clean up the poop and waste food. However that’s a subject on its own so I won’t cover it further here. In a large adult iguana enclosure this can get expensive and lots of people use just newspaper. Normally I am not a fan as I don’t like the look of it and the animals cannot get a grip on the surface. However with iguanas they are not going spend enough time out of the branches for that to be a problem. I still don’t like the look though. Some people use straw or alfalfa pellets. Again not my favourite. There is little risk if ingested as, after all, it is just food. However any water spilt on it turns it to mush and it can then smell. Of course you don’t have to use anything in a large enclosure, just have a surface that is easy to wipe clean but do keep it clean!

As already stated, an iguana needs branches and ledges to climb around on (hence the need for height in their enclosure). Artificial greenery (personally, I prefer silk plants to plastic) works well and looks good. If you are going to use real plants make sure they are not toxic as the iguana will at least try to eat them. Any thing purchased from a garden centre will have been sprayed with pesticide and may also have pesticide in the soil of the pot. Go organic. Whichever you choose, the more the merrier. A young iguana especially will appreciate the hiding spots.

Food

The iguana is a vegetarian, completely. Yes in the wild they are bound to eat the odd insect or slug that is on their food but only by accident. Feeding animal protein in any amount will lead to renal problems as the kidneys are overloaded.

90% of the diet needs to be green fibrous food such as rocket, lettuces, kale, dandelions etc. The other 10% can be made up of squashes, cucumber, grated carrot etc. and small amounts of fruit (ours love a bit of mango). Go easy on the fruit though, as too much can upset the stomach which is not good for the iguana and you are the one that has to clear up the resultant mess. There are also commercially prepared iguana packaged foods available. Whilst I would not advocate feeding these exclusively to an iguana, they make a good “cupboard staple” for those times when, for whatever reason, you just can’t get out to get some fresh food. Our iguana likes tortoise pellets now and then and since these contain calcium and vitamin supplements they make a good occasional treat.

Supplementation of the food with calcium powder and occasionally vitamin powder will ensure a healthy iguana throughout its life.

Whilst small, chop the food up quite finely. They don’t really chew as such and will swallow lumps whole, so keeping the pieces small will only help. Always feed good quality food fresh. Remove any uneaten food before it goes nasty and it is an artificially hot environment, it will go nasty quickly.

Always provide fresh water daily. A bowl large enough for a youngster to get into is good. Regular misting will also help maintain humidity (which helps when shedding skin) and ensure youngsters are getting water to drink. You can adjust humidity further by moving the water bowl. At the cool end there will be less evaporation than in the hot end.

red iguana

With proper care and handling IGUANAS do make good pets. They do seem to get to recognise and interact with their owners and each has its own unique character. Unless you are very experienced though (and if you are you probably wouldn’t be bothering to read this) avoid getting an adult. If it hasn’t been properly looked after it is likely to be aggressive and such a powerful animal is going to do some damage. Always see and handle any animal first, before committing to buy. Above all appreciate you are taking over responsibility for the animal when you buy it and all that entails. If you are not sure you have the space, time and finances don’t.

 

The Angell Pets Team

Up to date livestock list

Our extensive list of livestock changes daily so I don’t usually have time to post up to date lists. However once in a while I do post what we currently have in stock by way of a marker. Here is our current list. However by tomorrow this could well have changed. See our website for some of what we stock and contact me to find out if we have what you are looking for. Please note we have access to far more than we have on our website or on this current list and that ALL our animals are captive bred – no wild caught.

Birds

  • Cockatiels (coloured and grey)
  • Rainbow Budgies (coming Thursday)
  • Zebra Finch
  • Java Sparrow
  • Blue Canary
  • Yellow Canary
  • Red Canary (coming Thursday)
  • Chinese Painted Quail
  • Conure

Small Mammals

  • Syrian Hamster
  • Fancy Mice (female – coming Thursday)
  • Dumbo Rats
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Ferret (last one this year)

Amphibians

  • Axolotl
  • Gold Tree Frog
  • Horned Frog

Reptiles

  • Crevice Spiny Lizard
  • Emerald Swift
  • Bosc Monitor
  • Red Iguana
  • Uromastyx
  • Crested Gecko
  • Flame Crested Gecko
  • Leopard Gecko
  • Chinese Cave Gecko
  • Tokay Gecko
  • Bearded Dragon
  • Panther Chameleon
  • Hermanns Tortoise
  • Common Musk Turtle
  • Corn Snake (hypo masque, anery, amel, ghost, sunglow)
  • Milksnake
  • Common Boa
  • Kenyan Sand Boa
  • Spotted Python
  • Royal Pythons
  • Carpet Python
  • Hog Nosed Snake

Invertebrates

  • Assassin Bug
  • Ghost Mantis
  • Miomantis
  • Hercules Beetle Larvae
  • Carpenter Ant Queen
  • Deaths Head Cockroach
  • Madagascan Giant Hissing Cockroach
  • Indian Stick Insect
  • Giant Spiny Stick Insect
  • Giant Prickly Stick Insect
  • Wood Nymph
  • Asian Jungle Scorpion
  • Flat Rock Scorpion
  • Brazilian Red Rump Tarantula juvenile
  • Brazilian Black Tarantula juvenile
  • Giant White Knee Tarantula spiderling (large)
  • Mexican Red Leg Tarantula spiderling
  • Mexican Red Knee Tarantula spiderling
  • Giant Orange Knee Tarantula spiderling (large)
  • Curly Haired spiderling and juvenile
  • Metallic Pink Toe Tarantula spiderling
  • Costa Rican Tiger Rump Taratula adult (M&F)
  • Santa Catalina Big B… Tarantula juvenile
  • Chang Mai Earth Tiger spiderling
  • Malaysian Earth Tiger juvenile
  • Chile Rose Tarantula spiderling, juvenile, sub adult and adult (M)
  • Northern Gold Tarantula sub adult
  • Indian Violet Earth Tiger spiderling (large)
  • Vietnamese Blue Earth Tiger spiderling (large)
  • Sulewesi Black Earth Tiger spiderling (large)
  • Hati Hati Purple Earth Tiger juvenile
  • Red Slate Ornamental juvenile
  • Indian Ornamental adult (F)
  • Venezuelan Suntiger spiderling
  • Bahia Scarlet Birdeater spiderling
  • Columbian Giant Birdeater juvenile
  • Togo Starburst Baboon Spider juvenile
  • Usumbara Red Baboon Spider juvenile
  • Stout Legged Baboon Spider spiderling (large)
  • King Baboon Spider spiderling
  • Feather Legged Baboon Spider spiderling
  • Blue Footed Baboon Spider spiderling (large)

Fish

  • Calico Oranda
  • American Flag Fish
  • Paradise Fish
  • Albino Paradise Fish
  • Leopard Danio
  • Clown Loach
  • Platy
  • Molly
  • Siamese Fighting Fish
  • Guppy (F)
  • Corydoras
  • Flame Tetra
  • Lemon Tetra
  • Cherry Spot Rasbora
  • Norman Lamp Eye
  • Golden Panchax
  • Black Widow Tetra
  • Blind Cave Fish
  • Columbian Tetra
  • Dwarf Blue Coral Gourami

Molluscs

  • Red Onion Snail (aquatic)
  • Yellow Rabbit Snail (aquatic)
  • Giant African Land Snail (terrestrial)

 The Angell Pets Team

Livefood down in price at Angell Pets

Livefood prices are following the general trend of negative inflation that we have seen over the past few weeks. We have negotiated a better deal with our suppliers and are passing on the savings to our customers.

livefood

Our livefood prices have not increased in the past five years. This is the first price change we have had on this essential item and we are pleased to say it is down.

The new livefood price list is as follows:-

Crickets now £1.99 (REDUCED from £2.75)

Locusts now £1.99 (REDUCED from £2.75)

Waxworms now £1.99 (REDUCED from £2.75)

Mini Mealworms Now £1.99 (REDUCED from £2.75)

Mealworms now £1.99 (REDUCED from £2.75)

Morio worms now £1.99 (REDUCED from £2.75)

Calci worms now £2.99 (REDUCED from £3.07)

Bean Weevils now £2.99 (REDUCED from £3.83)

Fruit Fly cultures now £2.99 (REDUCED from £3.83)

Tropical Woodlice now £2.99 (REDUCED from £3.83)

Whiteworm culture now £2.99 (REDUCED from £3.83)

Springtails NEW £2.49

Pachnoda (fruit beetle lavae) now 2.99 (REDUCED from £4.24)

With the recent 40% price reduction of the price of jelly pots, this makes buying and keeping your livefood a whole lot cheaper.

Don’t forget all livefood can still be delivered locally FREE OF CHARGE as well and we are renouwned for the quality of our livefood. We feed the livefood boxes three times a week to keep them in tip top condition. None of this will change, it’s just the price that has come down.

The Angell Pets Team

 

Exo Terra prices coming down

Exo Terra, one of the most popular brands in the trade and makers of some excellent products have reduced their prices. This came without any fanfare from the manufacturer or the wholesalers and is just another manifestation of the current “negative inflation” trend.

Over the last few months we have been able to reduce prices of a number of stock items as a result of negative inflation. These have included bird seed bulk sacks, small animal accessories etc. Also we have frozen prices on Royal Canin  and other pet foods even though the manufacturers have put up their prices (we thought it unfair given the current downward trend in price). We are pleased we can now include a range of Exo Terra products in these reductions. We already had promotions on a number of Exo Terra products, including  glass terrariums and the excellent turtle terrarium kit and we are now in the process of reviewing all the products and reducing prices where appropriate.

We are pleased we already reduced prices on a lot of  Exo Terra products. I won’t include them all here, the range is too big but here are some examples of products that have dropped in price this week as well as some promotions we have on.

Exo Terra Solar Glo UVB basking lamp

exo terra solar glo

Exo Terra feeding dish

exo terra feeding dishes

Exo Terra water bowl

exo terra water dish

Exo terra glass terrarium

exo terra glass terrarium

Exo terra turtle terrarium

exo terra turtle terrarium

Our website and our shop contain a lot of Exo Terra products. As we play catch up with the recent price changes, look out for many more reductions.

Uromastyx Care Sheet

Uromastyx lizards make great reptiles to keep, especially for those who do not want to feed livefood. These, often colourful, lizards are in a way the vegetarian equivalent of a bearded dragon (they belong to the same family), a similar size (some are smaller and one is larger) with similar heat and light requirements (a bit hotter though) and are almost as interactive (although some individuals can be a little shy).

There are a number of different species (out of 18 in total plus sub species) of Uromastyx generally available. These all have similar environmental (check for your species on specific measurements) and food requirements.

uromastyx

North African Uromastyx (Uromastyx acanthinura nigriventris)

The natural range of the various species of uromastyx is north of the equator from north Africa round into the Indian sub continent. With the variety of sizes there is also a variety of maxium ages, with the Egyptian uromastyx generaly being the largest and longest lived. 15 years is a good average age for any uromastyx although 30 years has been reported for a captive specimen.

Housing

Uromastyx need it hot and dry. Due to the high basking heat levels you will need a larger vivarium that for similar sized bearded dragon. This is not because the uromastyx needs more space as such (although I am sure it will appreciate it) but due to the need to maintain a sufficient temperature gradient for you uromastyx to effectivley thermo regulate. In a small viv. with such a high temperature basking area you will inevitably be raising the temperature across the whole viv. and your “cool end” will not be cool enough. We would recommend from 3′ to 6′, depending on species and size of the uromastyx. Personally I would recommend a wooden viv. that will keep the heat in, with a good quality thermostat to prevent overheating. Trying to keep the temperature up in a glass viv. that looses heat readilly could cost a bit in electric and the life cost of any pet should always be taken into consideration before getting one to avoid having to pass it onto a “resue center” when it becomes too expensive to maintain.

Heating

High daytime temperatures are very important to a uromastyx. They are a diurnal lizard (active during the day) and spend nightimes in a burrow away from predators. Night time temperatures can fall quite low, 18C (in a normal house you could switch all heating off at night or have a small heat mat if your house is consistently cold at night). Day time temperatures are kept high. Ambient temperature needs to be around 38C at the hot end and around 26C at the cool end with a basking spot temperature of 48 to 60C. In trying to keep a temperature this high it is essential to have correctly sized heat equipement and a good quality thermostat to prevent overheating your uromastyx. With all uromastyx the brightness of the lighting is also important so using bright incandescent or halogen lamps for the basking area heat is best.

Lighting

As said, bright daytime lighting is essential for a uromastyx. Not only does it stimulate feeding behaviour is also brings out the best colours. Generally the uromastyx colours only really show when they have heated up in bright light. UVB is also critical to the continued good health of the uromastyx. WIthout adequate levels of UVB they cannot absorb calcium from their diet and will get seriously ill. In fact on a really hot day (30C plus) a uromastyx will love basking in a secure area outside. You cannot get a better UV source than the sun! In the vivarium use either a minimum of a 10% UVB fluorescent tube (which will need to be changed at least every 9 months) or a combined heat and UVB mercury vapour or metal hallide basking lamp (these cannot be regulated by a thermostat so size correctly).

Decor

It is a good idea to ensure there are multiple levels (use rocks or ledges) so not only can the uromastyx find a wider variation in temperatures but also so it can bask nearer to the UVB source (not too close if using a combined heat and UV source, it must not be able to touch it). UV light does not travel very far from the light source and the strength of the UVB rays deteriorates rapidly with distance. A deep substrate will provide burrowing media but hides placed around the viv. are a good supplement/alternative. Make sure any rocks cannot fall and crush your uromastyx and that hides are placed throughout the enclosure so the uromastyx can lay up at night and get out of the high temperatures during the day in a temperature needed at that point.

Substrate

A deep substrate that can hold itself together and provide a burrowing medium is a good idea. We tend to use Lucky Reptile desert bedding as it can hold a bit of humidity at lower levels, so best replicates the wild environment. It also looks the part! I would avoid pure silica sand (play sand) as there is a higher risk of impaction and I don’t like calci sand myself for the same reason. Others do use these substrates and claim to have had no problems but I would rather avoid the risk. You can also use more utilitarian substrates but they do not have the structure to form burrows or localised humidity.

Feeding

In the wild, Uromastyx eat vegetable matter. In extremis they will eat insects but this is only done when vegetable matter is unavailable (drought conditions) and no alternative is available. The animal protein is thought to cause harm to the internal organs (especially the kidneys). In captivity vegetable matter is obviously always available so insects should not be given. A variety is best for your uromastyx. Green leaves such as rocket, unsprayed dandelion etc. are good for uromastyx. Avoid brassicas – cabbages etc. as these contain oxylates that bind up dietary calcium, making it unavailable to the uromastyx metabolism. Squashes, carrots etc (finely chopped or grated) can also be given and proprietary brands of herbivore food (usually sold for iguanas, tortoises etc.) make a good store room standby. Dusting food with a little calcium powder daily is a good idea but restrict vitamin powders to weekly as it is possible to overdose vitamins. If you are giving plenty of variation of fresh foods to your uromastyx additional vitamins will not be necessary more that once a week. If feeding a balanced, fresh diet a uromastyx will rarely drink water (some highland and coastal species may). You may wish to present a water dish once a week but do not leave it in the vivarium for too long (an hour is adequate) as with the high heat levels it will quickly evaporate and raise the humidity. This is harmless in the short term but leaving a water bowl in the vivarium all the time can be detrimental to the health of the lizard (consistently high humidity will make it susceptible to respiratory infection). I don’t bother with a water bowl.

All the Uromastyx we have had have been docile. I have never been bitten or even tail whipped by one although anything with a jaw could bite I suppose. Consequently they make great “pets” although they should not be kept out of the vivarium for too long ( a couple of hours is fine) as they do need the high temperature and UV levels.

The Angell Pets Team

Ackie Monitors (Varanus acanthurus) Care Sheet

Ackie monitors (or spiny tailed monitors) make a good first monitor lizard or a step up from the more commonly kept agamid lizards such as bearded dragons.

Akie monitor (spiny tailed monitor) Varanus acanthurus

Like bearded dragons, Ackies are from the dryer regions of Australia and need similar (but not the same) conditions. They get a little larger (well longer at least) and so will need a large enclosure. They should also be quite active, making a larger enclosure essential.

Due to their relatively small size (for monitors) and generally good temperment, Ackies make a good starter monitor but are attractive enough to appeal to more experienced keepers too.

Enclosure

Akies get to around 2 feet in length (males slightly larger). They are a very active lizard and like to burrow in the substrate. This, coupled to the fact that they like it very hot in the basking area (50-60 degrees centigrade) means that they need a large vivarium. Large enough that a good temperature gradient can be maintained (50 degrees hot end 20-25 degrees “cold” end) and that the substrate can be deep enough to remain moist under the surface.

As large an enclosure as possible is desirable but a minimum of 4’x2’x2′. Some people recommend larger to ensure the correct depth of substrate but by using stones to form a retaining wall you can acheive the necessary depth in a vivarium of this size.

Make sure that when being assembled the edges of the vivarium are well sealed. The idea is to have moist soil in the viv and if care is not taken to seal all the edges and joins the vivarium will not last long. Better still use glass, although these are more expensive. Plastic will work well, I just don’t like them myself.

Ackies will make their own burrows but then they are not accessible. Providing a hide will encourage it to stay where you can find it. Providing plenty of hides throughout the enclosure will give the lizard a choice of where to hide when maintaing body temperature so the more the merrier.

A large water bowl is good idea.  Placed correctly, overfilling the bowl can help keep the lower levels of substrate moist and the Ackie will certainly relish going in the bowl. Ours burrow under the bowl, which is at the cooler end of the viv. I assume this creates a cooler hide and ours move between this and their “favourite” rock hide during the day

Heating

Ackies like it HOT. My preferred way to create a very hot basking area is with a combination of ceramic heat emmitter (on all the time) and basking lamp (on during the day). In very large vivs you can use a combined heat and UV lamp. These are not dimmable but if the viv is big enough and the lamp sized correctly, as they like it so hot, you can get away with it. You will still need another form of heat for overnight when the lamp is off. If in any doubt, go for a combinination of heat emmiter and basking lamp with a pulse proportional stat on the emmitter. This will give you control day and night.

Lighting

Ackies need high intensity UV. If you have a large viv. and have gone for a combined heat and UV basking lamp then job done. If not, you will need as large a wattage 10% or 12% UVB tube as you can fit in the viv. Fitting a reflector to the tube will greatly increase the amount of UV recieved by the lizard. UVB is essential for calcium metabolism (manufacture of vitamin D3 in the skin) so is not an “optional” requirement.

UVB tubes stop giving out noticeable levels of UV after around 9 months (the combined heat and UV lamps a little longer), so ensure you budget to replace these. Unless you have an expensive UV monitor you will not notice the difference but your lizard will and if the tube is not replaced will eventually get metabolic bone disease and probably die a painful death. If you cannot afford the replacement tubes, don’t get an Ackie.

Basking lamps and UVB lamps should be switched off overnight to give a good day/night cycle. Leaving lighting on all night can stress diurnal animals (and is a waste of electricity and will speed up the replacement of your UVB lamps!). Also, by having a dark rest period they tend to be more acitve during the limited (around 12 hours) daylight hours.

Substrate

Ackies like to dig. They will dig hunting for food, they will dig out burrows to rest in, they will dig to lay eggs, sometimes they will just dig! Therefor the substrate needs to be as deep as you can make it. As already alluded to, you can make a retaining wall with rocks to create an area with deeper substrate. In the wild they like to move around rocky outcrops and drop into gaps when threatened so putting in plenty of areas to climb and hide is a good idea. They will dig out a burrow to hide in and this needs to be at a higher humidity than the surrounding air. To maintain this, regular dampening or misting of the substrate is required to stop it drying out. If it is too shallow, not only will it not support a burrow, it will dry out too quickly. That said the word is damp, not wet!

A good soil, sand mix works well. I like to use desert bedding. It has a good structure that retains moisture at lower levels and can suport burrows without collapse. Other types of soil are also suitable. Mixing in some coir helps moisture retention but I don’t like Ackies on pure coir (has to be too wet to support a burrow)

Feeding

Like other monitors, Ackies are carnivores. The bulk of their diet should be insects but they will take pinkes and fuzzies etc. (although weaned rodents contain more calcium and less fat), as well as a little egg and turkey (I don’t bother with turkey myself) . Don’t use dog and cat food – some people do but it is never a good idea.  Ackies store fat in the base of their tails. Feeding to much meat (i.e. food they don’t have to actively hunt) can lead to obesity, although they are nowhere near as prone to this as say, a Bosc Monitor. Better to encourage them to run around hunting by feeding live insects. I use gut loaded cockroaches in the main but vary this as much as possible. We sell livefood so I always have a wide range avaiable so I am a bit spoilt for choice. Dust the food with calcium a few times a week(every day when young) and vitamin powder once a week. Gut loading the insects prior to feeding is the best way to ensure a balanced diet.

Breeding

I am not going to go into detail about breeding. Female Ackies are cyclical breeders. They build up fat stores in their tails and when a certain level is reached and conditions are right, they start to produce eggs. When ready they produce a pheramone that stimulates the male into mating behaviour. Fertilzed eggs are then laid in a burrow. As with most lizards, if the eggs are removed to an incubator for hatching they must not be turned and must be kept in their original orientation or the embryo will die.

Should I get one?

Ackies are great lizards to keep. Most will become quite tame (our male is very tame, the female less so, although she can be handled). They do need large enclosures and the right equipment, regularly maintained. They are probably not for someone who has never owned a reptile before but make a good step up from the usual beaded dragons and leopard geckos etc. Remember they are quite long lived, 15 – 20 years so if considering these fascinating little monitor lizards you need to understand the comittment you are undertaking before buying. They are quite hardy if kept under the right conditions but it is always wise to find out where your nearest specialist reptile vet is located before you need to use one. Normal vets will not have a clue with most reptiles.

The Angell Pets Team

Reptile boarding, small animal and bird boarding takes off at Angell Pets

Reptile boarding was one of the few services we were unable to provide our customers from our old Angell Pets shop in Abbeymead. There simply was not enough space in a secure part of the building to accomodate the necessary enclosures and equipment. One thing we are not lacking in our new premises is space. We now have an entire extra upstairs floor that has enabled us to increase stock holding (we never had any storage space before either) and install a range of vivaria, enclosures and bird cages to enable us to offer reptile boarding, small mammal boarding and bird boarding services to our customers.

 

reptile boarding

One Of Our Reptile Boarders Being Fed

We have built up a reputation as Gloucester’s premier pet shop and were constantly being asked by customers if we could provide reptile boarding for their animals as they trusted us with their beloved pets. Not only had they come to know us and recognise the years of experience we have with a wide range of animals, they also knew that our senior team is the most qualified around. All have completed, as a minimum, either an industry recognised apprenticeship or higher level City and Guilds animal management qualification. Two are also educated to honours degree level in biology and animal science.

We have now completed fitting out  a reptile boarding facility upstairs along with enclosures for other animals and birds and have already taken bookings. We have our first visitor with us at the moment. All reptile boarding facilities are secure and complete with temperature, humidty, lighting and control equipment relevant to the reptile requiring looking after. We are also equiped to take small mammals, inverts and birds. You can use our enclosures or bring your own to reduce the stress on more nervous animals (subject to disinfection upon arrival).

We take bio security very seriously and all enclosures in our reptile boarding facility are scrupulously clean and are disinfected (using F10 and anti mite treatment) between uses (and during longer stays) and staff are trained in ensuring no cross contamination occurs during feeding and cleaning times. No animals are admitted to the facility that show signs of disease or infestation.

All animals in our reptile boarding and other animal boarding facilities are checked at least twice a day and fed, watered or cleaned as appropriate. We have a high level of knowledge of most animals and have the back up of one of the best reptile vets in the county.

Reptile boarding or boarding of other animals is arranged by telephone or visiting the shop, although you can see prices etc. on our webstore

Reptile Boarding (single animal)

Reptile Boarding (multiple animals)

Small Mammal Boarding 

Rabbit, Guinea Pig and Ferret Boarding

Bird Boarding

So, if you are lucky enough to be going on holiday or if you need to have a stay in hospital or are going to be working away and you need a reptile boarding service or boarding for other animals please give us a call. You know your animal is going to be looked after by the best professionals around.

Angell Pets Reptile Boarding in particular is booking up fast so please don’t leave it too late. We do have some capacity to expand the service further but it takes time to get all the equipment in place.

 

Angell Pets are moving!!!

Angell Pets has been based in Abbeymead for the last 5 years. Sadly our landlord saw fit to serve us with a notice to quit because he says he wants to put in an estate agents (virtually next door to the existing one!). Anyway we didn’t hang around but found ourselves a new premises right next to the Quays in Gloucester.

Angell Pets Pet shop Gloucester

We are moving to 168 – 170 Southgate Street, on the corner of Llanthony Road and Southgate Street. We are hoping to have the new shop OPEN by 24th November 2014. We will continue to trade from our existing Abbeymead store up until Friday the 21st. Over the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd we will be taking orders over the telephone or online through our webstore.

We appreciate the support our local customers in Abbeymead have given us over the past five years and offer FREE local delivery so we can still support those customers who cannot make it into the new shop. You can order online, over the telephone and if ordering over the telephone can pay by card or cash on delivery. Deliveries will be Monday to Friday and normally in the evening, although as the popularity of this service grows we may have to start putting on some deliveries during the day as well.

Any change, especially one forced upon you, is difficult to manage. We will try to ensure stock levels are maintained during the move but I am sure there is plenty of scope for some items to run a bit low. Restocking only normally takes us a couple of days if this does occur however.

We have thousands of lines plus all the shelving, animals and cages to move so it is not going to be easy but in the long run the extra space and cheaper rent and rates in the new shop is going to allow us to offer new services and promotions to our customers so hopefully the forced move will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Please pop in the Abbeymead shop during November as we will have some fantastic offers on as we reduce stock levels so there is less to move. Of course we would love you to visit us in our new premises after the 24th of November as well. Hopefully we will see you there.

 

The Angell Pets Team

Ninja turtles all over again

A new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film is due for release in October this year and the responsible trade is already taking steps in advance to avoid the problems caused last time round.

In the wake of the last round of popularity for this movie franchise, thousands of yellow bellied turtles, red eared sliders and cooters were sold, essentially just cashing in on the popularity of the films. Unfortunately parents were giving in to the demands of the kids without fully appreciating the high levels of equipment, care and maintainance these fairly large turtles require. Irresponsible traders have to bear a lot of blame too for not ensuring the prospective owners knew exactly what they were getting into. Many were selling 50p sized turtles in small tanks without all the necessary equipment for healty growth and without making clear to the the new owners just how big they were going to get and the size of tank required by an adult.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

As a result, this combination of lack of parenting skills and lack of care from sections of the trade has resulted over the years in sick turtles with MBD and malformed shells and also rescue centres, newspapers and more recently online sites awash with unwanted pets.Probably worst of all, canals and ponds found themselves with new residents as owners who haven’t appreciated what the word responsible means just dumping theirs where they can.

In light of what has gone on before and knowing that often we can talk till we are blue in the face about tank size, UVB requirements, filtration, basking spots etc. but the person in front of us is just not listening, we have decided not to sell any of these species from now until at least a year after the release of the film. Actually we haven’t stocked any yellow bellies or their like for a couple of years but we do get requests for them from time to time. We already get offered unwanted ones on average once a week and the film is not even being promoted yet. This action is inline with calls from REPTA to get importers to agree to a 12 month moratorium on sliders, cooters and other unsuitable species, which we fully support (although we do not sell wlid caught animals anyway).

One last thing I think needs saying. The last childrens’ film involving animals I took my kids to the cinema to see was G Force (the one with the guinea pigs). I was disgusted to see a sales display for guinea pigs from a well known pet supermarket (you all know the one) directly opposite the cinema screen exit, in the old Cineworld in Gloucester. Trying to capitalise on the pester power of kids in this way is just wrong. When they are hyped up on soft drinks, popcorn and sweets and have just seen a high action film is not the time to decide to buy an animal that is going to live for several years and have very specific care needs.These are living animals we are talking about, not sweets at a checkout. Lets hope they won’t try and pull any stunts like that with this new film.

 Please do not buy any animal just because it featured in a film. Do your research first and find out, in advance, what is involved with its lifetime care and remember some animals are going to outlive you if looked after properly. If in any doubt about the long term commitment do not buy. If you are unsure what is involved come and ask us. Ninja turtles are not real, real ones need looking after.

The Angell Pets Team

FREE local delivery area widened to include Cheltenham

FREE local delivery with any order has been on offer from us at Angell Pets for quite some time.

We are now able to extend this FREE service to Cheltenham and the surrounding areas. Delivery of any item in the GL1,2,3,4,50,51,52 and 53 areas is now FREE.

Orders can be placed over the phone or from our on line web store. Orders on line are by card but COD is available for telephone orders.

free local delivery

This also means we are now able to offer livestock deliveries to these areas, as all FREE local delivery runs are with our own vehicles (we do not post or courier animals). Simply choose from our stock on line and call to arrange payment and delivery. This gives us the opportunity for us to check you have thought through your purchase and for you to check us out and be sure of what you are buying.

If you need to arrange FREE local delivery at a specific time, call us at the shop and order over the telephone and we will try to arrange delivery at a time that suits you. Unless it is really busy we can usually accomodate. Please note we do not usually deliver at weekends. I work seven days a week and do FREE local delivery in the evenings during the week. My wife insists I have some time off!

So sign up on our on line store to receive FREE LOCAL DELIVERY of all your animals needs.

The Angell Pets Team