This page will give you an insight into how to take care of certain pets, general information about them and an understanding of what to expect from them during certain periods such as mating, being ill etc. We hope that we here at Dragonfly Waters will help you our friendly customers get a good insight & understanding of them with the information provided.
The Murray short neck turtles originate in the Murray-darling river system from southern Queensland into New South Wales, through Northern Victoria and down towards Adelaide in South Australia. Eastern long necks typically inhabit the dams, rivers, lakes and creeks of Adelaide and Townsville. Like the short neck turtles their habitat is wet all year round with warm to hot summers and cool winters. The habitat you create for your new pet should reflect their original habitat.
Please note: Freshwater turtles are protected species in Australia, therefore you should seek individual state and territory requirements on keeping turtles.
INDOOR INCLOSURES/HOUSING: They require an adequate indoor aquarium set up however more importantly they need to be in water to eat, drink, and defecate. Apart from water they additionally need an area where they can be completely dry, (a basking area).
It is also good for the turtles (especially if they are juveniles), to have an area where the can hide as they can often be quite timid.
LIGHTING: These turtles require a UVB light supplementation. The correct lighting is imperial to their overall health as it stimulates natural feeding and foraging behaviours. Furthermore, turtles rely on UVB lights to produce adequate amounts of Vitamin D3 in their skin. (This is essential for proper calcium metabolism in turtles).
Turtles should also be placed in sunlight for a 20-30 minuet period 2-3 times a week. However make sure during this time the turtle is enclosed safely in a predator proof container with shallow water. Make sure the container isn’t made out of glass or plastic as this will filter out any UVB rays. Ensure that the turtle does not become overheated. In terms of artificial UV sources you should recreate a circadian rhythm. That is, day and night cycles with 12 hours day and 12 hours night. (approximately).
HEATING: Turtles require the water to be heated to at least 20-28 degrees Celsius (depending on the turtle species). To achieve this, a thermostatically controlled aquarium water heater will be needed.
WATER QUALITY: Turtles can produce a lot of waste; it is a good idea to become familiar with the process of the “Nitrogen cycle” as it will help you deal with some of the water issues which may arise.
It is common that illness in turtles is a result of poor water quality; the chemicals that you can’t see in the water are potentially the most harmful. Therefore regardless of the water efficiency you should change 25% of the water every week. If you’re using tap water it’s also a good idea to use a “water conditioner” when topping up the tank.
Another good habit to get into with looking after your turtle is to use conditioning salts in order to maintain water hardness. The recommended concentration for this is 5g of aquarium salt per 10l of water.
FEEDING: In the wild long neck turtles are mostly carnivorous, eating insects, tadpoles, frogs, crustaceans and molluscs. Short neck turtles vary in their eating habits from carnivorous to herbivorous. Keep in mind that turtles are prone to “over eating “and will opportunistically consume the “wrong” foods if given the chance. For short neck turtles, feed as for long neck turtles incorporating vegetable matter into their diets such as freshwater plants like duckweed, ribbonweed and nardoo. See in store for our large variety of turtle feeds too. Vegetables and fruits should also be added to their diet. Make sure any “salt water” foods are soaked in fresh water for a few hours before feeding the turtles.
Avoid feeding them raw meat or other pet foods.
It is also a good idea to remove any uneaten food within a few hours, this will help keep the water clean.
HEALTH NOTES: Always wash your hands after handling a reptile
When transporting them, keep them in sealed containers (with holes for ventilation) and ensure the bottom of the container has a moist towel. Never transport turtles in water.
-Please be mindful of how you take care of them!
Did you know that Hermit crabs could live for up to 50 years?
Well thanks to certain pet shops it is common that these adorable creatures only end up living for only around 5 years. Helpless in their new environment hermit crabs are often shut in tiny cages with inadequate food or shelter, putting them in a highly stressful situation. Many pet shops are only looking for an easy profit and due to costs they often don’t bother to spend much on supplies to house their hermit crabs. They also forget to educate many of the customers on correctly caring for their new hermit crabs, forcing the hermit crabs to live the rest of their short lives in impoverished conditions. There is a large misconception that hermit crabs are very easy pets to take care of, this is not the case as they are a delicate creature and like all other pets, have basic needs.
Firstly small cages are a no go for hermit crabs. The best habitat for your hermit crab is a large tank; the larger is usually the better as it enables them to move around freely. A humidity gauge should be installed in your hermit crabs tank as 70% humidity in the environment is optimum for your crab’s well-being, if it’s over 80% humidity this can lead to mould growths in the tank and this is lethal to your hermit crabs. Check out eBay or our store as we stock these at low and affordable costs. A thermometer for the tank is also essential as a healthy temperature for hermit crabs to survive in is around 21-29 degrees Celsius. Anything far beyond this temperature range may be life threatening to your little friends so a thermometer is mandatory for their tank. Additionally to keep the temperature within these limits an overhead lamp with incandescent light bulbs (like the one used for reptiles) may be needed. Ensure that your hermit crab cannot reach the lamp as it can seriously burn or even kill them.
It may also be helpful to know that hermit crabs often molt. This is an integral part of the crab’s life as they are slowly growing! However (much like puberty) it’s a very stressful time for them and they shouldn’t be handled whilst they are molting. Molting involves the crab shedding its exoskeleton and digesting it. The skin eventually will re-harden which protects it from predators. Usually as they are molting they bury themselves deep in the sand of the tank which is a large reason why sand is essential for the hermit crabs habitat.
Like us humans, hermit crabs enjoy choosing from a variety of abodes! Which is why you should always keep assorted shells in their tank if they ever choose to change shells, (this happens as they grow larger).
One last thing to appreciate with hermit crabs is that there are different breeds of hermit crabs. This means different species need different care and treatment; ensure that you ask what breed of hermit crab your new pet is and what needs to be done specifically for the crab to ensure its comfort in its new home.
All equipment mentioned in the above article can be purchased from our store and we are more than happy to answer any questions or queries as customer and pet wellbeing is our priority.
Background – The ancestry of rainforest scorpions can be traced back to over 400 million years! These exciting critters carry with them a venomous tail and sharp pincers, so although they look intriguing, it is not a wise idea to handle them, unless you have adequate knowledge and experience of handling scorpions. Children must also be monitored when around these creatures as their little hands and scorpion’s pincers are not a good match!
Diet: Only one or two crickets should be left in your scorpion’s home for them to eat as they please. It is important that you do not put too many in as your scorpion could become annoyed, especially when they are shedding.
Maintenance of their Habitat: Typically these creatures live in rock crevices, beneath fallen bark or soil covered in rotting leaf matter so it is ideal that you re-create this environment to suit your new pets needs. These scorpions are best housed in reptile terrariums or tanks which can all be bought from our store. It is essential that the tanks have well ventilated lids which allows for good air circulation, a necessity for your new creepy crawly friend. The tanks do not need to be very high; a recommended tank height is around 45cm to 60cm high.
Heating: To replicate the rainforest scorpian’s natural habitat, their enclosure requires a heat pad to cover a portion of the tanks base (about 1/3 of it to ensure that your scorpions do not overheat). An optimum temperature for the enclosure would be around 20-30 degrees celsius. All equipment stated here can be brought from All Fine Pets.
Breeding: Scorpions can breed quite readily in captivity if a male and female scorpion are introduced in the same enclosure. You can tell if a female scorpion is pregnant by looking at her abdomen. If it has grown in size significantly then she may be pregnant. You may even be able to see thick white masses within the abdomen, this also denotes that your scorpio may be pregnant. Scorpion gestation periods last around 9 months and shortly before giving birth the mother may become restless , increasing burrowing behaviour and refusing feedings. Captive scorpions can produce up to 20 offspring so before you decide to breed a pair of scorpions first consider the amount of care you are able to provide for your scorpion and her children.
If Bitten by a scorpion: When bitten by a scorpion it is vital that you seek medical assistance immediately. If the victim cannot obtain medical assistance quickly it is important that the bite is washed with cool water and soap to remove residual venom around the area which may prevent further infection. A cold pack should be applied to prevent swelling and additionally numb the pain. Serious symptoms from scorpion bites include respiratory distress, rash or even seizures, indicating a severe reaction. It is emphasized that a medical practitioner is called when a person has been bitten by a scorpion.
Background – Native to Australian rainforests, Carpet pythons are a unique and captivating pet to keep. Typically they exhibit white/yellow markings or stripes on a predominantly brown body which makes them a very striking creature.The lifespan of this snake in captivity can last for up to 25 years or more! So make sure you are dedicated to looking after your scaley friend. If you are consider purchasing a carpet python you must also take into consideration that Australian law states you must have a reptile license if you wish to keep any reptiles. More information about the license we recommend that you visit www.dse.vic.gov.au
Diet & Cleaning – Carpet pythons are one of the easiest snakes to care for, making them great for new snake owners. They require basic artificial heat and light sources but they may also benefit from UVB light which may encourage natural feeding behaviours. The UVB emission of these lights lasts around 6 months so replacement of the light may be required. At All Fine Pets we regularly stock these lights at our store. It is mandatory that your snake’s enclosure is cleaned at least once a week (household bleach that is diluted with water is okay to use, as long as you rinse the tank well afterwards).
Pythons are carnivorous, therefore it is best they are fed (dead) whole prey items such as rodents and birds which are also supplied on site. It is recommended that your python is fed around 10% of its own body weight, juveniles should be fed weekly and adult pythons should be fed around 2-3 weeks. Occasional supplementation with multivitamins added to their diet would also benefit your python.
Wellbeing – Pythons can be housed individually or in pairs however fighting may occur. Avoid feeding them together. A suitable enclosure for your new snake may include ventilated glass/clear plastic tank, however juveniles can be kept in smaller plastic tubs. Basic items such as a hide box, branches and a water bowl should be kept in your snake’s environment, because it’s best to replicate your snake’s natural habitat, a rainforest.
Fertility – Carpet pythons sexually mature between 18 months and 4 years of age with breeding season generally being from November to March . Both snakes should be in a healthy state before breeding is attempted. A female python in captivity may lay around 10-40 eggs depending on factors such as her age and size. Once the eggs are laid, it is advisable to remove the eggs from the female and place them in an incubator, however you must take caution as the female is protective of her eggs. Once hatched the hatchlings should be taken out of the incubator, rinsed, and placed in a tub.
Background – The great thing about Skinks is that they are easily tamed & can be held by children but of course if supervised. Procedures should be inplace so that accidental falls to the skink whilst being held do not occur. Skinks may easily believe that your fingers are food so to prevent the Skink trying to eat your finger/s always wash your hands before holding the Skink & also after you have held it.
Diet & Cleaning – For Skinks to have a great diet it should have the intake of at least 60% of vegetables, the remaining 40% can be from animal sources. Skinks are able to eat foods such as prekilled mice, mealworms, killed Zoophorba worms, dog foods & processed mixture of carrots & peas etc. Fresh water must always be available for the Skink. Food & water bowls must be washed regularly as well as soiled areas constantly cleaned at available times.
Wellbeing – You must be observant of your Skink when possible. If you notice different signs or unusual behaviour than you must locate & consult with an experienced veterinarian. Never use heated rocks in the Skinks enclosure as this can cause serious burns to the Skink/s
Fertility – The Skink/s must be healthy & have a great amount of fat stored in their tails to be able to produce babies. Females may be kept together but only 1 male can be with female/s Skinks at any time. Male Skinks can become aggressive during mating season & fights can break out between the mating pair. To prevent this from occurring, it is best to keep the pair separated & only put back together while they are mating.
Background – Your green tree frog must always no less than once a day be sprayed with tap water. Do your best to handle the frog as little as possible & always wash your hands before & after handling the frog. The frog should atleast have a 10 gallon aquarium with a secured lid for the housing, the reason for the lid is because they do love to climb. When purchasing a tank for tehm make sure to purchase a tall tank over a wide or low one. Indoor/Outdoor carpet is the best covering for the floor inside the frogs aquarium so to add items lke driftwood, bark & branches for them to climb on. They appreciate leafy plants & it is important for the frog to have a shallow bowl with 1 – 2 inches of water so that they can soak themselves in it. Green Tree Frogs often do not aquire any heating in the tank because they only need a temperature of 68 – 77 degrees but if heating for the frog is needed than you may get it a low wattage heat lamp. Do not leave the tanks near sunlight so it prevents overheating.
Diet & Cleaning – Green Tree Frogs will eat small insects such as moths, flies & crickets. If you breed your own crickets than feed the crickets wth calcium-rich gut loading pellets before feeding them to your frog/s so that you can ensure that the frog recieves proper nutrition. Wash the bowls out for the frog/s on a daily basis. The walls & floor should be cleaned on a weekly basis by using hot water & making sure that it is thouroughly dried before placing the frogs back inside the tank.
Wellbeing – Green Tree Frogs are a great pet to have that also very rarely have any problems with them at all however, to ensure that your frog/s always stays healthy always clean their waters making sure that the water is dechlorinated. If you notice any symptoms from your frog such as weight loss, excessive yaening, bloated abdomen, lethargic or areas of inflammation than please see a veterinarian where they can assist helping the frog get better. Nver use soaps, chemicals or detergents to clean the tank or equipment within it as this can affect the frog/s wellbeing.
Fertility – With big mixed groups that consist of both males & females, the males will call very loudly during its breeding season. The female frog/s will lay eggs which hatch & become tadpoles
Warning – We strongly recommend that you do not put heat logs or any type of heat in the tanks as this can burn the frog
There is a large misconception that Savannah monitors are desert dwellers, when in fact their natural habitat is within the humid and coastal grasslands of Ghana, Africa. Therefore it is important for future monitor owners to replicate this habitat rather than having their monitor perish when they become dehydrated, an arising problem in the ownership of these majestic animals. Some owners also fail to realise the importance of their burrowing behaviours which actually enable the animal to retain moisture in its body and to avoid predators.
This is why it’s important to have sand which allows your monitor to burrow in as being confined to a tank 24/7 is comparable to a prison cell, therefore they need dirt to burrow in as they can adjust their environment to their own comfort.
Enclosure: Hatchling monitors should be housed in a homemade melamine enclosure.
It is important to keep temperatures around 26 to 28 degrees as monitors respond well to heat. For the “hot-end” of your enclosure temperature should be kept around 47 degrees, with a hot spot being around 47 degrees. Supplementary heating is usually always required if you live in a cooler climate, this can be in the form of a heat cord installed under a false floor in the hide, or a heat globe (preferably ceramic) installed within the ceiling of the hide. Heating should be run for approximately 10 hours a day and then switched off by a timer.
Enclosure furniture: Typically you should include rocks and logs in your monitor’s enclosure. A large basking rock should also be included as it retains heat throughout the night which would be an ideal sleeping spot for your monitor. In terms of hiding spots for monitors they should have walls which they are able to touch when inside them, this makes them feel more secure. A small water dish should additionally be placed within the cooler area of your tank, preferably a heavy bowl so it doesn’t tip over.
Lighting: If you use white-emitting reflector globes for hear it isn’t necessary to provide any other form of lighting. Often people purchase UV lighting as think perceive that it will benefit their monitor, however there is no known evidence supporting this therefore it is unnecessary for a UV light to be installed. It is however, suggested that you keep your monitor in natural sunlight for about half and hour during enclosure cleaning day.
Feeding: Diets of monitors should be enriched and varying as they should include whole items such as cockroaches, meal worms and pink mice when hatchlings. As they grow, mice, chickens, rats and quail is beneficial for their dietary requirements.
You should avoid purchasing processed foods like cat and dog food. Be sure not to over feed or underfeed your monitor which is often a common problem with these captive specimens. Ask our store manager Allan, for his assistance as this varies between different monitors.
A growing monitor should be fed everyday whilst adult monitors are fed every 3-5 days depending on the size of their last meal. Their prey should not be wider than the monitors head. Smaller prey are often easier to digest for your monitor.
Handling: Only handle your monitors when it’s necessary as it does cause them considerable stress. However with hatchlings they can get used to being handled and can essentially grow up quite tame. Just remember that they can cause damage if they bite or dig in their claws.