Skinks

Camo has kept Bluetongues and other skinks since the age of four. The bluetongue is easy to look after and makes an Ideal pet. Blue tongue lizards quickly become used to humans. (That's one reason why they are so popular as pets.)But even if they've never seen any humans before they are likely to just sit there and let you pick them up when you see one. Though they prefer firm ground under their feet. I don't blame them. There are six species of blue-tongued lizards or skinks in Australia. They vary a bit in colour and size, but most commonly they are grey with broad brown stripes across their back and tail, and they grow to around a foot in length (that's just the head and body, not the tail).

Their diet consists of plant matter and small animals. That can be beetles, caterpillars, crickets, snails and even other small lizards. Anything they can get hold of will do. But they are not very fast so they usually eat slower critters. They are very partial to slugs and snails. The blue tongue's main defence strategy is bluff: It faces the threat and opens its mouth. The blue tongue inside the pink mouth is an unexpected and vivid sight, designed to frighten off the attacker. The lizard also hisses loudly and flattens its body which makes it look wider and bigger.

Dragons

Popular as pets, bearded dragons or "beardies" are moderately sized lizards native to Australia. While they are generally considered good pets even for beginner reptile owners, they do have fairly complex nutritional and environmental requirements so need special equipment and a fair amount of time to care for properly. However, they are social and easy to tame and handle, and show a range of fascinating behaviours that make them interesting to watch.

Their name is derived from the spines that line their throats. These spines usually lie flat but if the dragon feels threatened the throat is expanded causing the spines to stand up, making the dragon look more intimidating (especially combined with their tendency to flatten their bodies to appear wider). However, bearded dragons are generally docile, and their aggressive displays are rarely seen in captivity. They are noted for an endearing greeting behaviour, in which they lift their front leg in an almost circular motion, so it looks like they are waving.

Geckos

Geckos are harmless, large-eyed, soft-bodied reptiles, which can live for ten to twenty years. In Australia we have 63 species which are mostly divided into two types, ground dwellers and tree or rock dwellers. The ground dwellers have long, often slender, fingers which end in claws and enable them to move rapidly over short distances in pursuit of prey. They also allow some species to dig burrows.

The tree or rock dwellers have fingers which are flattened with modified pads and catch in surface irregularities and provide traction on smooth surfaces. Geckos have no movable eyelids. Instead, a fixed transparent scale over the eye performs the same protective function as movable eyelids. They are commonly seen running their long tongues over this scale; presumably to keep it clean. The gecko's eyes also have vertical pupils, typical of nocturnal reptiles.

Turtles

Before you buy your turtle, you must have a home ready for it. To house a turtle indoors: A turtle up to 10 cm in diameter can live in a 60x30x30cm tank. The water needs to be deep enough so the turtle can swim completely underwater, and a land area needs to be big enough so it can walk about. The land area can be sand or gravel packed at one end, with a brick or rock holding it in place. A light with a special bulb from the pet shop should hang 10cm above the land, so that the turtle can bask in the 'sun'. In the wild, sunlight helps keep a turtle's shell hard and healthy. Water needs to be kept around 22-25ºC so a water heater will be useful. Keep the tank clean.

To house a turtle outside: you need a fenced area about 4m x 2m. The fence should be smooth (e.g. fibro cement or corrogated iron) and go about 30cm into the ground. Turtles can dig, and they can get hurt on chicken wire. There should be a pond, at least 2m square and over 30cm deep, and easy to clean. It should have sloping sides and a large rock or log so the turtle can climb in and out of the water. The land surface can be gravel or grass, and there should be some shelter such as a bush, or some rocks or logs. From April to about September, turtles will be inactive and spend time buried under shelter or in mud at the bottom of the pond.

Green Tree Frogs

The Australian Green Tree Frog, otherwise known after the person who first named it, John White, as White’s Tree Frog, is the most popular tree frog species maintained in captivity by zoos and private collectors throughout the world. Frogs are not like other pets. They have several characteristics that set them apart. These include: •most frogs do not enjoy being handled. •frogs are nocturnal and will remain hidden throughout the day •frogs can be very noisy during their breeding season.

Monitors

Monitors are some of the most interesting captive reptiles. Ackies are often compared to a Komodo Dragon in a small package. They are very inquisitive, active, and have great colors and patterns. They are certainly a great joy to keep for beginner monitor keepers and experienced ones alike. They are not a reptile that enjoys being held as perhaps Geckos and Bearded Dragons do. If it is a pet that you desire to have a lot of daily interaction with, then a monitor is not for you. This is not to say that they cannot be handled. Most of the captive Ackies can easily be tamed and will tolerate handling. Most of the joy to be had is in fact watching Ackies interact with each other in their environment.

Monitor husbandry is a little unique, unlike many other reptiles, where following certain guidelines is the answer to correct husbandry techniques. Camo will certainly give guidelines and direction to your Ackies setup and care, but each enclosure is definitely unique. You need to observe your monitor and make corrections as needed. Nearly all Ackies that you encounter will be captive bred.

Legless Lizards

General description: Distinctive long, pointed wedge-shaped snout unlike any other reptile, with the head scales small, fragmented and irregular. The hind limbs are reduced to flaps which are minute and difficult to detect. Colour and patterns are extremely variable, and ranges from cream and patternless through to shades of grey, brown, yellow, and red with combinations of stripes, lines and spots.

Distinguished from a snake by: · Presence of movable eyelids, · Fleshy tongue (not forked), · Vestigial hind limb flaps present, · Ear openings.

Diet: Reptile specialist, feeding exclusively on skinks, geckos, dragons, other legless lizards and small snakes. Suffocates it’s prey by grabbing hold around the chest area and holds it fast until suffocated, consuming its prey head first.

Snakes

All pythons are non-venomous. The Children's python was named not because it is a particularly good snake for children, although it is, but rather after the scientist John George Children, who was responsible for the zoological collection at the British Museum in the first half of the 19th century. It was he who identified this particular group of pythons. Children's python is the common name given to the four native Australian pythons of the genus Antaresia. Antaresia childreni and Antaresia maculosa are the most commonly kept.

Carpet pythons have a wide distribution across Australia. They occupy a number of different types of habitat and are usually nocturnal. Because they are attracted to vermin, carpet pythons are often found around human habitats. Carpet pythons are commonly arboreal species, that is they live in the trees. All are Easy to keep and enjoy given the right conditions. Camo's reptile course will teach you what you need to know!

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