Posts tagged Herptiles
Review: BBC Two - New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands Series

Anyone who knows me well will know of my fascination with New Zealand. This fascination is down to one amazing little creature - the Tuatara. When I first heard that BBC Two was about to release a wildlife documentary series featuring New Zealand, I was pretty excited.

If you've read any of my previous documentary reviews, you will have seen me mention that I am rather sceptical of some types of documentaries. Wildlife documentaries are usually rather straightforward and more fact-focused - which is what you really want. However, *some* documentaries can not only be cringe-worthy depending on the topic but oftentimes include a lot of the main presenter's philosophical babble - which usually bores me to death. 

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Parasitology: Snake Mites (Ophionyssus natricis)

Parasitic infections are not only one of the most common types of diseases in reptiles and amphibians but it is also one of the main causes of death in reptiles. In this post, we will focus on any reptile keeper's nightmare - mites!

The most common type of mite to infect reptiles is the Ophionyssus natricis, commonly known as Snake Mite. However, please note that reptiles and amphibians can be infected by other types of mites as well. 

Mites are ectoparasites. This means that they live on the surface of their host's body and so are usually visible to the naked eye. They mostly affect lizards and snakes with tortoises showing lower numbers of this type of parasitic infection. They are an absolute nightmare to control if you have a numerous collection of reptiles as they can be transmitted from one reptile to the other and can carry diseases as well as cause disease themselves. Interestingly, snake mites can be transmitted to humans and cause septicaemia by transmitting bacteria - this is known as Zoonoses.

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Do you speak Lizard?

Keeping exotics takes an enormous amount of preparation. First and foremost, you need to do some serious research into the captive care of these creatures to make sure you provide for all of their basic needs. You must also find a good exotics specialist vet who will be able to treat your animal should the need arise. However, I believe it is absolutely essential to research and understand their lives in the wild if you are to provide them with the happiest life they could possibly get in captivity.

For that reason, I am a firm believer that mimicking their natural habitat as best as you can enriches their lives and encourages their natural behaviour. Having said that, I appreciate that 'mimicking' their natural habitat is not always easy or practical. 

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