Category: Exotic animals

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What is an exotic animal? Can you have it at home?

Do you know what exotic animals are? Are you thinking of getting one, but you are not sure if you can have it at home? This article is definitely for you. Find out what exotic animals are and what the law says, in this case in Spain, about keeping exotic animals at home.

What is meant by exotic animal?

The definition of an exotic animal can vary depending on the context. There are several definitions and common uses of the term “exotic”, but determining an exact definition is somewhat difficult. In many situations, an exotic animal is loosely defined as any animal other than a dog, cat, or farm animal. This encompasses many different species of animals, including small pets, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians, as well as those less commonly seen as companion animals, such as primates, Vietnamese pigs, and large felines

But, for us, the most exact definition of what an exotic animal is goes a little further… The animals that we normally call exotic are species that would not naturally be in a certain territory, but due to fortuitous or intentional circumstances, they end up living away from its natural habitat. And this last point is for us the key to the matter and why Hospital Veterinari Glòries does not recommend keeping exotic animals at home, since, outside their habitat (legally or illegally), it is difficult to offer all the care and cover the needs of the animal in question.

What does the law say about having an exotic animal at home?

The fact is that there is no universal regulation on the possession of exotic species as pets within homes. Each country is free to legislate on this matter, regarding its needs for protection of its native fauna, blockade against invasive species, protection of citizens and precautions on public health.

This means that not all countries allow the domestic possession of exotic animals. Therefore, it is possible that in Spain it is allowed to have a species as a pet, when in another country such as Italy or the United Kingdom it is prohibited.

Before making the decision to adopt an exotic animal, we advise you to think it through and find out about the species that are prohibited in your country. Also find out whether or not they can live in captivity in their own homes or if their purchase is legally penalized.

We do not recommend acquiring exotic animals, but much less doing it through the Internet or private sellers without having the necessary permits in order. You could be complicit in illegal wildlife trade.

And in Spain, how is the possession of exotic animals dealt with? What are the exotic animals prohibited as pets?

The law in Spanish territory says:

“The Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Law (Law 42/2007) provides that the introduction of invasive species in the territory of the Iberian Peninsula is considered a serious or very serious infraction.” Law (42/2007)

The Spanish laws applicable to this issue punish those who keep certain species in captivity, or facilitate their introduction into the country, and may be sanctioned with fines ranging from 600 to 2 or 3 million euros (always depending on the species and severity of the damage caused). causes to native ecosystems)

Next, you will be able to see some of the invasive species in Spain that cannot be kept as pets:

  • Bull frog.
  • Asian common toad.
  • Quail.
  • Japanese nightingale.
  • Raccoons.
  • Galapagos tortoise.
  • Argentine parrot.
  • King Cobra and several species of poisonous snakes.
  • Various species of snails.

In addition, it is important to mention that the Spanish law on exotic animals also prohibits keeping exotic animals threatened with extinction as pets. If you accidentally find an injured animal or rescue an invasive species, it is important to immediately call the corresponding authorities, which in this case would be the SEPRONA of Spain.

The list of illegal exotic animals in Spain is periodically reviewed and updated as new species are introduced into our ecosystems. For example, we know that in the latest update, approved by the Council of Ministers, new species have been included: the Vietnamese pig, the royal python or the tortoise of the peninsula.

If you have one of these pets, you must notify your Autonomous Community immediately.

What foods can reptiles eat?

From turtles to snakes, reptiles are surprisingly magnetic and a lot of fun to look after. Making sure your scaly friend has the right food on hand is just as important as looking after your own diet.

There are currently estimated to be over 10,000 different species of reptiles on the planet, from the flesh-eating crocodile to the lettuce-loving tortoise. There is no such thing as an “exclusive” reptile diet.

So if you have a reptile at home, it’s important to know what food is best for it – let’s see what reptiles can eat according to their kind!

Different diets for different reptiles

Each species of reptile eats a slightly different diet. Let’s take a look at some of the foods commonly eaten by each group of reptiles.

What do snakes eat?

Most snakes are carnivorous or insectivorous. They need to eat meat and do not eat fruits or vegetables for the most part. Because of this, most snakes eat a combination of:

  • Insects of all shapes and sizes.
  • Rodents.
  • Other reptiles.
  • Birds.
  • Larger mammals.
  • Eggs, although this is not very common.

You will probably feed your snake rodents because they are by far the easiest way to feed a captive reptile. These can be frozen, freshly hunted or live. Be careful when feeding live prey; live prey may attack or injure snakes. If you wish to feed live prey to your snake, make sure the snake can eat the prey; otherwise, remove the live animal from your snake’s environment if it shows no interest after 10 to 15 minutes.

Other snakes will not eat food unless it is moving, which means there are no options for avoiding rodents if you have a carnivorous reptile. If you are afraid to feed frozen or live mice, consider not having a carnivorous snake as a companion.

What do lizards eat?

Lizards are a diverse group. Most of the smaller lizards are mostly insectivorous. However, other lizard species can be herbivorous or omnivorous (both meat and vegetables). Some large lizards are true predators and eat larger mammals readily, but are not common in households.

Insectivorous lizards are probably a better choice if you are comfortable feeding crickets but not rats to your reptile.

In the wild, lizards can eat:

  • A wide variety of worms, spiders, beetles, flies and other insects.
  • Insects.
  • Other small animals such as small birds, baby mice or small lizards.
  • Eggs.
  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Larger prey, depending on the size of the lizard.

Examples of pet insectivorous lizards include leopard geckos and long-tailed skinks. Iguanas, another common household lizard, are mostly herbivorous.

What do tortoises eat?

The pacifists of the reptile world, tortoises and turtles generally do not eat meat or insects. These animals prefer to eat things they can’t escape, such as:

  • Lettuce, beet greens and other green leafy vegetables.
  • A variety of fruits, including apples, melons and mangoes.
  • Flowers.
  • A wide variety of other vegetables.
  • Some aquatic turtles eat fish or insects.

Turtles are an excellent choice if you are not comfortable with the idea of other animals dying to feed your pet. Land and water turtles often have complex nutritional needs because they evolved to eat such a variety. Many omnivorous reptiles are better off taking a vitamin supplement or pellets to augment their fresh meals.

Some common examples of tortoises in homes are the Russian tortoise and the omnivorous red-eared slider.

We hope these tips have helped you to know what to feed, and what not to feed your reptile. And remember, at our Glòries Veterinary Hospital we have specialists in exotic animals ready to take care of your pet’s health. Call us!

How to choose the right filter system for your aquarium?

A good aquarium must keep the water clean, and doing so requires adequate means to filter the water, remove pollutants and purify the water. Stay with us to find out all about how to choose the right filter system for your aquarium!

How to filter aquarium water?

Technically, there are three ways to filter aquarium water:

  • Biological filtration refers to the process by which beneficial bacteria break down ammonia and nitrite and transform them into compound nitrate, which is much less toxic. For beneficial bacteria to thrive, oxygen-rich water is needed, as well as a surface to which the bacteria can adhere, such as rocks or sand. All aquariums should have some provision for biological filtration, and with very small fish populations, this alone may be sufficient to keep the aquarium in good condition. However, in most aquaria, biological filtration will be just one method to be combined with others. So what is a biological filter? The biological filter (sometimes called a biofilter) in a fish tank is a cylindrical shaped filter connected by tubes that allow water to pass through. This filter serves as a home for bacteria that break down fish waste to keep the environment safe and non-toxic.
  • Chemical filtration is a process by which chemical additives remove dissolved waste from the water. The most common method for chemical filtration uses activated carbon.
  • Mechanical filtration is what most people think of as true filtration: machinery that removes solid particles from the water by circulating the water and filtering it through some type of aquarium filter. It is important to understand that mechanical filtration alone is not sufficient, as it does not remove or convert ammonia, nitrate or nitrite in the water. Mechanical filtration serves to remove free-floating debris before it breaks down into harmful substances and, to be beneficial, the filter material must be cleaned or replaced every two to four weeks. In addition to filtering pollutants from the water, mechanical filtration helps to move the water.

To maintain an aquarium effectively, a filter should pass all the water in the tank through the filter at least four times every hour. When choosing a system, pay attention to the type of filtration it offers: biological, chemical or mechanical. Some systems combine the different forms of filtration, with varying degrees of success.

Types of filter for your aquarium

There are 6 types of filtration systems to choose from:

Box or corner filters

Also called corner filters or internal filters, these were the first aquarium filters available for home aquariums. Although less common than in the past, they are very economical and can be loaded with a variety of filter media. Many box filters are compact units that attach to the glass inside an aquarium, making them suitable for small aquariums.

Some types require an air pump and air line to produce the necessary motion to move water through the filter. These systems create air bubbles that also enhance chemical and biological filtration.

Vessel filters

These are powerful mechanical aquarium filters that are best suited to medium to large sized tanks. Because canister filters are placed outside the tank, they can easily be hidden behind or under the aquarium stand. These large units provide very good mechanical, chemical and biological filtration. Canister filters are pressurised to force water through the filter media, rather than allowing it to flow through as other filters do.

Diatomic filters

Diatomic systems are specialised aquarium filters that “polish” the water by removing very small particles. In design, they are similar to diatomaceous earth pool filters, which work by pumping water through a layer of very fine particles to clean the water.

Diatomic filters are most often used in temporary situations when fine particles, such as diatomic algae, are a problem. Because a diatomic filter is used only for special situations, some standard filters are manufactured with diatomic inserts so that they can perform a dual function when necessary.

Sponge filters

The sponge filter is placed over a tube of a power head or air pump. As water is forced through it, bacteria will grow and establish biological filtration. Sponge filters also provide mechanical filtration, although they clog quickly if there is excess debris. They are excellent for tanks with very young fish, as the sponge prevents the fish from being sucked through the pump.

Trickling filters

Also called wet/dry filters, trickling filters are designed to expose the water to as much air as possible. This is accomplished by allowing the aquarium water to drip into a container with media such as plastic balls, strands or dental floss. This exposure to air and water encourages large colonies of beneficial bacteria that break down waste. These are especially popular for saltwater tanks, but are also becoming increasingly popular in freshwater aquaria. Chemical filtration is provided by placing chemical media in the filter.

The major drawback is the fact that they clog quite easily, but the use of a mechanical pre-filter eliminates or reduces that problem.

Do you know of any other types of filters that are good to install in aquariums? Leave us your recommendations in the comments!

 

Endangered monkey species

Primates play a vital role in ecosystems, including using their faeces for pollination. This is why the growing number of endangered monkey species is both alarming and critical.

In this article we will discuss the various monkey species that are most endangered.

Monkey species currently living in danger of extinction

1. Greater bamboo lemur

Endemic to Madagascar, the bamboo lemur is classified as critically endangered. It is associated with tropical forest and the presence of large reed bamboo. These areas are mainly found at mid and high altitudes, although it can also be found in lower areas. It is estimated that 80% of the great bamboo lemur population has declined due to the impact of logging and burning on its habitat, as well as direct hunting. Climate change is also having a major impact on ecosystem modification.

2. Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus)

Also native to Madagascar and also critically endangered, estimates indicate that only about 250 adults remain. Its natural habitat is mountain rainforests. The species is impacted by the slash-and-burn policies of agricultural development. Hunting is also a problem, as it is used for human consumption as a type of bushmeat.

3. Western Gorilla

Another endangered primate is the western gorilla. It is an ape and technically not a monkey, but falls into the category of Simiiformes. It is typical of Africa, especially countries such as Angola, Cameroon, Congo and Nigeria. It is considered critically endangered, especially due to the decline of the Western lowland gorilla subspecies.

Several factors have led to the dramatic situation facing this species. The main problem is poaching. This happens for various purposes, including using them for meat consumption, an action that is completely unsustainable. The Ebola virus has also caused a significant decline, as well as habitat damage and the consequences of climate change.

4. Dryas Monkey (Cercopithecus dryas)

This species is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is listed in the endangered category. It is an enigmatic animal, several aspects of which are unknown, requiring further research to understand how to help populations. However, it is known to inhabit moist, riparian and swamp forests. Poaching and habitat conversion for planting are the main causes of population loss.

5. Hainan Gibbon (Nomascus hainanus)

The gibbon is native to China. Due to a drastic population decline of 80%, it is considered critically endangered, although it is now officially reported as stable. It lives in montane forest ecosystems in tropical areas. Its main threats are hunting, inbreeding due to population decline and habitat alteration.

5 flightless birds

Flightless birds are birds that have lost the ability to fly through evolution. There are more than 60 species of flightless birds, including the well-known ostriches, emus, kiwis and penguins. There are several birds, such as chickens and some ducks, that have also lost the ability to fly. All these flightless birds are very different, but they all have one thing in common: they are birds with wings that cannot fly.

We list 10 flightless birds, but also explain their main characteristics and the reasons why they cannot fly.

Why are some birds flightless?

It should be clear that all of today’s flightless bird species are descended from ancient birds that had the ability to fly. This means that they lost the ability to fly because at some point they had to adapt to their environment in order to survive.

One of the reasons why some of these species lost the ability to fly had to do with the lack of predators in their environment. This explains why most flightless bird species are native to distant mainland islands, such as New Zealand, which have no predators. Flying became less frequent and unnecessary over time because it requires so much energy. In fact, flight is the most expensive mode of locomotion in nature.

Another reason has to do with the fact that some species that had previously been smaller in prehistoric times evolved to be larger in order to take advantage of new prey found in their habitat. However, as they grew larger, they became heavier, making it more difficult for them to fly. The amount of energy needed to fly increases in proportion to body size, so flightlessness usually coincides with body mass. However, it is important to clarify that not all flightless birds are large, some are small, such as the kiwi.

Main characteristics of flightless birds

When we talk about flightless birds, we must know that each species has its own characteristics and peculiarities. In fact, in most cases, flightless birds are very different from each other. However, there are some common characteristics that all flightless birds have in common:

  • Bodies are adapted for walking.
  • The wing bones are smaller than in flying birds.
  • They do not have a keel on their chests, a muscle that allows flying birds to flap their wings.
  • They have lush plumage because they do not have to reduce their body weight.

Now that you know some of the most important characteristics that all flightless birds have in common, it is time to mention the most representative species.

Names of flightless birds

Here is a list of the names of 5 popular flightless birds. We will also explain the main characteristics of each of these species and some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about them:

1. Ostrich

We start our list of flightless birds with the popular ostrich (Struthio camelus), a bird that lives in Africa. It is the largest and heaviest bird in the world. Ostriches can grow up to 2.74 m tall and weigh more than 136 kg.

As they cannot fly, they have developed strong legs and can run up to 89 km/h. During their runs, the wings help the ostrich to gain momentum and also serve to stun predators with blows. Ostriches also use their powerful legs to kick other animals to defend themselves.

2. Kiwi

Unlike its flightless congeners, such as the rhea and ostrich, the kiwi (genus Apteryx) is a small, chicken-sized bird. There are 5 species, all native to New Zealand. The kiwi has the peculiarity that its wings are so small that they are barely visible, as they are hidden under the feathers.

They are shy, nocturnal animals that feed omnivorously. Unlike other birds, kiwis have nostrils at the tip of their beaks rather than at the base.

3. Cassowary

The cassowary is a genus of flightless birds that includes three distinct species. They are common in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, where they inhabit rainforests and mangrove swamps. They are characterised by blue or red colouration on their necks that contrasts with the rest of their plumage, which is black or dark brown. But don’t be fooled by their beautiful plumage because cassowaries are quite heavy, the only bird that weighs more is the ostrich. Cassowaries weigh around 35 kg. They are also dangerous because they have a dagger-like claw that can grow up to 25 cm long, on the middle toe of each foot.

4. Southern steamer duck

Although most duck species fly and are indeed great fliers, the steamer duck (Tachyeres pteneres) is a common flightless bird in South America, especially in Argentina. This species is an excellent swimmer and spends most of its life in the water, where it feeds on fish and shellfish.

They owe their name to the fact that they run over the water beating their wings like the wheels of a steamboat. Steamboat ducks are notoriously aggressive and have been known to engage in bloody battles over territorial claims.

5. Flightless cormorant

We finish our list of flightless birds with the flightless cormorant, also known as the Galapagos cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi), is a cormorant endemic to the Galapagos Islands, and an example of the very unusual fauna there.

The mating system is polyandrous, meaning that a single female can breed with several males. They are about 1 m long and weigh between 2.49 kg and 5 kg. They are black and brown in colour with a long beak and small wings. As with other cormorants, this bird’s feathers are not waterproof, and it spends time drying its small wings in the sun after each dive.

The 5 most common birds in homes

If you’re thinking of having a bird as a companion, there are many popular species to choose from, but all have unique socialization quirks that are worth learning about. Species that provide good company for humans often require a lot of attention. Here we show you 5 of the most popular birds to take care of in your home.

1. Budgie

The budgerigar, or parakeet, is a wonderful bird for those who are new to bird keeping; they are intelligent and playful, requiring less space and maintenance than larger bird species. Parakeets are quite intelligent despite their small size, and while most are content to whistle and sing, many have been known to learn words and phrases. These hardy little birds come in a variety of beautiful colors and their average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.

2. Cockatoo

These medium sized birds are a delight to keep. From the parrot family, these native Australian birds are known for their amazingly advanced whistling and singing abilities. Although cockatoos are capable of learning to speak, many owners find that their birds prefer to whistle and imitate peculiar sounds, such as a telephone ringing. These birds can be found in increasingly diverse color combinations and have an average life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years.

3. Canaries

Canaries are excellent companion birds and very popular in homes. Since most varieties are only 12cm (or less), canaries require less space than almost any other bird species in the home. Unlike parrots, which are hard-billed, canaries are known as soft-billed birds; and it is that they have somewhat flexible and waxy beaks.

These little birds thrive in small flocks and generally pay little attention to humans, making them the perfect pets for those who love to watch birds, but want a companion bird that requires less interaction. A canary can live up to 10 years if it is well cared for.

4. Lovebirds

Lovebirds are one of the smallest parrot species. These colorful little birds should not be overlooked in favor of the larger and more demanding parrots, as they are capable of possessing all the intelligence and personality of the larger macaw. These birds are fairly quiet companions, making them ideal for apartment dwellers. The lovebird has a life expectancy of up to 20 years.

5. Monk parrot

The monk parrot is actually a small parrot. He is well known for his ability to build a large vocabulary of words and phrases. The more you talk around its cage, the more this bird will pick up the words and be able to imitate them. Monk parrots have a lot of intelligence and are very singing. In addition, they have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.

 

And you? Do you have a bird at home? Remember that at our Glòries Veterinary Hospital in Barcelona we have the right professionals to take care of your birds and other exotic animals. Make an appointment and take care of the health of your winged companion!

Is the lemur in danger of extinction?

The lemur is a wet-nosed primate of the Lemuroidea superfamily that is only found in Madagascar. Its classification has been controversial, which has led to the identification of a wide variety of species and whose number has changed as research progresses. Currently, there are many species of lemurs that are classified as endangered. What is happening to them?

In this article we delve into the subject as a way to inform about its state of conservation, but also to help raise awareness about the need to protect the planet.

Are lemurs in danger of extinction?

Unfortunately, to this question we must answer yes: there are species of lemurs that are in danger of extinction. Let us now list some of these species that are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • Critically Endangered Lemurs:
  • Sibree’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus sibreei)
  • Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae)
  • Bemanasy mouse lemur (Microcebus spreads)
  • Marohita mouse lemur (Microcebus marohita)
  • Grey-headed lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps)
  • Blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons)
  • Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis)
  • Golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus)
  • Great bamboo lemur
  • Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra)
  • Black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata)
  • Ahmanson’s sporting lemur (Lepilemur ahmansonorum)
  • James’s jumping lemur (Lepilemur jamesorum)
  • Mittermeier’s jumping lemur (Lepilemur mittermeieri)
  • Sporting red-tailed lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus)
  • Sahamalaza Jumping Lemur (Lepilemur sahamalazensis)
  • Northern sporting lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)
  • Hawk-jumping lemur (Lepilemur tymerlachsoni)
  • Bemaraha’s woolly lemur (Avahi cleesei)
  • Endangered Lemurs:
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis)
  • Bongolava mouse lemur (Microcebus bongolavensis)
  • Collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris)
  • Black lemur (Eulemur macaco)
  • Ankarana sporting lemur (Lepilemur ankaranensis)
  • Lemurs in a vulnerable state:
  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus crossleyi)
  • Pygmy mouse lemur (Microcebus myoxinus)
  • White-headed lemur (Eulemur albifrons)
  • Red lemur (Eulemur rufus)
  • Playful seal lemur (Lepilemur seali)

Why is the lemur in danger of extinction?

In short, there are many species of lemurs that are in danger of extinction, but they are all interconnected by the fact that humans are responsible for their plight. Next, we will explain the various causes of the current vulnerable state of the lemur:

Habitat destruction

Lemur populations are threatened by massive felling of trees for charcoal production. It should be noted that lemurs are generally arboreal, so removing the plant cover in which they live harms them irreversibly.

In addition, there are other reasons behind the deterioration of Madagascar’s forests:

Forest fires are an annual event in these forests.
Deforestation is also practiced to grow certain agricultural crops or to raise livestock.

In both cases, the result is the same: the loss of vegetation and, therefore, a drastic change in the habitat of the lemurs.

Poaching

Other threats to lemurs that have led them to be in danger of extinction have to do with hunting, since some species are consumed for food, while others are sold as pets.

Some species have been severely wiped out, either due to lack of food, natural disasters, etc. An example of this is the grey-headed lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps), whose population crashed in 1997 due to a cyclone that exacerbated the human influences mentioned above.

Climate change

Several species of lemurs are affected by climate change, such as the great bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus). Lemurs of this species are not only affected by climatic variations, but also by the availability of food. Climate change prolongs droughts, which harms bamboo (Cathariostachys madagascariensis), which is its main source of food.

Are there conservation plans for lemurs?

Lemurs, which are in danger of extinction, are the subject of some conservation plans. In general, these plans depend on the particular situation of each species, although the problems faced by lemurs are common to all species. Let’s take a look at the current plans:

  • Several species of lemurs have been included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), whose objective is to protect endangered species through treaties with various countries. For example, all listed lemurs are excluded from hunting or capture and are under special management. Some cases included are: the Sibree dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus sibreei), Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae), the grey-headed lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps) and the blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons), among others.
  • Other measures for the conservation of lemurs are related to the establishment of protected areas in the places where these animals live. In this sense, certain forest areas are declared reserves, most of which are private.
  • Educational programs have been proposed to sensitize children and young people, such as the Madame Berthe mouse lemur species (Microcebus berthae), which is considered a showcase in some areas of Madagascar.
  • There are also some special conservation programs, such as the one for the great bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), for which the Saving Prolemur simus project was created. This project was established by private organizations and community members.
  • Research to improve taxonomy should continue in situations where questions remain to be resolved regarding subspecies, such as the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegate).
    What can be done to prevent the lemur from becoming extinct?

Although action is being taken, the list of endangered lemur species remains long and growing, showing that much remains to be done. In a situation as complex as this, the action of governments is essential to stop the progression of the danger of these animals. Additionally, mass education programs are essential, as engaging the communities that inhabit these areas will undoubtedly produce more supporters who are actively involved in conserving lemur species.

What is brumation in reptiles and amphibians? Differences between brumation and hibernation

Seasonal changes are common in most ecosystems and in some cases can be very extreme. Animals are often affected by these changes, as temperature and precipitation cycles change throughout the year. These changes affect, among other things, the animal’s ability to get food or water. For this reason, cold-blooded animals, such as reptiles and amphibians, have developed strategies to survive repeated adverse conditions, such as brumation.

In this article we will talk about what brumation is, how long it lasts, why it happens and give you some common examples of animals that go through this process.

What is brumation?

Ectothermic animals, also called cold-blooded animals, rely on heat sources in the environment because they cannot generate heat on their own. Most of these animals live in places where the temperature is relatively constant, such as deep ocean regions. However, some ectothermic animals also live in environments where temperatures fluctuate greatly, which affects them directly.

To cope with the drop in temperatures, ectothermic animals have developed behaviors such as brumation to regulate their body temperature and guarantee their survival. Similar to hibernation, they go into a dormant state where their metabolism slows down. They also reduce their activity level, body temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate like other animals do during hibernation. Also, they tend to hide underground, in cracks and burrows, to keep warm and safe. However, on the warmest days of winter, they venture out to fetch water.

Differences between brumation and hibernation

In brumation, both reptiles and amphibians slow down their metabolic processes, but are not completely in a state of deep sleep. They still need to move around to get some water and food to stay alive during this time.

In contrast, hibernation is a controlled, prolonged sleep state in which body temperature and physiological processes are reduced to their lowest level. During hibernation, the animal does not need to consume food or water because it lives on the reserves it has accumulated during the previous months.

Similar to hibernation, brumation allows animals to conserve energy, but not as much as hibernation.

How long does brumation last?

Brumation varies from species to species and depends on factors such as the age and condition of the animal. The duration of brumation also varies from species to species, as it is affected by the duration of low temperatures. This means that brumation can last between three and six months. This state of lethargy is broken as soon as the temperature rise begins.

Some examples of brumation

Having learned that reptiles and amphibians experience brumation when temperatures drop, let us show you some examples of animals that go through this fascinating process:

Common garter snake

Depending on the habitat, brumation of the common garter snake can last up to 6 months. However, the animal seeks out direct sunlight on sunny winter days. This species of snake is usually a solitary animal, but when temperatures drop, it is common for it to curl up with its conspecifics in the burrows of other animals, creating greater heat through contact with other snakes.

Fire salamander

Fire salamanders are another example of animals that suffer from brumation. This amphibian remains relatively inactive in extreme conditions, whether the temperature is high or low, and is therefore most active at night. It resides primarily in burrows, often choosing the same location year after year to reach this dormant state.

Common frog

When ponds and lakes freeze over in winter, you probably wonder what happens to the frogs that live in them. As cold-blooded amphibians, they go into brumation. This process usually takes place underwater and in groups of many of the same species. This dormant state varies by location and the length of the winter months.

Pond turtle

Brumation in turtles is quite common, especially in some species such as aquatic turtles. This tortoise has become a very popular pet and is now widely distributed in various habitats. They live semi-aquatic lives and tend to bask constantly to keep warm. When the water temperature drops between 15°C and 10°C, it is very likely that the turtle enters a state of brumation, since the ideal temperature of the water is 28°C.

The most curious facts about koalas

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are the most adorable beings. Its long, stocky, tailless body, large head with round, fluffy ears, and spoon-shaped nose make it impossible to miss. Although they look like bears with their round ears and large black nose, they do not belong to the Ursidae family, but to the Phascolarctidae. Furthermore, koalas belong to the Vombatiformes suborder, which they share only with wombats.

In this article you will learn more about where they live, what they eat and many other curious and unique facts about koalas.

They are marsupials

The koala is a marsupial, which means that the females have a pouch in which they protect their young. The young are born without being fully developed and complete their growth in this bag. The fetus weighs about 0.5 grams at birth and enters the marsupial sac after 35 days. A young koala takes its first step out of the pouch around six to seven months after gestation. After this time, they ride on their mother’s back for another six months, using only the bag to feed and rest.

They are endemic to Australia

Koalas are possibly the most famous animal in Australia. Being endemic to Australia, these peculiar mammals are now mainly confined to north-east, central and south-east Queensland, with a smaller distribution in Western Australia.

Their size and weight vary a lot

Despite their small size, these cute animals are quite stocky. Although subspecies have never been recognized, weight and size vary according to sex and whether the animals are found in the north or south of the region. In the north, the average male weighs 6 kilos; the average female weighs 5 kilos. In the south, the average male weighs 11 kilos pounds and the average female weighs 8.5 kilos.

They have fingers, and fingerprints!

Koalas have five toes on their front feet, but the first two are mobile, an adaptation that helps them climb, hold onto branches and grab food. The toes on the hind limbs are short and flared, while the toes on the second and third limbs are fused. They also have sharp claws.

They have limbs that resemble those of humans. One of the most intriguing features of koalas is that, like us humans, they have fingerprints. These are different from ours, but we share an interesting characteristic: they are all different from each other.

They have a good sense of hearing and smell

Koalas have poor eyesight, but considering their daily lives, this is not as important as their other senses, which are well-developed. They hear very well, which helps them detect predators and other koalas. Thanks to this sense, they are able to interact and socialize, especially for reproductive purposes. The koala’s large black nose is incredibly well-developed, giving it a keen sense of smell that helps it track other koalas and find their favorite food trees.

His name means “without water”

The koala takes its name from the Australian Aboriginal word “gula”, which means “without water”. For a time it was thought that these marsupials did not need water because they were rarely seen drinking. However, this theory has been shown to be incorrect. They take most of the water they need from the plants they consume, but sometimes they do need to drink water, especially during the summer.

Are exotic birds or animals right for your home?

In addition to the dogs, cats, and farm animals we’re all used to caring for, there are a number of birds (and other exotic animals) that can make excellent household companions. Everyone has unique care needs, so before you bring an exotic bird or animal into your home, make sure it’s a good fit for your space and lifestyle. At Hospital Veterinari Glòries we have prepared this guide to help you determine if an avian or exotic companion is the most suitable to care for at home.

Best pets of the avian species

Birds can be messy and loud. Some will demand your attention and can even become aggressive and destructive, while others can also be more affectionate. How can you know which bird will be right for you? According to experts, the most recommended birds to have at home are some that we all know. Consider one of these friendly smaller birds as your next companion:

  • Budgerigars.
  • Cockatoos.
  • Canaries.
  • Darwin’s finches.
  • Lovebirds

Any one of these little birds can live 10 to 15 years or even longer. Like a dog or a cat, these adorable creatures will need your care for a long time.

Larger birds tend to need more attention and care. Many are very appreciative of human affection and interaction, and many need plenty of space to live well. Consider these variants if you can provide the right environment:

  • Cockatoos
  • Pigeons

Parrots, including the smaller Pionus Parrot, Amazon Parrot and African Gray Parrots (Large Parrot), need more attention and lots of activity in the form of new toys and mental stimulation. They can live from 10 to 50 years or more.

What is an exotic pet and which one is right for your family?

An exotic animal can be a legal animal to own and relatively easy and safe to care for. Each exotic animal has special maintenance, feeding, and health considerations unique to its species. Activity needs, longevity, and size are just a few of the characteristics you’ll want to consider before bringing an exotic companion into your home. Some examples of exotic animals include:

  • Amphibians.
  • Chinchillas.
  • Gerbils.
  • Guinea pigs.
  • Mice and rats.
  • Rabbits.
  • Reptiles.
  • Sugar gliders.

The care and safety of birds and exotic animals

Safety (both animals and people) and care are of great importance when creating a home with any new life partner. If your avian or exotic can be aggressive, they may not be suitable for a family with young children. Talk to your vet about ways to prevent biting and fighting from your pets. Some questions to consider are:

  • Does your pet have adequate space inside the house?
  • Does your pet prefer the company of one or more of its kind?
  • Is your pet receiving adequate food?
  • Does your pet require regular grooming, including nail or beak trimming?
  • Does your pet get enough attention, distractions, and exercise/play?

Because our animals can’t talk to us, their behavior often tells us when something isn’t quite right. Understanding the particular needs of exotics and birds will go a long way in keeping them healthy and safe within the home.

Keeping your exotic pets healthy is our job at Hospital Veterinari Glòries. Exotics may have special grooming needs and dietary requirements that keep them in the best possible condition. We encourage our customers to visit us for regular exotic animal health checkups. We are eager to answer all your questions and concerns about exotic pet care. Call us at 932 460 805 or write to us at glories@anicura.es to schedule an appointment for any matter related to the care and health of your exotic animal.

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