We have all seen them. Those cute little red-eared sliders and yellow-bellied sliders being sold either from a roadside stand or one of those gift shops in Florida. Well this is what that cheap little $10 turtle turns into. These are both yellow-bellied turtle (Trachemys scripta scripta). Adult shell vs hatchling. The hatchling was bought and later surrendered, with a second one, when the owner realized how big they get.
Road side sellers love to tell people they will stay small if kept in a small tank. Sure, because they get sick and die before they can reach full suze. Aquatic turtles need a minimum of 10 gallons of physical water per every inch of shell length. PER TURTLE. The more water the better. Strong filtration is a must to keep their water clean. They also need room to get out of the water and bask, as well as strong UVA/UVB lighting. So for example, the large one would need a minimum of 160 gallons of water and a 2 foot by 2 foot area to get out and bask. A varied diet to include live native fish is also a must. Pelleted diets can be lacking the proper nutrition. NO GOLDFISH. They do eat a lot.
Aquatic turtles as a whole can make great display pets. But they must be set up properly. Red-eared sliders and yellow-bellied sliders are the number one surrendered pet to reptile rescues. A lot of rescues have even stopped taking them in due to already having way to many of them. And no, they can not just be returned to the wild or dumped in your neighborhood pond. It is illegal to do so for a few different reasons.
Just wanted to post an update in the young grey fox we took in back in October that was hit by a car and needed the back leg pinned. Great news, the leg looks great and the pin was removed last night. While she was under we did a thorough exam and I cleaned her ears out. Now for some exercise and chasing prey!
We recently took in a young red iguana that was super bloated and would not eat. It had been attacked by another iguana in the past and thought it might have been something from that. Turned out she was egg bound. 8 eggs total. 2 were slugs, 6 seem like they might be good. This girl is way too young and small to have been bred. Yes it was an accident as the owners thought they had two males. Which is still a no no due to fighting which is how this one lost part of her tail. Now to trim up those nails and get some weight back on her. And yes, those are her eggs in one of our Baby Warm incubators since it currently has no animals in it.
We received a call from a local Petco that when they came into work they found somebody had dumped three snakes in tubs in front of the store sometime before they got there. The three snakes turned out to be a prairie kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster), a western ratsnake (Pantherolhis obsoletus) and an eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) (formerly known as a yellow ratsnake). All were in tubs that smelled horrible due to soaking wet bedding, had mold and fungus, dead and decaying rodents, flies and maggots. Tubs went immediately into the trash and snakes were bathed and cleaned up. The western ratsnake has some mouth rot issues (see pictures) and part of the upper lip area is gone. She will go on antibiotics immediately with cleanings of the area every day. The eastern ratsnake definitely is thin and needs a couple of good meals. The prairie king actually looks good considering. All were placed in quarantine for parasites after being cleaned up and examined. All 3 are native to the US, the eastern rat being the only one not native to Texas. None can be released so they will join our education team when healthy enough to do so.
Okay I can not believe I even need to talk about this, but, due to recent phone calls and conversations I feel I must. First off, rehabbing animals is NOT our job. Let me explain. Helping animals is what we do, but nobody pays us to do this. We actually pay for the privilege to help animals. We pay for the permits, food, medical supplies, heating, electricity, water, etc… Saying it’s a job would mean that somebody pays us to do this. There is no reimbursement from the state or feds for what we do. In fact, most rehabbers work a regular job besides rehabbing so that they can continue to rehab animals. Second, we operate out of our home. Most rehabbers do. We can not afford a big rehab center. Wish we could. Most places that do have had said centers donated to them to operate out of. Operating out of ones home when it comes to caring for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife has it’s own unique set of challenges. So to summarize, we operate off of our own back pockets, in kind donations, and sometimes we find small grants and other small projects such as education events to help offset costs. So next time you call a rehabber and demand they come out to save an animal because “it’s their job”, please remember it’s not a job. It’s a passion to help animals in need due to human interactions. Don’t get mad at the rehabber and start yelling at them about how horrible of a person they are because they can not stop either working a job, helping somebody else with an injured animal, or caring for the animals already in their possession, to come and pick up an injured animal right in front of you.
Let’s talk for a second about something that happens
throughout the year. But even more so coming up in a few months. Easter and pet
ducks. We have taken in a few lately from people that did not realize that
ducks do not make good house pets… yes, indoor ducks.
Ducks are messy,
eat a lot, and make noise. They poop a lot and love their water. They have a
varied diet and can not just be fed “bird food”. We see a bunch every
year with what is called “angel wing”.
is caused by improper diet and causes the wings to form misshapen and they
turn at the joint in the wing. This causes the bird to not be able to fly.
Number one food that causes this is bread! Never feed ducks, geese, or other birds
Yes, we will be the
first to admit that baby ducks are adorable. But what happens a lot is people
get these ducks, realize after a couple of months that it was a bad choice,
then they start frantically looking for a place to take their ducks to. You
know all those nonnative ducks you see at your local parks, ponds, etc…
Yep, those cool
looking Muscovy ducks are not native to the US except for three counties in far
south Texas. Everywhere else they are considered invasive. Pet ducks are to
We had so much fun last year, we can’t wait to do it again! There’s even more fun and free stuff to do, too! Besides getting to know our amazing animals and winning educational prizes, you can now enter our Exotic Pet Show or Bug Costume Contest courtesy of Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park and Krave! (entry forms in the Discussions) Plus, we’ll have a Live Butterfly Release sponsored by Mad Science Shop!
We were very honored, and shocked, to learn that we had been nominated for, and received the 2018 National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Marlys J. Bulander “Working Together for Wildlife Award” for our work during hurricane Harvey.
Our work during that time would not have been possible without our wonderful friends and supporters. Three trips to south Texas, lots of supplies, lots of late nights working on feeding babies.
A huge thank you goes out to everybody. We could not do what we do without your support!
Mario & Brandi Nickerson have dedicated their lives to the care and well being of all of Nature's creatures. Their tireless efforts go a long way to rehabbing various reptiles and many other types of wildlife.