Northern Alligator Lizards

      I’m sure that if you’re from Northern California, you recall at some point in your life stepping outside and seeing a mean-looking reptile that seemed just a little too big to be a casual resident in the garden. You might have even tried to pick him up, only to have him either scurry away, drop his tail, or snap a strong bite into your hand; who is he? He’s the Northern Alligator Lizard.

Northern Alligator Lizards have a reputation for being mean animals who, if you run into, you might want to scoop into a bucket and send on their way. Realistically, these lizards are very fearful of humans and their defenses are only provoked from this fear. When raised in captivity or even tamed as adults, Northern Alligator Lizards are very tolerant of being held or pet, and grow to know their caretaker as the one who provides the most important staples of life, like food and water.

I love reptiles, and my lizard family seems to grow more often than I had expected when I adopted my first leopard gecko ― so when a newly hatched alligator lizard hopped into my hand and refused to get off, I was happy to take it home and give it a life of very little instinctual stress.

Northern Alligator Lizards require very basic care and are quite hardy reptiles as adults; in fact, all they really require is a substrate like Eco-Earth, a hollow log hide, an artificial plant or two, and a UVB light fixture. They should be kept, when young, in a basic 10 gallon tank with a screen lid ― when adults, upgrading to a 20 gallon tank is recommended for optimal care. Alligator lizards will eat mealworms, superworms, crickets, waxworms; pretty much anything your bearded dragon would eat; as hatchlings, they should be feed the smallest mealworms possible, but as adults, they can even devour large superworms with no problem, as an average alligator lizard will grow to six inches in body length, excluding the tail. With the tail, the average alligator lizard will be about twelve inches long.

If you are experienced in reptile keeping and you happen to come across a lost alligator lizard, you might want to second guess sending it on it’s way!

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog-post!

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G.A.L.S.

Hi there!

Today, I’m going to talk about Giant African Land Snails, (a.k.a. G.A.L.S.). Giant African Land Snails are a beautiful hermaphrodite species of terrestrial land snail native to the African rain forest. Many people in countries such as the U.K., Africa, China, Canada, etc, keep them as pets; however, in some of these countries, it is illegal to release them into the wild as they are a highly invasive species. The U.S. doesn’t allow you to own them under any circumstances as they are illegal in this country. Aside from them being an invasive species, Giant African Land Snails are beautiful pets to own, (if they’re legal in your country). They’re one of the most intelligent species of snail who can recognize their owner and differentiate different people through their extraordinary sense of smell; their top tentacles work as eye stalks, their vision being a blurry, monochromatic haze of gray. The bottom tentacles are the snail’s means to smell — the snail is born without ears, making them, by definition, deaf. Because other senses are weak, the snail’s sense of smell and feel are amplified, making snails to be able to easily identify different people, places, and things.

The Giant African Land Snail is commonly kept in a glass tank with a secure lid; when raising a baby snail, the tank should be upgraded once the shell grows five to six inches in length from birth. The base of any tank for a G.A.L.S should be covered in at least two inches of loose substrate — our personal favorite substrate to use is called ‘Eco-Earth’ and can be found in most pet stores or online; Eco-Earth is recommended because it holds the perfect consistency and has a more natural feeling and smell to it than some other substrate brands.  For the sake of stimulation, a snail should have plenty of decoration and things to do in it’s tank, and enrichment can be taken to the next level by adding advanced vines made for chameleons or frogs, as well as artificial plants. Live plants are added to tanks by some experienced owners, but for beginners, sticking to artificial greenery is the easiest and safest route to go. Tanks should have lids that are ventilated, but not overly ventilated, because humidity needs to be kept from 60 to 90 dew points at all times, otherwise the snail being kept will go into hibernation, creating a layer of thick film at the entrance of it’s shell in order to keep humidity trapped inside. This can be dangerous in young snails who are growing, as when a snail is in hibernation, their grow rate ranges from incredibly slow to not at all; but keeping humidity up is easily achieved with the proper tools — a basic spray bottle, misting the tank once or twice a day, will get the job done. A poor example of a lid would be a screen lid, as humidity escapes easily through those and ones similar to that kind; however, a simple cloth put over a screen lid will trap humidity and still allow ventilation, so there’s no need to worry if a screen lid is all that you have available.

Giant African Land Snails were initially captured from the wild when they first started to become kept as pets, but nowadays, the most common way to acquire one is to adopt one from a breeder. Of course, small rescue organizations exist for G.A.L.S who have unfortunate backstories or can no longer be kept by their owners, but the best place to purchase one would be from a breeder, as different breeders specialize in different appearances or traits in the snails that they raise.

GALS Breeder

      All in all, Giant African Land Snails are easy to find in countries that legalize their ownership, are very low maintenance and easy to care for, and make excellent first pets.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I hope you learned a little bit about these lovely animals. 🙂

“Hannah Gadsby: Nanette”

Nanette is one of the most beautiful comedy specials I’ve ever seen. She starts off her show with jokes, and slowly moves over to the culture that enables and excuses abuse. She calls out people like Bill Clinton, Pablo Picasso, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., who’ve abused their power. She also talks about how her career is built off self-deprecating humour. She tells the stories behind each of the jokes as they actually happened which brought tears to my eyes. This special is definitely worth a watch as it will change the way you see the world. I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from “Nanette”.

“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself!”

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Thank you for reading! 🙂

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