For years, dedicated reptile and amphibian keepers have tried to replicate the natural habitat of their pets, but this has largely been done sight unseen, until now. Join Myke Clarkson as he travels to the biomes of the ancestors of our captive bred reptiles and amphibians. Watch and learn as he takes field measurements and studies their natural environment to help improve the quality of their care at home. Shot in cinema quality 8K by veteran wildlife filmmakers, this will be an adventure you won't want to miss!
Episode 1: Radiated Rat Snake
June 20, 2018
In this episode, Myke travels to a rice paddy in Indonesia in search of a Radiated Rat Snake, whose captive bred cousins are a very popular pet in the US. Along the way, another local snake works his way into the spotlight.
Radiated Rat Snakes are hardy animals who do well in captivity, and can adapt to lots of habitats. On average, this type of snake can grow to 4-6 feet long. While this particular snake was found in a rice paddy, they also thrive in forests. Radiated Rat Snakes enjoy feeding on small mammals and smaller reptiles. These snakes are a member of the Colubridae family, which is the largest family of snakes. While most colubrids are non-venomous there are some dangerous exceptions like the African Boomslang.
In search of a Radiated Rat Snake, Myke also runs into a Javan Spitting Cobra. The average size for this cobra is about 4-5
Basking Temperature: 91.2°F (88°F-95°F Range)
Night Temperature: 79.4°F (75°F-82°F Range)
Humidity: 83.5% (70-90% Range)
While snakes are not as prone to UV related metabolic bone issues as lizards, more recent findings suggest it may still be necessary for many diurnal species.
Basking is important not just for heat but also for UV. UVA and UVB are vital for everything from digestion to calcium absorption. When you buy a UV bulb, be sure to mark the box so you know when it’s time to change it.
Episode 2: Water Monitor
July 20, 2018
In this episode, Myke travels to a river in Java, an island of Indonesia, in search of a water monitor. Water monitors are one of the largest, and arguably most intelligent, lizard species on Earth. The average size for a water monitor is about three to six feet long. The one Myke finds is still young and will grow larger. Water monitors can be found in riverbanks and swamps and feed on fish and semi-aquatic animals.
Water monitors have thick paddle tails which help them move quickly through the water. They are also very good at climbing trees and moving swiftly across
Water monitors are not a beginner pet because they grow quite large and need a lot of space. In fact, their enclosure requires three microhabitats: water to swim, a large climbing area and an additional space for basking.
During this adventure, Myke also finds a black marsh turtle, a neighbor of the water monitor. These turtles grow to about 7-8 inches and live in marshes and muddy rivers where they feed on invertebrates.
Basking Temperature: 90°F (88°F-95°F Range)
Night Temperature: 75°F (75°F-82°F Range)
Humidity: 90% (70-90% Range)
A turtle will pollute its own water much faster than most fish species, making it important to have a heavy duty turtle or reptile filter in your enclosure. In addition, cold water can make even the healthiest of reptiles lethargic, so be sure to maintain appropriate aquatic temperatures.
Episode 3: Borneo Short-Tailed Python
August 20, 2018
In this episode, Myke traveled to the Borneo rainforest in search of a Borneo Short-Tailed Python, sometimes referred to as a Borneo Blood Python. The average size for this python is 4-6 feet long and they can be found in lowland forests, swamps and floodplains. These snakes are terrestrial, meaning they live predominantly on land. Like other pythons, they feed on small mammals.
While searching, Myke found another important contributor to this ecosystem: the Borneo Giant Millipede. These millipedes and other isopods are the “cleaning crew” of the rainforest and help make it habitable for species like the Borneo Short-Tailed Python.
Basking Temperature: 88.1°F (85°F-90°F Range)
Night Temperature: 76.8°F (74°F-78°F Range)
Humidity: 75.4% (65-85% Range)
After taking a closer look at the natural substrate surrounding the snake, Myke noted that the ground surface retained a lot moisture without actually being wet to the touch. If you seek to recreate this habitat, use a Zilla Jungle Mix or Zilla Coconut Husk so the moisture and humidity levels can be kept at a healthy level for your snake.
If you have a bio-active enclosure, be sure to seed it with isopods and springtails. These inverts are the base of a healthy substrate ecosystem.
Episode 4: Kuhl’s Flying Gecko
September 20, 2018
Myke and his team pulled an all-nighter in search of a nocturnal species, the Kuhl’s Flying Gecko. While on the search, Myke found a Tailless Whip Scorpion! These little guys may be freaky looking, but they are actually pretty harmless as they don’t bite or sting.
The team then encountered a White-Lipped Viper, an arboreal snake, about to ambush his prey. These snakes feed on small mammals, prefer heavy brush and orchard biomes, and grow to about 2 - 3 feet long.
Once the Kuhl’s Flying Gecko was found, Myke was able to get a good look at the gecko’s webbed toes, frilled tail and extra skin on his stomach. These physical traits help this little gecko glide from tree to tree!
Like the White-Lipped Viper, the Kuhl’s Flying Gecko is arboreal, which means they live in trees and are not commonly found on the ground.
Ambient Temperature: 82.3°F (78°F -88°F Range)
Night Temperature: 73.1°F (70°F- 75°F Range)
Humidity: 87.2% (70% - 95% Range)
The gecko’s natural environment is filled with overlapping trees, so it’s important to keep this in mind as you build an enclosure. Always make sure it’s easy for your gecko to jump from one perch to another, and give them plenty to climb on.
Due to the thin nature of this gecko, it’s very important that their terrarium doesn’t get too hot, or they may overheat.
When building an enclosure for a Tailless Whip Scorpion, maintaining the right humidity level is key, because these invertebrates can dry out quickly. In addition, be sure to purchase an enclosure with plenty of vertical space.
Episode 5: Tokay Gecko
October 20, 2018
In this spooky Halloween special Myke and his team travel to Bogor, a city in West Java, in search of a Tokay Gecko. They choose a city for their search because these geckos, often called cosmopolitan geckos, don’t mind the human disturbance.
During the search, a House Gecko worked his way into the spotlight. These little guys are arboreal and grow to an average size of 2 - 4 inches. They like to live in rotting trees and buildings!
Eventually, their search took them to a graveyard where the team was very careful to be respectful of both the geckos and the dead. Tokays are very talkative, which helped Myke in his search. Tokay Geckos are a nocturnal species that grow to an average size of 9 - 13 inches long and are commonly found in tree trunks. They are both arboreal and terrestrial. These geckos are a very durable and adaptable species, which makes them well suited for captivity.
Ambient Temperature: 88.6°F (82°F - 92°F Range)
Night Temperature: 73.1°F ( 72°F - 75°F Range)
Humidity: 82.2% ( 65% - 90% Range)
It’s important to note that it is really humid in this environment, and the House Geckos kept appearing on walls with moss. Like most tropical geckos, House Geckos and Tokay Geckos need tall enclosures with room to climb.
For both of these geckos, substrates that retain and hold humidity are recommended.