Some Interesting Facts About Tortoise Shells

Tortoises are defined by, protected by, described by and hunted for their shells. We are going to look into some interesting facts about tortoise shells as we look into the biology of tortoises including their evolution and how they have come to hold so much of our curiosity with their slow moving yet long lived lifestyle. Many people looking for a tortoise for sale would be surprised to know how unique they really are.

Tortoises are found on most of the continents including North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe as well as parts of Indonesia, Madagascar and the Galapagos. They have evolved to live in sparse rocky islands in the middle of the ocean, lush jungles in the Amazon, deserts in Africa and the cold steppes of Russia. All of this while carrying large and heavy domed shells made of bone on their backs. Some tortoises feed on vegetation and grasses while others feed on fruits and carrion. Some tortoises will even chase down small insects and snails as part of their varied diet.

The most obvious part of a tortoise is its large domed and usually brightly colored shell. The tortoise shell is a group of bones that are joined together at visible sutures known as scutes. These bones form the top and bottom half of the shell known as the carapace and the plastron. The carapace is connected to the ribcage and the backbone of the tortoise and serves to protect these slow moving animals from predators and the elements. This very same device used for protection is what has brought about the demise of many tortoises as they are hunted and killed for the use of their shells by humans.

Many years ago sailors passing through the Galapagos Islands brought about the extinction of some Giant Tortoise species by collecting them for food. Tortoises were easy to catch and load on a ship where they would last for months and provide fresh meat to the sailors at sea. At the same time tortoises through Asia and India were collated and killed for the use of their beautiful shells in making combs, eyeglass frames and other fancy ornaments. The use of plastics did a lot to curb this destruction of tortoises as well as the enactment of numerous protective laws designed to stop the eradication of tortoise species. Today the term tortoise shell is used to describe a medley of black, brown and yellow colors commonly seen on radiated and star tortoises.

These beautiful long lived creatures can spend their entire lives in the same small area or roam a long distance as they look for food, mates and territory to make their own. Tortoises in captivity quickly become a part of the household with their endearing personality and endless curiosity. You should always do your research first if you are thinking about picking up a tortoise for sale.

Amir has a love for animals and an eye for detail. Having over 25 years of reptile breeding experience and husbandry means that he has spent endless hours studying them and has a vast knowledge about reptiles including how they behave, what are the best foods for a particular reptile species, how to breed them, which ones are best for your kids, the best ways of taking care of them etc.

The Magical Childhood With the Adorable Monsters

As a daughter of a forest officer, I had plenty of privileges. For starters, I had a zoo. Yes, I literally had a zoo as my playground!

My father used to be a Zoo Director at Padmaja Naidu Himayalan Zoological Park. I loved that place with all my heart. It could be a childhood illusion but I think we had the best house in Darjeeling. From the French windows in my parents’ room, we could see the entire Kunchenjunga range. From my room, which my sister and I used to share, we could see the garden with its beds of bright red poppies in the spring and summer on one side and a jungle, which probably only had jackals, from the other. Even though I knew from the beginning that I would have to leave this magical place – my very own Narnia – someday, it did not stop me from being friends with the diverse animals that lived there. And of course, I had my favourites too.

The zoo campus was my fortress. I surveyed it everyday, stopping to admire the beauty of the clean and green environment that came alive with the chirping of exotic birds and the roar of Siberian tigers. Everyday, the zookeepers and the guards would tell me stories and happenings that went on in the zoo. Trust me, it felt exactly like being in the fairy tale of Narnia. Only these animals did not speak English.

My favourite anecdote was one where the leopard broke a visitor’s umbrella. Some tourists got excited after they saw the leopard. But they were soon disappointed when it wouldn’t act in a way a carnivore is supposed to. I guess they expected it to be growling and inflicting fear on passersby. So they poked it with an umbrella until the leopard got angry and snatched the umbrella and broke it. After that incident, Achilles (mispronounced as Ac-chilis by the zookeeper) became my favourite leopard.

I also enjoyed playing with the fluffy looking snow leopard. Each time I was near his cage, he used to mirror my movements. If I ran, he ran. If I walked, he walked. At times, he used to hide and watch me from the corner of his eyes and then surprise me by suddenly jumping out of his hideout. Sometimes, under supervision, I even stroked the back of his furry ear. I could say that he really enjoyed it by his throaty purrs.

I used to love how I had found secret hideouts in the zoo. On every holiday, if we were not out on a family getaway, I would walk all the way up to the Siberian Tigers enclosure, which was at the far end of the zoo. And even though they were not very friendly, I enjoyed looking at them. I was also very jealous about the fact that they had a nice looking cave where they could nap.

I did not like the deer family and mountain goats too much because they spent all their time eating. Nonetheless, I did make a friend. A little mountain goat called Pooja Bhatt. I gave the goat this name since it had a cute little fringe that was sported by the popular actress. However, I’m not sure if the goat was even a female. But I loved feeding it grass and it definitely had a big appetite.

Like I said, there were plenty of advantages of being a zoo directors’ daughter. One of them was being able to play with and care for the cute and helpless looking cubs that grow up to be majestic yet fearful looking creatures.

The tiger and leopard cubs were extremely cute. If you kept a stuffed toy right next to them, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, until the real one moved. It’s funny how everyone is so scared of these carnivores. Each time a cub was born, we would wait excitedly for it to grow up and play with us. Sadly, cubs abandoned by their mothers did not do very well despite all the warmth and nourishment we tried to provide to simulate the care it would have got from its mother. It was heartbreaking to watch them die. When you looked at the scared and shivering cubs with their wide-eyed innocence, you forgot that when they grow up, they could kill you with a casual flick of their paw across your face.

But if I had to pick a favourite, then it would definitely be the bear cubs, Sunny and Mani. I don’t remember how they ended up staying in the guard room outside the house when they were first brought to the zoo hardly a month old, but I do remember them biting the bottom of the wooden door with their moderately sharp teeth.

I wouldn’t say we had the best garden but we did have some nice looking poppies, petunias and fuchsias among a few others. However these adorable yet destructive pair of cubs hardly took half an hour to ruin our gardeners’ hard work. But how could we be mad? These cuddle worthy cubs never let us get angry with them by being so lively and funny.

Miniature Pigs And What You Need to Know Before Getting One As a Pet

If you have heard of miniature pigs, then you should know that they can be affectionate and fun pets to keep around the home. Learn a bit about these furless animals and why you might want one as your next pet.

What are they?

Miniature pigs, micro pigs or teacup pigs, as they are also called, are a small breed of pigs which will normally not reach more than 30 lbs. in weight. They are very intelligent and sociable animals, and the best thing about them is that you can keep a pig and make fun without having to keep a 400 lb. animal in your home. Most of them are sold by respected breeders, and you could get one for a decent price.

Training your teacup pig

One of the main reasons why miniature pigs are popular as pets is that they can be trained just like dogs or cats. You can potty train your micro pig so as to not have to clean your home every time someone has had too much too eat. These small animals are also easy to teach commands to, and they can sit, walk with you on a leash or even play dead if you wish to see a pig in that posture.

These small pigs are not fussy when it comes to food, so you could feed your favorite pet almost anything you have in mind as long as you try to keep its diet reasonably balanced.

Keeping a trusted friend for years

These pigs will easily get attached to you, and another thing which distinguishes them from other types of pets is that they are very smart. Just make sure you train your micro pig if you don’t want to have dominant display when trying to peacefully watch a ballgame.

These funny little pigs can live for 15 to 20 years, making them some if the most long lived pets of this type. What this means is that you don’t have to worry about becoming too attached, as you will likely share many years in the company of your teacup pig.

Careful when buying your teacup pig

One of the things you should be careful about is where you get your miniature pigs from. There are many unscrupulous breeders which may sell you an animal which is named a micro pig only to discover in a year that the small cuddly animal has reached over 300 lbs. You wouldn’t want a huge pig wondering around the home, asking for food, would you?

Your best bet would be to search online for a reputable teacup pig breeder, and a good idea would be to also see the parents of the pig before you buy it. These are also sold above 1,000 dollars, so if the breeder is asking anything less than that, you should make sure you are buying an actual miniature pig and not a pig that is now small but who will reach several hundred pounds.

So get one of these cuddly miniature pigs from a trusted breeder and enjoy the company of one of the funniest pets around.