Make Your Life Soar with Exotic Birds

Owning a pet can be a wonderful thing. They can be companions, entertaining us for days when we’re happy and pulling us up when we’re down. But what if you want something other than a cat or dog? What if you want something a little more…exotic?

An exotic bird is not the most typical pet, but it can be a benefit for the typical owner. Owning an exotic bird can be fulfilling in many ways, including…

Having Something Social to Be Around

Exotic birds can be friendly creatures to owners and their guests. From the Yellow-thighed caique to the Blue-fronted Amazon, these birds enjoy having a home that fosters interaction and play. Others have the ability to talk if trained properly, like the Indian Ringneck or the African Grey which can create full, clear sentences. If you’re somebody who may be new to an area or wouldn’t mind an extra buddy, exotic birds can be your new friend.

Fostering a Healthy Lifestyle

Birds require a very particular environment, specifically in regards to air quality. They are sensitive to smoke and potential toxins in the home. Taking care of an exotic bird can improve your quality of life by causing you to give up certain bad habits, such as smoking. In addition, their diet can include fruits like apples and cherries along with common nuts. This may prompt you to buy similar food as a way to save money and be more conscious about what you take in as a pet owner. As a result, you both can soar with happier, healthier lives.

Making You Smarter

Exotic birds like the cockatoo are very intelligent, both in play and movement. Training them is not an easy feat and requires a lot of patience and know-how. The process itself is rewarding for both of you, as you will have to rely on critical thinking and strategic behavior reinforcement to make sure you get the results you want out of your training. Plus, you have the added benefit of doing research about your bird, giving you greater insight and appreciation for it along your journey.

Having a Great Conversation Starter

According to a 2017 study by the National Pet Owners Association, 68% of households in the U.S. own a pet. From that percentage, 7.9 million homes own a bird. If you consider that only a portion of those homes owns exotic birds specifically, then you may have something that other people do not have. This can be a great ice breaker for new friends or a story starter for longtime guests eager to know how your flying friend is doing. Maybe it can even cause more people to buy their own exotic bird, which is always a plus!

Building Lifelong Adventures

These magnificent creatures can have a long lifespan. Some, like the budgies, can live for 5-7 years; others, like the Amazon, have the chance to live as many as 60 years. No matter which exotic bird you have, they can be with you for a lifetime, bringing you adventures daily with a flair that dogs and cats may lack.

Whether you’re a fan of flight or want to spread your wings socially, owning an exotic bird can be a rewarding experience as a pet owner. You may think that you’re changing the bird’s life, but it’ll change yours for the better.

Sources:
m.petmd.com/bird/top_tens/evr_bd_top10talking_birds?page=1
www.avianwelfare.org/issues/articles/NBD_shelters_before_adopting.pdf
www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-pet-statistics
exoticbirdevents.com/How-Long-Do-Birds-Live.html

Scales Beat Fur: Why Exotic Reptiles Rule as Pets

Pet owners, what do you feel is the hardest part about having an animal companion? Is it the feeding, lifestyle, or training? Does cleaning up after it make you groan and sigh? What if you had a pet that was not just a good pet, but a fantastic pet?

Welcome to the wild world of exotic reptiles! Many may say that having lizards and snakes as pets are not for the faint of heart, but maybe these seven reasons will show you that your heart is bigger than you thought.

Take Your Pet Anywhere

Reptiles, especially exotic ones, need a very particular place to sleep, eat, and move around. For the most part, they are better left in an enclosure suited for their size. This may seem like a negative to those who prefer having pets free and out in the open. However, having a reptile in a portable enclosure or small habitat can mean taking them anywhere you want without risk of them running away or having negative interactions with others. Rather than worrying about your dog running away from its leash, your exotic pet is now safely in your hands.

Customize Your Habitat

Connecting to the previous point, exotic reptiles need a place that has specific heating and lighting needs due to their cold-blooded nature. They also need places to hide in and around, as constant exposure can cause stress. What this means is a fully-customizable habitat where you can let your creativity shine for your reptile. From rocks and boulders to realistic vegetation in the enclosure, it’s more ambitious and fun than simply finding holiday sweaters for your cat.

No Fur? No Problem

Unlike traditional pets like dogs and cats, reptiles do not have fur, which makes it much easier to clean up after. You can say goodbye to stray hairs on your furniture or your clothing before big events. This is perfect for those who are allergic to fur or pet dander but still want something to love. Plus, think of how much money you’ll be saving on grooming products and constant vacuuming!

Small Diet for Small Price

The diet for an exotic reptile is going to depend on the specific species you would have. Some, like geckos, can eat small crickets. Others, like pythons, may be a bit more carnivorous and need creatures such as mice for feeding. Pet owners who prefer the former can save money on food for their exotic creature instead of constantly going to the grocery store for pounds of dry food. Not to mention, you’ll also have a pet who is eating something more natural than pre-made artificial kibbles and bits.

Spend More Time With Your Friend

Getting attached to a pet can be bittersweet. While knowing that you’ll have many years with your animal companion, it can be sad knowing that they will pass on. With exotic reptiles, it can be more sweet than bitter, as their life expectancy far exceeds normal pets. Snakes can live for at least fifteen years, geckos and iguanas into their late teens to early twenties, and turtles can survive for a staggering forty years! Not only will you have an exotic acquaintance for over a decade, but you can pass it on to a family member who is looking to share in the experience, too.

Mellow Moods, But Plenty of Love

Some people like the hustle and energy of dogs, and that is perfectly fine. However, some people may need something more mellow to watch over, whether it is due to age or simply having a calmer personality. No matter what the case may be, owning an exotic reptile can be very low-energy provided that you raise it healthy and safe. This does not mean that they are without personality; on the contrary, they may show more of an affectionate personality given that they are not so expressive with movement.

No Need for Training

You may think that owning a lizard, turtle, snake, or any reptile requires a lot of training, much like you would with dogs or cats. With exotic reptiles, this isn’t always the case, as they do not require obedience commands or potty-training. Not only does this make it less stressful to own a pet, but it can time and money that would’ve been spent with trainers. Your pet reptile will truly be a reflection of you if you treat it kindly and with respect.

From green iguanas to baby leopard turtles and everything in between, owning an exotic reptile can be an experience that other pet owners will miss out on. Stand out from the rest, show your stripes and own an exotic reptile today!

Sources:
www.texvetpets.org/article/reptiles-as-pets
www.reptiles.swelluk.com/blog/advantages-to-having-a-pet-reptile
www.petplace.com/article/reptiles/general/life-expectancy-of-reptiles
www.petmd.com/reptile/care/can-your-reptile-bond-with-you
alohavegasvets.com/2016/05/15/southwest-las-vegas-nv-vet-benefits-pet-reptile

The Comeback Of Vintage Backpacks

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In the late 70's to through the early 90's, backpacks were very fashionable, and to be particular, several designer brands were quite fashionable. Nonetheless, the Coach backpacks seemed to control the market, and that is what your likely to find these days when in the hunt for the best vintage backpack. Nonetheless, you can rarely stumble on or find these types of bags in a brand new condition; they are in economy and thrift stores as second- hand commodities. Nevertheless, you'll be astounded that after all these years; the backpacks are still in good condition and still have the stylish look they had when they were brand new. Therefore, it is worth purchase as it is very affordable even cheaper than a good treat of burger and fries!

Features and Benefits of Vintage Backpacks

Vintage Backpacks are the purses and not the hiking backpacks. Nowadays lots of women are carrying vintage backpacks, and indeed, these backpacks are making a grand comeback, which is for a good reason. Not only are they classy, trendy, and unique, but they are in great conditions and cheap to purchase compared to a price of a new one. Although there are various color choices, most of these bags are British tan, brown, and black. Interestingly, they are simple but robust with substantial hardware and real leather. Further, the compartments are easy and simple to find, the shoulder straps fine tune to any desired length, and most of them have handles that permit you to carry it like a purse.

A majority of these backpacks made of eminence leather, and they are very durable. They are ideal and handy for shopping trips, vacation, and for college student's carrying supplies and books. No need to fret about getting them dirty as they clean up amazingly well because of the high quality and durable leather used. Additionally, they are cheap to purchase, and most ladies prefer them as their "punch bags" and enjoy carrying them!

Advantages of Vintage Backpacks

Since, these backpacks manufactured of leather; they have a better price tag linked to them than other backpacks made from several polyester, artificial mixes, or canvas. Flere are some advantages that you should know and consider when purchasing these backpacks.

Eminent Longevity

Owing to the fact these backpacks are sturdier and stronger than others; they also last for long. Ordinary backpack are long lasting under bulky and extensive use, and also have the capability to wear and tear, and take well the weather conditions. Consequently, they save money, as you do not need to interchange frequently the backpack.

Waterproofed Material

The backpack is weatherproof and waterproof as they have inbuilt leather that can handle these conditions. As these backpacks are manufactured to address any adverse situation, and they have an added safety component that safeguards the content inside the backpack, Flence, these components make the vintage backpack stand out and last for long.

Tough and Resilient

Since they are leather-based backpacks, they are tough and resilient compared to other backpacks manufactured from canvas, polyester, or other artificial mixes. Also, they have the capability to carry bigger weights, as the material is sufficiently pliable. Further, they do not tear or lose their shape, which makes these backpacks exceptional, and a must have than any other type of backpacks!

California Kingsnake

As a child I was enthralled with reptiles, mesmerized by the unending stare of a snake and the myriad geometric patterns and colors of turtle and lizard scales. I would spend hours trekking through nearby fields and streams in search of all things slimy and scaly- a habit I never grew out of. Growing up in the Midwest, species of the western US up until now were encountered only as pictures in books and childhood daydreams. After relocating to the west coast, much of my free-time is spent in the field attempting to catch a glimpse of the native reptile and amphibian species of central California. More recently, I have become interested in identifying and untangling the seemingly unfathomable number of bird species found here on the Central Coast. As I encounter local species of reptiles, amphibians and birds I will be posting pictures of these animal encounters along with interesting natural history facts about each specimen. There is so much beauty within the world to be discovered and appreciated; why not start in one’s own backyard.


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It only took over a year, but the quintessential Californian was finally found! Let’s take a look at arguably one of the most beautiful snakes in the country, the California Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula californiae. This species is unmistakable in appearance, hosting a pallet of striking contrast, usually of black and white banding in its most familiar phenotype. There are local color variations throughout the range, with sub-populations exhibiting variable hues of chocolate browns and creams. There are even populations of individuals with longitudinal striping rather the more familiar banded pattern. California Kingsnakes are medium-sized, gentle snakes that range throughout the state in a variety of different habitats. When surprised/threatened, they will hiss loudly and quickly vibrate their tail, accomplishing a somewhat surprisingly loud buzzing noise when in contact with loose, dry debris. If the envelope is further pushed, they will hide their head within their coils and expose the bright red mucosal surface of their cloaca with (it is suspected) the intent of drawing attention to the back end while the front end searches for an escape.

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So, why are they called kingsnakes? Welp, these beasts will eat just about anything they come across – lizards, young turtles, birds, a variety of small mammals, large insects, the eggs of lizards and snakes, and even other snakes! Kingsnakes immobilize and dispatch their prey by constriction. California has a variety of snake species- our friend Lampropeltis getula californiae reigns supreme. These guys will even eat rattlesnakes – and if that isn’t macho enough, kingsnakes are immune to rattlesnake venom!

Western Pond Turtle

As a child I was enthralled with reptiles, mesmerized by the unending stare of a snake and the myriad geometric patterns and colors of turtle and lizard scales. I would spend hours trekking through nearby fields and streams in search of all things slimy and scaly- a habit I never grew out of. Growing up in the Midwest, species of the western US up until now were encountered only as pictures in books and childhood daydreams. After relocating to the west coast, much of my free-time is spent in the field attempting to catch a glimpse of the native reptile and amphibian species of central California. More recently, I have become interested in identifying and untangling the seemingly unfathomable number of bird species found here on the Central Coast. As I encounter local species of reptiles, amphibians and birds I will be posting pictures of these animal encounters along with interesting natural history facts about each specimen. There is so much beauty within the world to be discovered and appreciated; why not start in one’s own backyard.


Let’s take a look at the only native species of turtle to the area, Actinemys marmorata, the Western Pond Turtle. Pond turtles are small-medium semiaquatic chelonian species with a rather flat shell shape. Most appear somewhat bland, having a muddy-brown carapace (top shell), a yellowish plastron (bottom shell), and lighter brown appendages/head. There are some beauty queens, however, that display ornate, radiant striping on the carapace and pretty yellow mottling of the arms, legs, and neck. Males will usually have pale-yellow throats and flatter shells while females will have a higher, dome-shaped appearance to the carapace. These little tanks are omnivorous, feeding on aquatic plants, invertebrates, and the occasional frog/fish – the diet of champions!

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Again, these guys are the only species of turtle native to the central coast – any other species of turtle/tortoise found meandering about is either invasive or an escaped pet. Red-eared sliders, an eastern species, have established themselves in many places pretty far from home, including various places in California. Common Snapping turtles, another eastern species, have also made themselves at home in California as well.

Unfortunately, this is the last Central Coast reptile species I have in my arsenal! I suppose we’ll have to change gears and take a look at birds soon. I know, I am heart-broken as well; please stay strong.

Sound a Frog Makes

On the prowl! This guy was found just off of the mean streets of Pismo- up to no good, I imagine.

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Males can be differentiated from females by their vocal sacs, which appear as dark, loose skin over the throat area. A variety of different calls are utilized in the male’s quest for finding love and maintaining his territory – an excellent run-down of the different calls can be found (and heard!) using the link below:

http://www.californiaherps.com/f…/pages/p.sierra.sounds.html

The daytime call, an ugly-sounding, single-noted quack, is a common background noise heard just about anywhere there is shrubbery about. This noise is almost insect-like -easily unassuming of a lurking, well-hidden frog. The advertisement call, however, is a text-book, quintessential ‘ribbit’. In fact, the advertisement call was used as THEE frog voice soundbite in the early days of Hollywood, becoming world-renowned as the ‘sound a frog makes’.

Sierran Treefrog

As a child I was enthralled with reptiles, mesmerized by the unending stare of a snake and the myriad geometric patterns and colors of turtle and lizard scales. I would spend hours trekking through nearby fields and streams in search of all things slimy and scaly- a habit I never grew out of. Growing up in the Midwest, species of the western US up until now were encountered only as pictures in books and childhood daydreams. After relocating to the west coast, much of my free-time is spent in the field attempting to catch a glimpse of the native reptile and amphibian species of central California. More recently, I have become interested in identifying and untangling the seemingly unfathomable number of bird species found here on the Central Coast. As I encounter local species of reptiles, amphibians and birds I will be posting pictures of these animal encounters along with interesting natural history facts about each specimen. There is so much beauty within the world to be discovered and appreciated; why not start in one’s own backyard.


Here we have our most common amphibian species of the area, Pseudacris sierra, the Sierran Treefrog. These little beasts tend to reach a maximum size of about 2 inches or less and come in a variety of colors and patterns that can change in response to temperature and habitat. Regardless of an individual’s chosen garb, the dark ‘mask’ through the eyes and a ‘y’-shaped blotch on the center of the head are nearly always present.

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They are found pretty much anywhere capable of maintaining at least a drop or two of moisture – including downtown Pismo! Treefrogs are a regular inhabitant of my courtyard, and I derive much interest from listening to their calls and observing their patterning, much more so than a normal adult man should. I even occasionally find a frog or two indoors, to which I kindly escort them out. You ain’t helping to pay no rent, freeloader! Sit tight, soon we’ll discuss calls and differentiating males from females.

Western Skink

As a child I was enthralled with reptiles, mesmerized by the unending stare of a snake and the myriad geometric patterns and colors of turtle and lizard scales. I would spend hours trekking through nearby fields and streams in search of all things slimy and scaly- a habit I never grew out of. Growing up in the Midwest, species of the western US up until now were encountered only as pictures in books and childhood daydreams. After relocating to the west coast, much of my free-time is spent in the field attempting to catch a glimpse of the native reptile and amphibian species of central California. More recently, I have become interested in identifying and untangling the seemingly unfathomable number of bird species found here on the Central Coast. As I encounter local species of reptiles, amphibians and birds I will be posting pictures of these animal encounters along with interesting natural history facts about each specimen. There is so much beauty within the world to be discovered and appreciated; why not start in one’s own backyard.


Let’s take a look at a common representative of the Scincidae lizard family that can be found here on the Central Coast, the Western (or Skilton’s) Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus). While sometimes seen basking, these fast, active little lizards are usually more at-home beneath leaf litter or environmental debris. Western Skinks have a rather aesthetic appearance; their smooth, shiny scales shimmer in the sunlight and the bright, eye-catching electric blue tail is a color rarely encountered in nature. But why would such a small, somewhat delicate lizard want to draw attention to its tail? We will soon find out!

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But first, let’s munch on a few nuggets of natural history: Western Skinks are diurnal lizards that spend much of their time foraging for insects, spiders and other invertebrates. They reach about 2-3 inches in body length (not including the tail) and females typically lay between 2-10 eggs in early summer, diligently guarding them until they hatch approximately 30 days later. During the breeding season, adults will develop a red-orange cast to the head, chin, and tail – much like the specimen pictured here.

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Now, let’s get back to that tail. The tail in many lizards accounts for a significant portion of their body length and is an important aspect of balance, locomotion, and, in some species, fat storage. The tail is, however, also the most likely area of the lizard to be captured by a would-be predator. Many species of lizards across different families have evolved a remarkable defense mechanism, known as caudal autotomy, in which they can essentially break their own tail off! Within the vertebra of the tail are pre-determined fracture planes that work much like the linear perforations of a notebook. When even the slightest amount of pull is applied to the tail, these fracture planes ‘activate’, truncating the tail at the point of restraint.
(https://ispub.com/IJBA/1/2/7729)

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Here we have the spoils of an attempted skink capture. After detachment the muscles of the tail will continue to violently contract, leaving the tail to writhe about for a few minutes. This dramatic flailing of the brightly-colored tail serves as an excellent distraction to the predator as the remainder of the lizard retreats to safety. We can see why, then, this animal would want to draw attention to its tail.

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Black-bellied Slender Salamander

As a child I was enthralled with reptiles, mesmerized by the unending stare of a snake and the myriad geometric patterns and colors of turtle and lizard scales. I would spend hours trekking through nearby fields and streams in search of all things slimy and scaly- a habit I never grew out of. Growing up in the Midwest, species of the western US up until now were encountered only as pictures in books and childhood daydreams. After relocating to the west coast, much of my free-time is spent in the field attempting to catch a glimpse of the native reptile and amphibian species of central California. More recently, I have become interested in identifying and untangling the seemingly unfathomable number of bird species found here on the Central Coast. As I encounter local species of reptiles, amphibians and birds I will be posting pictures of these animal encounters along with interesting natural history facts about each specimen. There is so much beauty within the world to be discovered and appreciated; why not start in one’s own backyard.


Let’s take a look at another species of lungless salamander common to the area: Batrachoseps nigriventris, the Black-bellied Slender salamander. These little guys have been hard to come by given the recent drought and heat; however, once a bit of moisture and a milder ambient temperature roll on in, Black-bellied slender salamanders will be regularly encountered. They are a small species, growing only a few inches in length, and are commonly found beneath moist debris such as rotting logs. Their slender appearance, small legs, and very long tail give them an almost worm-like appearance. When surprised, they tend to flail about- again looking a bit like a deranged worm. Like other species of lungless salamanders, oxygen exchange occurs through the skin and mucus membranes.

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Here’s a pretty horrendous picture of another individual found just yards away from the previous: As you can see, there is a good deal of variability in the basic coloration of this species. It is not uncommon for individuals to have a lighter base color and a reddish back. While this guy looks a bit different from the previous, they are in fact the same species.
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Okay, sit tight, another amphibian is on the way!

Monterey Ensatina

As a child I was enthralled with reptiles, mesmerized by the unending stare of a snake and the myriad geometric patterns and colors of turtle and lizard scales. I would spend hours trekking through nearby fields and streams in search of all things slimy and scaly- a habit I never grew out of. Growing up in the Midwest, species of the western US up until now were encountered only as pictures in books and childhood daydreams. After relocating to the west coast, much of my free-time is spent in the field attempting to catch a glimpse of the native reptile and amphibian species of central California. More recently, I have become interested in identifying and untangling the seemingly unfathomable number of bird species found here on the Central Coast. As I encounter local species of reptiles, amphibians and birds I will be posting pictures of these animal encounters along with interesting natural history facts about each specimen. There is so much beauty within the world to be discovered and appreciated; why not start in one’s own backyard.


Well, well, look who’s back with some herpin’ action! Today we will take a look at our first amphibian species which, based on how dry things have been around here as of late, have been very few and far between. This beautiful guy here is a somewhat commonly-encountered salamander of the Central Coast, Ensatina eschscholtzii escholtzii, the Monterey Ensatina. There are a few subspecies of Ensatina that range throughout western California; all are neat-looking little creatures! Like many of California’s salamander species, the Ensatina belongs to the family Plethodontidae, the Lungless Salamanders. Plethodontid salamanders do not breathe through lungs. Instead, the tissue of the dermis (skin) and mucus membranes is involved in oxygenation of the blood. Such a form of respiration requires them to live in damp environments; therefore, Ensatina live in relatively cool moist places on land becoming most active on rainy or wet nights when temperatures are moderate. They stay underground during hot and dry periods where they are able to tolerate considerable dehydration.

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D’aww, just look at that little face! Like many brightly colored organisms in nature, those beautiful colors are intended to convey a message to would-be predators. The tail contains a high density of poison glands that secrete a milky white noxious substance that is incredibly distasteful and sticky. When disturbed, an Ensatina will stand tall in a stiff-legged defensive posture with its back swayed and the tail raised up, swaying the tail from side to side. The objective of such as display is to draw attention to the tail and away from the more vulnerable body.

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We’ll be taking a look at another species of lungless salamander soon, keep your eyes peeled!