Happy Morph Day!

I’ll be the first to admit this post is long overdue. Around Spring break, I figured Milo would complete his change within the week, but I was surprised to watch it undergo another month. That being said, he is now a happy seven-inch salamander!



Be sure to have completely moist, clean hands, as lacking to do so can present harmful salts and oils to the salamander; Limit handling to short intervals.

The first noticeable sign of his change was the regression of his gills. Eventually, he began to loom around the surface of the water, so I moved him to a shallower enclosure with a hideout to crawl out on. I will say this was the more tedious part of the transition–not so much the change of environment but waiting for him to fully make the leap from aquatic to terrestrial.

Beginning of Gill Regression


Once they do make the switch, it’s best to allow them an enclosure of moist, loose dirt (NO fertilizer) with plants and shaded areas to hide under. As for diet, crickets, mealworms, and earthworms can be let loose in the enclosure for the salamander to feed on as it pleases. The benefit of having mealworms over crickets appears to be centered around Milo residing most of his time underground. This way he is not forced to come up for food and is able to remain under the dirt where he is currently the most comfortable.

He is definitely camera shy in his terrestrial form, but I do hope to have more pictures of his transformation in the weeks to come.

Let’s Talk Crested Water Dragons

My friend Terri Napier was generous enough to allow me the use of Reptar, her male dragon for the filming of this video. For that, I send her many thanks!



Vegetation Bowl/Feeding Area:

Romaine Lettuce



Cauliflower & Broccoli


Apples & Bananas


Insect Bowl/Feeding Area:


Dubia Roaches



If you would like the total care guide for these animals, you can
download it from the link below.





Munchin’ Mice


When from a reputable manufacturer, commercialized diets for mice offer a great deal of protein and additional nutrients. A lot of the time, however, fillers are used–such as corn–which can limit the daily nutrients your pet needs to be healthy.

One way of getting around this is making your own chops for your pet. When creating your own mixture, it is important to remember mice need plenty of fruits and vegetables in their diet as well as protein. In order to create the best chop possible for your mouse, here are a few possible vegetable options:


Romaine Lettuce




Bean Sprouts




Protein can be introduced in a variety of ways. Lean cut turkey, shelled beans, as well as insects are all perfect options to include into your mouse’s diet. When selecting an insect, it is best to choose a size appropriate to your pet, so they do not face the risk of biting off more than they can chew. I would personally choose small mealworms and Dubia roaches. 

After introducing vegetables and protein, it is nice to leave your mouse with carbohydrates in the form of fruit. Listed below are a few options suitable for your pet’s mixture:

Keep in mind, it is crucial to skin the fruit before giving it to your mice in order to reduce the risk of impaction!


Blackberries & Raspberries



Apples & Bananas

The lists I have provided certainly aren’t the only foods you can feed your mouse, just some of my suggestions. If you have any questions about foods you are using or are wanting information on chops for other species, feel free to shoot me an email and I will be glad to help!




Eye of the Tiger: Caring for My Eastern Tiger Salamander Larva

Earlier in the semester, I stumbled across an Eastern tiger salamander at Petco, still in his waterdog form. This type of salamander is known for its hardiness compared to other salamander breeds.

My little guy’s name is Milo, though he hasn’t stayed little for long.  Spanning a length of 140 mm, he is an ideal size for metamorphosis. While docile to humans, I would hate to be an insect crossing his path.


No one is certain what causes these water dogs to initiate their change. Speculations range from their fear of a shifting external environment to simply random initiation. I have seen owners induce the transformation in the past by removing a filter and gradually lowering water levels; coupled with increased time between feedings, this can cause the water dogs to morph into their terrestrial form.

Diet for these animals consists of insects, freeze dried krill, as well as pinky mice. The latter, as well as some variations of insects, must be given in moderation due to the tiger salamander’s increased risk for obesity. Milo’s diet currently consists of 4 freeze-dried krill a day, with a mealworm every other day.


I choose to feed him with feeder tongs, just to ensure his quantities remain consistent. Dropping food in by hand or dangling is perfectly suitable, though sometimes they will mistake your finger for a nibble. That being said, because they lack teeth it will just feel like a rubber ball bouncing off your fingertip.

I have my water dog housed in a three-gallon aquarium right now and am hoping to move him to a new ten-gallon tank in the upcoming week.

Look out for an update post featuring Milo’s new enclosure as well as any growth progress made!

A Helping Hand


Pictured Above: Fred, A Sugar Glider From a Past Clinic

“I have no fear of losing my life—if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it.” -Steve Irwin, Wildlife Conservationist

I grew up watching Irwin as a kid and was fascinated by his devotion to the wildlife around him. His desire to help never faltered despite the situation presented. Sure, there were moments where he was fearful, but his driven passion helped override his apprehension.

I knew animal medicine and rehabilitation was the route I wanted to take when I found my Eastern box turtle, Eartle. A little over the size of a quarter, he was dropped by a bird and suffered a hairline cracked shell. After movement made a slight improvement within a few weeks, I looked at the percentages of survival with young box turtles: mortality rate rests among 95%.  I took one look at the little guy and how hard he was struggling to eat his cucumber slice and knew he was going to be my long-term companion.

More recently, I was walking outside my complex when I noticed a female sparrow convulsing. Her leg was awkwardly bent inward, forcing the bird to drag herself when trying to move. There was no hesitation. I asked my boyfriend to go inside and grab the softest kitchen towels I had. With a scooping motion, I picked up the sparrow and brought her inside to be placed on a heating pad. She laid there, allowing me to stroke her head with her shaking decreasing. Together, my boyfriend and I pondered what to call her, but I knew eventually she would be released. To avoid getting attached, he suggested we just call her Bird. I reminded him she was indeed a lady.

Miss Bird it was.

Over the weekend she remained on low heat, as well as was transferred to a larger enclosure. Around two days after finding her, with a belly full of sunflower seeds, Miss Bird flew on home.

There was no tangible reward for helping that sweet bird, as there isn’t for helping most wildlife. What you do receive, however, is what I felt that day—a deep and joyous satisfaction knowing she was pruning in a tree somewhere, spending the night with her own kind versus lying on the harsh cement.

I guess you could say stories like Eartle and Miss Bird are what my blog is about. I’ve never been one to walk away from an animal in need, and I hope that by documenting my path at least one more person will realize the importance and beauty of the creatures around us.

There’s a lot out there to learn, and I know I am just at the beginning of my journey. What I can be confident about, though, is it only takes a little compassion to get started.