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Halloween Story Show – The Little Witch


It is Halloween night and The Little Witch is sitting in her cave by a cauldron, reading a potion book hoping to find something for the ‘Trick or Treaters’ when she comes across a potion for a Halloween Treat!

The list of ingredients are;

  • A loved stick to stir indeed
  • The Skin of a snake, they no longer need
  • Silk from a spider, now that is key
  • and rainwater, from a very tall tree

To get all the ingredients, she will need help from her special animal friends in countries far away.  So she puts on her magic cloak with the bottomless pockets, hops on her broomstick and takes to the skies to meet her animal friends.

The first place on her list is the Rainforest.  She flies through the thick canopy, passes through the understory and lands on the forest floor. She starts looking for one of her friends.

Milo, the Giant African Millipede saw the Little Witch and says “Hello Little Witch, can I help you?” “Oh, hello Milo” says The Little Witch.  I am making a potion for a Halloween treat and I need a stick to stir it with, can you help”

“Yes, you can have this one here, it’s my favourite” he says.  The Little Witch says “That’s Perfect thank you, I have brought you your favourite food as a gift” and puts some old vegetables on floor. 

The Little Witch puts the stick in her cloak.  She then gets back on her broomstick heading for the U.S.A. for the snake skin.

She lands in a corn field to meet her friend Beryl the Corn Snake. “Beryl my dear friend, do you have any of your old skin I can use for my Halloween potion?” Corn Snakes shed their skin every two to three months.  “Of Course” Beryl says, “I shed only yesterday, here take this” Beryl passes her the old skin. “but I’m feeling very thirsty, can you take me to the lake?”.  “No problem” says The Little Witch

After a nice drink at the lake, The Little Witch heads to the desert in Chile to meet Rosie the Chilean Rose Tarantula. 

The Little Witch finds Rosie burrowed in the sand.  “Hello Roise, I am making a Halloween potion and I need some spider silk, may I have some of yours please?” “You can indeed, but not before dinner as making silk is very hungry work” says Rosie. So the Little Witch finds her a big juicy insect as she knows this is her favourite.  After dinner, Rosie spins her some silk for the potion.

The final ingredient is rainwater from a tall tree, so she flies to see her friend Albie the Whites Tree Frog in Australia.  Albie is arborial, which means he lives in the trees.  Albie takes her to his favourite pool of water in the leaves, high up in the trees. “Thank you ever so much, Albie” says The Little Witch “That’s ok, glad to help” he croaks. She finds him a tasty cricket to say thank you.

The Little Witch returns back to her cave.  She puts the snake skin and spider silk in the cauldron, then adds the rainwater and stirs with the stick.  She then says the magic words;

  • Hubble bubble
  • Halloween Trouble
  • Spooky treats, on the double!

The potion turns in to lots and lots of Halloween treats.  Far too much for the Little Witch and the ‘Tick or Treaters’, so she decides to share with all her special animal friends too.

Our enclosures #3 Horsefield tortoise

This week I’m going to show you the tank set up of Arthur one of our horsefield tortoises.

Horsefield tortoise

The horsefield tortoise is a common reptile found in the pet trade, mainly because of the manageable size they grow to as well as their character! They definitely don’t deserve the title of “Pet rocks” and can be extremely entertaining to watch! They are native to central Asia and can live up to an impressive 75 years; definitely another factor that adds to their popularity but at the same time makes them a huge commitment.

Step 1 – Picking your enclosure

There are various options when it comes to what enclosure you house your tortoise in. The most popular being a tortoise table, this is because they tend to be rather aesthetically pleasing as well as offering the airflow that a tortoise needs. Tortoises need heat but don’t thrive well in a very humid area which is why vivarium’s are not recommended. Whilst tortoise tables are the more favoured option among many, they can be on the more expensive side; as well as being inconvenient to people who own other pets.

A cheaper alternative that eliminates these issues is to use a rabbit cage. The airflow remains the same due to the large gaps between the wires, whilst providing protection for your tortoise from other pets. In this tutorial I am using a 120cm long rabbit cage.

Step 2 – Lighting

Like our last two set-up blogs reptiles as well as amphibians are also susceptible to metabolic bone disease, for this reason tortoises need a light that emits heat as well as UVB. Horsefield tortoises require a basking area of just over 30oC. A mercury vapour lamp is the best to go for, you can decide which brand you go for based on budget and your own research. I use the Arcadia D3 UV basking lamp 100W, as it is a good price.

Step 3 – Substrate

Cover the bottom of your enclosure with a generous amount of topsoil. This should be fully replaced monthly and turned over weekly.

Step 4 – Hides

Horsefield tortoises spend a lot of their day sleeping, even more so when they are young. For this reason its good to provide them
with lots of different places to sleep so that they can change it up from time to time. They also tend to bury themselves beneath the soil when they sleep, so don’t be alarmed if you think your tortoise has escaped, they will most likely be fast asleep under the soil!

Step 5 – Decoration

Tortoises love colour, purchasing vibrantly colour fake plants to place around the enclosure offers enrichment to your tortoise as they try to dig them up and bury underneath them. If you want to use live plants make sure you check they are safe for your tortoise to eat first.

Step 6 – Food and water

Place a shallow bowl for food and a ceramic shallow dish for water in your tank, Bury the bowls under the soil so that they are level, this will help your tortoise to get in and out of them easily. Tortoises also need cuttlefish to keep their shells healthy and strong, always make sure there is some available in your tortoise’s cage.

Step 7 – Optional extras

I also added pebbles and small marbles around my enclosure as extra textures to my cage and to make it look more eye pleasing. As well as this I placed a tile in the cage as a cool spot.

All that’s left to do now is to go and get yourself a horsefield tortoise!

Still can’t decide if a tortoise is right for you? Book a session to meet a wide range of animals to help you make up your mind! For more information please contact us via [email protected] or by phone 020 3372 4300!


The pet guide- Choosing the perfect first pet for your child

Its fantastic when children begin to show an interest in animals and want to learn more about them; part of why I think our animal workshops are so important is because its essential that we teach children to love and respect animals especially now as more and more animals land on the endangered…

Its fantastic when children begin to show an interest in animals and want to learn more about them; part of why I think our animal workshops are so important is because its essential that we teach children to love and respect animals especially now as more and more animals land on the endangered species list.

However as great as it is that your child is now excited to delve into the world of animals it can also be extremely daunting and you may be left with many unanswered questions

What is affordable?

What animals are safe?

Will they get bored of them?

Will I be left to clean up after them all of the time?

Are they going to be noisy?

Will they smell?

Providing your child with their first pet is the perfect opportunity to teach them about responsibilities in a fun way but of course it is more than understandable that you don’t want them responsibilities falling back to you when they become bored of their new pet.

Growing up as an animal lover my parents allowed me to have many different pets throughout my childhood and now that my knowledge and experience has grown massively on all of these animals I believe I’m fully equipped to answer these questions based on what I can remember from owning them as a child and the information I know about them now.


My first pet was a Goldfish, which I believe to be an extremely popular first pet purely because they’re easy, inexpensive and cause no risk of harm to children. Though these are all great points, the excitement of a goldfish is more than likely going to last a day. They are not an animal that can be handled and it can be quite a difficult task to properly clean their tank, so you would most definitely end up left with the dirty work! It is essential to have an animal that can be interacted with to ensure that your child doesn’t get bored of their new pet.


My second pet was a budgie; birds can be another popular choice, their vibrant colours and ways of communicating can be exciting to children, the challenge of getting your bird to say their first word is definitely one that I enjoyed for a large period of time. However many birds do not enjoy being handled and do require a large amount of space and they certainly are noisy! I also needed help cleaning the cage, as I was unable to catch my bird by myself. As much as I enjoyed having one as a pet I still longed for a pet that I was able to hold.


My first hamster was incredible, I absolutely loved him, I was able to clean his cage without any help, I was able to handle him on my own and even taught him how to do little tricks. He certainly taught me about responsibilities, as I was able to look after him without any help. Referring back to the questions at the beginning, they’re definitely inexpensive and safe as long as you show your child how to properly handle them and help them with taming to ensure that their hamster doesn’t pick up biting habits. They can become quite smelly if not cleaned out regularly but if you show your child how to clean out the cage they’ll be able to do it by themselves very easily.


Growing up I never had reptiles and when I look back now I am glad, as now I understand how to create enclosures which closely resemble their habitats as well as being able to provide my reptiles with the correct heat and lighting; something that I certainly wouldn’t have been able to maintain as a child without the help of my parents. However if your child is specifically asking for a reptile, great contenders are cornsnakes and leopard geckos. These are all extremely docile reptiles with easy to maintain set ups, you would definitely need to be in charge of sourcing and maintaining the correct heat and lighting but as for cleaning the cage there’s no reason why your child cant do that on their own!

What I think the perfect first pet is

Despite never having one as a child; whenever asked what is the perfect first pet this undoubtedly will always be my answer “A Guinea Pig”. They are the perfect size, extremely easy to tame and love being handled. Whether you choose to have a hutch or a cage both are very easy to clean and you can teach your child how to do it fully on their own (However I would vouch for an outdoor hutch if you want to avoid any unwanted smells inside the house). As for noise, they are a very noisy animal, but in a very fun way. They are extremely talkative and can teach your child about the ways that animals communicate with each other as they learn what all of their noises mean. They are highly social so it is important to buy more than one, they are slightly more costly than a hamster but they do normally live twice as long. As they are always happy to be handled it is a lot less likely that your child will get bored of their guinea pig. The reason I favour them over rabbits is due to the fact that they are much easier to tame; rabbits can scratch a lot during taming and are a lot stronger than guinea pigs making them more difficult for younger children to handle.

These are all my own personal opinions based on my own knowledge and experience and in the end only you know what is best for you child. All that is important is that you do as much research as possible based on the pet that you choose but to also enjoy the experience as much as your child undoubtedly will, as in my opinion there is nothing more exciting than picking up your first ever pet.

Still not sure? Why not book a Wild Science party for your child’s next birthday and see which animal they interact best with! For more information contact us at [email protected] or call us on 020 3372 4300

Its fantastic when children begin to show an interest in animals and want to learn more about them; part of why I think our animal workshops are so important is because its essential that we teach children to love and respect animals especially now as more and more animals land on the endangered…

Science experiments for kids birthday party

How to make learning biology fun for kids

Getting young children engaged in class can sometimes be a challenge, and there’s no denying that science can sometimes have a bad rep for being complex and confusing in the eyes of schoolchildren – but it needn’t be that way.

As the study of life and living things, biology is a subject that is full of so many different topics and facts for you to teach and for them to learn. Providing engaging lessons will help the kids to understand and appreciate science as a whole. So, what can you do to get them interested and engaged to make the most of your teaching time and efforts?

Primary and secondary school syllabuses cover huge topics of what makes life possible, what all kinds of living organisms need to survive, how they evolve and change, and how different life forms interact with one another. From humans and animals through to cells and genetics, these children learn it all.

As a teacher, you know you need to do more than stand in front of a class, reading through a textbook in front of you. There are many teaching strategies you can incorporate to boost class engagement and interest, and we’ve got some innovative ideas to make that biology class more fun and appealing – for you and the kids!

Make it relatable

First things first, when it comes to teaching a lesson, the best way to get through to children – particularly young children – is to make it relatable to them. They need to interact with the lesson in some way for you to gain (and maintain) their attention throughout the class. With biology being the study of human and living things, this can be particularly easy.

Whatever topic you are covering in the lesson, you can make associations or comparisons with the human body. For example, when it comes to learning about animals and food chains, there are things that the children can draw from the lesson to learn about themselves and everyday living.

Or how about making them grow their own cress in class to teach them about fundamental processes in plants? It’s a simple way to build a connection between the child and what they are learning, and will be far more beneficial than simply writing notes.


You’ll already know the benefits of using different types of media in your lessons for children. Using visual representations of what you are teaching – whether that be videos, photographs, or even acting – is a sure-fire way to keep up engagement with your class. It’s about varying your lessons from day to day or week to week, otherwise children can get quickly bored.

The use of visual in learning is often seen as being more memorable and more stand-out than other types of teaching if done in the right way. We’re certainly not saying for you to stick the TV on in every lesson with an on-topic video – there needs to be more to a lesson than that. However, a bit of variation between your classes and the resources you use is never a bad thing!

Games and quizzes

Who doesn’t love a good game? And there are so many ways you can incorporate the fun of games into your lesson, with educational benefits and without it being totally manic. You can be really creative with this too. Board games, word games – the list is endless. There are a lot of big words in biology after all; perfect for a crossword or two!

Team or class quizzes is another great way to get kids interacting with both their classmates and their subject. There’s an element of healthy competition to it that will create a buzz in the classroom, and get everyone’s brains working.

Arts and crafts

Who said biology can’t be arty? Arts and crafts in lessons benefit from visual learning – something we’ve already mentioned. Whilst the idea of getting the felt-tip pens out to create life-size diagrams of food-chains and lifecycles might seem better suited to younger children, that shouldn’t stop you from using this teaching technique for Key Stage 2 and 3 too.

Animal workshops

Bringing in animal workshops to your classes is the next step up from videos and photographs, and would certainly be memorable for every member of the class. And do you know what that means? Memorable lesson = memorable learning. That’s exactly why branching out from the norm in some of your classes can make all the difference to the children’s learning.

Animal workshops give you and the children a chance to get hands-on with biology and animal science, letting you observe them with your own eyes rather than on a documentary or a video. It’s this first-hand experience that makes all the difference to learning. The interaction with all kinds of animals, from gerbils and rats to snakes and spiders, promotes engagement and interest in the animals and living beings in general, making the kids eager to learn more during that class… and onwards!

At Wild Science, we create workshops that are entirely relevant to your studies, meeting any requirements you may have. Whether you are discussing food chains, evolution, or animal habitat, you can be sure that our workshops will not only grab the undivided attention of your class, but also increase their passion in the subject. It’s your chance to show them why your subject is fun and why you became a biologist or teacher.

It’s this kind of pro-active teaching and learning that encourages them to think like a scientist and feel more connected with the subject. It’s all about interaction! Using or combining some of these methods in your class syllabus will make for more memorable studying, making memories that last far beyond that of the end-of-week test of end-of-year exams.

If you’d like to hear more about our animal workshops, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can find out more by emailing us at [email protected] or calling us on 020 3372 4300.

Animal Themed Birthday Party

Wild Science Animal Workshop FAQs

It’s time for the second blog of the series, this week I’m going to be answering the FAQ’s of the workshops we carry out and how they can be made unique to your own requirements.

What is a Wild Science Animal Workshop?

Our Animal Workshops are carried out by specially trained experts and will always be a “Hands-on experience” Our experts will bring a full range of animals that fit your chosen topic, each animal will be presented to the students and they will learn about the animals as they hold them, having the animals in their very own hands keeps students extremely interested and eager to ask questions meaning they learn much more and makes complicated topics such as Classification, exciting to learn.

What age do my students need to be?

We offer Animal Workshops for all ages, our Nursery and Pre-school sessions are a great introduction to animals for children and include basic facts about habitats, the foods animals eat and how to handle the animals.

What topics do you cover?

We have a wide range of popular topics, all of which are listed on our website. These include Rainforests, Classification and Adaptations; as well as our popular topics we are also able to offer bespoke sessions based on what you’re currently teaching, you’re able to discuss with our friendly office team when booking what you would like our experts to cover during your session and your expert will choose the animals that best fit that topic.

How long are your sessions?

Our sessions start at 30 minutes minimum. Our most common time for school sessions is 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Are you able to cover a whole school?

Yes, you are able to book us to visit your school for the day, you are able to decide the length of the time you would like us to spend with each class that works best with the number of students you have. Our office team are able to help you plan your day that suits yours and your students needs best. Provided there are less than 30 students in a group all students will be able to hold each animal.

Are you able to offer sessions to SEN children?

Yes, our SEN sessions differ slightly from our usual Animal Workshops as our experts mix education with therapy, we focus on the sensory side of the session as well as the education side. Our SEN sessions are of course bespoke to each students needs and we offer sessions at all levels of education with a softer approach to learning.

How will an Animal Workshop benefit my students?

We have a wide range of exotic animals that many students have only been able to see photographs of, being able to see them up close is truly fascinating for them and certainly offers a unique learning experience that keeps them locked into the session and eager to learn more. It teaches students how to handle animals correctly and also helps to conquer any fears.

How do I book a session?

Booking a session with us is extremely easy due to our helpful office team that are able to provide you with all of the information you need and can book your session in over the phone. During this call our office team will discuss your chosen topic with you and ensure that any important notes get passed on to the expert about what you would like included in the topic. You can contact us by telephone or email using the details below or head over to the “Contact us” page on the website.

Would like to book a fascinating, fact filled experience for your students? Contact us by email [email protected] or alternatively call us on 02033724300 to book an Animal Workshop today!

Endangered animals on our doorsteps #3 Frogs and Toads

Hello and welcome back to the third entry of this blog series! I hope the first two pulled on your heart strings like I intended them to and for those of you who haven’t read them be sure to check them out as I spoke about the snakes and tarantulas that are heading to extinction. This week, frogs and toads, from my experience at sessions its safe to say that they are marmite animals. People either get extremely excited to hold one or are dashing for the door. Its safe to say that they are an unpredictable animal which is why many people fear them and it’s not a secret that they’ve jumped at a few peoples faces, mine included. However, it’s important to remember that they mean no harm and are just following their natural extinct, I’m sure it’s terrifying for them when we are stomping our feet around their habitat, sending them to the endangered species list.

So why would anyone want to save them?

 1,000+ of the world’s amphibians’ species are endangered, a large proportion of which are frogs and toads. Compared to snakes, they are a much less common pet, but this was not going to stop me writing this blog as that is one high number that shouldn’t be ignored by anyone amphibian lover, or not. So, let’s get down to it and meet out first endangered frog!

Corroboree frog

This beautiful frog originates from Australia, they are covered in yellow and black stripes. They are a critically endangered species with fewer than 200 left in the wild. They have lost their homes due to reconstruction of land for ski resorts and other recreational sites. Many enthusiasts enjoy housing frogs with vibrant colours, so why should the Corroboree frog suffer for our own personal enjoyment? What makes them less important than the other amphibian species we love to admire? Luckily there is a conservation program in action for this frog and success is showing in the captive breeding of them. If more people were aware of amphibians that are endangered, then these conservation programs would have more funding through fundraisers to have larger breeding programs.

Australian Whites Tree frog

The name is a massive giveaway, these frogs also come from Australia. Only difference being that these frogs are not on the endangered list but in the homes of many exotic animal enthusiasts, myself included. This is a frog that we use in many sessions, they are popular due to how easy they are to care for, their docile nature and the fact that their gorgeous green colour and smooth skin make them look like a porcelain figure. If this is an animal, we love to have in our homes so much, why do we not appreciate the ones that live in the rest of our world? The more awareness that is spread for these beautiful creatures the more chances conservation programs have of having enough funding to keep the frogs we love to have in our homes so much, in their own homes in the wild.

The Amargosa toad

Native to the United States, these toads live along a 10 mile stretch across the Amargosa River, as you can guess this is how they landed their name. Being a species that is not wide spread it is unsurprising that they are on the endangered species list. Unlike in most cases they’ve not become endangered due to human destruction of their habitat for development work, they’re usually trampled by herd animals and crushed by off-road vehicles. You may be thinking how is awareness going to prevent these factors, the honest answer is, it can’t. However funding for captive breeding of the species for conservation would help prevent the toads from becoming extinct. Ever heard of the Monteverd Goldfen toad? They are a gorgeous orange colour, or in other words, were a gorgeous orange colour. They were confirmed extinct in 1989 with very few knowing of their existence and this could be the harsh reality for the Amargosa toad if awareness isn’t raised for the species.

Fire bellied toad

A species of toad that we use in our sessions. During a session I always announce the animal I will be getting out next before revealing them, whenever I mention “Toad” people expect me to turn around with a very large, ugly animal. They are always pleasantly surprised when I turn around with a tiny, colourful toad. They range from between 3.5 – 5.5 cm in length which is only slightly larger from the Amargosa toads of 3-5 cm in length, so my guess would be if I was to turn around with an Amargosa toad the reaction would remain the same. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we let another toad that had an appearance that could change people’s opinions on toads, slip away into extinction?

When I started this blog series on endangered animals my end goal was never to make you overcome your fears for these animals, or for you to like them even just a little bit, because in reality, you don’t need to. All you need to do is help spread awareness for the animals that need us, the ones slipping under the radar purely because they’re not as cute as polar bears and leopards in most people’s eyes. I hope you look forward to next time where I’ll be telling you about the small mammals on the edge of extinction which I can assure you, you don’t want to lose.

Want to meet one of our amphibians in person? Contact us today for more information on booking a session! Call 020 3372 4300 Email [email protected]

Wild Science Animal Party FAQs

Welcome back! I’m taking on a slightly different style of blog series today, rather than the usual series on current animal topics and the occasional “How to” blogs, this new series is going to include a bit more information about the different sessions we offer and the benefits they each…
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Welcome back! I’m taking on a slightly different style of blog series today, rather than the usual series on current animal topics and the occasional “How to” blogs, this new series is going to include a bit more information about the different sessions we offer and the benefits they each include. This week, parties!

Who can a Wild Science Party be for?

Our parties are completely bespoke and tailored to you. It can be for any event whether that be a birthday, wedding, a stag party or even just a random family gathering with no specific occasion at all! Our experts are trained entertainers and are able to cater to your chosen themes, our parties are for any age range and for all abilities.

What is a Wild Science Animal Party?

Well, in simple terms, it can be anything you want to make it! One of our experts will arrive with a range of animals raring to meet every single one of your guests, you can check out our full range of animals on the “Meet our Animals” page on our website! We have invertebrates, reptiles and mammals; its up to you if you’d like to stick with a mixture of our fluffy and scaly friends or if you’d prefer to be more daring and also meet our creepy-crawlies. Whatever you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to hold every single one of our animals as well as to learn lots of fun facts about them. We can even include animal themed games for longer parties with young children!

How long are your parties?

Our shortest party starts at 30 minutes and our longest being 2 hours, the most popular choice is for a 1 hour long party! The larger your group we recommend booking a larger time slot to ensure everyone is able to have plenty of time handling the animals.

Can I request certain animals?

When booking a session with us you’re able to make requests for specific animals from the list on our website; however no animal can be guaranteed as the final decision for animals is made on the day by the expert based on health and wellbeing of the animals in certain weather conditions etc.

How do I book a session?

Booking a session with us is extremely easy due to our helpful office team that are able to provide you with all of the information you need and can book your session in over the phone. You can contact us by telephone or email using the details below or head over to the “Contact us” page on the website.

Would like to book a fun, unforgettable experience for your party? Contact us by email [email protected] or alternatively call us on 02033724300 to book a party today!

Our enclosures #2 Fire-Bellied Toad

Fire-Bellied toad

The Fire-Bellied toad is an extremely popular amphibian; mainly due to their vibrant orange and black undersides these truly are astonishing creatures. These colours are to warn predators of their toxicity, they can perform what is called a “Unken reflex” where they arch their body to show their predators their bright colours. Don’t worry, I know what you’re thinking, these toads are completely harmless to you unless you decide to eat them (I hope you wouldn’t consider eating your pet) but ensure you always wash your hands after handling. Their green and black back is to help them to camouflage in the marches and wetlands they inhabit all over Asia.

Step 1 – lighting and heating

Start with your chosen tank, the tank in this blog is a 60x45x60 Exo-Terra tank with a background. Like our last tank set up of our Australian Whites Tree frog, toads are also cold-blooded so must be provided with a heat mat. As well as this Fire-Bellied toads are also susceptible to MBD so ensure you provide them with calcium supplements in their food to prevent this. To make sure they are capable of absorbing this calcium you must also provide them with lighting that emits UVB. Ask for help at your local exotic store if you’re not sure which light to buy.

Step 2 – First layer of substrate

As Fire-Bellied toads like to spend a lot of time in water its important to have a good sized shallow pool of water inside their tank. In order to make sure this water sits properly in place and is filtered correctly the first step is to cover the bottom of the tank with a draining substrate, I prefer to use Exo-Terra Bio-Drain Terrarium Draining Substrate but there are other alternatives. A layer of mesh then needs to be placed on top of this to ensure your other substrates do not mix. I use Exo-Terra Bio Drain Mesh; this should be stretched across the first layer of substrate covering it completely

Step 3 – Second layer of substrate

A generous amount of soil is required for the second layer of substrate; this is because you need to create a slope leading to where you would like the shallow pool. I start right at the back of the tank creating the steepest part of the soil, and work my way down.

Step 4- Decorative pebbles

To help create a more natural looking tank place decorative pebbles (Ensure these are safe for use in animal enclosures before purchasing) where you will be putting the shallow pool for your toad.

Step 5 – Decoration

When creating any animal enclosure you want to achieve a replica of their natural environment; Plenty of fake plants should be placed around the enclosure, this is to block out the view of the outside of the tank for your toad making it more natural. You should get a mixture of different shaped and sized plants to create multiple textures throughout the tank. I also sprinkle different substrates and leaves around the tank to make a more natural flooring space. A hide and logs should also be supplied; I simply use a small plant pot, as it’s the perfect size and shape. Included in my tank is a dripping water plant by Exo-Terra, it is not a necessity but certainly adds to the overall eye-pleasing look of the tank.

Step 6 – Water

Now for the fun part where the tank comes together! Once everything is in the tank you can now add the water to your selected area of the tank, just like the Whites Tree frog you must treat the water before pouring it into your tank due to amphibians, thin, sensitive skin. Water conditioner can be purchased from most pet stores and with most brands only a couple of drops are required pet litre of water but always check the instructions to ensure it’s treated correctly.

There you have it! A perfect set up for your Fire-Bellied Toad, now all is left to do is to put them in and watch them have hours of fun in their new tank!

Want to meet a Fire-Bellied Toad in person? Why don’t you book a session? For more information please contact us via [email protected] or by phone 020 3372 4300!

Bioactive enclosures made simple

What is a Bioactive enclosure?

A Bioactive enclosure in simple terms is an enclosure that replicates your animals’ habitat in the wild. Live plants in an enclosure have been a popular choice for a long time; however just adding live plants to your enclosure doesn’t make it Bioactive. To make it Bioactive you also add in live detrivores, these are invertebrates that eat decaying matter. Detrivores are extremely important to eco-systems as they basically clean everything up, they eat everything from rotting wood all the way to faeces.

Why go Bioactive?

Going Bioactive has many benefits the main being the fact that it offers a completely natural environment for your chosen pet. Another positive is the low maintenance that comes with these enclosures, though the initial set up is slightly more complicated than a normal enclosure with fake plants, once all set up your clean up bugs will do all of the work for you! They will clear up your pets faeces, meaning you don’t have to as well as keeping the soil fertile to keep your plants healthy, meaning you don’t need to feed these either. If set up correctly your enclosure will not need changing for the lifetime of your pet, meaning it saves money in the long run.

Does it matter what plants I use?

No, there are no Bioactive specific plants, as long as they are live, they fit the bill! However what you do need to ensure is that the plants you chose are safe for your pet, as some are poisonous to certain animals. A quick Google search will help you find this information.

Will my plants need light?

Yes, all plants will have different UV requirements, some need very low levels with high humidity and others need high levels with low humidity. It’s best to find plants that have needs similar to your reptile of choice. Many people add LED lights across the top of their enclosures for their plants, or if your reptile requires a UVB tube, this should provide adequate light for your plant (Provided it is placed at the correct height for your chosen plants needs).

Does it matter what Inverts (Clean up bugs) I use?

There are a wide range of choices available at many pet stores as Bioactive set ups are growing in popularity, however popular choices are Springtails and Isopods. Many people choose to house both Springtails and Woodlice in their enclosure together as they work well together, differing slightly in size. The great thing is that these are rather cheap to buy and will breed in your enclosure, creating large colonies that will not need replacing; making your clean up bugs a one off payment.

Will my pet eat the bugs?

Most clean up bugs, such as Springtails and Woodlice are much too small for larger reptiles to be interested in eating them. If you’re going to be placing a smaller animal in your Bioactive set up such as toads/frogs or young reptiles, give your inverts a sufficient amount of time to colonise so that their numbers are too high to decrease to nothing.

How do I set one up?

The most important part of these set-ups is the drainage layer; this will need to be done correctly in order to ensure that your set-up is long lasting. Water logged soil will create mould, and will need replacing very quickly. There are many drainage substrates available to choose from, a popular being “Hydro balls” these should fill the bottom of your enclosure and have a mesh cover over them to avoid anything getting through to the layer. Your next layer is your soil; you must pick a plantation soil that is safe for reptiles but also one that your plants will be able to grow well in. Next step is to plant all of your chosen plants and to add in any other equipment you’ve chosen for your reptile. Once set up add in your clean up bugs, leave your enclosure to establish properly for a minimum of 2 weeks, this will give your bugs a chance to settle in and to start to breed before you place in your new pet.

To conclude, if set up correctly, Bioactive enclosures are fantastic, they provide a natural environment which is fun to create as well as being a beautiful feature in your home and on top of that are extremely low maintenance.

Endangered animals on our doorsteps #4 Mammals

As promised this week I’m going to be telling you about the small mammals facing extinction that few know about. The third most popular pet is of course a rabbit, and after this comes many other small mammals; it’s no doubt they’ve all won us over with their adorable features and how great they are for cuddling. We’ve had no problem letting a wide range of them into our homes but there are of course others going unnoticed everyday who are in desperate need of our help. Now time for me to hit you with the figures, 437 species of small mammal are in danger of becoming extinct and many of them are a lot closer to home than you think.

Santa Catarina Guinea Pig

Found on the small coastal island of Moleques do Sul Archipelago, this cavy specie ranges from 20-40cm in length and are brown in colour. They are considered critically endangered, this is mainly due to the fact that the small area they inhabit doesn’t provide enough food for the large rodents. As well as this there are many invasive species of parasites causing massive issues for the species. There are a few researches that would like to monitor these mites and lice however more awareness needs to be raised for the species so that the research receives a good amount of funding.

Domestic Guinea Pig

A much smaller cavy species that is also an extremely popular pet, these little animals have so much personality and are great for children which has earned them their place in many family homes. These small mammals are constantly bred all over the world by breeders. So if we can put so much time and money into a species for our own enjoyment why cant we put this time and money into conservations programs for an animal that now desperately needs us? Domestic Guinea Pigs are overbred, many ending up being put up for adoption as they are no loner wanted, whilst another cavy species is struggling to sustain numbers.

Muennink’s Spiny Rat

Native to Japan these rats can be found in moist broadleaf forests, they are rather small and have short, thick brown hair. In my opinion they look like large mice. They are threatened by of course, deforestation. They inhabit a very small area and one small disaster could wipe them out completely which is why awareness needs to be raised so that a conservation program can be made for this small species before they are completely wiped out. There were no sightings of the rat between 1978 and 2008 meaning that a more extensive search is required in order to start a captive breeding program, which of course would be easier if funding was available for this species.

Domestic Rat

I think its safe to say that this small rodent could certainly get the same reaction as the tarantulas did in the second of this blog series. They are an animal hated by many, purely because of their reputation of being a “Dirty animal” however I cannot stress any stronger that rats are extremely clean animals. The reason they are seen to be so dirty is due to the amount of time spent around bins and sewers, but this is due to them being omnivores and being happy to eat just about anything, this is not something that makes them dirty. Despite this, there are many people that enjoy rats, appreciate their cuteness and impressive intelligence and because of this they to are overbred, for use in pet stores and by private breeders, many also land on unwanted animal sale pages. Its certainly not up for questioning that if we happy to overbreed these animals then we should certainly be doing more to save the Spiny Rat.

To conclude, I believe our attention needs to draw to the many small mammal species in the wild that are heading to extinction as a suppose to the domestic species we are massively overbreeding and leaving them without homes. So as well as spreading awareness for the wild mammals in need, next time you are in the pet store and tempted by a cute small mammal, head over to an adoption page first and help an animal in need.

To meet one of our Guinea Pigs or Rats contact us for more information on our sessions. Phone 020 3372 4300 or Email [email protected]