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!
  • Season 1, 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 feet long. They can often be found on the jungle floor, or in farmlands like the one Myke is exploring. They eat small mammals and other smaller snakes.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    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.

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  • Season 1, 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 land. This makes them a fascinating predator to study.

    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.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    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.

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  • Season 1, 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.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    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.

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  • Season 1, 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.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    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.

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  • Season 1, 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.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    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.

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  • Season 1, Episode 6: Burmese Python

    November 20, 2018

    This month, Myke and his team start their adventure by discussing herping etiquette. Before you go field herping, always make sure to check local laws and regulations. In addition, make sure you are “flipping” correctly; always have something to flip with, never use your hands and always remember to flip away from yourself. It’s very important that you leave the environment exactly the way you found it. If you can’t put back what you flip exactly how you found it, don’t flip it.

    As he was flipping through grounded coconuts, Myke had the pleasure of finding a Malaysian Pit Viper. These snakes are very common in agriculturally disturbed areas and they are ambush predators which can grow 2 to 3 feet long.

    During a hike up a mountain in search of a Burmese Python, Myke and his team also find a Malayan Racer. These snakes also go by the name Black Copper Rat Snakes; they are nocturnal and grow to about 4 to 6 feet long. They can be found in forest clearings and edges and feed on small mammals and herpetofauna.

    At long last the team finally manage to find a Burmese Python. The average size for one of these snakes is about 12 - 20 feet long, they are terrestrial and prey on large mammals and birds. Burmese Pythons are ornate snakes, which makes them attractive to the leather trade and this has lead to rampant poaching in the wild. Luckily, they are a protected species in Indonesia, which is why Myke does not touch the one he finds.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 92.3°F (88°F - 92°F Range)

    Night Temperature: 79.8°F (75°F - 80°F Range)

    Humidity: 89.1% (70% - 95% Range)

    Copper Rats need tree bark and mulch to recreate the natural substrate of their habitat. They are very active predators and the wrong substrate can lead to problems with feeding.

    Burmese Pythons are large snakes that live in very humid environments which means they need a lot of water. A large water bowl in your terrarium is a must, as is providing a bedding that can hold moisture.

    When a snake this size eats a big meal, it needs a lot of heat to digest its meal, so be sure it has optimal basking temperatures. A Burmese Python is an advanced keeper species, and definitely not a good choice for beginners.

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  • Season 1, Episode 7: Green Rat Snake

    December 20, 2018

    This holiday season, we want to thank the conservationists around the world who dedicate their lives to saving reptiles. So in this episode, Myke and his team headed to the Ciliwung Reptile Center to meet with Nathan, a friend and fellow conservationist, to talk about his work protecting reptiles and educating others in his community.

    A part of Nathan’s work in the community is making house calls to safely relocate reptiles that find their way into people’s homes. During Myke’s interview with Nathan, they received a call out to retrieve a snake in someone’s home.

    The snake they were sent to retrieve was a Green Rat Snake, who as it turns out, was gravid. Gravid means she is carrying eggs, so the team was extra careful not to stress her out too much. Myke and Nathan safely relocated the expecting mother to a bamboo forest, which is the ideal home for both her and her young.

    Green Rat Snakes are a non-venomous rat snake which grow to an average size of 5-6 feet long. They are a diurnal species, which means they are active during the day and they are very common throughout Southeast Asia.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 88.4°F (88°F - 94°F Range)

    Night Temperature: 75.6°F (74°F - 82°F Range)

    Humidity: 77.1% (60% - 90% Range)

    As Myke inspected the ground, he noticed that while the top layer was fairly dry, as he dug down, there was plenty of moisture below. This suggests that as you build the perfect environment for Green Rat Snakes, you should consider doing a layered substrate.

    Once Myke released the Green Rat Snake, it went right for the bamboo to seek shelter, so be sure to provide a lot of cover and plenty for the snake to climb on.

    To learn more about Nathan and his work protecting reptiles, visit ciliwungheretarium on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

    Watch Now
  • Season 1, Episode 8: Reticulated Python

    January 20, 2019

    In this episode, Myke and his team set out to study the Reticulated Python.

    As Myke and his team explored the area, they came across tracks that indicated they were actually on the trail of one of two snakes, either an Enhydris Snake or Homalopsis Snake, both of which are very common in this part of Indonesia. They quickly found a baby Homalopsis, more commonly known as a Puff Faced Water Snake. These fully aquatic snakes belong to the family of Mud Snakes. Unfortunately, there is a lot of pressure on the wild population of this snake because they are heavily hunted for their skin and their meat.

    Before long, they stumbled on another fully aquatic snake of the same Mud Snake family, a Rainbow Water Snake. These little guys are fish eaters and grow to an average size of 2.5 feet.

    After a little digging, Myke finally found what he was looking for, a Reticulated Python. These pythons are the longest snakes in the world, growing to an average size of 15 to 28 feet long. The tunnel where the snake was found was about 10 feet long, and the it was on the smaller end of the spectrum. If you were to keep a snake like this at home, your habitat space would need to be considerably larger than that of a typical pet snake. The Reticulated Python feeds on large mammals and birds, so you’d also need a generous budget for rabbits and other prey.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 90.7°F (88°F - 92°F Range)

    Night Temperature: 76.3°F (75°F - 78°F Range)

    Humidity: 90.1% (70% - 90% Range)

    Water Chemistry:

    Temp: 79°- 83°

    Nitrate: 0.0

    Nitrite: 5-1

    Ammonia: 0

    PH: 7.5 - 8.2

    GH: 9 GPG / 150 PPM

    Salinity: 0SG / 0PPT - 1.0002SG / 0.2PPT

    Concerning the habitat of Puff Faced Water Snake and Rainbow Water Snakes. These snakes require very clean water, even the slightest contamination can lead to bacterial or fungal issues. Both snakes rarely leave the water, but it’s still important to provide these snakes with a suitable area to leave the water and dry off.

    Many aquatic snakes have fast metabolisms and should have live food readily available.

    Reticulated Pythons are not the ideal pet for most hobbyists and require a lot of space, knowledge and funds to be cared for properly. If you’re up to the challenge, these pythons can be a very rewarding species to care for.

    When it comes to large snakes like Reticulated Pythons, heating mats are a great way to provide them with the heat they need. If glass enclosures are used at any point, be sure that the enclosure retain sufficient humidity. Reticulated pythons are primarily terrestrial, and floor space is more important than height.

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  • Season 1, Episode 9: Dragon Snake

    February 20, 2019

    In this episode, Myke heads out to find an animal as mythological as its name – the Dragon Snake.

    As he begins his search in a shallow creek, he quickly comes across two species of frogs. The first is a newly metamorphosized Kuhl’s Creek Frog. At this size, it resembles prey for the Dragon Snake that Myke is searching for. Shortly after, he encounters a Javan Horned Frog. This species is a master at camouflage with its strong resemblance of a leaf. This comes in handy since they are not too nimble with their movements.

    As his adventure continues, Myke finds what he was looking for. Hidden away in the rocky edges of the creek, he encounters the very rare Dragon Snake. The three pronounced ridges along its back is just part of what makes these snakes so unique. Dragon Snakes are a bit mysterious and much of their ecology, breeding, and more remain unknown. All in all, this discovery ended up making Myke’s year.

    The team had such great success at the creek during the night that they decided to go back to the same spot in the daytime. That is when they came across a Malaysian Blue Coral Snake. They have a bright red underbelly and a blue top, making it a very unique looking snake. Like a Ring-necked Snake, this species curls its tail when it senses danger.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Ambient Temperature: 75.3°F (72°F - 82°F Range)

    Humidity Percentage: 95.2% (80% - 95% Range)

    Night Temperature: 73.1°F (72°F - 78°F Range)

    In terms of captivity, almost nobody has had luck with the Dragon Snake. They are not well understood, so they have only been brought into captivity a few times.

    The Javan Horned Frog’s setup in captivity is similar to the Malaysian Horned Frog, which is more commonly kept in the pet trade.

    Watch Now
  • Season 1, Episode 10: Asian Forest Scorpion

    March 14, 2019

    In the latest Beyond the Glass adventure, Myke and his team go on the search for arachnids. While these are not the most cuddliest animals to have as a pet, they sure are fascinating.

    Starting out in a field full of ants, Myke uncovers a Vinegaroon, also known as a Whip Tail Scorpion. Though it technically falls under the category of an arachnid, it is not a true scorpion. The vinegaroon does not have a stinger, making it totally harmless. Found in moist, dark areas, these guys love to hide away under fallen logs and brush piles.

    The adventure continues through nightfall, with the team utilizing a blacklight to help encounter the unique wildlife. The next exciting find was a juvenile one-of-a-kind Sunbeam Snake. The skin of this snake boasts a prism of color, resulting in a fascinating look. In fact, in Cambodia, they are referred to as “Gasolina,” since their characteristics resemble gasoline on the ground.

    It would not be long after that Myke found what he was looking for – the Asian Forest Scorpion. Though this species features a big pair of pinchers, they are typically not the most dangerous scorpion. These guys love to burrow. In the wild, they will come out, grab a little dinner, then go back to bed.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Ambient Temperature: 84.3°F (82°F - 92°F Range)

    Humidity Percentage: 85.7% (75% - 90% Range)

    Night Temperature: 75.2°F (72°F - 78°F Range)

    In the pet trade, scorpions thrive in a moist environment since they tend to be found under debris. When setting up their habitat, make sure to provide a substrate that retains moisture. Be sure to include ample hiding spaces as well.

    The Sunbeam Snake can be quite popular at reptile shows or pet stores. They are relatively easy to care for and make great pets due to their docile behavior. Their overly-friendly characteristics also make this snake great for educational purposes.

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  • Season 1, Episode 11: Asian Vine Snake

    April 20, 2019

    The latest adventure with Myke and the crew places them out in the thick of the jungle, where they set out on foot for the Vine Snake.

    The key to searching for Vine Snakes is movement in the trees. However, the combination of the snake’s camouflage and the strong wind speed forces the team to wait until sundown.

    In the meantime, there’d be no shortage of animals. The team would find a Maned Forest Lizard, a Painted Bronzeback Snake, and more. One of the coolest finds of the night was the Long Tailed Grass Lizard. This little guy’s unique looking, long tail really helps it when hanging out on blades of grass.

    Eventually, Myke spotted what he was looking for – the Asian Vine Snake. He was able to spot the difference between this species and the other ones the team came across due to the distinct white stripes the snake features.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Ambient Temperature: 85.1° (78°F - 88°F Range)

    Humidity Percentage: 80.7% (70 - 95% Range)

    Night Temperature: 74.7° (72°F - 78°F Range)

    In captivity, Vine Snakes need to have a solid arboreal structure to survive. They won’t be spending much time on the ground and require lots of room for climbing. In the wild, Vine Snakes drink water off of leaves (rain, dew, etc.). This means that to properly care for them, you need to constantly mist the tank.

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  • Season 1, Episode 12: Mangrove Snake

    May 22, 2019

    The season one finale of Beyond the Glass is here! Our final adventure in Indonesia takes Myke and the crew out to find the elusive Mangrove Snake.

    The adventure begins with the team embarking out on a boat through a river, searching the overhanging branches for sleeping snakes.

    While reptiles were the No. 1 target, the crew spotted an interesting species hanging out among the trees – an orangutan. This animal is critically endangered, with less than 100,000 of them left in the world. Unfortunately, the rain would end the crew’s river quest soon after.

    On a tip from a local farmer, the team headed inland into a rubber farm plantation. The first discovery would be a Keeled Slug-Eating Snake. They eat exactly what one might suspect – slugs. One of the main characteristic traits of this species is their large head.

    After an unfortunate tumble resulted in camera damage, the crew would have to wrap up their rubber plantation excursion and head to Java to continue the adventure.

    That’s where the main target was encountered – the Mangrove Snake. This is a gorgeous animal with its black body and yellow stripes. More and more people are captive breeding this species, as it’s an arboreal colubrid that resembles a lot of arboreal vipers – except less dangerous.

    In captivity, the Mangrove Snake requires a lot of room for climbing. Once they have a lot of sticks to maneuver around, they’re easy to please. While an amazing animal, they are rear-fanged and restricted in some cities and states, so make sure to check local regulations before purchasing them.

    And with that, season one of Beyond the Glass has concluded. However, season two is on the horizon, this time with Myke and the crew heading out to West Africa. Stay tuned to Zilla for more exciting adventures and reptile/amphibian knowledge.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Ambient Temperature: 89.6° (82°F - 92°F Range)

    Humidity Percentage: 82.2% (72 - 97% Range)

    Night Temperature: 76.3° (74°F - 80°F Range)

    Species spotted:

    Bornean Orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus)

    Keeled Slug-Eating Snake (Pareas Carinatus)

    Mangrove Snake (Boiga Dendrophila Dendrophilia)

    Watch Now
  • Season 2, Episode 1: Savannah Monitor

    July 26, 2019

    Welcome to Season 2 of Zilla’s Beyond the Glass! This season, Myke and the crew venture out to west Africa to explore the habitats of reptiles native to this breathtaking area of the continent.

    In the first episode, the team starts out at a quintessential African biome – the savanna. These grasslands provide plenty of basking spots for animals that require loads of sunlight.

    Right off the bat, Myke finds the first animal of the season – an Elegant Sand Snake (Psammophis elegans). This species comes in a vast array of colors. An interesting fact about these guys is that they feature a gland on their nose and they rub their bodies down, potentially to retain moisture. When kept in captivity, always offer a basking spot with solid heat and UV. They also require a lot of room, as they love to climb around.

    Following their encounter with the Elegant Sand Snake, the team would then travel to the largest voodoo market in west Africa. This featured all the different dried animals used for religious and healing purposes. While the scenes at this market are difficult to see, it showcases the importance of education and conservation in the native habitats of many species and how cultural beliefs create huge obstacles to that progress.

    After their trip to the market, Myke and the crew embarked out to find what they were looking for – the Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus). An exceptionally unique reptile is known for its intelligence and calm demeanor. One defining trait of this species is their dinosaur-like head.

    Savannah Monitors’ growth rate is dependent on their food, but a hatchling can easily reach adult size in less than three years, so have a large enclosure prepared!

    They have very specific care requirements so make sure to do your research, but they are full or personality, which makes them great pets to keep at home and interact with.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 107.6°F

    Ambient Temperature: 81.3°F

    UVI: 2.8

    Humidity: 48.5%

    Species Spotted:

    Elegant Sand Snake (Psammophis elegans)

    Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus)

    Watch Now
  • Season 2, Episode 2: Emperor Scorpion

    September 9, 2019

    The second episode of Season 2 of Beyond the Glass is here! In this episode, Myke and the crew venture out to find the gorgeous Emperor Scorpion.

    To start off, the team takes an adventure into one of Myke’s favorite biomes – the mountains. The environment of elevation, moisture, and seas of grasslands create a vast field of diversification amongst the wildlife.

    Immediately after setting foot in the mountainside, Myke finds the first animal of the night – a Home’s Hinge-Back Tortoise (Kinixys Homeana). Extremely camouflaged, it blends right into the forest scenery and looks like a leaf on the ground. Unlike other more common African tortoises, these guys need moisture in their habitat.

    As the jungle switches from day to night, the team makes another friend – a Banded Gecko (Hemidactylus Kyaboboensis). Coming in a radiant golden yellow color, this species is a true arboreal gecko. An interesting fact about these guys is that they are ontogenetic, which means they look different when they are young and change as they mature.

    After a grueling climb up the mountain, Myke finally completes his search for the Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus Imperator). Probably the most popular pet scorpion in the entire hobby, these scorpions are large, impressive, and easy to keep. Their preferred biome is layers of rocks/dead trees, and they eat small invertebrates. Always keep scorpions in an area with good airflow. If ventilation is not provided, the chance of mold growth increases.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 88.4°F (88-92°F)

    Ambient Temperature: 72.6°F (72-78°F)

    UVI: 0.0

    Humidity: 45.3% (40-60%)

    Species Spotted:

    Hinge-Back Tortoise (Kinixys Homeana)

    Banded Gecko (Hemidactylus Kyaboboensis)

    Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus Imperator)

    Watch Now
  • Season 2, Episode 3: Fat-Tailed Gecko

    October 25, 2019

    Tonight, we head into the savanna after dark, where Myke and the team are on the lookout for Fat-Tailed Geckos.

    The night begins in one of the most serene environments possible -- a sunset in the savanna. As the temperature drops and sun sets, Fat-Tailed Geckos start to come out. During this time of night, they will be foraging for termites and other insects to feast upon.

    The first animal that the team comes across is a Dung Beetle (Scarabaeinae Sp.). Even though these guys are best known from Africa, they can be discovered in the deserts of Arizona, and even parts of Florida. Dung beetles are fecal matter specialists. They will gather the droppings of animals into a ball, which the female then puts its eggs in and buries.

    An excited Myke rushes into the darkness after a snake. Thankfully, it’s not the highly venomous Boomslang and is instead a Bush Snake (Philothamnus Irregularis) hiding in a tree. There are several species of Bush Snakes. Some are spotted and some are slightly patterned. Their scales allow them to climb up trees and anything they want, making them the Spider-Man of snakes. If they are going to be kept as pets, they need to reside in an arboreal habitat, such as the Zilla Vertical Tropical Kit. They will also need a basking light.

    Shortly after letting the Bush Snake get back to the trees, they finally find what they were looking for – a Fat-Tailed Gecko (Hemitheconyx Caudicinctus). With a chubby tail and dark eyes, this is one fascinating reptile. When this species doesn’t get enough food, they will store it in their tail – similar to how a camel stores fat. These geckos do not need UV light to survive, but do benefit from it. They do need calcium and vitamin supplementation like all reptiles kept in captivity in order to thrive. All in all, the Fat-Tailed Gecko makes a great beginner reptile!

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 89.6°F (88-92°F)

    Ambient Temperature: 78.1°F (76-84°F)

    UVI: 0.0

    Humidity: 43.8% (40-60%) but also provide a humid hide for concentrated humidity to help with shedding.

    Species Spotted:

    Dung Beetle (Scarabaeinae Sp.)

    Bush Snake (Philothamnus Irregularis)

    Fat-Tailed Gecko (Hemitheconyx Caudicinctus)

    Watch Now
  • Season 2, Episode 4: Nile Monitor

    November 22, 2019

    In the latest adventure of Beyond the Glass, Myke and the team embark out on an exciting challenge – to find the largest lizard in Africa, the Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus).

    The banks of a creek in Togo is where the search begins. These amazing large monitors spend time in these areas hunting for prey, so they make the perfect habitat to begin our search. However, the Nile Monitor is not the first animal Myke spots. Instead, they come across an African Side-Neck Turtle (Pelomedusa Subrufa), only after Myke slightly damages his microphone in the process.

    This species is referred to as the Hinged Side-Neck Turtle, as, like a Box Turtle, it can close its shell. Their personality makes them a fantastic pet to keep. Another benefit of Side-Neck Turtles is their manageable size, in comparison to other turtle species such as the Red-Eared Slider. Side-Necks are also allowed to be kept in all states as a pet!

    The hunt then resumes for the Nile Monitor. Eventually, Myke discovers a baby on the trunk of a fallen palm tree, revealing its gorgeous pattern of colors.

    Though the one Myke catches is young and small, this species will grow to be an average of 5-7 feet, making it the largest lizard in all of Africa. In the wild, the Nile Monitor has multiple basking levels. Closer to the water, it will be cooler than higher up on the top of the rocks. If this lizard is kept in captivity, it’s encouraged to offer the same amenities it has in the wild, but include an option for the animal to escape the heat altogether.

    Multiple hiding spots are necessary, as it prevents them from becoming stressed. Climbing areas are also a must, as this species enjoys being active. Lastly, clean water is needed, as its one of the biggest appreciations that the Nile Monitor has.

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 94.8°F (93-130°F)

    Ambient Temperature: 83.4°F (83-92°F)

    UVI: 4.2

    Humidity: 51.2%

    Species Spotted:

    African Side-Neck Turtle (Pelomedusa Subrufa)

    Nile Monitor (Varanus Niloticus)

    Watch Now
  • Season 2, Episode 5: House Snake

    January 20, 2020

    In the latest episode of Beyond the Glass, Myke and his crew venture out to find a fascinating creature – the House Snake (Boaedon fuliginosus). 

    The adventure begins as the sun sets and a familiar chorus courtesy of Straw-Colored Fruit Bats (Eidolon helvum) starts to make its way through the forest. Unlike other bats, this species does not live in caves, but rather in trees. In this area of Africa, they are revered due to the locals’ belief that they helped their ancestors escape from slavery. 

    As night falls, the team heads out on the search for snakes. It would not take them long to find one, as they quickly came across a Black Tree Snake (Thraspops jacksonii). This species can be a bit timid, and they require a lot of room when kept in captivity. While not ideal for everyone, these snakes can provide a fun and unique challenge for the more seasoned reptile keeper. 

    Myke then spots out a trail left by another snake in the wet mud of the forest. This leads them to a snake they were not anticipating on finding – an African Forest Cobra (Naja melanoleuca melanolueca). Forest Cobras are an intelligent and feisty species. These guys are nothing to mess with, as they can be quite combative when being handled and are highly venomous. 

    The team then discovers what they came to find – a House Snake (Boaedon fuliginosus). They were given this name due to their close living with humans. Very similar to the North American Rat and Corn Snakes, they are active but not real nippy and make a great beginner snake. One important fact to note is that the House Snake has a large appetite and will eat nearly any food if offered. It is crucial to not overfeed this snake. 


    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 86.4°F (86-90°F)
    Ambient Temperature: 77.3°F (75-80°F)
    UVI: 0.0
    Humidity: 62.8%

    Species Spotted:

    Straw-Colored Fruit Bats (Eidolon helvum)
    Black Tree Snake (Thraspops jacksonii)
    African Forest Cobra (Naja melanoleuca melanolueca)
    House Snake (Boaedon fuliginosus)

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  • Season 2, Episode 6: African Water Skink

    January 20, 2020

    Season 2, Episode 6: African Water Skink

    Myke and the team’s latest adventure is finally here and they’re setting out to find a fabulous creature – the African Water Skink (Cophoscincopus simulans). They first begin in a lush forest filled with lots of water and ferns. This makes a perfect habitat for water skinks. 

    However, that wouldn’t be the first animal Myke would find. Instead, it’d be a Togo Slippery Frog Tadpole (Conraua derooi). One of the most evolutionary frogs in the world, they are also one of the most endangered…even thought to be extinct until they were very recently rediscovered. 

    The next encounter the team would face would be the Emerald Snake (Hapsidophrys smaragdinus). With a green color cascading over its body, it almost mirrors the characteristics of a Boomslang. However, Emerald Snakes are not as dangerous. When calm, they appear to be all green. Though when irritated, their color will change into a more black/blue appearance. 

    Myke would then come across what he ventured out into the forest for – the African Water Skink (Cophoscincopus simulans). A very aquatic lizard, Myke finally found this guy in the submerged leaf litter. With its checkered spots and thick tail, this small and fragile lizard is one unique animal. 

    Habitat Takeaways:

    Basking Temperature: 87.1°F (88-92°F)
    Water Temperature: 72.3°F (72-76°F)
    UVI: 1.9
    Humidity: 77.9%

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  • Season 2, Episode 7: African Egg Eating Snake

    February 20, 2020

    Season 2, Episode 7: African Egg Eating Snake

    This was an exciting episode of Beyond the Glass! Myke and the team were out on the search in the dead of night for the ruthless and toothless African Egg Eating Snake, a snake that’s found in areas with lots of birds. 

    The first snake the crew came across was the Savanna Stiletto Snake (Atractaspis dahomeyensis). Myke is no stranger to this feisty and highly venomous critter, just ask his left hand and its missing thumb!! Seriously!! He’s actually missing a thumb, and he was kind enough to share the pictures of it in the episode. You’ve been warned!  With its side sweeping fangs, Stilettos are not a snake to mess around with. They’re not recommended as pets and are better off left in the wild. 

    Myke’s next big moment is one that focuses on a small nut, but a nut that contains palm oil. Palm oil is such a large ecological issue and can be found nearly everywhere in your house – from chips to cosmetics to soaps and shampoos. Palm oil comes at the expense of thousands and thousands of rainforest acres. In turn, it destroys the habitats of hundreds of animals. If you’re interested further in this issue, there are groups such as the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil that are fighting the good fight in the combat against it. 

    After climbing an ant-filled tree, Myke would encounter what he and the team braved the night to search for – the African Egg Eating Snake (Dasypeltis scabra). When intimidated, Egg Eaters will flatten their head and make a heart-shaped bend. However, they’re actually  toothless and dentally impaired – all bark, no bite! These guys got their name from the ability to swallow eggs whole. They can do this due to their internal spine that cracks the egg, and then they spit the shell out! It truly is incredible how this species has adapted to its diet of just eggs. 

    Habitat Takeaways 
    Basking Temperature: 90.4°F (88-96°F)
    Ambient Temperature: 72.3°F  (72-76°F)
    UVI: 0.0
    Humidity: 74.6% (60-80%)

    Species Spotted
    Savanna Stiletto Snake (Atractaspis dahomeyensis)
    African Egg Eater (Dasypeltis scabra)

    Recommended Products

    Zilla Desert Blend, Zilla Vertical Décor, Zilla Rock Lair, and Zilla Front Opening Terrariums

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  • Season 2, Episode 8: Graceful Chameleon

    March 20, 2020

    Season 2, Episode 8: Graceful Chameleon

    This month’s episode of Beyond the Glass takes us to a beautiful spot – the grasslands of west Africa. Here, we get a completely different set of animals than you would in the highlands or the tropics, further solidifying the unique diversity of biomes within the western part of the continent. In this episode, Myke and the crew seek out the Graceful Chameleon. 

    Battling the heat and slim amounts of shelter, Myke gravitates towards what actual shade does exist. There, he finds his first animal – a Belle’s Hinge-Back Tortoise (Kinixys belliana). Why are they called Hinge-Backs? They have a unique ability to close the area between the shell and their back legs. Unfortunately, this species is threatened by its grasslands being converted into farms and locals capturing them. The locals believe that the tortoise can cast away evil from those who possess it, making it the Exorcism Tortoise…which is pretty cool!

    From there, Myke would find what he came to search for – the Graceful Chameleon (Chamaeleo Gracilis). Now this is a fascinating animal! Contrary to popular belief, a chameleon’s color-changing ability isn’t what most people think it is. It won’t change the color of whatever object it’s sitting on. Instead, it works with light. Some chameleons may change when in self-defense. They will also change depending on their mood, similar to a mood ring! This is also a way to know if your chameleon is healthy. 

    Chameleons eyes can also look in different directions. One will typically be looking ahead while the other peers behind. However, when a chameleon is feeding, they will lock their eyes on its prey – sorry, grasshoppers! 

    Habitat Takeaways
    Basking Temperature: 104.4°F (95-105°F)
    Ambient Temperature: 72.3°F (72-84°F)
    UVI: 5.1
    Humidity: 70.2%

    Species Spotted
    Belle’s Hinge-Back Tortoise (Kinixys belliana)
    Graceful Chameleon (Chamaeleo Gracilis)

    Recommended Products
    - Zilla Vitamin Supplement 
    - Zilla Calcium Supplement
    - Zilla Fresh Air Screen Enclosures

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  • Season 2, Episode 9: Ball Python

    April 20, 2020

    Season 2, Episode 9: Ball Python

    The latest Beyond the Glass Episode is here – and it’s a special one, as this month sees Myke and the crew seek out one of the most popular pet snakes out there: the Ball Python (Python regius). 

    Rather than searching in thick jungle bush, Myke begins the quest in a grassier and more-open habitat. However, it wouldn’t be a ball python that Myke would first find, but rather, a Red Headed Agama (Agama agama). While this one isn’t fully colored yet, males will develop a famous color pattern that consists of bright blues and a red-head – hence its name. When these guys absorb heat, they also brighten their colors. This means that UVA and UVB are both crucial in their habitat.

    Myke would then find a very unique “castle,” but not one Prince Charming lives in.  This castle was made by Mound Building Termites (Macrotermes sp.) The rocky structure provides a great habitat for some gecko and scorpion species, as well as ball pythons. They also serve as great incubators. A lot of monitor species will break in, lay their eggs, and when the babies are born, they have termites to eat!

    Soon, the sun would disappear from the sky, and the search for ball pythons continued into the night – and it wouldn’t be long before Myke finally came across one. While extremely popular as pets in the United States, ball pythons are revered as Gods in Ghana. Not only do they serve a large role in the cultural part of West Africa, but agriculture as well, due to their steady diets of feasting on mice and other rodents that disrupt farmers. A shy and nervous species, these guys are incredibly docile and make a terrific first pet. 

    Habitat Takeaways
    Basking Temperature: 93.5°F (88°F - 95°F)
    Ambient Temperature: 79.3°F (76°F - 80°F)
    UVI: 0.0
    Humidity: 59.2% (55%-70%) 

    Species Spotted
    Red Headed Agama (Agama agama)
    Mound Building Termites (Macrotermes sp.)
    Ball Python (Python regius)

    Recommended Products

    Zilla Mini Heat & UVB Fixture – while this snake species has been found to not use UVB to make vitamin D3, there are many great benefits to the UVA light waves.
    Zilla Rock Lair – this provides a humid hide for extra humidity during shedding and a secure place to get away and relax 

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  • Season 2, Episode 10: Calabar Python

    May 20, 2020

    Season 2, Episode 10: Calabar Python

    This episode of Beyond the Glass takes us to the tropical highland of Togo, as Myke and the crew venture out to encounter the Calabar Python (Calabaria reinhardtii). 

    The habitat in which the search begins offers shelter to a variety of animals, including slippery frogs, chameleons, gaboon vipers, and more. It wouldn’t be long before Myke would find the first creature of the night – a Necas’ Chameleon (Chamaeleo necasi). 

    Despite finding this guy at night, Necas’ Chameleons are diurnal. They’re also so rare that this may have been the first time they’ve ever been filmed! In fact, they were discovered for the first time in 2007. Unfortunately, due to forests being cut down and farming starting to eat up their habitat, Necas’ Chameleons are in danger of going extinct if conservancy efforts aren’t put in place. 

    It wouldn’t be long before Myke found another animal, this time one slithering along the leafy forest floor. This would be the African File Snake (Meheyla poensis). Why are they called a File Snake? Their scales are comprised of a rough filed feel that goes all the way down the snake’s back. Another interesting fact about File Snakes is that their scales don’t overlap! This means that they’re prone to dehydration, and can also get skin infections from too moist of substrate. An incredibly gentle animal, it’s rare that File Snakes act out in defense against anybody. 

    From there, the scenery would change. After poking around in the savannahs, the team now found themselves in an entirely different ecosystem filled with creeks and streams. It’d be in this area in which Myke would find the next animal resting on a mossy rock – a Giant Tailless Whip Scorpion (Damon diadema). An imposing creature with its large feelers, these guys are harmless! They don’t have venom and they don’t have stingers. They just have their creepy appearance!

    Myke would then come across the snake he started the trek searching for – the Calabar Python. Though it’s part of the name, these guys aren’t actually pythons! They also have a lot of traits similar to other snakes. They lack heat pits like a sand boa, they have a tail like a rubber boa,  and will ball up like a ball python if they are disturbed. Due to using their tail as a defense mechanism, Calabar Pythons will rarely bite. 

    Habitat Takeaways
    Basking Temperature: 89.2°F (88°F - 92°F)
    Ambient Temperature: 79.5°F (76°F - 82°F)
    UVI: 0.0
    Humidity: 80.4%

    Species Spotted
    Necas’ Chameleon (Chamaeleo necasi)
    African File Snake (Meheyla poensis)
    Giant Tailless Whip Scorpion (Damon diadema)
    Calabar Python (Calabaria reinhardtii)

    Recommended Products

    Zilla Shale Rock Den
    Zilla Jungle Mix

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  • Season 2, Episode 11: West African Reed Frog

    June 20, 2020

    Season 2, Episode 11: West African Reed Frog

    Heavy rainfall caused this month’s herping excursion to start off on the wrong foot!  However, there was a silver lining. The rain made it a great opportunity to search for amphibians. 

    Things would eventually clear up and the team resumed their search in the night. Togo has great amphibian diversity, which provides ideal conditions to find the target of the evening – the West African Reed Frog. 

    The first frog Myke would discover was the Striped Reed Frog (Hyperolius semidiscus). If there was ever an award for the cutest small frog, these guys are definitely in the running. While amazing, it was only one of many species in the area, so after it hopped off Myke’s finger, the hunt resumed. 

    It wouldn’t be long before Myke came across the next animal, an African Giant Snail (Achatina fuliga). African Giant Snails are illegal to possess in the United States due to the risk they pose to agriculture. Coming in between 4-8 inches, they reside in damp foliage and humid forest floors. Their diet consists of plant matter and their system is terrestrial/arboreal. 

    The second giant creature Myke would find while looking for tiny frogs is an African Giant Millipede (Archispirosstreptus gigas). This is an animal that people may be familiar with, as they are popular pets in the US. Known to grow up to a foot long, this species makes its home in rotting wood. This provides them a healthy diet of decaying matter. 

    The animals would keep coming with the next one having eight legs, as Myke would discover an African Golden-Rumped Wolf Spider (Africactenus pegilus). Coming in at a size of 4-7 inches, the head is similar to that of a tarantula. Their natural habitat consists of dead trees and humid leaf litter, while they prey on invertebrates. 

    Since the recent rain helped to bring the amphibians out, the next find was another amazing moisture loving animal, a West African Toad (Amietophrynus togoensis). Myke found it right in its natural habitat – the moist forest floor. These guys can grow to be decently sized at up to six inches. Their diet mainly consists of small invertebrates. 

    The amphibians would continue as the trek moved onward, with the unique Shovel Snout Frog (Hemisus marmoratus) making an appearance next. It looks exactly like it sounds – with a pointy-faced nose. It’s rare to see these guys in their natural habitat of moist soil, as they only really make an appearance after a rainfall. Shovel Snout Frogs are termite specialists, which means they spend a majority of their time underground. If kept as a pet, it’s vital to make sure that their bedding isn’t soaking wet. However, it does need to have humidity and needs to be deep, as these guys love to burrow.

    With his eyes in the trees, Myke’s eye is caught by one of Africa’s most dangerous venomous snakes, the Boomslang (Dispholidus typus). Unfortunately, this iconic African snake was in a position that it wasn’t able to be taken down safely, so Myke decided to move on. 

    At long last, Myke would come across the targeted animal for the night – the West African Reed Frog (Hyperolius laticeps). This is a frog that comes with loads of personality, despite their small size. If kept in captivity, a planted tank would be a great home, as their biome consists of tall grass and creeksides. 

    Habitat Takeaways
    Night Temperature: 74.1°F (72-78°F)
    Ambient Temperature: 77.5°F (75-86°F)
    UVI: 0.0
    Humidity: 80.4% (60-90%)

    Species Spotted
    Striped Reed Frog (Hyperolius semidiscus)
    African Giant Snail (Achatina fuliga)
    African Giant Millipede (Archispirosstreptus gigas) 
    African Golden-Rumped Wolf Spider (Africactenus pegilus)
    West African Toad (Amietophrynus togoensis)
    Shovel Snout Frog (Hemisus marmoratus)
    Boomslang (Dispholidus typus)
    West African Reed Frog (Hyperolius laticeps)

    Recommended Products

    Zilla Terrarium Liner

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  • Season 2, Episode 12: African Rock Python

    July 20, 2020

    Season 2, Episode 12: African Rock Python 

    The season finale of Beyond the Glass is upon us, and it wouldn’t take long for the action to get started. Myke begins the quest in a waterway in the forest, as he’s searching for the largest snake in west Africa – the African Rock Python. 

    It was a gorgeous day, as the sun shined through the green jungle leaves, providing perfect basking spots for the animals. The first creature Myke would find would be the Herald Snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia). An amphibian specialist, this snake uses its rear fangs to capture its prey. They will use those fangs to puncture inflated frogs, neutralizing the frogs’ defense mechanism. A docile and friendly animal, there isn’t a lot to be afraid of with the Herald Snake. 

    As Myke continued to venture onward, he’d come across a patch of bamboo. Bamboo offers great habitats for animals, including the one the team would spot next – the African Twig Snake (Thelotornis kirtlandii). A distinct feature of these guys is their venom. If bitten by this snake, it could cause a human to bleed from everywhere --  out your ears, eyes, gums – you name it. For that reason, it’s important to note that these snakes aren’t recommended to be kept as pets. 

    Myke would then spot the snake he was looking for – the African Rock Python (Python sebae). It was residing in a pool of muddy water in a cleared out area of the jungle, but with no visibility, it took a little bit for Myke to find it. These guys are the biggest pythons in all of Africa and love a big pool of water. They can sometimes have a small temper, which is what this one exhibited, as it was clear it was camera shy. 

    Habitat Takeaways

    Basking Temperature: 92.8°F (88°F - 94°F)
    Ambient Temperature: 86.2°F (78°F - 86°F)
    UVI: 2.5
    Humidity: 80.4% (60%-80%)

    Species Spotted
    Herald Snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
    African Twig Snake (Thelotornis kirtlandii)
    African Rock Python (Python sebae)

    Zilla Products
    Mini Ceramic Heat Emitter

    We’d like to thank everybody for their support of another season of Beyond the Glass. We hope by sharing west Africa with you, you’ve been inspired and empowered to go above and beyond minimal care and do the best you can for your animals, because, isn’t what they deserve? Thanks for going Beyond the Glass with us. Stay tuned for Season 3!

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