Peter's banded skinks are uncommon in the reptile hobby. These inquisitive skinks, about the size of a leopard gecko, can make great pets with the right care. They tend to become quite tame and will often beg their owner's for treats. Peter's banded skinks, Scincopus fasciatus, are a monotypic species of the Genus Scincopus which are recognized by their squat bodies, robust limbs, short tails and orange/yellow and black dorsal banding patterns. This species has two described subspecies, S. f. fasciatus and S. f. melanocephalus. The former being described possessing distinct dark transverse blank bands with little to no black on the head while the latter is described as having an almost completely black head and far less distinct black banding. Most captive specimens can be presumed to be of the S. f. fasciatus subspecies based on morphologic appearance. These nocturnal lizards are native to the Sahelian and southern Saharan regions of northern Africa. These sandy regions are extremely arid with limited annual rainfall. Average high temperatures within these regions range from 24 to 42°C (81-108°F) with coolest temperatures dropping as low as 15°C (90°F). Similar environmental conditions should be provided in captivity. Little data is available concerning the natural diet of Scincopus fasciatus. They are believed to be primarily insectivorous, but may consume some plant material. A variety of commercially available insects should be offered along with small amounts of fruits, flowers, and vegetables. The diet should be supplemented with vitamins and minerals. This species UVB lighting requirements are also unknown. Providing this lighting should be strongly encouraged given recent studies have demonstrated benefit in another nocturnal lizard, the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius).
For the public
Skin is the largest organ in the body and acts as a physical barrier between the body and the environment. Besides acting as a barrier, the skin also provides sensory input about our environment, helps us regulate heat, provides immunes function, and produces the precursors to Vitamin D. The three layers of the skin are the epidermis, dermis, and subcutis. The epidermis is the most external layer of the skin. This layer contains flat-shaped cells called keratinocytes and pigmented cells called melanocytes. Underneath this layer is the dermis which contains collagen and immune cells. Beneath this is the subcutis which is where the major branches of the vessels and nerves lie.
Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) is a degenerative neurologic condition that can occur in African Pygmy Hedgehogs (aka Four-toed hedgehogs). The cause is unknown, but is believed to be genetic.
Virulent Newcastle Disease, also known as exotic Newcastle Disease, is one of the most deadly diseases of poultry worldwide causing death in almost 100% of unvaccinated birds that become infected. However, it can also cause disease and death in vaccinated birds. In early April 2019, the first case of this disease was diagnosed in northern Arizona.
Rat bite fever is an infectious disease in people caused by the bacteria Streptobacillus moniliformis. People become infected either by being bitten by a rodent carrying the bacteria. While any person who comes into contact with the bacteria is at risk of developing the disease, children under 5 years of age, adults over 65 years of age, and immunocompromised people are at higher risk.
Like all pets, hedgehogs can carry bacteria and viruses that can make people sick. Recently a number of cases of Salmonella Typhimurium in people have been linked to exposure to pet hedgehogs. This is a bacteria that hedgehogs can carry in their intestines without showing any signs of illness. Symptoms in people include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Severe cases require hospitalization and can be fatal. Risks of illness are higher in children under the age of 5, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons. If you feel ill, contact your physician and inform them you have a pet hedgehog.
Ringworm is not actually caused by a worm but is a skin infection caused by a fungus. While lesions alone can lead to high suspicion of an infection, definitive diagnosis is made by culturing the fungus or by PCR testing. Because the culture test can take 2-3 weeks to complete, treatment is typically started immediately in suspect cases. The PCR test is more commonly used and results generally take 3 days. If the test is positive, treatment should continue and cultures or PCR testing should be repeated every 3 weeks until two consecutive negative results are obtained for the fungus.
What is it and what causes it?
Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of plaques (fats, cholesterol, and inflammatory cells) within the arteries. The buildup of these plaques can limit the amount of blood flow throughout the body. Unfortunately, the cause of atherosclerosis is still poorly understood. Suggested risk factors include fatty diet (seed based), increased cholesterol, inactivity, infectious/inflammatory conditions and stress.