Unexpected death

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Thedrakes
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Unexpected death

Postby Thedrakes » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:20 pm

My wife and I were devastated this morning when we found “Revan” our (unknown species) BTS dead.

We bought him at Petco 2 months ago. We believe he was roughly 8-12 months old.

He has been eating plenty, active during the day and sleeping at night. He has a shallow water dish, a hide, and a basking rock under a lamp. basking spot is on 10 hours a day and its about 94 degrees. his habitat never gets below 68 degrees at night.

His diet is varied, consists of vegetables (cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper, carrots, celery etc) meats (ground turkey, wax worms, super worms, small mice for treat) and some fruit (kiwi, dragonfruit, berries)

my wifes career is in animal care and Revan showed no obvious signs of illness.

so we are definitely going to go to Petco and complain. but we are wondering if this was our fault? We quickly grew attached to him and are a little shell shocked by his sudden loss.

Photo album: https://imgur.com/gallery/iZRpj1o
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mb606587
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Re: Unexpected death

Postby mb606587 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:53 pm

Unfortunately the problem is that you bought your BTS from Petco. Petco only sells wild caught skinks that are usually infested with parasites and diseases. These skinks need to see a reptile vet to receive antibiotics or de-wormers or will typically die within a few months. You should never buy your reptiles from these types of chain pet stores. Here is a thread I wrote recently that is worth reading...viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31507
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Re: Unexpected death

Postby mb606587 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:11 pm

You never mentioned what you kept your humidity at. My work computer will not allow me to open up imgur.com to see your pictures or else I'd be able to tell you what species you had, but I'd suspect it was a Halmahera seeing as that's what are typically sold in pet shops. If that is the case, that species requires humidity at 80%. For any other Indonesian species, the humidity should be kept at or above 60%.
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Re: Unexpected death

Postby mb606587 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:45 pm

Reptiles are adept at hiding signs of illness as well so sometimes its easy to miss the signs. And they tend to crash very quickly unfortunately. I bought a croc skink at an expo over the summer. It was obviously wild caught and in desperate need of treatment, which was reflected in the price of $20. I felt so bad for this guy I immediately scooped him up and his health seemed to start improving over time. He had nasty infections that blinded him in one eye and he wasn't eating. Finally his wounds cleared up, he started eating every other day (he ate the night before he passed), and for the first time, I started to think he would pull through. Several months later, he died suddenly. Its a terrible feeling and sometimes there's nothing you can do for them when they are plucked from the wild and forced to live a life in captivity. Situations like these reinforce the importance of quarantining your new reptiles. When you get a new reptile that has the potential to be harboring parasites or infections, those ailments can quickly spread to your other animals if you aren't careful.
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Re: Unexpected death

Postby Thedrakes » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:00 pm

mb606587 wrote:You never mentioned what you kept your humidity at. My work computer will not allow me to open up imgur.com to see your pictures or else I'd be able to tell you what species you had, but I'd suspect it was a Halmahera seeing as that's what are typically sold in pet shops. If that is the case, that species requires humidity at 80%. For any other Indonesian species, the humidity should be kept at or above 60%.


humidity is generally in between 60% and 70%
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Re: Unexpected death

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:18 pm

Sorry you lost your skink so suddenly and unexpectedly.

Without a necropsy , no one will ever know why this happened to your skink. Even a necropsy can leave the cause of death unknown.

Petco will likely blame your husbandry and fog you off since the skink survived 2 months , most likely sold to you with a pre-existing health problem that you would have to be very experienced to pick up on.

This is the main reason why I advise people NEVER to buy from petshops , and to buy their new pet lizard when it's VERY YOUNG (a hatchling or baby under 3 months old , buying a juvenile about the age of your's is VERY RISKY , the shop / breeder has had it in their hands for a long time and this usually means in the case of shops this means very substandard husbandry , food , damage to their health.
Stick to buying from BONEFIDE breeders.

Buying a very young lizard (so long as it's developed enough and feeding well and is healthy and active) means the person you are buying off wont have much chance to destroy it's health (though poor diet, poor husbandry, overcrowding, exposure to sick reptiles) and you will have a better chance of raising a strong active and healthy reptile from baby to adult.

I very strongly suggest and advise that if you decide that you want to replace the dead skink, since you do not know what caused it's death, it's going to be a very good idea to
> remove and ditch all the existing substrate (as it's impossible to sterilize it properly and it may be harboring spores or eggs or live bacteria, viruses or fungi any of which may be the pathogen that killed your skink , if it was killed by a decease or infection and these are transmitable in the bodily fluids and urates and feces)
> obtain a 200ml bottle of F10sc and a 1L spray bottle , you can then make up F10 (1 part in 200 parts water) which can be then be sprayed onto all the enclosure surfaces , generally 20 minutes contact time with the dilute F10 is sufficient to kill off most bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacteria spores / eggs , I let it air dry , and repeat the sterilization next day to be sure, some people recommend steam sterilization for some more resistant paracites.
> anything that's porous needs to be either soaked and then oven dried or tossed out (too much risk to a future reptile).
Please don't house a new reptile in the now vacant tank until it's been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized .
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Unexpected death

Postby mb606587 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:25 pm

After seeing your pictures, you definitely had a Halmahera. Your humidity was a bit lower than it should have been. Some individuals would have been fine at 60-70%, but others have reported their Halms struggling at anything less than 80%, which is typically recommended. In my opinion your basking spot is too low at 94. Most Indonesian species typically will bask at temps between 105-120 in my experience.

Do I think these factors caused your skink's death after only 2 months? No I don't think so. My advice to you if you decide to try again with another BTS would be to avoid Halmahera s. IMO they are the most difficult species to keep. Seek out a breeder (this site has a list of recommended breeders), and learn all about the different types of BTS and their specific care for each. They are wonderful pets and I'm sorry you had such a bad experience the first time through.

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