Exotic Pets™

Exotic Pets podcast

The show for people interested in pets that slither, hop, creep, fly or swim:  from bunnies to iguanas, parrots to ferrets, snakes to tortoises. Information on the physical requirements of these exotic pets and how to manage the often challenging environment and correct diet essential to their welfare.

Co-hosted by Dr. Doug Mader, author of “The Vet at Noah’s Ark: Stories of Survival from an Inner-City Animal Hospital,”who is a world-renowned specialist on exotic animals, author of four major veterinary textbooks on reptile and amphibians, and a passionate educator.

Sponsored by:

Zoo Med - 40 Proud Years - 1977-2017ZuPreem LogoOxbow Animal Health - Est. 1980


Avoiding Bumblefoot in Guinea Pigs

#225: Dr. Doug extols the virtues of friendly, easy to keep and affectionate guinea pigs as his favorite “starter pet” for kids. But he cautions to house them correctly or they can get bumblefoot!

The Brilliance of a Snake’s Forked Tongue

#224: Dr. Doug Mader extols the wondrous sophistication and utility of a snake’s forked tongue and explains “tongue flicking.”

A Day in the Life of Two Mexican Tortoises

#223: Laura Cohen and her Tortoises Pedro and Petra are featured in Johanna Seigmann’s photographic book “In Good Company.” The tortoises came from the huge live animal market in her town, Mexico City. Pedro was as big as a Bic pen and unlikely to live. Petra was in a cardboard box full of mice for sale. With a lifespan upwards of 100 years, Laura said the tortoises will long outlive her, so her son has agreed to inherit them.

A Tortoise Can Come When Called!

#215: Dr. Doug gives an overview of tortoises and how they express the human-animal bond — loving to have their shell rubbed, a scratch under the chin, and can even learn their name and come when called (as his own tortoise does in his Key West yard.) There are thousands of tortoise species, but because they keep growing until the day they die, do your homework: a tortoise that starts out the size of a quarter can grow to 250 lbs and live for 80 or more years.

The Frog with a Tumor on His Face

#222: Big mouth, large teeth, ate his own tumor! Dr. Doug’s book “The Vet at Noah’s Ark” keeps winning awards — Tracie urges everyone to grab a copy and find out why! This tale of a horned frog the size of a softball is a preview of coming attractions — it will appear in the sequel memoir. [Dr. Doug has a horned frog of his own, Kevin, who just celebrated his 9th birthday with a juicy thawed mouse!]

An African Gray Keeps the Baby at Bay

#221: Jenny Bilfield & Joel Friedman are a New York City couple who for years thought they weren’t going to have a child because of their parrots (Jenny’s bird is Heathcliff is a rare Greater Vasa parrot, originally from Madagascar, and Joel’s African Grey parrot, Percival. Their mentor had a Store “33rd and Bird” in NYC with a sign in the window “the 10 reasons not to own a parrot.” Spoiler alert: they had a baby anyway!

Got Your WIll in Order? Parrots Can Live 80 Years or More!

#217: Dr Doug talks about how very smart parrots are – and some of them are very demanding of your attention, too. In fact, the more attention you give your parrot, the more he needs and expects – so it can be a vicious cycle that winds up with a self-mutilating, unhappy bird.

Beware a Horny Iguana: He Can Bite Off Your Finger!

#216: Dr. Doug explains how iguanas are not good “starter pets” – the males can be very aggressive during the mating cycle and have put many an owner in the Emergency Room. Dr. Doug has done castrations of iguanas, which can mellow their personality if done before puberty – but that stunts their physical development. Done after puberty it does not change their aggressivity during “that time” of the year.

What to Feed Your Dragon?!

#218: Miranda Huntley, the Food & Regulatory Specialist at Zoo Med, discusses the bearded dragon food they recently developed, which is an example of what goes into formulating and creating specialized foods for different species of exotics.

One Foot Long “Living Art”

#220: Bearded Dragons are the #1 most popular exotic pet in America. Dr. Doug explains all the reasons they are “easy keepers” and a great “starter exotic.” Tracie asks about what they need in their terrarium and Dr Doug says “clean dirt” is the best choice and the easiest access is to just go out with a shovel, then bake your dirt spread on a baking tray for a half-hour at 200 degrees to kill any parasites.