Meet Our Animals

Meet The Beasts has been weaving our magic with our amazing reptiles & minibeasts for 14 years. Meet the snakes, lizards, tarantulas, scorpions & other bugs that cannot wait to meet you.


Snakes, Lizards, Tarantulas, Scorpions & Creepy Crawlies

We love our animals & hope you do too. They are all captive-bred so have not been taken from their natural habitats.

Scroll down or use the following links to see our animals on this page.

 

Use this link to see our animals at work.


Snakes

Boa Constrictor Imperator (Common Boa) - Meet Geoff The BoaTM

[Meet Geoff - Our large Boa constrictor imperator - Meet The Beasts]Meet Geoff, our Common boa (Boa constrictor imperator). Large, gentle, beautiful & friendly.

Native to Latin America (Colombia) the imperators do not grow as large as their more famous counterparts, Boa constrictor constrictor.

Geoff is an extremely placid snake who enjoys human contact, the ideal introduction to the World of Wriggly.

Large enough to have a presence & create a buzz, yet small enough to handle, Geoff is usually our star of the show. He makes new friends at each appearance. In fact, he is so popular that he has his own Geoff The BoaTM Facebook Page where he writes about his experiences & how he sees the World.

Available to visit with his Beast friends or on his own, Geoff is guaranteed to draw a crowd wherever & whenever he appears.

 

Boa Constrictor Imperator (Common Boa) - Meet Baz

[Meet Baz our sand-coloured Boa constrictor imperator - Meet The Beasts]Baz is another Common boa (Boa constrictor imperator) with a sandy background rather than the grey of Geoff.

Although younger & smaller than Geoff, he is also beautiful & gentle, though a bit more lively. He enjoys human contact. 

Boas spend much of their adult life on the forest floor, but they are excellent climbers & also good swimmers. Much of their diet consists of small mammals & occasionally other snakes, but they may climb trees to take young monkeys or bird chicks.

They are powerful snakes, constricting their prey to stop the heart (cause a heart attack) which is much more rapid than would be the case if they were suffocating or choking their prey (which many still wrongly believe to be their mechanism for killing).

Common boas have a distinctive, dapper moustache & gotee beard marking on their face.

Our common boas are friendly, popular serpents who our visitors love to meet & greet: crowd pleasers.

 

Contact Meet The Beasts about meeting our animals in the scales.


Lizards

Leopard Geckos

[Leopard gecko - Meet The Beasts]Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) are small, friendly, easy-to-keep lizards found in rocky, dry grasslands & deserts of south-Asian Afghanistan, Pakistan, north-west India & some parts of Iran.

They are nocturnal (active at night) & although rarely seen during daytime in the wild, they are active during the day when kept in captivity.

Leopard geckos come in a wide range of patterns or 'colour morphs'. Many of these are purpose-bred in captive animals, but such mutations do occur in the wild, where they may affect survival of the animals, depending on how it affects their ability to hide or resist disease.

Some are spotted all over, commonly called 'wild-type'.

Some only have spots on their tails.

Some have spots on their heads & tails, but not their body.

[Leopard Gecko - Meet The Beasts]
Fully Spotted
[Leopard Gecko - Meet The Beasts]
No Head or Body Spots
[Leopard Gecko - Meet The Beasts]
Head & Tail Spots Only

Leopard geckos always create an 'Aah!' factor, wherever & whenever they appear.

 

Rankins Bearded Dragon - Meet Boris

[Rankins Bearded Dragon Boris - Meet The Beasts]Boris, Our Rankins bearded dragon (Pogona henrylawsoni) is a smaller relative of the popular inland bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). He is friendly, comical & poos a lot..

His fierce, foreboding appearance, belies his gentle nature. Just beware of those claws which can be sharp. Covered in fascinating patterns of scales, Boris really does look like the mythical dragons of legends.

Bearded dragons get their name from their throat or 'beard' which they puff out when threatened or during courtship. With the males, the beard often turns black as a warning sign to threats, especially other male bearded dragons.

Beards can vary widely in their colouration, from natural (grey/brown) to orange or yellow. It is believed that change in neck & body colouration is part of a bearded dragon's communication system. Change in body tone (light/dark) also occurs throughout the day to help regulate the amount of light absorbed. Less sun produces darker shades skin, more sun lighter.

[Rankins Bearded Dragon: Boris - Meet The Beasts]
Boris
[Rankins Bearded Dragon: Boris - Meet The Beasts]
Boris
[Rankins Bearded Dragon: Boris - Meet The Beasts]
Boris

In the wild, bearded dragons are solitary creatures & males will fight aggressively, sometimes to the death, whilst defending their territory or their female. Needless to say, male bearded dragons should not be kept together in captivity. Black beards are less common in females, although they are seen on occasions.

In 'beardie culture', the highest sunbathing spots are the most sought after. Occupy one of these & you are the 'boss'.

Boris creates a buzz at events with his comical cuteness & appearance.

Contact Meet The Beasts about meeting our animals in the scales.


Tarantulas

Mexican Red Leg Tarantula - Meet Rosy

[Mexican Red Leg Tarantula Rosie - Meet The Beasts]Rosy is our beautiful, large, powerful Mexican Red Leg tarantula (Brachypelma emilia).

Like most female tarantulas she is larger & heavier than her male equivalent would be. With her striking red legs she really stands out & her imposing size can be intimidating at first glance. However, she is very docile.

Rosy is very prone to flicking her abdominal hairs using her rear legs if she is startled or feels threatened. This creates a defensive mist of itchy (urticating) hairs which would deter almost any animal from getting near her, due to the irritation caused to their eyes & respiratory tract.

More recently, Rosy has become quite adventurous at displays, climbing out of her tank on occasions. Much to my amazement, was also pretty chilled when I allowed her to walk onto my hand for returning to her enclosure. Handling tarantulas is not something I recommend, but it is very encouraging she can safely be taken her back to her home if needed.

Definitely a 'look at only' exhibit. Medically insignificant venom for humans.

Her size & colour make Rosy a spectacular visitor with a BIG impact.

 

Mexican Red Rump Tarantula - Meet Flick

[Mexican Red Rump Tarantula Flick - Meet The Beasts]Flick is our Mexican Red Rump tarantula (Tliltocatl vagans); fast but gentle. Like many tarantulas, she is powered by 'Houdini gene'.

Beautiful velvet black, with a hint of metallic green legs & thorax, off-set by striking, orange/red hairs on her abdomen which she is prone to flick when disturbed.

With a leg-span of 6-inches (15cm) Flick is impressive. Her diet in the wild mainly consists of insects (although she would also take small lizards on occasions). In captivity we feed her crickets & the odd locust when she will accept them.

Once again she has low potency venom which presents no threat to humans (unless you are hypersensitive to histamine, for example, have a powerful reaction to bee stings).

Another beautiful tarantula but definitely in our 'to look at only' category

Contact Meet The Beasts about meeting our animals in the scales.


Scorpions

Asian Forest Scorpions

[Asian Forest Scorpions - Meet The Beasts]Meet our beautiful, enigmatic Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrus spinifer).

Originating in the forests of Asia (especially Malaysia & Thailand) they grow to around 7-inches (17.5cm) long (pincer to tip of tail).

Large & powerful, these scorpions feed mainly on insects using their powerful pincers to catch & hold their prey. When 'back-up' is needed to immobilise large or more active prey, they us their sting.

Asian Forest Scorpions are surprisingly fast & prone to nipping with their pincers rather than using their sting. Adults rarely use their sting, even on their prey, although youngsters are less predictable!

Imagine our excitement when we discovered that our scorpions had bred; twice! We keep adults & young together as Heterometrus seem to have a well organised social system where the adults care collectively for the young.

[Mother Asian Forest Scorpion carrying babies on her back - Meet The Beasts]
Mother Scorpion with Babies
[Close-Up of adult Asian Forest Scorpion mouthparts - Meet The Beasts]
Close-Up of Scorpion Mouthparts
[Mother Asian Forest Scorpion carrying babies on her back - Meet The Beasts]
Mother Scorpion with Babies

However, introducing strangers to the community may result in cannibalism.

Their venom is rated as mild & not medically significant in humans. Physically painful & causing temporary An adult Forest Scorpion sting is probably equivalent to that of a hornet.

Our Asian Forest Scorpions cause excitement wherever they appear.

Contact Meet The Beasts about meeting our animals.


Insects

Giant Hissing Cockroaches

[Giant Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches: Male & Female - Meet The Beasts]Our Madagascan Giant Hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) surprise many people with a loud hiss when they are touched or disturbed. Probably well up the 'squirm scale' for many viewers.

In the picture, a male (with horns) may be seen to the right, with 2 females to the left.

Native to the forests of Madagascar, hissing cockroaches are herbivores (eat fruit & vegetables). They live in hollow logs and scavenge amongst leaf litter & rotting wood of the forest floor for food like fallen fruit. Learn more interesting facts about hissing cockroaches.

They come in a variety of colours & tones. The most common are deep burgundy or light tan. They can grow to about 3-inches (7.5cm) long. Our colony of cockroaches includes both shades (see below). In captivity, hissing cockroaches eat fresh fruit & vegetables, especially carrots & broccoli.

Their hissing on handling often subsides with time as the become familiar with handling. However, they still surprise us, especially when it is dark, sometimes sounding like a gas-leak!

Change your "Urgh!" into love for these fascinating & frequently misunderstood animals by meeting our beasts.

[Madagascan Hissing Cockroach Colony - Meet The Beasts]
Our Hissing Cockroach Colony
[Madagascan Hissing Cockroach Male & Babies - Meet The Beasts]
Adult Male & Young
[Handling Our Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches - Meet The Beasts]
Handling Hissing Cockraoches

 

Death's Head Cockroach

[Death's Head Cockroach Adult - Meet The Beasts]Welcome to our fast, winged (but flightless) Death's Head Cockroach (Blaberus craniifer), so-called because of the black spot on the adult's head which is said to resemble a skull.

Native to Mexico, the West Indies & Central America, this cockroach has also been introduced into southern Florida in the USA.

They are usually found on forest floors, hiding in leaf matter & rotting wood where they eat any organic food source available, including leaf matter.

In captivity they are fed with a variety of fresh fruit & vegetables, although they will also take wet dog food and moist cereal.

Natural predators include spiders, mantids, centipedes & parasitoid wasps, in addition to fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

The nymphs do not grow wings until their adult moult & even when they grow wings they cannot take-off & fly. They can however, jump & glide significant distances to avoid predators or find new territory.

Guaranteed to draw a mixed reaction from visitors.

[Winged Adult Death's Head Cockroaches - Meet The Beasts]
Winged Adults
[Non-Winged Death's Head Cockroach Nymphs - Meet The Beasts]
Wingless Nymphs
[Newly Hatched Adult Death's Head Cockroach - Meet The Beasts]
Newly Hatched Adult

Millipedes

Due to the relatively short life-span of many millipedes our collection is constantly changing. They dig to hide so, the individuals that we bring to events will vary. Whatever we bring, we ensure that there is colour & variety.

Millipedes are known to produce noxious chemicals, including cyanide, if disturbed or if they feel threatened. For this reason, we do NOT allow our millipedes to be handled.

About Our Millipedes

[Adult Burmese Beauty Millipede - Meet The Beasts]Our millipedes come in a range of colours & sizes. They are fascinating to observe, particularly their leg movements when walking forwards & backwards, which resemble 'Mexican waves' at a sports game.

We maintain a self-breeding stock of millipedes which includes a mixture of coloured & banded varieties of different sizes.

Many millipedes secrete noxious (harmful) substances in self-defence. These are often strong smelling & include irritants or toxins like hydrochloric acid or hydrogen cyanide, which makes them extremely unpleasant food to most potential predators. However, some predators, have adapted techniques or chemicals to neutralise their effects. For example, Madagascar's red-fronted lemurs seem to chew millipedes & use the toxins as medicine to cure tummy problems caused by parasites.

Millipedes are detritivores feeding on 'detritus' (decaying plant & animal matter) or decaying matter mixed with soil.

In the wild Most millipedes play an important role in breaking down plant litter. Collectively millipedes may consume nearly all the leaf litter in a given region. The leaf litter is fragmented in the millipede gut & excreted as pellets of leaf fragments, algae, fungi & bacteria, which help decomposition by microorganisms. Some millipedes are herbivorous, feeding on living plants & some species can become serious pests of crops. Others graze algae from bark or feed on fungi. A few species are omnivorous or occasionally carnivorous, feeding on insects, centipedes, earthworms, or snails. Some have piercing mouth parts that allow them to suck up plant juices.

In captivity millipedes are fed a variety of fruit & vegetables but their favourite (& most important) food is leaf debris & litter from hardwood like Oak, Beech & Birch. They will also feed on rotting woods from the same species. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT to feed them materials associated with coniferous trees as these contain natural insecticides which are lethal to the millipedes.


See photographs of some of our past Beasts


Meet The Beasts: Contact Information

More Information From:

Dr Stuart Wood
c/o Meet the Beasts
31 Burder Street
Loughborough
Leics
LE11 1JH

Telephone: + 44 1509 553362
Mobile: + 44 7814 628123
E-mail: stuart@meetthebeasts.com