Author: Allen Brown
Pet reptiles are popular for many reasons. Lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises are beloved by children and adults and likely will be forever. These creatures make truly unique pets, but this means that their care is also unique. The following will explore the basic care and considerations you need to have if you’re providing for your own pet reptile.
Of course, every species of reptile is different and so will require slight tweaks in care. Be sure to read up on your particular pet in detail and speak to the person who sold you the pet about what suits your specific species of pet.
Like all animals (and like humans, for that matter), reptiles thrive in certain environments and struggle in certain environments. When putting together a habitat for your reptile, you’re going to want to do lots of research first. You’ll need to know what temperatures they prefer (in particular, a reptile’s metabolism is determined by the temperature of their bodies), what humidity levels they prefer, and what sort of terrain they gravitate towards in the wild. Some reptiles like having rock caves they can hide in, some need sand beneath their feet to feel at home, some need more water than land.
Take the time to read up on the particular species of reptile you’re looking to care for and figure out what things they need in their environments. You’ll also want to look into how clean they like their environments and ensure that you’re cleaning out the tank or container on a regular basis to maintain adequate cleanliness for your reptile.
Of course, one of the most important steps you need to take to ensure you’re caring properly for your pet reptile is ensuring they’re getting adequate food. Again, this is going to look different depending on what type of reptile you have. Most popular aquatic turtles, for instance, need vitamin and mineral-dense pellets, live prey, and vegetables. Just like with humans, more variety in the diet tends to result in healthier reptiles that live longer.
As well, if your reptile is one that eats animal or insect protein to give them live prey. Not only will this improve their health by making them exercise for their meal, but it can also provide enjoyment and might even support greater contentment. Just like humans don’t like being in conveyor belt jobs in factories or offices, animals don’t like to sit in one place and be handed things. Their DNA is programmed for the chase, and so this is a crucial part of their feeding habits.
Pretty much all animals can get sick. Pets held in confined spaces are even more likely to get sick as the water and air are not circulating at the rate they do in nature, and the plants and other animals are not doing their part to keep the environment free of bacteria and viruses. Moreover, their immune systems might not be up to par since they are living in a domestic environment. To make things even scarier, some diseases your reptile can catch can later be passed onto you and result in you getting sick. Research the common illnesses your pet can get, and always be on the lookout for signs or symptoms of the disease. Just like with people, early intervention can make a big difference in the end results of the illness.
To mitigate risks, it’s crucial that you always wash your hands before and after you handle your reptile with soap and lukewarm water for at least twenty seconds. Hand sanitizer isn’t loved by reptiles and might result in you and your pet not bonding as much. Take the time to wash and dry your hands properly, using antibacterial soap if you want that extra germ-fighting boost. As well, reptiles are not recommended pets for those of us with compromised immune systems and are not suggested for children under the age of five.
There is going to be huge variance here depending on the species you have, so be sure to read all material carefully from your pet provider and additional resources like books and trusted internet sites. Figure out what type of social environment your reptile is found in within nature and recreate that.
Some reptiles like living alone and are territorial, so you’ll want to avoid getting them any friends. In contrast, some are social animals that have many of their own kind around and sometimes even other species in a symbiotic relationship. If an animal is a social one, one of the fastest ways to lower its life expectancy is to have it live alone.
The above categories of study should help ensure that your reptile’s needs are covered. Almost always, the goal is to mimic the animal’s natural setting as well as possible. It is also crucial that you ensure you’re erring on the side of a bigger tank than a smaller one so they have room to roam and explore.