Want to pet reptiles but are confused about how to take care of them? Read this article to find all about them.
Reptiles are becoming more popular as pets. Owners’ expectations about the health of their reptiles are rising as more are brought to veterinarians with health concerns. Although reptiles are low-maintenance pets, they still require constant care. So do your research and learn everything you can about reptile care. Before you bring a reptile home as a pet, you should educate yourself on the various species, their behaviors, feeding, and other pertinent information.
To assist you, I have compiled a list of reptile care tips. Scroll till the end to find out everything you need to know before petting a reptile.
How Should You Get started?
First, do your homework. After deciding that you want to keep a reptile, you must choose which species to keep. Pythons, dragons, skinks, and turtles are the most common reptiles that people keep as pets. Other reptiles, such as lizards, geckos, crocodiles, and poisonous snakes, for example, require greater training and expertise.
Bearded Dragons, Blue-tongue Lizard, Pogona vitticeps, and the Tiliqua scincoides are some of the most popular species in Australia because they are both fascinating and easy to care for. Turtles too are popular pets, but keeping their water changed and purified takes a lot of time and work.
However, when it comes to food, you have little to worry about because, apart from a few exceptions, most reptiles feed on animal life (such as insects, Superworms, birds, frogs, fish, even other reptiles too). If you want to know more in detail about their eating habits, don’t worry, I’m going to talk about them later on.
Getting a Reptile as a Pet is a Long-term Commitment
You need to keep in mind that owning a reptile is a long-term investment. Turtles can live for more than 30 years, pythons for 15 years, and lizards like Blue-tongues for 20 years. Your pet could live longer than you.
Another thing to think about is the pricing. Many people are shocked to find that a Bearded Dragon or Blue-tongue Lizard costs between $40 and $70, whereas a Carpet Python costs between $90 and $150. Reptiles, on the other hand, require adequate habitat, warmth, and lighting to thrive. While the pet itself is not especially costly, the first setup may cost anywhere from $500 to $700.
Purchasing a Reptile
You can begin your search for a suitable animal once you’ve decided what kind of reptile you want to keep, you have a home set up for it, and you have received your license to acquire one. Reptiles cannot be taken from the wild (or even from the back garden) and must be obtained from another keeper. If you cannot find reptiles in shops near you, you can look for them in interstate pet shops; they’re surely going to have them.
If you do not know any keepers, you should join one of the reptile groups to meet other people who share the same interests, learn more about keeping, and then get your reptile. Most groups provide facilities at meetings for members to advertise available or wanted animals, and some groups include this information in their newsletters. If you don’t find the species of reptile you’re looking for in your country, you can import them from a foreign country. In that case, you need an import permit.
You will need a License to Pet a Reptile
All indigenous reptiles are protected almost all over the world. So, keeping exotic reptiles in captivity is illegal in many countries, such as Australia, the USA, Uk, etc. They can only be obtained with a keeper or supplier license. You must first get a license from your state or territory’s wildlife authority to maintain a reptile as a private keeper.
What Type of Housing Do Reptiles Need?
Turtles should be kept in a large aquarium with a platform on top where they can dry out and warm up under a heat light. Other reptiles should be housed in a suitable vivarium or dry aquarium, which will allow them their normal activity and thermoregulation. New reptile caretakers may be tempted to turn old aquariums into vivariums by adding tight lids to the top, but reaching inside to pick up the reptile and clean the enclosure can be dangerous. It is far better and safer in the long run to have a vivarium that opens from the front, with hinged or sliding doors. Many pet supply stores nowadays sell a variety of wooden, glass, and plastic vivariums that can be fitted with special reptile lighting and heating.
To digest food and keep active, reptiles will require heat. It’s important to offer a ‘thermo-gradient,’ provided by a heater at one end of the cage when keeping a reptile in captivity. The temperature difference creates a gradient, allowing the reptile to control its body temperature by simply sitting in a cooler or warmer area. The use of a thermo-gradient prevents the reptile from becoming too cold or too hot. Most reptiles have a thermo-gradient of 180 degrees Celsius at the cold end and up to 320 degrees Celsius at the warm end.
What to Feed Reptiles
Reptiles do not eat as much as birds and mammals, so they are less expensive to feed than other traditional pets. All animals require nutritious food to grow properly and stay healthy. Because most lizards are omnivores, they need a diverse weekly diet that comprises three types of food: one meat (cat chow or kangaroo mince), one fruit and vegetable, and one live insect, cockroach, or snail. Feeding snakes or goannas are not much of a hassle because they eat entire rodents. Pythons, however, only need to be fed every two to four weeks, and even less in the winter.
Before you go to buy your reptile or any equipment, you should think about how you will feed it. Are you okay with feeding a lizard live crickets or defrosting frozen mice or rats for a snake? You must meet all of your animals’ needs while they are in captivity.
How to take care of a Reptiles health
You should think about the health requirements of a reptile before you buy one. Since not all Vet clinics have reptile specialists, you need to first determine where you may take your animal for treatment. It is also more difficult to detect health issues in reptiles than in traditional pets; this is where your research into proper reptile care will come in handy.
Reptiles can be unusual pets, but if you’re an unusual person who is looking for a pet with a challenge, then go for it! I also hope that this article has cleared all your doubts regarding reptiles as a pet and you’re ready to take the challenge. All the best!