Despite the common perception that they are “low maintenance” pets, reptiles require a great deal of consideration. Reptiles can be absolutely perfect pets, but it’s important to resist the impulse to adopt one before you conduct extensive research about their daily needs and health care requirements. Many reptiles can live for a couple decades or more! As such, it’s critical to choose wisely.
Setting the Scene
Whether you choose a water or bearded dragon, gecko variety, tortoise, turtle, anole, or snake, please invest in high quality supplies to support their long term health, such as:
Housing – Depending on the type of pet reptile you decide on, they might not need a ton of space of space – at first. Keep in mind how big their breed can generally get, and choose accommodations that will best serve them in the long run. Be sure to follow guidelines regarding 20-30 gallon terrariums, and prepare a large space for them away from drafts. Semi-aquatic reptiles need to live in and near a clean water source. You will have to take notes of daily pH and salt levels. This is a fun opportunity to get creative and make a worthy environment for your special friend.
Heating Elements – Reptiles cannot regulate their internal body temperature, and need help with temperature, humidity, and sanitation. Take a close look at various heat sources to fit your reptile’s needs.
Clean Up – They’ll need a specific type of nontoxic ground cover, or substrate, that must be exchanged to inhibit microbial growth, bacteria, parasites, and other disease-causing organisms. Droppings, uneaten food, and urine should be removed daily. Water dishes and basking rocks should be cleaned regularly. Please research the best sanitation methods for your reptile. Always wash your hands after handling your pet and/or their stuff.
Nutrition – Your pet reptile will have highly specific dietary requirements, such as live prey. Their metabolism is much slower than it is in mammalian pets, so you won’t have to feed them every single day. We encourage you to read up on gut loading practices and the necessity of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber in your pet reptile.
Never Stop Learning
There may be a learning curve at first, but we can assure you that everything will fall into place once you get to know your pet reptile. Amazingly, they each have unique personalities and never fail to impress people about how smart and clever they can be!
Appreciating Your Pet Reptile
The good news is that your pet reptile can live quite happily in their enclosure, either alone or with other reptiles of the same kind. Just be sure to watch out for aggression or mating behaviors. Also, you can own a reptile along with other animals as well, provided everyone’s health and safety remains the priority.
If you have further questions about adopting a pet reptile, please contact us at New Haven Pet Hospital.