Adopting a reptile as a pet can bring a lot of joy but comes with a good helping of responsibility too. To care for your reptile properly follow these guidelines from our Brodheadsville vets.
Understanding The Needs of Your Reptile
Reptiles can be great pets but need care and attention in order to maintain good long-term health. Below are some basic guidelines to help you care for your reptile properly.
1. Always Remember That Your Reptile is a Living Creature
Your pet reptile needs to be cared for as diligently as any dog or cat. Do not tuck your reptile's aquarium in a corner and forget about them! Get to know your pet's habits and personality so that you can quickly spot when something isn't right and seek professional care from an exotic pet veterinarian.
2. Research Your Pet's Species
Each type of reptile comes with its own list of requirements for a healthy life. Do your research before adopting a reptile and start small if you have never cared for a reptile before. It is important to understand what your reptile will need before committing to their care.
3. Purchase a Reptile That Has Been Bred in Captivity
Reptiles that have been born and raised in captivity will help to ensure that your pet is used to people and will be more relaxed and healthy.
4. Understand Your Reptile's Nutritional Requirements
The type and size of reptile you adopt will dictate which foods they will need to stay healthy. While commercially formulated reptile foods are readily available your pet will also require fresh food. Fresh foods for reptiles range from mealworms, dubia roaches and mice to plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Know your reptile's nutritional needs and be sure to fulfill them.
5. Always Wash Your Hands Before Handling Your Reptile
Reptiles have a very keen sense of smell. If you have been handling their food then pick up your reptile you could be in for a painful surprise as your reptile mistakes your fingers for prey. It is also essential to wash your hands thoroughly before handling your reptile so that you don't transfer bacteria to your reptile's skin.
6. Know How To Handle Your Reptile
Research how to handle your pet properly. Never pick up a reptile by their tail. This leaves their body unsupported and will cause your reptile to become fearful and defensive.
7. Introduce Yourself Slowly & With Caution
Always treat your pet with respect and caution. Understand that if your reptile becomes fearful you will likely get bitten. Keep your pet's head pointed away from you, and always avoid quick, jerky movements that your pet is likely to perceive as threatening.
8. Create an Optimal Environment For Your Reptile
When it comes to reptiles temperature, humidity and lighting need to be very precisely controlled to keep your pet healthy. Different reptiles come from different parts of the world and their needs for light, warmth and humidity will vary greatly. Once again, we say - do your research! Be sure to purchase good quality equipment that will reliably keep your pet's enclosure exactly how your reptile needs it.
9. Provide Your Reptile With a Suitable Enclosure
All reptiles need plenty of space to live happily, which means that the bigger the species you adopt, the bigger the enclosure will need to be. We've said it once and we'll say it again - do your research! Learn about your pet's requirements before bringing them home. Ensure that your reptile's enclosure is escape-proof and large enough to provide your pet with the space they need to thrive.
10. Clean Your Reptile's Enclosure Regularly
Reptiles are very susceptible to bacterial infections and need to be housed in a clean environment. It is also important to note that the feces of reptiles can contain salmonella which can be very harmful to humans. Keep yourself and your reptile healthy by cleaning and disinfecting your pet's enclosure regularly.
11. Do Not Get Let Your Guard Down
Never forget that reptiles can be dangerous creatures. Don't allow yourself to become over-confident and make mistakes that could lead to a nasty bite. Stay mindful that you are handling a living creature that deserves respect and great care. Stay educated on the habits of the species you choose as a pet and never allow children to handle reptiles unsupervised.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.