When most people hear the word ‘pets’, they immediately think of common domesticated animals like dogs or cats. However, owning reptiles as pets is also becoming popular. More and more people are choosing to keep snakes, geckos, and bearded dragons, and for good reason. They are easy to manage, docile, and child-friendly.
If you’re new to the reptile world and you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to looking after your new scaly friend, here are some top tips to take on board.
Consider Their Food
It’s not the nicest thing feeding your pet live reptile food, but it’s sometimes necessary. If your reptile eats insects, it’s likely that you will need to keep large volumes of insects in your home at any one time. Live insects will need to be fed in order to stay alive, and they may need to be refrigerated. If your reptile eats rats or mice, you can buy either live or frozen options. Again, make sure you read up on the safe storage protocols.
Always check the health of your feeders. If they are not doing well, do not feed them to your reptile, as this could transfer parasites or viruses to your pet.
Get the Right Supplies
You’re going to need an enclosure that is large enough for your reptile to comfortably live in. It should have the necessary equipment to control lighting, temperature, and humidity. You should also consider getting the right cleaning supplies for the tank. Supplies also include sufficient amounts of food and water for your pet.
Think About Safety
You should handle your reptiles with caution. There are several diseases that can be transferred from your pet to you. Taking correct safetymeasures will minimise your risks of getting infected.
You must also handle your reptile with care to prevent either of you from getting harmed. Reptiles may take time to tame and it can be a while before they get used to interacting with humans. Give them a reason to trust you. When moving around near them, avoid fast and jerky movements so you don’t scare them. Support their body when you’re holding them and stay close to the floor in case they jump out of your hands.
Understand Temperature and Humidity
Reptiles have no metabolic function. They are cold-blooded. This means that if your scaly friend wants to heat up or cool down, it needs to move near to, or away from, a heat source. In order for your reptile to control their body temperature, create a heat gradient throughout the enclosure. Use thermometers at either end to monitor the gradient. Different reptiles need different temperatures, so make sure you read up about your specific pet’s needs.
You must also ensure the tank mimics the humidity of the reptile’s natural environment. A semi-aquatic reptile will have high humidity needs. In this case, you can use an automatic system and soaking station in the tank. If your pet has adapted to a drier environment, avoid using a misting machine but keep some fresh water in the tank to prevent dehydration. Use a probe to constantly monitor the humidity.