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Watch for These Quirky Reptile Behaviors

November 1, 2014

Owning a reptile pet provides you with exposure to out-of-the-ordinary habitats and food choices. Reptile pets also have drastically different behaviors than your familiar dog and cat. For example, while your furry pets like to hang out with your family, your reptile pet is content to remain almost motionless in his enclosure. You’ve also observed several other strange behaviors, although he probably thinks they’re perfectly normal. Observing your reptile frequently helps you determine when something’s just not right, spurring you to take your scaly pet to your Welland veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Searching for Toasty Warmth

Your reptile’s digestive process is beautifully simple. He needs heat to properly digest his food, so he flops his stomach on the warm ground right after eating. While he catches some warmth, his digestive system cycles his food and generates critical internal energy. If your reptile jumps on your cage lights, or spends his time under the heat lamp and/or lights, he’s telegraphing that his habitat’s ground temperature is way too chilly, and you need to quickly adjust it.

Raucous Racket and Puzzling Behavior

While reptiles don’t seem noisy, wild reptiles can make quite a racket while engaged in self-defense tactics or mating behaviors. Don’t be surprised if your reptile pet generates his own respectable din. Also, some reptiles frequently bob their heads like bobblehead dolls, a behavior that seems to go along with the noise. Maybe your reptile hates you and wants you to leave now; or maybe he actually likes you – it’s hard to tell.

Prey Stalking and Hunting Behaviors

Your reptile’s stalking and hunting behaviors make the most of his physical characteristics. For example, if he’s a dull-looking brown, he’ll blend into the brownish ground below him. Or, if he’s a brilliant green, he’ll take on the look of the surrounding vegetation.

However, chameleons break all the rules, as they change their colors based on their current environment. They also have infinite patience, as they can remain still for long periods, lying in wait for the perfect meal. Once that meal sidles along, the chameleon slurps up the prey with his long, sticky tongue that rarely misses.

Keeping His Domain Secure

Your reptile knows that his security depends on seeing potential predators before they attack. That’s why he often climbs on rocks. However, if he feels threatened, he might burrow into a dark hiding place where he can be “invisible.” Design his enclosure so he can choose either path.

If you want to handle your reptile, begin while he’s very young, and watch his extremely quick tail and sharp claws. Ask your Welland vet for some reptile handling tips that will help your pet (and you) remain safe.