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Would You Make a Good Reptile Pet Owner?

February 1, 2015

You’ve always thought you were a confirmed cat and dog owner. Lately, though, you’ve thought about adding a small reptile pet to your miniature menagerie.

You know that reptile pets must live in their own separate habitats, which is welcome news since you wouldn’t want a snake or lizard to have free reign of your house. Reptiles don’t seem very cuddly, either. However, reptiles have a certain quirky appeal, likely because of their odd appearance and behaviors. Before you take the plunge and purchase a reptile pet, consider their care requirements, and talk to your veterinarian from Pelham. If you do purchase a reptile, schedule his new patient exam right away. Learn more about reptiles’ care requirements below.

Species-Appropriate Habitat

Every self-respecting small reptile would appreciate a 10-gallon-or-larger glass aquarium. Or, you can purchase a pre-fabricated reptile habitat. Your reptile will appreciate the good traction he gets from his brand-new, durable Astroturf floor. Since reptiles come from warmer climates, your reptile’s habitat must also include species-appropriate UV light and heat sources.

Remember, your reptile’s well-designed, functional habitat is the foundation for his healthy life. You must also keep that habitat spotlessly clean. Even if he leaves you with the worst mess you’ve ever seen, you must scoop up the droppings and debris and leave his enclosure squeaky clean. If you don’t do that, your reptile pet can develop serious diseases and/or other potential problems.

Regular Reptile Maintenance

Make sure your reptile gets fresh food and water daily. After all, you wouldn’t want to drink day-old water or eat food that’s been left out overnight, and neither does your reptile. Also, spend at least 15 minutes with your amusing reptile every day. Observing him regularly helps you to notice very subtle behavioral changes or physical symptoms that might mean he’s sick or injured.

To Handle or Not to Handle

Even though you enjoy observing your reptile, do you want to handle your unconventional pet? While some reptiles might enjoy it, others want to be left alone, and might even become aggressive if you physically interact with them. Your decision plays a big role in determining the type of reptile you choose.

Once you purchase your scaly pet, whisk him off to your Pelham vet within the first 48 hours. Your vet will analyze your reptile’s health, record his body weight, and perform an initial fecal exam. Your reptile won’t need vaccinations, but he’ll need annual checkups and fecal exams. Remember, since reptiles don’t usually show symptoms of illness until they’re already pretty sick, get your pet checked out when you first notice something strange. Just like humans, treating a medical condition is often simpler when your vet catches it early.