Keeping Pet Reptiles
Why do people have pet reptiles?
Some people might ask "why would someone want a reptile?" or even question "Where would someone find reptiles for sale ?" To some, hearing that reptiles are being kept as pets may seem strange and they would be surprised to know that there are millions of reptile keepers and hobbyists world wide.
Simply put, pet reptiles make amazing unique companions. Keeping these exotic pets may seem difficult, however there are a huge variety of species that require all kinds of different care. Some easy, some more advanced. And though many reptile species can be kept by anyone, keeping pet reptiles may not be for everyone.
Are reptile pets for you?
Do you own or have taken care of any common pet like a dog and a cat? Keeping routine water dish refills and feedings? If so, you may find maintaining a reptile easy. There are 5 main components to keeping reptile pets successfully.
Food (& Supplements)
Thinking of keeping a pet reptile? Are you comfortable with rodents, insects, and/or fruits and veggies? These are important questions to answer before hitting the search tab for "reptiles for sale".
Most snakes that are regularly kept usually eat rodents. So if you were thinking of keeping a pet corn snake or a pet ball python, but cannot get over a fear of rodents, than a snake may not be for you. However, if you feel that you can overcome the fear of rodents you will find that you will be able to keep an extremely amazing pet. Same goes for most pet lizards as they usually eat insects. Some even eat veggies, fruits, and a variety of protein. The easiest to feed for most people are turtles and tortoises as they are usually eat fruits, veggies, and pellets. Though, most commonly kept turtles and tortoises may get large.
Most, if not all, reptiles just like dogs, cats, and humans need some kind of access to water whether it be a water bowl, misting, soaking, or even living in a pond. For example, some bearded dragons do not drink water out of bowls so you may need to soak them for them to take in their water. Another thing one may be surprised to know is that not all turtles are equally aquatic. e.g. Red ear sliders live mainly in the water but come out to bask very often, fly river turtles mainly live in the water, and box turtles spend most of their time on land.
Since reptiles are cold blooded they have specific temperature requirements. That being said, not all of them need high levels of heat. Uromastyx have high basking temp requirements, but gargoyle geckos like it much cooler. Getting the right temperature is crucial as this not only keeps them from getting sick but also assists them in metabolizing their food.
It also helps to understand that basking temperature and ambient temperature are too different things. Basking temperature refers to the side of the enclosure where the heat source is, like a heat mat or basking light. Ambient temperature refers to the enclosure temperature throughout.
Understanding humidity really takes two factors into consideration. Your local environment and the substrate in your enclosure. If you're working with reptiles like chameleons that require a decent amount of humidity but your local environment is relatively dry then it may be good to use bedding like coco or cypress mulch as well as misting more often than usual. Misting is a great tool to keep your humidity regulated and to offer water to your reptiles. The same works the other way around, if you're working with a species that requires low humidity they may do best on some sand based bedding or even newspaper.
From giant lizards, to medium snakes and tiny turtles one quickly learns that reptiles come in all shapes and sizes. In this part, knowing your limits is important. Can you house an 100lb sulcata tortoise in a back yard and meet its temperature and humidity requirements? Or does a reptile that can be housed in a 40 gallon tank sound like a more appropriate size for you? You might think you have found the perfect reptile for you as you look at its picture as a baby, but make sure you do the research to understand how big it grows and what kind of enclosure it may need.
Are you ready for your first pet reptile?
Reptiles are very rewarding exotics pets. All it takes is giving them a chance, learning their behaviors, and respecting them. Unfortunately, there can be a negative stigma with reptiles, but as time goes on more and more people are opening up to them which is only making this hobby bigger!
Do you feel like you can be a responsible pet owner? Can you keep up the requirements for your reptile? Have you done the research on how to keep your desired species? If you answered yes to those questions then you're on the way to becoming a great reptile keeper.