Reptiles can make the best pets. Relatively low maintenance (in comparison to larger, fluffy pets), friendly and entertaining, reptiles are a great choice if you’re a fan of scaly skins. However, they do require a fair bit of set up so if you’re thinking of welcoming a new cold-blooded buddy into your home, make sure you’ve got everything prepared beforehand. Read on for our top tips to help you get sorted.
You’ll Need Space For A Tank
Most reptiles live in tanks or vivariums. This is the closest we can get to replicating their natural environment in a climate very different from the one Mother Nature gave them. Most cold-blooded creatures need temperature regulation to keep them healthy. Lizards such as Beardies especially need tanks that mimic where you find them in the wild, so look for a specially made bearded dragon vivarium that they can call home.
Understand Their Diets
All reptiles need different food so do your research before you buy! Snakes need to eat larger foods, like things they would eat in the wild such as small rodents – so if you’re not keen on keeping dead mice in your freezer, a snake may not be for you! Tortoises are happy to eat lots of leaves and vegetables. Courgette and strawberries are delicious to a tortoise so make sure you have some on hand as a treat as dinnertime. Whatever reptile you choose, just be sure to check all foods with your pet shop or vet. Some seemingly innocent foods can harm certain creatures and you don’t want to poison your little pal!
Pick Your Breeder
Reptiles can easily pick up parasites or diseases so ensure that you are buying from an established breeder or pet shop. Check reviews and ask people who are in the reptile-owning community for recommendations on where to buy. Before buying, check the animal for any scratches, and check their nose and eyes for weeping. Look at the vivarium they are being kept in. If they look unsanitary and soiled, then the breeder is not following the correct care protocol. Snakes, in particular, are at risk of carrying diseases that can harm or eventually kill them so as soon as your purchase your new pet, register them at your local vet right away and take them for a check-up.
Understand The Commitment
Reptiles live a long time. Like a really, really long time. Lizards, depending on breed, can live between 5-10 years, with a leopard gecko’s average lifespan in captivity being 20+ years. Snakes can live between 15-30 years and tortoises are between 50-100. This means your pet could outlive you, so you will need to put plans in place for care after your time is up. If you’re looking for a pet that won’t be on earth for longer than you then an amphibian like a toad or frog is a great choice as their average lifespan is around 3-6 years.
Are you about to purchase your first pet reptile? Let us know in the comments!