Having a pet is a beautiful feeling. But if the pet is exotic like amphibians or reptiles, the excitement increases even more. Also, petting these unique creatures requires special attention & procedures.
The custom of petting exotic reptiles (lizards, snakes, turtles) & amphibians (frogs, salamanders, chameleons) has become popular & common. These pets are called herptiles. Herptiles are those reptiles & amphibians that can’t regulate their body temperature. These animals have ectothermic nature & require special care.
If you want to keep your amphibian & reptile pet in perfect condition, the tips below will be helpful-
Cages are where you keep your reptile pet. However, before selecting the type of enclosure, you need to pay attention to the size of your pet.
You have to assess clearly how tall they will grow. It’s vital to ensure the healthy lifespan of pets. If the cage becomes too small, your pet will start suffocating.
For instance, keep in mind that the green iguanas grow 4-6 feet tall. Some boas & pythons can grow up to 20 feet. Therefore, the size of your herptile will determine the size of the cage.
While setting up the cage, try to focus on the pet’s environmental needs while in the cage. That said, you need to set up a narrow cage with climbing facilities if you want to pet a chameleon. Similarly, for tortoises, you need a low but wide cage.
While cages can be of many types, some even go for glass terrariums or a screen-covered aquarium. However, you need to make sure that the cage is well ventilated,well-lit, and heat, moisture-proof. It should also have enough spaces to feed them their favourite Mealworms, roaches, and other nutritious treats inside their cage.
2. Floor Covering
The floor covering of the cage matters the most because your herptile pet will live on that. You need to choose coverings that don’t pose any threat to your pet’s health.
Remember, the material we use as our floor mats or covers is never suitable for the herptiles. These covers are chemically treated & have abrasion issues.
Various types of covers are available on the market designed especially for certain kinds of herptiles. For instance, you can go for reptile coverings that don’t have abrasion problems & are reptile skin-friendly.
Sand can be another option to consider. But sands come in contact with their foods & can cause health problems. You can use gravel instead. But don’t forget to wash & clean regularly.
Packaged peat mosses or shredded barks can be good alternatives too.
3. Remember To Clean
Unlike dogs or cats, these herptiles spend most of the time inside their cages. Therefore, it’s natural for the enclosures to get smelly & nasty. Hence, regular cleaning is necessary for the longevity of your pet.
You should maintain a routine to clean the cages, grills, floor coverings & left-overs. Also, you need to look out for harmful microorganisms.
Reptiles are prone to fall into the skin or bacterial infections. Salmonella is a disease that comes from the faecal matters of those reptiles. This is even riskier if it comes to human contact.
Thus, cleaning the grills, cages, flooring regularly & also disinfecting them to ensure a good healthy condition for your pet is important.
Temperature is another vital issue that needs your attention. Herptiles are cold-blooded animals. That means they can’t regulate their body temperature & thus, depend entirely on you.
You need to provide the best possible temperature to give your pet an optimum living condition inside the cage.
You can mount basking lamps to provide even heating around the cage. However, place the lights at such heights so that your pet doesn’t harm or burn itself. Also, place thermometers in two corners of the enclosures to measure the temperature of the cage.
Choosing hot stones isn’t ideal as they can have hot spots and can burn or injure your pet. Also, these stones cannot give even distribution of heat in the cage.
5. Regulate Humidity
Reptiles are sensitive to humidity. Excessive dryness can hurt them severely; death is also possible. Besides, too much moisture can aid in the growth of fungus & bacteria which is also a concern.
So, you need to regulate the humidity upon the specific requirement of your pet. Place a humidity alert device in the cage that remains updated about the humidity of the enclosure. You can keep a vivarium with water filtration to provide wet conditions. For dry conditions, a dry terrarium setup is enough.
6. Ensure Proper Feeding
Herptiles have different food requirements and fall into three basic categories, namely carnivores, herbivores & omnivores. All herptiles prefer fresh food & water. Also, clean dishes can influence their appetite.
For carnivores like snakes & lizards, you need to provide rodents, mice, rats, crickets, flies, mealworms, etc. Herbivores like iguanas & tortoises eat yellow vegetables, fruits, dandelion leaves, escarole, lettuce, etc. Omnivores can eat both types in controlled quantities.
7. Necessary Supplements
No matter how carefully you feed your herptile pets or provide the best foods, they may still lack nutrients. Therefore, it’s good to give them reptile vitamin & mineral supplements. These supplements can help your pet’s skeletal growth. They also aid in digestion & stimulate the appetite.
8. Regular Vet Check-Up
To ensure your pet’s normal growth, it’s better to go to a vet and have it checked out to know about any incurring diseases long before anything happens. Most reptile diseases results due to poor husbandry.
9. Quarantine The New Reptiles
Another crucial reason for spreading diseases is the mixture of the new ones to the already established ones. Don’t put the new ones in the older one’s cage. Quarantine at least for 3 to 6 months before mixing the herptiles.
Don’t use the same dishes, foods, or gloves that you used on the quarantined ones.
10. Reptile Handling Essentials
Reptiles are not the cuddling types. Herptiles are exotic & have unique demands. Some of them might even get extremely nervous if they come in close contact with humans. It is best to consult with a vet and know if you should even be cuddling them.
These tips mentioned above & quality husbandry practices will ensure a good & healthy condition of your pet. Exotic pets are not so tough to tame once you get used to the basics.