In short, research, care and lots of time is what it really takes to be a successful reptile owner. For those of us who have pet cats or dogs, there is no question about it, we read, we learn and we go out of our way to pamper their cute little furry faces. The same truth should be for reptile owners as well. Reptiles of all kinds also need a high level of expert care and pampering that requires us to learn much more than we may think. There is a common misconception that reptiles, like snakes just sit there, do nothing and need very little; but this is simply not the case. If you are thinking of becoming a reptile owner please do your homework before making that impulse buy at your local pet store.
So what could they possibly need?
Let’s start off with the basics, a pet bearded dragon for instance, they need a very high level of care and expertise and if they are not cared for properly can end up with a host of medical issues.
Here is a short list of just some of the things to know when obtaining a new bearded dragon as a pet.
- First thing is first, make sure that you have access to a reptile vet, and that you can afford to take them there when ever they need it.
- Never house more than one bearded dragon in one enclosure. They WILL fight eventually and the outcome is never good.
- They need food every day, and not just bugs, but greens as well. They eat a very wide diet but they also need calcium in their diet as well, without it they can develop a bone disease called MBD which is debilitating and often deadly.
- They need heat and UVB, but they also need a cool side to their enclosure as well.
- They need places to hide, to bask, to dig, but they also need a very particular type of substrate.
Those are just the basics of what a bearded dragon needs on a daily basis, not to mention love and attention, outside time and so much more.
How about a smaller reptile like a leopard gecko? They don’t need as much care do they? YES they certainly do.
Let’s have a look at basic leopard gecko needs:
- Yes they too need access to a reptile vet.
- Never house more than one leopard gecko in one enclosure. They WILL fight eventually and the outcome is never good.
- They only eat bugs, do your homework to understand what ones are best.
- They also need calcium in their diet as well, without it they can develop a bone disease called MBD which is debilitating and often deadly.
- They DO NOT need heat lamps, they have very sensitive eyes and this can cause blindness.
- Heat mats are preferred, but they need a temperature controlled environment, with a warm and cool side.
- They need a moist hide
- Never put them on sand, they can ingest it and can cause impaction in their intestine and kill them.
There is so much more to learn about caring for them and other reptiles, please do your homework, and never take in a reptile unless you have the proper enclose and supplies on hand first. We recommend that you obtain your pet reptile from a reputable breeder rather than a pet store chain. We recommend Dinky Reptiles and Aquatics located in Aubrun, MA.
We get calls quite often from those who have pet reptiles, but can no longer care for them, because it’s a snake that has gotten to large, or a bearded dragon who can no longer walk due to a lack of calcium in their diet. It’s simply heart breaking to see these beautiful animals in pain and without proper care.
If you have done your homework, have your supplies on hand and are ready to take the leap, congratulations on being prepared! We are here for you if you have questions along your journey with your new baby. We highly recommend “The Odd Pet” who is a professed reptile vet located in Weymouth MA. Very worth the trip out to see him with your new reptile for a wellness visit even if you do not suspect that anything is wrong. Often times things like pin worms or even parasites can lurk without any symptoms until its too late.