Just like any other family pet, when adding new members to your home, getting information beforehand will improve your chances of success! Reptiles and amphibians are unique, interesting animals that family and friends will enjoy learning about. Take the time to carefully research which pet type will best suit you or your family. Digging deeper into each specific species will bring more knowledge but as a general starting point, the top ten tips below will help to get you started! For any other reptile or amphibian comments or questions, contact Zilla for additional information.
- Do Your Research! – Reptiles and amphibians have specific care needs or they won’t be happy or healthy. Some can get large, some can live for a very long time, others may have specific diet or heating requirements that are difficult for people to provide for the pet’s lifespan. Investigating ahead of time is necessary so that you know what you are committing to.
- UVB/UVA bulbs will help increase natural behaviors, improve eating, nurture breeding habits, and increase immune system strength. UVB is also essential to the health of many reptiles, and without it they can become paralyzed, deformed and eventually die prematurely. Even though many animals in captivity don’t need this type of light to survive, they are highly recommended for all reptiles and amphibians.
- It’s also important to replace your UVB bulbs every 12 months. Even if they are giving off light, the UVB runs out over time and the bulbs are not providing the levels that the animals need to stay healthy.
- Always use calcium and other vitamins when feeding your reptiles and amphibians so they get all of their dietary needs.
- Make sure to check your temperatures and humidity regularly and that you have the necessary equipment so that your pet is getting the proper care that they need.
- Only use well-made escape proof cages. Reptiles are escape artists and no one wants to lose their pet. Locking screen clips can also be used for an added safety measure.
- When handling your reptile, don’t hold them too high in the air in case they jump from your hands and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- Only handle amphibians when absolutely necessary. Make sure your hands are clean and also wet so that you don’t make them sick or hurt their skin.
- Keep tanks, terrariums, vivariums, etc. away from windows and direct sunlight, especially when light and heat fixtures are already part of the habitat. The sun can cause the tank to heat up much hotter than you want it to be.
- When in doubt, ASK! There are many great sources for information available such as herpetological societies and exotic veterinarians. Be wary of what you read on the internet, there are a lot of opinions that may or may not be true. Make sure the content you learn about is coming from a credible source.
There are a variety of resources that are recommended for obtaining information to learn about reptiles and amphibians, some ideas include:
- Herptelogical societies
- Local pet stores that focus on reptiles
- Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV)
- Reptiles Magazine
- The local library and reputable books, magazines and videos
- Visiting your local zoo