Reptiles as pets
Some facts about reptiles
Reptiles are a class of vertebrates (those with a spinal cord) made up mostly of snakes, turtles, lizards, and crocodilians. Their dry, scaly skin most easily recognised these animals. Most of them lay eggs to produce offspring, but some, like vipers, give birth to young ones. Unlike fishes or amphibians, reptiles possess lungs for respiration. And they cannot control their body temperature naturally. Hence they are called cold-blooded animals.
Reptiles consist of more than 10000 species and an additional 2500 subspecies. Australia ranks one in the presence of several species of reptiles, that is 1078. And on the other side, there is New Zealand, which possesses zero snakes but has different varieties of lizards.
Even though there are more than 10000 reptile species, those used as pets are very less in number. The main reasons behind people choose reptiles as pets are
- Low maintenance
- Needs are simple
- Not allergic
- Comparatively, little space required
- Live longer
- Fascinating and fun
- Unique behavioural pattern
The members of reptile species which are accompanied as pets include:
- Bearded dragon
- Common leopard gecko
- Green iguana
- Water dragons
- Russian tortoise
- Crested gecko
- Ball python
- Corn or rat snake
- Red-eared slider
- African sulcata tortoise
- Green anole
- Eastern box turtles
Among the list above, green iguana and giant snakes are not recommended to choose as your first reptile pets. Iguanas need to be handled carefully, and they can be aggressive at times. But if you wished to buy an iguana, you can compromise on a similar-looking and a much smaller copy of iguanas; those are water dragons. Water dragons will attract you with its nature and require deficient maintenance.
A Russian tortoise is a better choice than the popular red-eared slider, because of the different maintenance requirements, and ability to interact with a human. However, tortoises live for up to 50 years, which is a lengthy commitment. The Russian tortoise is relatively small on the tortoise scale (maximum of 8-10 inches), these tortoises are very hardy, which makes them a great choice. They also don’t have the water requirements of other reptile pets, as they get almost all of their moisture from their food.
When checking snake pets, ball pythons and corn snakes are the best chosen. Ball pythons are shy, smaller in size(3-5 feet length), they come in a variety of colours and have an average lifespan around 25-30 years. Corn snakes are minor in format and very calm; they enjoy climbing branches, so they need an enclosure that allows them some space to do so.
Tools and accessories required for reptiles
Turtles should be kept in a large aquarium with a platform at the top that allows the turtle to dry out and warm up under a heat light.
Other reptiles should be kept in a vivarium (dry aquarium) of appropriate size to allow the animal to display regular activity and thermoregulate properly.
Reptiles require a heat source to digest food and remain active. When keeping a reptile in captivity it is important to provide a ‘thermo-gradient’, and this is where the enclosure has a warm and cold end provided by a heater at one end. A thermo-gradient for most reptiles would be 18oC at the cold end and up to 32oC at the warm end.
For a pet snake, it requires a snake cage, heating device, water bowls, snake hides, hooks and tongs.
The accessories required for a bearded dragon include a full terrarium, heat emitter, adjustable reptile leash, mesh reptile hammock, etc.
Like these, each reptile needs their specialized cages or Vivarium with accessories to entertain them. For these, you can access any nearby pet stores or through online pet stores.
Feeding your reptile pet
The feeding requirements of each reptile are different like their overall behaviour. Some are strictly herbivores, and some are omnivores, some are nocturnal, some are active also at day time. So let’s look through their feeding requirements.
Feeding conditions of reptiles are less compared to birds or mammals. That’s why they are cheaper to maintain than regular pets.
Let’s go through the feeding habits of some of the pets.
- Bearded Dragon: they are omnivorous, meaning they will eat both animals and plants. Insects comprise their main diet. There are three major parts in a bearded dragon food. They are meat, veggies or none citrus fruit and a commercial bearded dragon food.
The meat part provided mainly to bearded dragons is insects. Generally, more than 75% of their diet needs meat, but captives, as they are less active than in the wild, overloading with insects may cause obesity. And the availability of live insects around their captive can also be less, for young ones require more meat supplies than that of adults. So I have to feed young ones by keeping this in mind.
On veggies, avoid citrus fruits, lettuce, spinach and avocado, and keep fruit to only 10% of your bearded dragon’s diet.
Commercial bearded dragon foods are readily available. These are generally high in protein and pre-loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. You can buy bearded dragon food from any pet shops or through online means.
Pet food online provides shopping for bearded dragon food and also all accessories required for their growth. Please go through our website for more details.
- Leopard gecko: these lizards are entirely carnivorous, and only eat live insects. They won’t entertain dead or frozen insects even offered. You geckos are required to be needed daily and you should be aware of keeping their prey small and are held before their eyesight. Elder geckos need to be fed once in 2-3 days.
The best options for leopard gecko food are mealworms and crickets. Dusting these with vitamin and nutrient powders will increase the nutritional value of meal intake. Water in a shallow dish should be available for geckos whenever needed.
- Corn snakes: corn snakes are fed with frozen rodents after thawing. They do not need to be fed frequently; younger ones only eat once every 5-7 days and older ones eat between 7-10 days.
The size of the rodent supplied should be considered 1.5 times than the abdomen size of your corn snake. As snakes swallow its prey as a whole, it’s better to give them smaller sized rodents, or else may feel uncomfortable for them and spit it out. Feeding them regularly at a proper place or tub in the vivarium helps them to get the instinct food is only served there and they will wait there whenever hungry.
Like these, each reptile has their specialties in nature, feeding behaviour and way of treating owners. Those are unique, and we can have a look at the most frequently asked questions by reptile lovers.
Can reptiles eat spicy food?
It is not entertaining to feed reptiles with spicy food, but it does not have any adverse effect for them too. Only mammals can feel the spiciness and there are many reports from turtle owners saying those eat spicy peppers. The truth is they cannot sense it.
What do most reptiles eat?
Reptiles are fed on some form of animal life such as insects, molluscs, birds, frogs, mammals, fishes, or even other reptiles. Land tortoises are vegetarians, eating leaves, grass, and even cactus in some cases.
Where to buy reptile food online?
You can search for pet food online, or pet needs online or pet shop online for getting different links of online shopping lists in your area. We, pet food online, provide all your reptile pet needs, accessories and feed at the best price in town. Visit our website for more details.
What supplies do you need for a pet lizard?
A terrarium, set up can be made by converting an aquarium also. With a lower substrate, heat lamp and cleaner environment.