Is a Small Reptile Pet Right for You?

You’ve often thought about owning a small reptile pet, but you haven’t considered it seriously until now. Obviously, owning a lizard, snake, or other reptile isn’t like owning a cat or dog. Reptiles don’t sleep on your bed; and they don’t purr or wag their tails. On the other hand, reptiles do have their own unconventional appeal. Before you make your reptile purchase decision, consider reptiles’ care needs, and consult with your Dunedin veterinarian. If you decide to go ahead, you’ll quickly schedule a new patient exam to make sure your new pet is healthy.

Proper Habitat Is Key

Regardless of the reptile species you choose, a 10-gallon-or-larger glass aquarium will provide a spacious home for your pet. Or, you can purchase a pre-fabricated reptile habitat. No matter which reptile apartment you choose, your pet will certainly appreciate a nice astroturf floor that gives him traction when he moves around his enclosure. Remember that he’ll also need adequate heat and UV light sources, too.

Here’s the bottom line: To keep your reptile healthy, you must provide him with a well-designed habitat; and you must keep that habitat squeaky clean. If you don’t do that, your reptile pet can develop diseases and/or other potential problems.

Reptiles Need Attention, Too

Each day, you’ll need to provide your reptile with fresh food and water. Even if your pet is an absolute slob, you’ll still have to keep his enclosure clean. Also, schedule at least 15 minutes of reptile observation time daily. First, you’ll probably find him entertaining to watch. Also, regularly viewing his habits enables you to detect very subtle symptoms or behavioral changes that might mean he’s sick or injured.

Will You Handle Your Reptile?

Maybe you’d enjoy watching your reptile’s antics, but you have no real desire to handle this unusual pet. Some exotic animals would much prefer that you leave them alone, and they might even display aggression if you physically interact with them. However, other reptiles might like some attention; and you might find that you enjoy the interaction, too. This decision will largely determine the type of reptile pet you select.

If (and when) you purchase a reptile pet, take him to your Dunedin vet within the first 48 hours. Your vet will evaluate your reptile’s health, obtain an initial weight, and perform a baseline fecal exam. While your reptile doesn’t require vaccinations, he’ll need annual checkups and fecal exams. Since reptiles generally don’t show symptoms of illness until they’re already pretty sick, be ready to get your pet checked out when you first see troubling symptoms. After all, you want your reptile to enjoy the healthiest life possible under your care.

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