When people hear the word “pet,” the first thing that usually comes to mind is a dog, cat, bird, rabbit, or fish. As common as these animals are in households, not everyone prefers to keep them as pets. Some people take the road less travelled and ditch the fur, feathers, or gills for scales, choosing to own reptiles instead.
Although having a reptile at home may seem unconventional, it has its fair share of benefits. Reptiles grant their owners the privilege of living in a noise-free environment. Amidst their cuddly appearance, dogs and cats tend to make loud noises, which can be bothersome to their owners and, at times, their neighbors. On the other hand, reptiles are generally quiet creatures, giving those around them some peace of mind. They are also incapable of triggering allergic reactions, which makes them great pets for people suffering from certain allergies. Aside from that, because they spend most of their time inside their cages, they do not create messes or damage clothes and furniture.
Despite the advantages that come with owning a reptile, doing so is not a walk in the park. Just like with any other pet, having a reptile at home is a huge responsibility. Thus, reptile owners have an obligation to provide their pets with the best possible care.
If you plan to or currently have a reptile for a pet, be sure to give your cold-blooded friend a warm, cozy life. Here are some tips to taking care of your pet reptile:
- Provide it with a habitat, not just a cage.
A cage is not necessarily a habitat. Unlike a cage, a habitat is more than a screen, plastic, or glass-made structure where you can store your pet. It is a place where your pet can survive. Since reptiles are unable to adjust their body temperature according to the environment’s temperature, an ideal reptile habitat should have two sides: a cool side and warm side. The cool side should include a humidifier and an infrared heat lamp to be used at night, while the warm side should include lights and a regular heat lamp. A thermometer should then be placed on each side of the cage, so that you can determine whether the temperature is too cold or warm for your pet. Other items that you should place inside your pet’s cage are hiding areas to make your pet feel secure and lower its stress levels, food and water bowls, plants to increase humidity and oxygen, and a reptile carpet to ensure your pet’s comfort.
- Know its dietary needs.
Reptiles’ diets vary depending on their species. Some reptiles like snakes eat smaller animals, specifically rodents and insects, while others like turtles eat commercial turtle pellets, fish pellets, or small fish.
- Regularly check its cage.
Reptiles cannot make the facial expressions and sounds that dogs and cats make to show that something is wrong with them or their habitat. Hence, you should regularly check your pet’s cage to see if there are no problems with humidity, lighting, and temperature; and if it needs to be cleaned to keep your pet free of bacterial infections.
- Hold it with caution.
Mishandling your pet can cause it to be frightened of you. To keep this from happening, you should avoid dangling your pet, holding it with only two fingers, turning it upside down, and grabbing it by the tail.
- Refrain from keeping it out of its cage for too long.
There is nothing wrong with taking your pet out of its cage as long as you return it within a few minutes. Having been accustomed to its cage’s temperature, your pet may end up feeling uncomfortable with the temperature inside your room the longer it stays out of its cage.
- Continue learning.
Even if you have been a reptile owner for quite some time now, there are still some things about your pet that you may not yet know. By constantly educating yourself, you can perform your duties to your pet more effectively.
Caring for a pet reptile entails a lot of patience, effort, and even money. But it is worth the sacrifice. After all, upon entering your life, a pet reptile becomes more than just a pet. It becomes a family member.