Buying a Reptile Responsibly

Reptiles are beautiful, fascinating, amazing creatures.  However, they require very specific living conditions, and new reptile keepers need to make sure they fully understanding how to care for them properly.

Becoming a reptile keeper is a big responsibility.  There are many things to consider to ensure that a reptiles needs can be met:

  • Size and Lifespan

    • How long can they live?

    • How big will it grow?

  • Cost

    • Food

    • Electricity (heat and lighting)

    • Cage and furnishings

    • Regular replacement of light bulbs (to ensure sufficient UV, usually every 6 months)

    • Vet bills

  • Habitat

    • The reptile needs somewhere to live that is as close as possible to their natural environment

    • Conditions must be monitored carefully to ensure they are always within correct ranges (temperature gages at different locations, humidity gage)

      • Heating (reptiles cannot regulate their own body temperatures, and unless it is warm enough they cannot digest food at all and immunity will fall)

        • it is important to provide a heat gradient (hot end and cool end of living space) so the reptile can warm up or cool down when they need to

      • Sunlight/UV Lighting (reptiles require sufficient UV or will get calcium deficient which leads to severe and painful bone problems)

      • Humidity (often high humidity required)

    • Is the reptile nocturnal? (will need a hiding area for the day)

    • Does it naturally live in trees? (will need at least one branch to perch on)

    • Where do they naturally sleep? (use bedding that wont hurt the reptile, and is easily cleaned)

  • Cage

    • Can you buy a suitable cage?

    • Do you need to make one?

      • What materials do you need?

      • How will you make it safe?

    • What size does it need to be? (Reptiles can grow very rapidly and will need larger cages to suit)

  • Food

    • What do they eat in the wild?

    • Do they catch live prey?

  • Water

    • Fresh water provided daily

  • Cleaning

    • Cage needs regular cleaning (day to day, and deep cleaning)

  • Exercise/interaction

    • Do you have time to spend interacting with a reptile? To let it out its cage for some exercise?

  • Vet

    • Need a local vet who treats reptiles (well cared for reptiles are resilient, but they can still get sick)

 

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