What Future Owners Need to Know

Reptiles and amphibians are a popular choice for pets. Many reptiles and amphibians make wonderful family members. They are colorful, cute, and so out-of-this-world that most adults and children can’t help but enjoy their company.

Before you bring home your new reptile or amphibian, there are a few things you should consider and prepare.

Supplies for Reptiles and Amphibians

If you are sure that a reptile or an amphibian is going to join your family, you need to take some time to prepare before you bring one home. Before getting any pet, you should make a list of things you need to buy.

Cage/Terrarium

Choosing the right cage or terrarium (depending on the species you pick) is important in order to keep your pet healthy. Always keep the following in mind:

  • Size: Terrariums for reptiles and amphibians come in a variety of sizes. If you are buying a baby reptile, research the size of an adult. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to buy a new terrarium in the future.
  • Shape: The shapes of cages are also different. They depend on the type of reptile you are getting. Tall cages are required for fast pets who climb around. Shorter, wider terrariums are suitable for calm ground-dwelling pets, such as turtles.
  • Material: Some cages are made out of glass, while others feature glass and wood combinations. If your pet is an amphibian and requires water, opt for a glass terrarium. A wooden cage offers a more natural environment but it’s harder to clean. Besides, it’s not as long-lasting as glass.

Dangers Of Terrariums

Pet reptiles and amphibians are often mute. If they suffer, you may never know about it. That’s why you need to pay very close attention to their housing. Some issues could include:
Excessive heat: When you heat the terrarium, make sure you don’t overdo it.

Use two thermometers (one in the hottest part under the lamp/heater, one in the opposite corner) to measure the temperature.

  • Contaminated water: Most amphibians, especially turtles, are very messy. Failing to keep a terrarium clean can lead to a variety of diseases, and eventually, death.
  • Dangerous plants: Many people love to decorate their terrariums with a variety of plants. However, make sure to check whether or not the plants are poisonous before adding them.
  • Hot rocks: While popular in online stores, hot rocks should be avoided since they can get too warm and burn your pet.

Terrarium Supplies

Depending on the type of terrarium you buy, you will need certain supplies. Below are some of the common supplies you will need to get.

  • Thermometers: Required for any terrarium you need to heat. Special thermometers are available for aquatic and semi-aquatic terrariums.
  • Settled Water: Always have settled water for filling aquatic and semi-aquatic terrariums. Keep tap water in bottles for at least one day to let it settle.
  • Lamp: The lamp can be a source of heat and replicate daylight for your reptile.
  • UV lamp: A UV lamp is a compulsory accessory for many reptiles and amphibians.
  • Heater: You will need a water heater for aquatic and semi-aquatic models, and regular heater for other types.
  • Accessories: Plants, sand, bedding, and other things to keep the pet comfortable and closer to its natural environment.
  • Submersible filter: This is a vital supply that can keep the water clean for longer periods of time, so you don’t have to change it every day.
  • Cage carpets: This is a special floor covering for reptiles. They are soft and easy to clean.
  • Gravel: Close-to-nature floor covering for a terrarium. It’s a good alternative to sand that sticks to feet and food.

Feeding Your Reptile/Amphibian

The care and attention you use to choose food for your pet will help define its comfort and life expectancy.

What to Buy

Carnivores

The feeding habits of each reptile and amphibian depend on its species. The majority of smaller carnivorous reptiles require a mix of live food and processed supplements. Large carnivores require rodents. Common food options include:

  • House crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Roaches
  • Silkmoth larvae
  • Tomato hornworms

These options are usually available in pet stores. The hardest part is keeping them alive. It’s better to buy live food in small portions so you don’t have to deal with large amounts of crickets and roaches.

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Herbivores

These reptiles and amphibians are the easiest to care for. They don’t produce much waste and can be satisfied with simple food. Common food options for these pets include:

  • Greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
Omnivores

These reptiles eat both meat and veggies. As such, you have to diversify their diet with crickets, earthworms, meat, fruits, and veggies.

Other than fresh food, all captive reptiles and amphibians require supplements. Regardless of what your pet prefers, be it meat or veggies, it needs extra vitamins and minerals. These supplements are available at pet stores.

How to Feed Reptiles

Herbivorous reptiles eat a lot so you need to provide them with a pile of veggies twice their size at least once a day.

Carnivorous reptiles should get the amount of food equal to the size of their head. When they are babies, feed them once a day. When they get older, feedings can decrease depending on the species.

The majority of amphibians and reptiles need to be fed once a day. Many of them can survive without food for up to one week.

Reptile/Amphibian Caring and Handling Tips

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling your pet.
  • Stay as calm as possible when dealing with your pet since it can sense your nervousness.
  • Try to touch your pet as little as possible. Remember, they are not toys.
  • Make sure to maintain the right temperature inside terrariums. Cold air can kill your pet.
  • If you have kids, opt for kid-friendly reptiles.
  • Don’t take your pet out of its cage for more than 30 minutes. Outside temperatures are much lower than inside their terrarium.

Adopting a pet reptile or amphibian is fun and exciting. However, a lot of responsibility comes with it. These creatures are very delicate. The wrong approach to care can easily hurt them, so make sure you do your research beforehand.