A Pet Owner's Guide to Reptile Supplies

Having a pet reptile isn't easy. Buying the pet itself is just one part of a much larger investment that starts with having the right reptile supplies to keep your pet happy and healthy.

Reptile supplies can be obtained on a budget. While there are commercial reptile products available — everything from a hidey-house for your reptile cage to a fully loaded outdoor reptile enclosure — you can improvise to cut down on some of the costs.

Reptile Houses and Basking Areas

A reptile house can be anything, really, from an ice cream tub with holes cut out to a store-bought replica of a cave or log. While you can make your own from real bark or rocks, it's important to make sure you aren't transporting contaminants into your tank or cage. You'll also want to make sure that you build it securely so there's no danger of it collapsing and causing your reptile to fall.

Reptile Lighting

Reptile lighting is definitely not something you'll want to make yourself. Most reptiles require a combination of ordinary light and full-spectrum light, so the way to save money is to find a light source that provides both. Often, reptile cages can be found with these lights built in, so you can save even more money if you haven't yet bought a cage.

Outdoor Reptile Enclosures

For aquatic reptiles that thrive on spending time outdoors, an outdoor home can be as simple as a large tub or kiddy pool. You will want to make sure that your pet doesn't escape, however, and that the enclosure doesn't heat up.

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If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors or is not aquatic, you may want to consider spending a little extra on a prefabricated outdoor cage. These are usually built to be lightweight and easy to assemble, and are generally guaranteed to be secure.

Where to Buy Reptile Supplies

You can buy essential and other reptile supplies from any pet or reptile supply store, which gives you the option of closer inspection, but often great deals can be found online. You may also be more likely to find specialty items, such as reptile incubators or rock heaters, over the Internet.

No matter where you buy from, make sure your dealer is reputable and that all the products are guaranteed to be nontoxic and safe. Also, make sure you have the option to return the product if you find it to be unsatisfactory.