Dr. Joel Conn’s segment “Pet Tips” aired Monday on 95.3 The Beach! The topic was “Reptile Care and Management.” Tune in every Friday morning at 10:40am to hear more Pet Tips!
This week on Pet Tips we’re going to talk about Reptile Care and Management.
Reptiles can make excellent pets, but their care can often be challenging. The first thing that every reptile owner should do is get to know their pet – research the species, gender, lighting requirements, and feeding behavior and diet. Not all reptiles make good pets, so be sure to consider your priorities as a pet owner.
Lighting is incredibly important in the lives of any reptile that is active during the day. A high quality UVB light source should be purchased and regularly changed out. When it comes to lights, you tend to get what you pay for, so expect to spend $75-100 for a good bulb. Depending on the species, one or more heat sources may also be needed. Avoid in cage items like heat rocks, as pets can easily get severe burns.
Cages and terrariums should be carefully planned – keep in mind that the average reptile spends about 75% of its day trying to escape, so the enclosure must be secure. Anything in the cage should be easily replaced or cleanable and weekly cleaning of anything non porous with a dilute bleach solution is recommended.
Finally, diet is probably the most difficult and most important thing to get right. Research your pet carefully and consult with your veterinarian regarding dietary advice and nutritional supplement recommendations. Some reptiles need fresh vegetables and salads, while others need insects or even small mice or rats to eat. The most common health conditions that we see in reptiles are related to inadequate nutrition.
Here’s the bottom line: before considering a reptile companion, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Your local exotics veterinarian can be a great resource, as there is a lot of misinformation on the internet and even in some pet stores.
This is Dr. Joel Conn from Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic. I’ll be back next week with more pet tips. For more information, visit us online at pismobeachvet.com, check us out on Facebook, or come see us at 990 Price Street, Pismo Beach. We are open 7 days a week.