Owning your first reptile

Views 109 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

When you decide to purchase your first reptile, it is a good idea to decide on the type you want to keep first, i.e. whether you want a snake or a lizard.

If you decide that you want to own a snake, then the ideal one to start off with is a corn snake. Hatchling corn snakes are around twelve inches long and can cost anything up to £150.00 each depending on colour. Just your basic corn snake will be ideal.

Feeding 

It will eat pinkies to start with. Pinkies are day old mice that have been frozen and are cheap to purchase. You will need to defrost one pinkie three times a week and feed your new pet with it. If it has not eaten it within 24 hours, you must remove the pinkie from the vivarium, otherwise it will start to rot and stink out the vivarium. After a couple of months, it will start to take 2 pinkies at a time. At this point, your snake will need to start eating fuzzies. A fuzzie is a baby mouse that has just started to grow hair. Carry on feeding one fuzzie twice a week, until your pet will take two fuzzies at a time. At this point, you should move up to small mice and carry on feeding twice a week. Once your snake is about a year old, it should be on one large mouse per week. This will be its stable diet for the rest of its life.

Handling

PLEASE NOTE that when you decide to handle your pet, wash your hands thoroughly as any smell of food on your hands will make the snake think it is being fed and may go to bite you. Handling your snake will help it become very tame. Everybody has stories of snakes that bite. Your snake, if handled every day, will be content with you and just wind itself around your arm, or other part of your body. It is a very nice feeling carrying a pet snake around with you.

Purchasing a Snake

When you purchase a snake, handle it first. Make sure that you are comfortable with. Insist on seeing a feeding record. This will tell you when it has eaten, what it has eaten, if it has refused a mouse and if it has shed.

Shedding

When a snake sheds its skin, its is groing a little bit. Snakes don't have skin that stretch, that have scales. When a snake has reached the limits of its skin, it will 'go into shed'. During this time, it should not be handled and will stop eating. Once it has shed its skin, it will be hungry and will eat readily. You will also have a lovely snake skin, that if you don't want it, the local primary or junior school will love it for the kids.

Housing Requirements

A vivarium around 18" long. A heat mat that covers around half of the floor of your vivarium. Another heat source, perhaps an incandescent buld to bring the temperature up to around 78 F or 26 C. A fuorescent light tube and starter unit is also ideal as when your incandescent bulb reaches a temperature it should switch off as you will need to regulate it with a thermostat. When this bulb switches off, the fluorescent bulb will let you see your pet. It will need a hide to retreat in, a water bowl to drink out of and a thermomter so that you can check the temperature. The floor covering should be ideally cedar chips or aspen. It only needs to cover the floor of the vivarium.

 

LIZARDS

The two best types of lizard to start with are Bearded Dragons and Geckos

Bearded Dragons

Feeding

A baby Bearded Dragon will start its life on Brown Crickets. Having these in your home will remind you of balmy summer evenings in Spain and bring back lots of happy memories. The Brown Crickets should be size 2. If your Bearded Dragon struggles to catch the crickets, just pop them in the fridge for about 30 seconds as this will chill them down and make them slower so your Bearded Dragon can catch and enjoy their meal. as they get bigger, move up in size until they are on sixe 6 crickets. Wingless locusts will make a nice change in a diet once it reaches around 8 inches of body length (not including the tail). Once fully grown, then full size locusts can be added to its diet. Once evry two or three months, a pinkie may be offered. These are really too rich for it to be offered more often, but it will make a lovely treat for it.

Handling

Your Bearded Dragon should be handled every day, they are very quick animals when they want to be, but mostly will just sit on your chest and be content with the attention it is receiving. PLEASE NOTE, wash your hands thoroughly before handling so that the smell of any other food will not be on you.

Purchasing

Make sure that the dragon is healthy, and looks alert. When the salesperson goes to pick up the Baby Bearded Dragon, make sure that it is moving quickly. Check for rubs on its snout and that all its toes are there.

Shedding

When a Bearded Dragon sheds its skin, it does not normally do it in one shed. You may have to help it by sponging it with a luke warm damp sponge.

Housing Requirements

They are exactly the same as for a snake, but you need to add a U.V. light instead of a normal fluorescent strip light and something to climb on to get near the U.V. U.V. is short for Ultra Violet. The Bearded Dragon requires U.V. as it cannot make its own calcium which it needs for healthy bone growth. The U.V. converts vitamin D in the Bearded Dragons skin into Vitamin D3 which is its active form. Without the U.v. lighting, your Bearded Dragon will end up with deformed bones, or Metabolic Bone Disorder as it is called. It is also a good idea to get a small household mister for spraying plants with and spray your pet with water every day, just enough to moisten it slightly

Geckos

Feeding 

The feeding requirements for Geckos are the same as Bearded Dragons except do not feed locusts. Instead, Waxworms make a tasty alternative for them. But these can be fed at any time, right from day one.

Handling

Your Gecko should be handled every day, they are very quick animals when they want to be, but mostly will just sit on your chest and be content with the attention it is receiving. PLEASE NOTE, wash your hands thoroughly before handling so that the smell of any other food will not be on you. If, when handling, your Gecko, its tail falls off DONT WORRY. It is a natural form of defence in the wild for Geckos and IT WILL GROW BACK.

Purchasing

Make sure that the Gecko is healthy, and looks alert. When the salesperson goes to pick up the Baby Bearded Dragon, make sure that it is moving quickly. Check for rubs on its snout and that all its toes are there. Also, make sure all of the little suckers on the bases of its toues are in good condition.

Shedding

When a Gecko sheds its skin, it does not normally do it in one shed. You may have to help it by sponging it with a luke warm damp sponge.

Housing Requirements

A vivarium around 18" long. A heat mat that covers around half of the floor of your vivarium. Another heat source, perhaps an incandescent buld to bring the temperature up to around 78 F or 26 C. A fuorescent light tube and starter unit is also ideal as when your incandescent bulb reaches a temperature it should switch off as you will need to regulate it with a thermostat. When this bulb switches off, the fluorescent bulb will let you see your pet. It will need a hide to retreat in, a water bowl to drink out of and a thermomter so that you can check the temperature. The floor covering should be ideally cedar chips or aspen. It only needs to cover the floor of the vivarium. It is also a good idea to get a small household mister for spraying plants with and spray your pet with water every day, just enough to moisten it slightly

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides