Are you ready to own a reptile? Handout

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tignish99

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Hello:

Due to the nature of what I do, I come in contact with a lot of parents who see my reptiles and say "Ooooh, he is so cute! I want one for my child!" I decided to make a hand-out with questions they should ask themselves first as something I can give them. I have seen a lot of sad cases of "He was so cute at the pet store, so we bought him, but I had no idea his care would be so complicated. I don't want him anymore!"

Here is a list of questions I have come up with. This is sort of a first-draft brain-dump, so the grammar and spelling is not really up to par yet. I am more wondering if I missed something or if something is not clear. Thank you.
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Are you ready to own a reptile?

Does your family agree?

Are you willing to feed live food such as crickets and silkworms to your reptile?

Will you take good care of the live food? Remember, what ever the live food eats, your reptile will eat. You need to feed and provide moisture for the live food. You also need to provide it a suitable container that will need to be cleaned. Sometimes live food requires just as much care as a reptile.

Are you willing to either raise your own live food or drive to possibly another town to buy live food once or twice a week?

Do you have the equipment and supplies to grow your live food? Some live foods need an incubator and sterile conditions?

Are you prepared to make food for your pets which may include cooking and mixing food, such as chicken and veggies?

If your reptile eats frozen rodents, are you or your family fine with storing frozen rodents in the freezer? Live rodents can be dangerous to a reptile.

Some worms need to be refrigerated. Are you and your family comfortable with having worms in your refrigerator?

Are you willing to pick untreated weeds from your backyard?

Are you willing to go to two or three stores to buy the greens and veggies they need, especially in the winter when suitable greens are harder to buy?

Reptiles can go without food for days, weeks, or months at a time. Sometimes they stop eating when they shed, brumate or for no apparent reason and are still healthy. This can be stressful for the reptile owner. Can you deal with your pet for not eating for a long time?

Are you willing to pay close attention and constantly monitor your reptile’s enclosure? Most reptiles do not show that they are sick until they are very sick. It may take weeks or months before your reptile shows that he is affected by something.

Do you have the money for a vet? You need to go to a specialty vet that may be an hour or more away. They can charge more than regular vets. A visit can be $100 plus tests and medicine.

If your animal eats only live food and you need to give your reptile medicine, are you willing to inject the medicine with a needle into a live insect?

Are you willing to spend a long time researching your reptile’s specific needs and set up the enclosure properly including proper temperatures before you buy the reptile?

Are you willing to walk away from a reptile at a pet store no matter how cute it is if there is something wrong or if it is wild-caught?

Will you ask for help from a suitable source if you need it?

Are you ready to deal with hibernation and brumation?

Reptiles are generally not cuddly. Some like or tolerate being held, but others are more “look at” pets only. If your reptile can be held, are you willing to spend a lot of time socializing your reptile? Reptiles do not perform tricks or have a need to please you like dogs. Reptiles just go through their day to day lives and you need to appreciate them for what they are. They have a limited ability to learn.

Many reptiles are quite fragile, especially as babies. Is the reptile too fragile for your lifestyle?

Reptiles can live for 10 to 100 years? Do you want to take care of the reptile that long? Do you have people who will take care of your reptile when you do not want it anymore or you cannot take care of it anymore?

Not everyone is comfortable with a reptile. If you go away on vacation, do you have anyone who will take care of it while you are gone?

Will you be prepared for a power-outage? What will you do to keep your reptile warm if there is no electricity for hours or days?

Are you willing to take the time to regularly clean the enclosure and the equipment inside?

Can you handle cleaning up poop? Some reptiles do not poop often, but when they do, they produce large amounts of poop.

Do you have the space for your reptile and all the equipment? Some reptiles, although small, need very large enclosures. You will also need room for all their equipment such as spray bottles and vitamins.

Reptiles tend to grow very quickly, but that does not mean that you can put them in the biggest adult enclosure when they babies. Some will need several different sized enclosures as they grow. Are you willing to have an enclosure that you may only use for a few months?

Are you prepared for the size your reptile may be as an adult?

Some reptiles are most active at night. Are you fine with having a pet that sleeps during the day?

Some items you only need to buy once such as plastic vines, but other items such as UVB lights need to be replaced every six months.

Can you afford the ongoing cost of your reptile? Feeding your reptile properly can cost $40 to $50 a month unless you raise your own food. Feeding only crickets and/or mealworms is not a good diet. A UVB light can cost $45 or more every six months. Nothing surrounding reptiles is cheap.

Do you have money for the equipment? Equipment can cost many times the cost of your reptile. Your reptile may need some or all of the following:


-Heat lamp and fixture
-UVB light and fixture
-Night heater and fixture
-Under tank heater
-Suitable lid
-Lid clips
-Reptile carpet or suitable substrate
-A very large tank or cage
-Mist bottle
-Water dripper
-Humidifier
-Food and water containers
-Hides
-Humid hide
-Container with soil/sand for egglaying
-Power-outage supplies
-Extra Containers to hold equipment/supplies
-Thermometer
-Vitamins
-Calcium with vitamin D
-Calcium without vitamin D
-Syringes with needles
-Deworming medicine
-Bathing container
-Live plants
-Nail trimmers
-Plastic vines and plants
-Timers
-Live food and live food supplies
 

sibi

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Wow, that's food for thought, but very necessary. People need to know and understand what's involved with owning a reptile. It's not easy and it's not cheap! One other thing that you may want to consider is, are you handy with your hands. Often, members need to buy or build an enclosure. Obviously, if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars buying different sizes of enclosures, can you build one yourself? Also, do you have the space to house a large tortoise ie, large backyard? Do you own or rent? Those were some of the things I thought of.
 

tignish99

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5 Year Member
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May 25, 2013
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sibi said:
Wow, that's food for thought, but very necessary. People need to know and understand what's involved with owning a reptile. It's not easy and it's not cheap! One other thing that you may want to consider is, are you handy with your hands. Often, members need to buy or build an enclosure. Obviously, if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars buying different sizes of enclosures, can you build one yourself? Also, do you have the space to house a large tortoise , ie, large backyard? Do you own or rent? Those were some of the things I thought of.

Thank you. I will add those points.
 

lisa127

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People need to know what's involved with adopting/buying any animal, and be prepared .......
 

Pokeymeg

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Very nice list!! Is this something you would divide up somewhat based on the specific reptile, since there is so much information? For example, There is a lot about live food that would not be necessary for tortoises, but obviously necessary for other reptile friends.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using TortForum mobile app
 

tignish99

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5 Year Member
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
110
Pokeymeg said:
Very nice list!! Is this something you would divide up somewhat based on the specific reptile, since there is so much information? For example, There is a lot about live food that would not be necessary for tortoises, but obviously necessary for other reptile friends.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using TortForum mobile app

I am not entirely sure yet how I will approach that yet. I did add one note about specifically tortoises into my draft after a couple of suggestions. I am thinking of doing a general section and then species specific sections.
 
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