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Housing and nutrition are important considerations for any pet, but this is especially true for those keeping reptiles as pets. Due to their inability to regulate their body temperature, reptiles require more specific housing than most other pets, most notably in terms of temperature control. Dietary requirements will also vary depending on the species.
Housing or Enclosures
The habitat for reptiles should be equipped with a light source, heat source, and water source. Prepare the habitat completely and ensure it is secure before bringing your pet home.
In order to keep reptiles healthy, the cage or enclosure used to house them should provide a range of temperatures from one end to the other (within the preferred temperature range of each species). Having a range of temperatures also helps to improve digestion, keep their immune systems strong, and increase the effectiveness of certain medicines. A temperature even a few degrees above the upper limit of the enclosure may prove fatal to some species of reptile.
Food and Nutrition
Environmental temperature affects reptiles' feeding behaviour and digestion. Compared to mammals and other "warm-blooded" animals, reptiles have a lower metabolism, so they feed less frequently. Other factors such as humidity levels, light, food type, and proximity to other animals can also affect the feeding behaviour of reptiles. In turtles and some plant-eating lizards, the colour of their food will affect how willing they are to accept it with red and yellow being their preferred colours. Occasionally, reptiles can become accustomed to eating certain foods and will refuse any alternatives. The problem may be lessened if young reptiles are fed a variety of foods at each feeding.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common among reptiles kept as pets, but especially in turtles, tortoises and lizards. Snakes that are fed a nutrient-rich, whole prey diet are less likely to develop a vitamin or mineral deficiency, but a reptile-specific vitamin and mineral supplement should be added to the diet of every captive reptile. To keep your reptile in good health, a balanced supplement consisting of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D3 is crucial. Without the correct balance of these vitamins and minerals in their diet, your reptile may develop bone diseases or a hormonal disorder. Deficiencies of other vitamins and minerals are less common in captive reptiles and can be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.
Chances are you’ve already got many of the standard supplies one would expect to find in a reptile first aid kit. Things like disinfectant, gauze, bandaids and tweezers are pretty standard items that can be found in a human first aid kit. On top of this, you may want to add things like elastic wrap, tongue depressors, a magnifying glass and something that can act as an emergency heat source. All of these supplies should be stored in a container with emergency contact numbers and any relevant medical information. Check over and replenish your kit at least once a year and dispose of any expired products.
Shop Our Range of Quality Supplies for Reptiles
Some of the top brands for reptile supplies are available at VetProductsDirect. We only sell products that we are willing to use personally on our own pets, which is why our team of veterinary surgeons and animal health professionals will personally approve all products we sell.
With a team of veterinarians and highly-trained customer service and vet nurse staff on hand to answer any questions you have about our products, you can shop with confidence knowing you are getting the best for your reptile. You can reach our team Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (AEST) via emailing [email protected], or by phoning 1300 838 776