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Animal Care Hospital
Call us today! 319-378-9000
Call us today! 319-378-9000

1146 Blairs Ferry Rd NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

4 Things to Consider Before Getting a Reptile

September 1 2017

Are you considering getting a pet reptile? Snakes, lizards, turtles, and other reptiles can make great pets. In fact, there are many benefits to having a reptile for an animal companion. They’re quiet, don’t need training, don’t make much noise, and won’t scratch up your couch or eat your shoes. However, our scaled friends are definitely not for everyone. As your Marion, IA vet, I’m here to help! Here, I list some things to think about before adopting a reptile.

Basic Needs

Just like any other pet, reptiles need good care in order to thrive. Every reptile is different: some, like snakes, need only minimal daily care, while others, such as iguanas, need quite a bit of attention. It’s also very important to find a local veterinarian that treats reptiles. Do plenty of research, and make sure you truly understand your reptile’s care needs.

Habitat Requirements

One thing that is very important to consider before adopting a reptile is your new pet’s housing needs. Smaller reptiles may be fine in a tank, but some of the larger ones will need a pretty good chunk of space. You may need to dedicate a specific area or even a whole room to your pet’s care. Aside from the space requirements, your reptile may also require specific humidity and/or temperature settings. Keep in mind that the equipment needed to provide the right conditions will need power, which could increase your electric bill.


Different types of reptiles have their own nutritional requirements. Some, like iguanas, are vegetarians that need lots of fresh produce. Others eat things often casually referred to as creepy-crawlies, like mice, crickets, worms, and bugs. Do plenty of research before adopting a reptilian pet, and make sure you can stomach feeding your scaled buddy.


While reptiles do have their own personalities, and can be absolutely fascinating to watch, they aren’t quite as charismatic as dogs, cats, or other pets. Your snake probably won’t curl into a heart shape to greet you when you come home, and a lizard won’t roll over for belly rubs. Although many reptiles don’t mind being held or handled, if you want an animal companion that is cuddly and interactive, a reptile may not be right for you.

Do you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Contact me, your Marion, IA veterinarian, today!