October 21st is Reptile Awareness Day! Did you know that there are about 9.4 million pet reptiles in America? Worldwide, there are about 10,000 species of reptiles, ranging from the tiny to the massive saltwater croc. As your Marion, IA area veterinarian, I talk about our reptilian pals in this article.
Many people get a little confused about the difference between reptiles and amphibians. Here’s a very brief nutshell explanation: Reptiles typically have scales, and though they may swim, they lay eggs on land. Amphibians need to be in or near the water. While they also may lay eggs, they have thin skin, instead of scales.
Reptiles aren’t the right choice for everyone, and they’ll probably never be as popular as dogs or cats. However, they are gaining popularity. Speaking of popularity, Iguanas may be the most popular pet lizard. Bearded dragons, geckos, and Chinese water dragons are also good pets. As far as snakes, corn snakes, rosy boas, and ball pythons are good choices for first timers.
Reptiles do have some great advantages. For one thing, they don’t make noise. They also don’t leave messes, or cause foul odors. Plus, given that many of them need only minimal daily care, they can be a great option for someone who works long hours or is just out a lot. Snakes and lizards can also make great pets for people with allergies that prevent them from adopting dogs or cats. They’re also very pretty and fascinating to watch.
Things To Consider
Reptiles make great pets, but do plenty of research before adopting one. You’ll need to look into your new pet’s habitat needs, diet, and expected adult size. These things vary drastically from one pet to another. Longevity is also something to consider. Reptiles can live several decades. In fact, there are tortoises that have been passed down from generation to generation within families.
If you are going to get a reptile, be sure to go through a reputable pet store or breeder. Unfortunately, there’s still a market for wild-caught reptiles. This is bad for the animals, as many wild animals are extremely unhappy and stressed in captivity. It also compromises already-threatened and fragile ecosystems. That’s definitely something I’m happy to spread awareness about!
Do you have questions about reptile care? Contact me, your Marion, IA area veterinarian. I’m here for you!