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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

5 Key Reptile Care Tips

August 15 2023

If you’re a first-time reptile owner, you may be facing a somewhat steep learning curve as you get accustomed to the do’s and don’ts of caring for and handling your pet. It’s important to do plenty of research on the specific type of animal you’re getting. A turtle and a chameleon have very different care needs! That said, there are some general rules of thumb that apply to all reptiles. As your local Marion, IA area veterinarian, I list some of them below.

Keep Habitats Clean

Just like any other pet, reptiles need clean habitats. You won’t need to do much on a day-to-day basis, aside from cleaning and refilling dishes and removing waste. However, you’ll need to regularly deep clean and disinfect your pet’s home and belongings. If you don’t, your scaled pal could become susceptible to infections or parasites!

Monitor Sheds

Most of the time, healthy reptiles are able to shed their skin without too much issue. However, sometimes there’s a problem, and some of that old skin will get stuck. This may not sound like a big deal, but it can get quite serious. Old eye skin can interfere with and block your pet’s vision. Old skin can also cut off circulation, which can lead to dangerous problems.

Make Habitats Escape Proof

Many reptiles are bona-fide escape artists. It only takes a small opening for your scaled pal to be able to slip out! Make sure your pet’s home is secure. Screen clips can help button things up a bit more.

Handle With Care

Some reptiles don’t mind being held or handled. A few, such as Bearded dragons, are even quite affectionate. However, most just do not care to be held. If you do handle your pet reptile, be cautious and gentle. (Note: Never hold a lizard by the tail!) It’s also best to sit when handling your pet, so they won’t fall far if they jump or twist away. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after.

Get A Great Vet

Reptiles have very unique and specific care needs, which can vary quite a bit from species to species. For instance, an iguana will need a diet that is based on produce, while a gecko will need to eat mostly insects. It’s important to have a great vet. This can also be a wonderful source of advice and tips, and is going to be a more reliable source of information than that Youtube guy your sister recommended. 

Do you have questions about reptile care? Contact me, your Marion, IA veterinarian, today!