Care Info For Your Reptile
Please read the following carefully as it contains important information about the care required for your Reptile. Please also refer to our Legal Page, and for any further information, assistance or advice, please contact one of our stores.
Reptiles are a unique and niche pet, whilst being one of the fastest growing sectors for pet ownership in Australia and are renowned as being a fantastic pet, yet they are prone to illness and poor health when not cared for adequately.
The first thing to note is that in order to own a reptile in Australia, legislation states that you must have a license. You can obtain information about these requirements online at your states environment website.
Once you have a reptile, you will need to home it in an appropriate Terrarium or Vivarium - Terrariums are used with high moisture content, focusses on plants and thus animals that suit that environment, whilst Vivariums focus on the animal within and are not usually water tight and should be kept as a dry environment. Basic equipment for both Terrariums and Vivariums are a Hygrometer to measure the humidity and a Thermometer to measure temperature - handy to visually check and confirm the enclosed environment.
The products, food, and maintenance required for your pet will ultimately depend upon what type of reptile you have.
Some basics for your pets habitat are:
Please ensure that all electrical wiring is carried out by a qualified electrician where appropriate.
All heat sources must be powered by a thermostat (except Mercury vapour globes). Thermostats will regulate the output of the heating unit depending on the temperature. Unregulated heat sources could overheat your reptile, cause hot spots (if using a heat mat), and waste unnecessary power. There are switching thermostats (for mats and cords) and dimming thermostats (for incandescent globes).
Mesh covers must be used for ceramic and incandescent heaters when your vivarium houses a snake. Snakes do not have pain receptors as sharp as ours, and could easily burn themselves.
The heat source should cover no more than 50% of the floor area (ideally, only one third) to give a temperature gradient across the enclosure to allow the reptile to regulate its own temperature.
The heat source should be placed at one end of the enclosure to produce a 5-8ºC gradient from one end to the other.
UV lights are a source of UV-A
and UV-B which assists in the absorption of calcium by the reptile
manufacturing vitamin D3, and will prevent metabolic bone disorder
or ricketts. UV lights have a finite output of UV and should
be replaced every 6-9 months. Very little UV-B passes through
glass, so natural light is useless and may overheat your
When it comes to feeding, there are mainly three options - live, frozen defrosted and in some cases, manufactured. Some comments on these are as follows:
For some animals (Dragons, Geckos, Blue Tongs etc) manufactured food is a cheaper alternative and is useful when live food is scarce. It is advantageous to try to get your reptile familiar with manufactured food from an early age.
On food size, the rule of thumb for Lizards is the width between the eyes, and for snakes it is double the width of the head.
It is against the law to feed live sentient beings as food to animals. Live food can bite and cause significant injury to your pet. Live food can also contain parasites, disease, etc.
Frozen foods are frozen in a manner to kill off bacteria and parasites.
When using live food, you should worm your pet every 6 months and every 12 months for manufactured and frozen foods.
You should use a Vitamin supplement at regular intervals when feeding with frozen food, and the Vitamin supplement is recommended for the other feeding methods.
Food should be dusted with Calcium powder because captive reptiles (except snakes) do not generate the correct levels of calcium due to a reduced exposure to the full wavelength of light. Additional calcium prevents metabolic bone disorder.
Feeding tongs make a great and safe way to bring food to your pet.
For a snake hatchling, feeding should be done every 7-10 days. After a year of so, feeding should be reduced to 10-14 days. Over-feeding can cause the snake to outgrow its head.
Young Bearded dragons should not be fed mealworms as they are very hard to digest and can lead to constipation.
You should spray your Dragon daily with a mist of water to allow them to hydrate from licking their skin.
You should regularly inspect your reptile for mites. These tiny, pin-headed parasites will live around the corners of the mouth, around eyes, under the bottom jaw, in folds of skin, and under scales in the case of snakes - also check the water bowl for drowned mites. If they are found, use extreme caution as mites can travel to infect other reptiles. Mites need to be treated with an appropriate product as some pesticides can harm reptiles.
If you have a specific question, please ask and if we don't have the answer to hand, we will follow it up with through our supportive suppliers.
Remember to hold them regularly to get them used to it.
We aim at giving specialist advice backed by quality products and courteous service.
We believe that this will give you the best chance at having the kind of pet you will enjoy.
We would be grateful if you keep us informed of your new family members progress and we will do our best to assist you in any way we can.
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