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Information on the Right Environment Your Pet Reptile Should Be In

A reptile devotee is a reptile devotee forever and the TV commercial with everyone’s beloved gecko has brought even more people into the reptile fold. The most common reptile pets we see in our animal hospital are snakes, turtles and chameleons. For those new to reptile ownership, there are many things to consider taking proper care of your pet. Of course, our veterinarian is always available to give you guidance.

The Basics From Our Las Vegas Veterinarian

Do your research before deciding on the kind of reptile to purchase. There are three basic categories: reptiles you can handle, reptiles that can be handled with caution, and those that are just to look at. Once you decide what type of reptile you want, then learn as much as you can about them.

General Housing Considerations

The type of cage you get depends on the reptile's size and necessary environment. Chameleons need a tall cage with a branch so they can climb. On the other hand, a turtle needs a low wide habitat. Make sure it's escape-proof, has good lighting and no drafts, and is unaffected by heat and moisture. Some boas and python snakes and iguanas get quite large, which you’ll need to consider in selecting the proper enclosure.

Aquatic Terrariums

A terrarium is the best type enclosure for your reptile, and there are 4 types to consider. The aquatic type requires a heater you can submerge in about 4 to 6 inches of water, a filter and a wire screen to put on the top. You’ll also need a dry spot where the reptile can hang out. Turtles, frogs and salamanders, among others, do well in this environment.

Semi-Aquatic Terrariums

The difference between this type and the aquatic type is that it contains more ‘land.’ You can use potting soil, moss or gravel for the land. Also include plants such as ferns. Salamanders, newts and some turtle types enjoy this kind of environment.

Woodland Terrariums

This aquarium is a variation on the semi-aquatic type only with even less water and more land.  It should be filled with plants, rocks, driftwood and moss and is best suited for geckos, snakes and some types of frogs.

Desert Terrarium

As its name suggests, this is a terrarium with an arid environment, usually filled with sand, bark and cacti. Desert iguanas and various species of lizards thrive in this kind of terrarium.

Your Pet Reptile’s Diet

Reptiles fall into one of 3 food categories. Carnivores strictly eat meat such as crickets, flies, and other small insects. Larger carnivores, such as snakes, eat rodents, rabbits and even chickens. Herbivores are the vegetarians of the bunch and eat greens, yellow vegetables, and fruits. Iguanas, turtles and tortoises are herbivores. Finally are the omnivores who eat a combination of foods.

If you are a new reptile owner in Las Vegas, you are bound to have questions and perhaps concerns about the health of your pet. Please include our veterinary in your educational mix as you embark upon what will surely be a wonderful journey of pet ownership. Call us at 702-675-8366

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Dr. Drake and CarolAnn are amazing! They have been caring for my dogs for over 10 years now and I have never had one complaint. They are always so happy to see my dogs and provide them with the most compassionate care. I recommend them to any seeking an honest, caring, loving, empathizing and helpful veterinarian!

Bob H.
Las Vegas, NV

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