Most likely if you landed on this page, you already have a few snakes. You probably have a few reptiles actually because its hard to have just one. But if you are part of the minority, you are trying to decide if you should get a snake (or reptile). We wrote this post to cover the topic. There are a couple of things
that need to be considered before bringing any of these amazing animals home, first and foremost are you right for them? This point can’t be stressed enough because these animals can’t speak up for
themselves and each needs their own certain amount of time and care. What we will be discussing
will be general information to be considered, but more research should be done on the specific animal’s needs before you acquire it.
Be aware that some reptiles may not like to be handled at first and may flee, strike, or defecate when feeling uneasy. Do not be deterred, this takes a little extra care. In these situations you
want to get them as comfortable with you being around them, simply by having your hand in their enclosure.
Once comfortable, confident handling can take place. If you are uneasy for any reason wearing gloves will still allow you to handle the animal and let it become comfortable with you without restraint. Doing this as a daily routine will gradually improve you and your reptile’s confidence.
Again researching your reptile’s care is key as some are not meant to be held frequently or at all due to their delicate skin,( think amphibians). We cannot stress enough that you should educate yourself on your reptile’s particular needs.
A good tip for handling is getting a snake hook. This is great for holding aggressive species or allowing
animals to adjust to being held before your directly handle. Hook training is an awesome way to allow the snake to realize its handling time and not feeding time.
Sizing to Consider
If this is going to be your first reptile, you do not want to be getting reptiles that grow to large sizes such as Reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons, Anacondas. These snakes easily can grow over 14ft and weigh 200 lbs depending on species. Also consider large monitors can grow up to 6-7 ft long as well depending on species. These large animals require more experienced keepers and have more overall requirements. You must consider the space you have available for the animal in your home that will be suitable for the reptile.
Smaller reptiles to consider are below:
- Snakes- ball pythons, milk snakes, corn snakes
- Lizards and geckos- Bearded Dragons, leopard geckos, crested geckos
- Turtles and amphibians- Red ear sliders, fire belly toads, arrow frogs, tree frogs
These are some species to consider but there are many others too choosing from, and deciding which
works best for you.
Enclosure and Equipment
Having the right enclosure is crucial to the health and well being of the reptile. Based on the size of your reptile will determine if you will be buying a regular terrarium from your local pet store or having to invest in custom cages. You want your animal to have room to regulate their temperature on a cool and hot end, water bowl and a hide if possible. Any other decoration is completely optional and depends on what species you desire.
Each species of reptiles requires different equipment for heating requirements, humidity, being semi- aquatic and more. Be sure you have all of the needs met before acquiring the animal. There are dozens of options to choose from when it comes to heat, lamps, cables, heat pads and thermometers. When it comes to humidity, you can buy commercial products that create a mist to increase humidity, or you can spray the cage down 1-2 times a day depending on need. Once your equipment is in line, consider a digital thermometer and humidity gauge for ease of reading.
Depending on the reptile you can be feeding fresh veggies and fruits, to crickets, mealworms, or mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and chickens. This is quite a range of food selections, but again depends on the animal you select and their adult size. Depending on reptile some need to have fresh veggies, or insects daily. When it comes to snakes you typically feed every 7-10 days, and breeding snakes will require different feeding schedules depending on season. This is something you will have to consider while researching animals. Do you want to have to keep a colony of crickets or meal worms as well, or be constantly making runs to your local pet store? Same goes for the rodents, you can buy frozen supplies from companies, but again do you want frozen animals in your freezer? Will you have a separate freezer?
We know we gave you a lot to consider but reptile care is important to us and the future of the various species. Before you buy a beautiful python or lizard on a whim, please consider the care it requires!