Category Archives: Reptiles Amphibians

Reptile Health: UV Lighting

Along with a source of bright light and heat, such as incandescent lights, most reptiles require broad-spectrum UVA/UVB lighting. Providing the proper amount of UV to your reptiles is vital for their health. In their natural environment lizards spend a lot of time sunbathing, which provides these essential light-rays, but in captivity it is essential that we provide this for them.

The difference between UVA and UVB Light

UVA is a long range ultra violet light. UVA light stimulates your reptile into normal daytime activities and is important in establishing a daytime/nighttime routines. Reptiles that receive sufficient UVA are more active, eat more, breed more readily, and display a general sense of well-being.

UVB is a short range ultra violet light that is essential for the reptile’s digestive process. Exposure to UVB produces vitamin D3 in the reptile’s skin.

The Importance of UV Lighting

Reptiles need a cycle of day and night to have optimum health and temperament. Without a consistent day/night cycle your reptile will become stressed and may exhibit symptoms such as loss of appetite or poor temperament. This is where the UVA comes into play. UVA rays tell the reptile that it is daytime, and stimulate the animal to go about normal daytime activities such as feeding, bathing, and exploring.

Vitamin D3 is required for your reptiles to absorb and utilize calcium. The D3 is produced inside of the reptile’s skin while sunbathing and soaking up UVB rays. In captivity, exposure to natural sunlight is limited and materials such as glass, fiberglass, Plexiglas, and screens filter out the UVB, so we must provide an alternative source of UVB rays.

Many health problems can occur if your reptile is not getting enough UVB due to the lack of vitamin D3. Symptoms can range from decreased digestion, loss of appetite and mouth or stomach rot, to more serious problems such as blindness, paralysis and even death. UVB deficiency also causes Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in reptiles.

With MBD bones do not grow properly, or even in a grown lizard will become warped, brittle, and easily broken.

Reptiles That Don’t Need UVA/UVB

If providing artificial UV for your reptile is not a feasible option you may want to consider a reptile that does not require UV. There are some varieties of lizard that are nocturnal (awake at night) and therefor have adapted to live without the UV rays the sun provides. Geckos are a great example of this. Some of the most popular geckos are Leopard Geckos and Crested Geckos. Frogs are also another great choice if you are unable to provide UV. Frogs are amphibians and do not need UV to digest food, absorb calcium and be healthy.

Thoroughly research the UVA / UVB requirements of any reptile or amphibian species you want to keep as a pet. UV bulbs are expensive and must be replaced every six months, even if they are still lighting up.

Keeping Your Pet Reptiles Happy and Healthy

Pet reptiles such as snakes, bearded dragons, and crested geckos don’t run around, shed fur, and scratch expensive furniture, and yet they can still be a sight to behold. Just like dogs and cats, though, reptiles require your uttermost attention in order for them to live long, quality lives under your care.

Avoid Breeding Reptiles at Home

Every year, millions of animals all over the world are being put to sleep due to lack of shelters for them to stay in, so unless you can provide enough space for several reptiles in your property, avoid breeding reptiles at home. If you have a python, for instance, you need to understand that one python can lay dozens of eggs, which means you need to have that same number of cages or container for each of the babies. These babies will eventually grow big, however, and take up more space. If you want your pet reptiles to be given the care and attention they need, let this be your number one consideration.

Provide Excellent Housing

Most reptiles are not like dogs and cats that love to run and play a lot. Nevertheless, they still deserve decent housings where they can have enough space to move around. This is crucial for muscle development. Many times, you will see reptile owners keeping snakes in long aquariums, yet with not enough height. This may seem okay since snakes simply crawl around. However, you need to understand that snakes can climb trees, too, so giving them a tall cage with several tree branches to climb on is the ideal thing to do.

Offer Nothing but High-Quality Food

Each reptile has its own unique needs in terms of feeding. Some people think snakes only need to be fed once a month, but this is a myth. In fact, most reptiles need to be fed daily. Find out how often you should feed your particular pet and avoid overfeeding. The most important thing you need to remember, though, is to provide high-quality reptile food. Most reptiles are carnivorous, so you would want to have a steady supply of pre-killed or thawed food for snakes. Avoid feeding with live food. In the wild, this is okay, but in a home where a pet owner is present to feed them, reptiles should be fed with pre-killed food.

Regular Vet Check Ups are a Must

For your pet reptiles to live long, quality lives, make sure you take them to the vet on a regular basis. This will help discover potential health problems and have them treated early. Depending on your area, there may be or may not be a vet for exotic animals. Also a visit to the vet can be very expensive, even more expensive than the cost of most reptiles kept as pets. For this reason, don’t get a reptile as a pet in the first place if you are not ready to spend for it.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Cage for Your Pet Reptiles

Reptiles are a very diverse group of animals. Getting a pet reptile such as a lizard will require you to do some extensive researching. Lizards live in various kinds of habitats. They can thrive in the driest deserts up to the most humid rain forests. Getting to know more about your pet lizard’s natural habitat will help you to choose and design the right cage for it.

There are five things that you should consider before buying a cage for your lizard. These are security, humidity, lighting, space and heating. To understand more about these elements, you should learn more on how your pet lizard naturally lives in the wild. This will help you to imitate its natural habitat and provide what it needs.

In terms of security, it is not advisable for a lizard owner to build a “do it yourself” cage. This can’t be done unless you have the right skills for building one. The most basic thing is to buy a cage that will prevent your pet from escaping. Reptiles are very good in escaping. Therefore, a professional cage is what you need to keep it secure at all times. A cage with good security features will also protect your lizard from intruders especially if you have other pets living in your house.

Second thing to consider is humidity. Lizards have various moisture requirements. There are certain lizards that best thrive in dry cages. And there are those that have high humidity requirements. In this case, know the species of your lizard and determine its humidity needs. If it is a tropical lizard then it should be put in a cage with lots of moisture or humidity.

Sufficient lighting is very important for your lizard to survive. Most lizards love the sun. However, there are still some that prefer burrowing themselves underground. But generally, lizards need sunlight exposure. You can use full-spectrum lights to replace natural sun exposure. Therefore, when choosing a cage, you must make sure that the cage will allow you to use special lighting for your pet.

Heat control is another thing that you should consider when choosing a cage. First, you have to research about the temperature requirement of your pet lizard. After that, you must choose a cage that will allow you to maintain the specific amount of heat that your lizard needs. The cage must be able to hold up the heat to make sure that the right temperature is maintained.

Lastly, you must also consider the space and the orientation of the cage. There are certain species of lizards that can grow up to 6 feet and more. You should consider this when picking the size of your cage. Your pet lizard may look so small right now but it will eventually grow in size and may need a larger space to survive. As mentioned earlier there are lizards that love to burrow into the ground and there are also some species that love to climb. Determine which among the 2 types your lizard is. If it is a climber then it would be best to choose a tall cage. If it loves to live underground then you might need a wider cage.

Determining how a particular species of lizard lives in its natural habitat is the most important thing to know to be able to create a good artificial dwelling place for it. Reptiles have different characteristics and survival instincts. What is best for one may not be the best for the other.