Wednesday, February 02, 2011
lizards and turtles can be fascinating companions within a home. However, they need a lot of special
care. Most require a tremendous
amount of full-spectrum sunlight.
Even in Florida, many people failed to be able to provide this. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is an
even more challenging task.
Artificial bulbs that are full spectrum can be used, but even if they
are emitting light, the full-spectrum only lasts about six months. Even sunlight through window or
aquarium glass is filtered so that it is no longer full spectrum in
nature. What happens if they do
not get the light they need?
Calcium and vitamin D cannot be absorbed to keep bones strong and
healthy. Many lizards in
particular can get really thick limbs because the body tries to deposit
fibrosis, or a type of connective tissue similar to scar tissue, around weak
bones. However, often fractures
occur, misshapen jaws, as well as other metabolic issues from this bone
disease. This is a difficult and
expensive health condition to correct.
specialized requirement for reptiles is habitat. In addition to the lighting, heat and temperature gradients
across the enclosure are vital to maintain their digestion and immune
system. Each species has its own
optimal range, and should have a large enough enclosure to be able to move and
self-regulate if it is getting to warm or cool. Snakes kept too cool very easily develop respiratory
diseases. Some herbivorous lizards
need logs wider than their girth set at an upright angle to allow their gut
flora to digest their food properly.
Heating rocks should be avoided because they have hot spots that can
scald the skin of basking reptiles.
Many snakes and some lizards will only eat live prey, which can become a
squeamish ordeal each feeding time.
Calcium generally needs to be added to food, especially those being fed
bugs such as mealworms and crickets, since the phosphorus to calcium ratio is
skewed heavily otherwise to set up metabolic bone disease.
is another critical issue, as difficulty shedding results if there is not
enough humidity within a habitat.
Many reptiles need an opportunity to soak, and should have access to a
soaking tub. Some will only drink
water if they see it running down the sides of the terrarium, so misting on a
regular basis is crucial. Other
times too much humidity can predispose skin to bacterial and fungal infections.
line is to make sure you do your homework ahead of time. Study what the habitat needs, optimal
temperature range is, and appropriate food would be for a particular reptile
you are considering getting. Find
out how large this will grow to become, as well. Pythons may seem cool, but seventeen feet of snake is a lot
to deal with, not to mention to house appropriately.