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Guide to Taking Care of Reptiles: Food, Common Disease and Precaution

To take good care of your exotic reptiles you need to ensure their diet and look out for various symptoms of diseases.

Reptiles are becoming more popular as exotic pets because of their easy maintenance, and their life long. But to ensure that your reptiles live a healthy and long life, take care of them properly. 

Otherwise, they will become fragile, fall sick, and will die early. To ensure good health, you need to focus on two issues, their food, and sickness. These are the two key factors that keep reptiles healthy.

But before we understand the food and the diseases, let us look at the reptiles you can keep as a pet. Because not all reptiles are friendly, some might be venomous and threatening to humans.

Popular Reptiles That Can Be Kept As Pets

1. Snakes

You would be surprised to find that a venomous species like the snakes could be kept as pets. You can keep snakes as pets, but there are a few downsides. You can only keep snakes that are licensed and have their venom drained out, to make them harmless. Furthermore, you need a license to keep snakes as pets.

2. Tortoises snd Turtles

They are also a very popular pet choice and have been so even before reptiles became popular as pets. They are simple, easy to maintain, and very friendly.

3. Lizards

Now, there are a wide variety of lizards that are kept as pets nowadays. You might be allergic to cats and dogs, but there are no reports of people being allergic to lizards. These pets include leopard geckos, bearded dragons, chameleons, iguanas, and many more.

The Food for Reptiles

Reptiles are wild creatures. They live out in the open and hunt for their food. The food they eat largely depends on their species. For example, snakes are carnivorous. They eat smaller animals like rats, rabbits, etc. Turtles and tortoises are omnivorous. They eat both small fishes in the water or plants and herbs on land. But most lizards are insectivores. 

Their favorite diet is insects such as crickets, mealworms, cockroaches, and other small bugs like dubia roaches that are packed with protein. You may not find dubia roaches in your local shops, so visit https://www.topflightdubia.com/ to learn more about them.

Give Proper Nutritious Foods to Reptiles

No matter what the reptiles eat out in the wild, they catch their prey by themselves. But if you keep them as pets, then they are in your captivity, so you are the one who needs to feed them. Make sure that your pet reptiles are well-fed. Their nutrition value also varies from species to species.

Snakes

Their diet depends on their preference. Some prefer warm-blooded rodents like rats and small birds, while others prefer cold-blooded amphibians as food. So check what your snake likes and feed them accordingly. How much you should feed your snakes depends on their size and age. 

Younger snakes require food twice a week. Larger adult snakes need to be fed once a week. Place food in front of them, if they eat, then that means they are hungry and need to be fed. 

If they do not eat, then they could be fed later. Female pregnant snakes need to be fed more frequently.

Turtles and Tortoises 

Turtles and Tortoises are omnivorous. They eat both plants and animals. But turtles prefer a more insect and protein-based diet while tortoises prefer plant-based food. 

Turtles need to be fed crickets and mealworms, as these are their favorite insects. But make sure not to overfeed them and only provide them in small quantities.

About 80% of a tortoise’s diet should comprise plants and fruits such as berries, melon, kiwi, oranges, sweet potato, squash, and cauliflower.

Lizard

Their diet is very simple. They love insects. And their choice of insects is crickets and mealworms. But apart from these, they also love to eat cockroaches, earthworms, and bugs such as flies and mosquitoes. Young lizards need to be fed twice a day, about two to three crickets. But adult lizards need to be fed only once.

Sickness and Treatment in Reptiles

The sickness in your pet reptiles also varies from species to species. 

Snakes

Common sickness in snakes includes Infectious stomatitis (mouth starts to rot and secretes pus and blood), skin infection (red, inflamed skin with many small, blister-like lesions), Septicemia (lethargy, lack of appetite, open-mouth breathing, and often have a red discoloration to the scales, life-threatening for snakes).

Turtles and Tortoises 

Common sicknesses in turtles and tortoises include vitamin A deficiency (changes in the epidermis, harmful for mucus-producing glands and membranes), abscesses (tumor-like swelling in the skin full of pus), Shell infections (shells become weak and fragile).

Lizard

Sickness in lizards are Amoebiasis (which occurs mostly on carnivorous lizards, symptoms include weight loss, not eating, inactivity), Cloacitis (itching throughout the body).

Treatment in Reptiles

Treatment of reptiles is a little different from other pets. When they show symptoms of disease, take them to the vet who specializes in reptile treatment. These vets are hard to find so, so keep their contact details close.

Reptiles suffer severely from malnutrition. So make sure to feed them a mix of both plants and insects for omnivorous reptiles. Those who are carnivorous and insectivorous, do not feed them one type of animal or insect. Change the menu from time to time, so they can enjoy their meal, and also get proper nutrition.

Take Lizards Out for a Walk

Reptiles are mostly independent creatures and prefer being alone. If they are kept as pets, they might enjoy human encounters, but most reptiles still cannot become comfortable around a large group of people. They might become aggressive. But if you see that your reptile is relatively calm, then you can take them out for a walk in the park.

Final Thoughts

Reptiles are amazing creatures of nature, and they can be even more wonderful as pets. If you have a reptile as a pet, no matter what the species, take good care of them. They live long, so you can be sure that you will spend a great time with them.