Interested In Reptiles As Pets? Consider Heat And Humidity Needs When Looking At Reptiles For Sale

Pets & Animals Blog

The antics of dogs and cats are popular forms of entertainment on social media, yet not everyone who enjoys these videos wants a cat or dog for a pet. Some yearn for a more unique pet, such as a snake, lizard, or other reptile. 

But bringing a reptile into your home as a pet is a bit more complicated than adding a puppy or kitten. If you are among the growing number of those interested in exploring the idea of having a reptile for a pet, these preparation tips will help you ensure that your home will support the special heat and humidity requirements of this type of pet. 

Pet reptiles require their owner's help with temperature needs

One of the basic advantages of keeping a reptile is that they will not shed on the furniture or leave your favorite black sweater covered with hair. But the same lack of fur that offers pet owners these benefits can also be a problem for those who are new to owning reptiles. 

Unlike mammals, reptiles are considered to be cold-blooded due to their inability to create body heat. Instead, they are considered to be ectothermic - meaning they must use heat found in their environment to keep their body temperature at a healthy level. In the wild, snakes and other types of reptiles will seek out sunny areas or surfaces that absorb heat from the sun, such as rock, gravel, or sand, to use as heat sources. When they begin to feel too warm, healthy reptiles in the wild simply move into the shade or into wet or damp areas to cool down.

Suitable options to use as heat sources for pet reptiles

When reptiles are pets and no longer in a natural environment, their owners must be able to replicate some of nature's heat sources while also providing the reptiles suitable options for shade or cooler areas.

Reptile experts often suggest creating a terrarium as a good way to successfully create and manage environmental temperatures for these pets. Terrariums should be sufficiently sized for the particular type of reptile you plan to keep so that both warm and shaded areas are available to your pet at all times. One good way to provide both is to use one end of the terrarium as the warm area and the other as a cooler zone. 

Some of the most widely used heat sources for most reptiles include the following: 

  • special heating pads designed for use with reptiles
  • heat panels that provide radiant heat to mimic sunshine
  • radiant heat lamps 

Because an overheated environment or surface can be dangerous or even deadly to pet reptiles, using a thermostat to keep the terrarium's temperature within a healthful zone is an important part of keeping your reptile pet safe.

Heating appliances and lights can also be thermostatically controlled to keep their surfaces at a safe temperature and to mimic natural temperature differences between day and night in the wild. 

Humidity is also an important reptile health need

While temperature is critical to ensure that cold-blooded reptiles have sufficient heat to digest food and enable other bodily functions, humidity is also important. The glass or non-porous enclosure of the terrarium will be helpful in retaining moisture, but additional sources of humidity will also be needed, especially in homes and climates where the humidity levels tend to be very low. 

Simple methods of adding humidity to the enclosed environment of a terrarium include having a large dish of water for the reptile to drink and bathe in, as well as using a spray bottle to provide a damp mist as needed. It can also be helpful to add moss, with a thick layer of soil or a porous substrate capable of absorbing moisture and releasing it slowly over time. 

Purchasing a reptile should be fun, but you must also understand your responsibilities as their caretaker. To learn more about keeping reptiles as pets, take time to discuss your situation and their needs with a reputable reptile dealer in your area. 

To learn more, contact a pet store that has reptiles for sale.


25 March 2020

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