Advice on reptile pets(3 Posts)
DS (11) is hounding me for a pet. Allergies are a problem in our house, so his current theme is reptiles - talk of bearded dragons/leopard geckos. Not ruling it out, but want to know what I'm letting myself in for - can anyone give advice on suitability/maintenance/general things to be aware of?
Firstly please only get on if you are prepared to look after it if it comes to your ds either getting bored of it or moving out to uni and leaving it at home. They can be very long lived.
Without going in to specifics for different species the following applies:
Set up costs for reptiles are expensive, you need as big a vivarium as your house will fit, man sold in pet store chains are unsuitable.
Lighting should be replaced every 6 to 12 months.
You will need to be all to source, keep and feed up goof quality live food all year, and/or be prepared to store mice/rats/chicks in your freezer.
It'll need handling firmly and confidently on a daily basis to get it used to people.
You will need to make sure your local vet is happy and experienced enough to treat a reptile, they need worming, mite treatment and an annual checkup.
Your best bet for some great beginners advice is to join Reptile Forums UK and get chatting to the very knowledgable keepers over there.
Get something easier and shorter lived first. I bought my teenager a corn snake and have just had to have it rehomed because he lost interest
Reptiles can live several years.
From what I understand, bearded dragons make very good pets and are more tolerant of being handled than something like a gecko.
I find my snake very easy to care for, but it's not something you can cuddle really.
Beardies can be handled, but need a fairly large vivarium and heat mats/lamps. They eat crickets and vegetables. They do like to be out for exercise and interaction because they can become bored if they're just stuck in their viv.
I would recommend Giant Madagascan Hissing cockroaches as an easy, low maintenance pet. They do need a heat mat and cleaning out every week, but they don't take up much room and can't bite, fly, sting or spread disease. They eat vegetables, fruit (no citrus) and dried cat food (small amount). They live about three years and you'd need to keep about 3-4 together as they're communal animals. They need something to hide in/under. If they reproduce, just take the excess to a reptile store and they'll sell them on.
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