As interesting and intriguing as reptiles are, they are not the right pets for everybody. As a matter of fact, they’re not the right pets for most people. The reasons behind this are varied, such as they’re not exactly cuddly creatures, there’s very little meaningful interaction with them, bonding is beyond most of them, their care requirements can be complex as compared to that of other animals and their diet gives a lot of people the creeps.
Snakes, lizards or turtles, reptiles have unique nutritional needs, and they’re not all alike. That’s right. Being cold blooded does not mean they all eat the same things. Some are strictly by-the-book carnivores, like snakes. Snakes live on meat and insects. This means you’ll have to provide them with that meat and those bugs. Oh, and did we mention the food sources need to be live? Depending on the creature’s size, live mice, rats and even bunnies will be on your shopping list, should you choose to keep snakes as pets.
Reptiles that are herbivores will be the easiest for you to keep, if you’re the squeamish type. Once you provide them a safe environment, all these animals need to stay good and healthy is vegetation. Reptiles that love their fruits and veggies include tortoises, iguanas, chuckwalla and uromastyx, a genus of lizard in the agamid family commonly found in parts of Africa and Asia. Just bust out the greens and these creatures are happy.
Most reptiles, however, fall into the category of omnivores, meaning they eat both plant life and animal life. Examples of omnivorous reptiles are certain lizards and turtles. With some omnivores, insects will sate their carnivorous urges. Just make sure they don’t escape. Nothing’s worse than loose crickets in the house, unless its beetles or meal worms — speaking of which, silkworms and ReptiWorms are said to be high in nutritional value and low in fat and phosphorous.
Meeting Your Pet Reptile’s Dietary Needs
How often you have to feed your reptile depends on the type you get. Some need to be fed a couple of times a day. Other reptiles, like carnivores, can coast for weeks on a meal, so you may only need to feed them a few times a month. Besides the foods they eat, each species has their own specific nutrient requirements their bodies need in order to stay healthy. While all reptiles need vitamin D, which can be obtained via the sun, specialized lights or supplements, some need calcium, such as turtles, who need it for their shells.
As with any pet, do your homework first to determine whether or not you and they will be a good fit. This will help you to avoid having to surrender the animal later, should it come to that.