When people hear about adopting pets from a shelter, they naturally think of dogs and cats. However, exotic pets of all kinds can be found at shelters, too. From parrots to rabbits, guinea pigs to iguanas, even potbellied pigs — there is a shelter for nearly every species. Exotic pet shelters and rescues can be found worldwide. A likely place to start looking for one in your area is to search the Internet or, better yet, ask your veterinarian for some suggestions on where to look. If you’re considering bringing an exotic pet — feathered, furry or scaly — into your home, it’s a great idea to consider adopting one from a shelter. Remember, though, that many animals in shelters are dropped off with very little background history. Also, not all shelters are created equal. Just as if you were adopting a dog or cat, it is critical for you to look for a well-run, clean, organized shelter in which the pets look happy and well cared for. Get as much information about the pet as possible, such as its age, previous home, dietary preferences and past illnesses. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:
Archives for Reptiles
Join Us at the NY Metro Reptile Expo in
White Plaines, NY
Sunday April 19th
Westchester County Center
198 Central Ave
White Plains, NY
Just off of I-287 Exit 5
Corner of Central Park Avenue (Rt. 100) and Tarrytown Road
Click here for directions
Admission- cash only
Children 7-12: $5
Under 7: free
Housing Reptiles in NY
A reptile’s housing can impact its health. In general, a glass tank (vivarium) is appropriate housing for snakes, lizards and young chelonians (turtles & tortoises) as they require high ambient temperatures for optimal health. You will also need a basic understanding of the natural history of the species. Reptiles are ectotherms. They are not “cold blooded” but, unlike mammals, they are unable to generate their own body heat. They therefore rely on external heat sources and regulate their body temperature by behavioral means. In the wild, they bask in the sun to heat up and when they become too hot they seek shade or change their body shape. All reptiles have a “preferred optimum temperature zone” (POTZ), which varies according to species and their native habitats.
Video From Our Reptile Vet in NY
If you are looking to find out more information about reptiles, visit us at the NY Reptile Expo, and be sure to have your reptile receive a complete physical examination by a veterinarian trained in reptile medicine, as we are at the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics. Other helpful sources of information include the websites below:
· King Snake
· Association of Reptilian & Amphibian Veterinarians
· Herp Care Collection
· Herp Vet Connection
Learn About Our NY Vet Reptile Healthcare
All reptiles should be examined initially after purchase and then annually by an exotic animal veterinarian. Dietary and environmental requirements should be reviewed. Reptiles should receive a complete physical examination, including a thorough check of the mouth, eyes, skin, and vent. In general, reptiles also should be de-wormed, as most reptiles carry gastrointestinal parasites. Proper preventative medicine can help avoid the development of disease and ensure the lifelong health of your reptile.
Learn About Reptile Nutrition:
All snakes are carnivores (meat eaters). Depending on species, their diet may include rodents, birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and even other snakes. Most domestically kept snakes thrive on rodent (mice, rats) prey. Young snakes may initially only accept live food but should introduced to and fed only killed (or, at minimum, stunned) prey, as live prey may injure or kill a snake in the process of feeding. Most snakes fewer than 3 feet long should be fed once weekly. Larger snakes may only accept food every few weeks.
Chelonians and lizards may be herbivores (vegetable eaters, such as green iguanas or desert tortoises) or omnivores (meat and vegetable eaters, such as red-eared sliders) or carnivores (such as most monitors), depending on the species. Any live prey fed should be stunned or killed, and vegetables offered should be varied to help ensure proper balanced nutrition. Many chelonians and lizards also require calcium supplementation and adequate exposure to ultraviolet light to ensure vitamin D formation in their bodies to enable calcium and phosphorus absorption from their food.
When cold weather comes, especially in areas that experience significant climate changes with the seasons, there are some steps reptile owners should take to help ensure their pets stay happy and healthy. With a few minor differences, the concerns for snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises are the same.
Keep Them Warm
First, all of these coldblooded animals, whose body temperatures adjust to the environment around them, require supplemental heat for proper digestion, immune function and metabolism. This is especially true when temperatures drop.
A reptile who may not need additional heat from an over-the-tank heat bulb or an under-the-tank heating pad during the summer may need these added heat sources during winter. This is especially true for certain reptiles, such as tortoises, which require high temperatures to remain healthy. The best way to determine whether your reptile’s cage temperature is adequate is to use an infrared laser temperature gun to test areas in the tank where your pet hangs out. Different species require different optimal temperatures; with a temperature gun, you can get an accurate idea of what your pet’s tank temperature is and compare it to the recommended temperature range for the species. The best source for recommended temperature ranges for specific species is your veterinarian. If you do not have a temperature gun, at a minimum you should have thermometers that stick on the inside of the tank so that you can monitor the tank for temperature changes.
Any heat source should be plugged into a thermostat that is set to turn the source on and off in order to maintain temperatures within the prescribed range. This helps limit the risk of burning the pet as well as reduces the risk of setting an electrical fire. So-called hot rocks — fake rocks that contain a heating element — should not be used with reptiles. These items cannot adequately heat a tank, and many reptiles lack the necessary sensation in their abdomens to prevent a burn if they sit on them for too long. Reptiles who live in water, such as turtles, must also have their tank water temperatures reassessed when the air temperature drops in winter. If the water temperature drops too low for your pet’s particular species, you need to add additional water heaters.