Attention reptile owners! It’s that time of year again – time to check your cage set up – now that the weather is getting cooler and drier. As winter approaches, you should check your tank temperature and humidity to ensure that you don’t need to add a heat source or increase your pet’s misting/soaking, particularly if you live in an area where there are radical temperature changes when winter begins. Having just returned from the Association of Reptile Veterinarians conference, Dr. Hess brought back a host of updated ideas about reptile care, including new thoughts on lighting, heating, and vitamin/mineral supplementation. In fact, she also brought back several brand new products to improve the health of many reptile species. Are you sure you are proving your reptile adequate calcium, vitamin D, and minerals? Is your pet getting adequate ultraviolet light to make enough essential vitamin D in their skin to absorb calium from their food? Even nocturnal species and carnivorous reptiles (who eat a great deal of calcium when they consume the bones of their prey) are now believed to benefit from ultraviolet light. And are you sure you are providing your pet with the proper wavelengths of ultraviolet light? If you haven’t reassessed your reptile care in a while, perhaps it’s time to take to another look. Call the Veterinary Center to find out more.
Archives for Reptiles
Join Us at the NY Metro Reptile Expo in White Plains, NY
Where : Westchester County Center | 198 Center Ave.
When: Sunday, September 8th, 10am-4pm
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.
Dr. Laurie Hess is a veterinarian who cares exclusively for Snakes and other reptiles in NY.