Archives for Snakes

Video: Want a Pet Snake? Here’s What You Need to Know

Snakes may not be your typical cuddle buddies, but as snake owners will tell you, their pets recognize them and respond to their voices.

They’re fascinating animals, but they have very specific environmental and dietary needs that must be met to keep them happy and healthy. If you’re considering a snake as a pet, here’s what Dr. Laurie Hess says you should know before you bring one home.

New York Metro Reptile Expo on Sunday April 19th

Join Us at the NY Metro Reptile Expo in
White Plaines, NY

reptile-expo-flyer

Sunday April 19th
 10:00am- 4:00pm
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
Adults: $10
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.

 

How to Keep Your Exotic Pet Safe When a Hurricane Hits

View of a hurricane from space
Thinkstock

Hurricanes are phenomena no one can be completely prepared for, as demonstrated by the devastation to people and property caused by some of the powerful storms that have hit the United States in the past few years. There are so many things to think about when getting ready for a major storm that it can be overwhelming. It’s difficult enough for families to secure food and shelter for themselves in the wake of a hurricane, much less to focus on keeping their pets safe. Several agencies and websites offer advice to cat and dog owners about pet safety during a storm; however, given the wide variety of exotic pet species and their hugely varying nutritional and environmental requirements, very little has been written to guide owners of such pets on preparing their animals for severe weather and keeping them safe during storms.

Before the Storm

Though exotic pet species — birds, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, ferrets, amphibians, pot-bellied pigs, marsupials and others — each have very specific requirements to keep them healthy, many of the guidelines for keeping cats and dogs safe during inclement weather apply to exotic pets as well. Several great resources exist for pet owners, regardless of pet type, to referernce in advance of bad weather, to be as ready as possible when it comes.

Very little advice exists specific to exotic pet safety during storms, says Dr. Cynda Crawford, a veterinarian in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine. Crawford also serves as medical director for the University of Florida’s Veterinary Emergency Treatment Services, a resource for the state’s animal and agricultural emergency response system. But she says all pet owners should “have a seven-day supply of food, the habitat and detailed step-by-step instructions for care on hand for emergencies, whether sheltering in place or going to a temporary shelter to get out of harm’s way.”

This places an extra burden on snake owners to find secure housing if evacuation is necessaryMost importantly, Dr. Crawford says, exotic pet owners should discuss emergency preparation procedures with their veterinarians before emergencies arise.
Lizard in a cage

iStockphoto

 

Outfitted for Emergencies

One step all exotic pet owners can take ahead of time is to create a pet emergency supply kit that can be stored with your family emergency supply kit in a waterproof container. (Online resources are available to further help you compile an emergency kit.) Your kit should include:

  1. A safe, escape-proof pet carrier in which to transport your pet and house him temporarily. Carriers should be large enough to house the animal comfortably for several days and be coverable with a thin sheet or towel to provide security and shade. They should be labeled with your contact information and other emergency numbers, including your veterinarian’s.
  2. Pet food (at least a seven-day supply) stored in airtight, waterproof and spoil-proof containers. Dry food (such as pellets for birds, reptiles and small mammals) are preferable to fresh produce or live prey.
  3. Water (at least enough for seven days).
  4. A box of resealable plastic bags for storing opened food.
  5. Bowls and sipper bottles for food and water.
  6. Essential cage accessories, such as lights, heaters and misters for reptiles, dust baths for chinchillas and perches for birds.
  7. Important medical records, including proof of vaccination for ferrets.
  8. Any medications your pet is on (at least a two-week supply, plus a prescription for more).
  9. Microchip, tattoo or leg band information if applicable.
  10. A recent photo of the pet in case he must be identified later.
  11. Bedding.
  12. Toys/blankets/comfort items, including hide boxes for reptiles and small mammals to minimize stress.
  13. Grooming items such as brushes and nail trimmers, plus cuttlebones for birds.
  14. Treats that won’t spoil.
  15.  A list of pet-friendly hotels, shelters and boarding facilities that will accept an exotic pet. (See www.takeyourpet.com, www.petswelcome.com, www.letsgopets.com and www.travelpets.com.)
  16. A local map and an evacuation plan that you can practice with your pet in advance, especially if he is stressed by riding in a car.
  17. A flashlight, batteries and a radio.
  18. An emergency fund to cover last-minute housing in a veterinary hospital or shelter.
  19. An emergency medical kit containing gauze pads, scissors, styptic powder or sticks to clot bleeding nails and beaks, bandage material cut into small sizes, bandaging tape, towels, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, latex gloves, a freezer pack, antiseptic solution (recommended by your vet), tweezers and a washcloth.

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