by Dr. Kristin Claricoates
Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital
Some may call them cute
Others are a little wary.
Don’t be afraid, though,
Reptiles aren’t that scary!
Happy October! Did you know that October 21 is Reptile Awareness Day? When considering a reptile as a pet, it can be a little daunting to determine exactly what they need—especially when they are growing. Some common pet reptiles include ball pythons, bearded dragons, and leopard geckos.
I myself have a ball python named Dorian (a fantastic reference to the lovely scales of my snake. Did you know Dorian is a type of musical scale? I digress …) who is my cuddle bug when I settle in for an evening of reading or watching a movie.
Contrary to what many people think, you have nothing to be scared of from these sweet-natured pets. This is what makes them so popular. But which one may be right for you, and where do you begin? If you are a night owl, ball pythons and leopard geckos may be your pet of choice. If your free during the day, the bearded dragon may make a great addition to your family. For easy reference, here is a quick chart of pet reptile facts. This is just a summary of the basics. The folks at The Animal Store can answer your more detailed questions.
If you are considering a reptile, please be sure to have him or her checked over by a veterinarian to make sure your new pet is healthy and so a vet can answer all the questions you have about your pet.
We were not able to discuss all reptiles above, so I covered three of the pets most commonly owned in the reptile world. Here are links to our snake and reptile care sheets, which include a good number of other common cold blooded critters we see. The care sheets discuss the care and handling of each species listed, as well as food and enclosure requirements.
Finally, I would like to recognize two groups that appreciate reptiles everyday:
- our local reptile rescue—Friends of Scales—for doing a fantastic job finding a second forever home for some of these little guys. To volunteer or donate, contact Friends of Scales.
- Chicago Herpetological Society, which meets the last Wednesday of the month at the Peggy Notebart Museum to discuss and educate people on reptiles.