Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Would a Reptile or Snake Make a Good Pet?
Reptiles and snakes are exotic, interesting, and a different kind of pet. Reptiles or snakes may make the perfect pet for your child after you consider some of the facts before deciding to bring one home.
Reptiles and snakes are not known for being friendly and cuddly. They come in all sizes from very small sand lizards to the huge iguana. All of the reptiles are cute when they are babies and often that is when a child decides that this is the pet for them. Although baby crocodiles and alligators may look cute when they are little, what happens when they grow up? The same goes for an iguana or snake. The grown size of the reptile should be a major consideration before bringing one home.
After size, think about habitat. Do you have a tank and an area where you can provide a safe and healthy environment for the reptile or snake your child wants? My nephew has a type of lizard he rescued from a vet he works for. It has grown to be at least 3 feet long. It lives in a long glass tank in his bedroom taking up quite a bit of space. Be realistic about how much room you have and what the animal needs to grow and be healthy. The tank should be in a room with windows for natural light and ventilation. The area can have an odor if the tank is not cleaned regularly.
The expense of a reptile may include the price of the reptile, the tank or cage, the lights and heating element, the sand, rocks, and plants for the environment, and the food. Reptiles and most snakes need an environment with a steady temperature and timed lighting. They need a secure lid so as not to escape unless being monitored and many need fresh food at times, for instance live mice from the pet store. Is your child old enough and emotionally mature enough to understand the cycle of life when he witnesses the reptile eating a live mouse? Reptiles and snakes also need a fresh water source.
Vet bills may include a certificate of health, nail trimming, and some immunizations. It is important to make certain the reptile or snake you choose has a clean bill of health before letting your child handle it in any way. It is not wise to take one out of the wild and try to make it your pet. Hand sanitizer must be available for every time your child touches the reptiles to prevent the spread of disease from the feces of the reptile
Reptiles and snakes can make good pets for older children and teens. Caring for one helps establish a sense of responsibility. Older teens are capable of doing the research before choosing the type of reptile they want as a pet. Reptiles and snakes are not available everywhere. Also keep in mind that not all veterinarians are interested in providing care to a sick or injured reptile or snake so check your local pet provider before bringing one home. Consider what will happen to the pet if your child looses interest.
It is a wonderful experience to watch the reptile or snake grow and change. It is educational to observe the life cycles of the species because some shed their skin, some bury themselves under the sand for days on end, and some only come out when it is dark. They are exotic and interesting pets if kept in a healthy and safe environment.
Researching the pet you want and talking to other owners will help you decide if a reptile or snake is the right pet for your child.
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