Some people are fond of reptiles, some find them repellent. Media often portrays them as vile creatures. Maybe because they don’t induce the “Awww, he’s so cute. I wanna cuddle him” type of feeling in some of us. Which, to me is more like a damper that exclusively applies to puppies and kittens.
A snakes flicking tongue as if it is going to bite someone is a popular trope. People making these tropes are ignorant. Little do they know that snakes have poor eyesight and their tongue – partitioned into two halves, one for locating prey, another for mates – is to compensate for it.
Snakes, lizards, savannah monitor, common leopard gecko, bearded dragons and iguanas are among the top choices of pets in the USA. They are gentle animals. Some might go as far as to call them cute. In this article, we’ll deliver tips on how to handle them with care.
So, read on.
Let them relax
Reptiles are not predators by nature. They are not docile livestocks either. They fall somewhere in the middle. A snake in the wild knows how to survive sudden attacks from large birds like falcons and herons, from mongoose and rodents, from mammals like wild boars and other snakes.
It also knows how to hunt its preys. However, in captivity, it gets detached from its wild instincts and moorings. It’s not uncommon for snakes to bite something approaching to them. So, make sure they are in a relaxed state before you extend your hand to pick them up. It’s safe to use a hook to take them out of their enclosure.
Grabbing a snake by its tail is terrible mistake. Snakes feel threatened and quickly act upon their defense stimuli, which to bite. The correct way to grab a snake, as recommended by experts, is to have ⅓ of its body perch on the hook and rest ⅔ spinning around your arm.
Reptiles are cold-blooded
Mammals are warm-blooded creatures as their body temperature remains the same irrespective of changes in the outside environment. But reptiles are different. Their body temperature changes depending on their surrounding environment.
During the day, if you feel your reptilian friend’s body temperature is low, let it rest under direct sunlight. Same way, if its body temperature gets too warm, let it crawl into a shade. Your pet snake will be less active during the winter and especially in the night. Let it hibernate and don’t disturb it.
Don’t get comfy early
Pet owners spend time with their pets and bond with them. It’s perfectly natural. However, cuddling or snuggling a dog or a cat is one thing and a lizard or a snake is another thing. You don’t want to get too cozy with a snake or a gecko from a weird breed.
Follow the loaded gun theory, for your safety and for the safety of your pet. The theory states until a reptile owner becomes completely comfortable with their pet, they are to treat the creatures like a loaded gun.
Reptilian brains are way smaller than mammalian brains, which is why they are less intelligent. A newly purchased reptile might take longer to get accustomed to its owner. Hence, owners shouldn’t get too comfy too early.
Create a favorable atmosphere
You care about the safety of your cat. You should care for your reptiles too. Reptiles are a unique. Their lack of intelligence makes them less adaptable, compared to mammals. If you own one, don’t expect it to adapt to its environment. Instead create an atmosphere which will make it feel comfortable.
The natural habitats for snakes include grasslands, rocky terrains with burrows, tropical rainforests. If possible, create a clone environment in your backyard. Keeping them captive inside a box is pure cruelty. Since snakes are not adaptable by nature, this kind of environment is not relaxing for them.
Understand their food habit
Reptiles have an altogether different metabolism. They may not eat the entire food served to them. In that case, you should wait until they regain their appetite. Some owners force reptiles to eat, which goes against their dietary habit. You can add flesh and fat to your dog’s diet, but reptiles may show apathy to food time to time and it’s totally natural.
Snakes, for example, can control their appetite. So can some other reptiles. Overeating, on the other hand, can do severe damage. Acid regurgitation apart, some bacteria could travel to sensitive parts of their body and cause damage.
Hence, don’t force your pet reptile to eat all the leftover food.
Keep children away
Puppies bond easily with children. So do cats. But reptiles don’t. They are either apathetic or hostile. So, if you can’t teach your kid how to handle a reptile, it’s best to keep them away.
Reptiles have a comfort zone. They hesitate to come out of it. The problem with kids is they don’t respect others boundaries, as they don’t understand it. Reptiles may not feel comfortable around them.
On Petoppia, we’ve given lots of advice on how to take care of cats and dogs. Reptiles are a first. However, as stated up top, so many Americans these days pet these creatures. The tips shared here will be useful for them.