Ask An Expert: 5 Tips For Owning Your First Reptile

July 8, 2016 7:00 AM

Mike Binkley, Reptile zoo, Owatonna, finding minnesota

(credit: CBS)

Snakes, turtles, frogs, lizards and other reptiles may not be the cuddliest pets in the world, but they actually do make good pets! Watching these creatures slither and crawl is a really fascinating way to pass the time. Owning a reptile is not really the same as owning a cat or dog. This is why it’s so important to get your new friend at a place that can help offer expertise on caring for your first reptile. Whether you choose to get a serpent, chameleon or toad, the experts at Leaping Lizards will give you the advice you need to create a happy home for your critter.

Brian Schoenke
Leaping Lizards
12601 Chowen Ave. S
Burnsville, MN 55337
www.leapinglizardsreptileshop.comBrian Schoenke has been caring for reptiles, amphibians and arachnids since he was a child. With a fascination for all things that crawl and slither, Schoenke has become an expert on reptile care and maintenance. He has raised everything from a python to a tarantula and can help interested adopters care for their own critters. Schoenke has been running Leaping Lizards Reptile Shop since 2014 and has catered to the reptile enthusiast community since then. Stop by for advice, supplies or a great recommendation for your first reptile pet.

Know What You Want Out Of A PetCertain reptile pets are not quite right for beginner reptile parents. Knowing what you want in a pet and understanding how to care for your new reptile friend will lead to a successful relationship. Beginner reptile owners do best with docile lizards that are okay with being handled and eat a variety of foods. The best pets for beginner reptile owners are bearded dragons and leopard geckos. These reptiles are great for homes with children as well since they are friendly and interactive.

Alive Or Dead? Know What To Feed Your ReptileThe variety of foods reptiles eat is almost as large as the variety of reptiles that there are. It is so important to know what your specific pet eats as well as how they like it. Many lizards and other reptiles will only eat their food live while others prefer them dead. Still other types of reptiles may only eat vegetables. Check with your pet store owner or consult a local expert on what to feed your animal and when. It’s not as simple as three meals a day and reptiles don’t tell you they’re hungry like other pets will.

Understand Their HabitatDoes your cold-blooded friend hail from the desert or the rain forest? Understand where your species lives in the wild in order to create a successful habitat for him or her. Reptiles live in terrariums and need specific heating and lighting to keep them happy. Some will be content with the lights on all the time while others may like them turned off for 12 hours a day. Know that one size terrarium may not fit all reptile species and be careful to know what substrate and decor your pet will like best. Generally they want a cave or an area to hide in along with a natural feeling ground.

Related:Best Pet Shops For Reptile Owners In Minnesota

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Never Neglect Your New FriendAlthough reptiles are not as social as cats or dogs, they still need love and attention from their owners. They may not be very vocal, but your new pet will need to have his or her terrarium cleaned out regularly. Just like most living creatures, reptiles prefer to live in a clean environment, with fresh water and no waste. Make sure you give your new pet attention on a daily basis to keep them happy and healthy.

Reptiles Need Medical Care Sometimes Shells can get dry and certain reptiles can shed or lose their tails. Make sure you know what to do in these situations. Your pet may need a little more food if he or she is growing back their tail, or maybe they need some conditioner on their shell. Either way, find a veterinarian that has experience with cold-blooded pets.

Related:Best Pet Groomers In Minnesota

Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. Her hobbies include exercising, driving kids around, watching Minnesota sports, and reading self-help literature.