Responsible Reptile Owners
By: Luis Castanedo
This leads to problems for both humans and ultimately the reptiles themselves. More often than not, people purchase reptiles for the wrong reasons. They often purchase on impulse or because they think it will make them look cool amongst their friends.
Your decision to purchase any reptile must not be taken lightly. A reptile in captivity depends on its owner completely. Unable to care for itself, it is at the mercy of the caregiver and without the proper care, can lead to health problems and even death.
To neglect responsibility as an owner can mean torture for your newly acquired reptile. If you think a reptile is incapable of emotion, maybe you should refrain from acquiring any pet. Remember, there is still the element of pain and suffering to be considered should it be neglected.
Any living being deserves the right to obtain the best care possible, especially one held in captivity. The environment you provide your reptile must closely resemble the natural area in which they are found in the wild.
If you decide to give your pet away or sell because it was not right for you, please make sure the person receiving the reptile has proper knowledge of what it takes to care for and shelter the animal.
Reptiles make fascinating pets. The experience can be rewarding and educational. The responsibility lies in the hands of the owner. If you want a fulfilling and long lasting experience as a reptile owner, take the time and make the effort to learn about what's involved before you purchase or accept a reptile.
Anyone thinking about keeping reptiles must consider these factors:
1. Why do I want to keep reptiles?
2. How much room do you have to house your new reptile?
3. What environment does the reptile come from?
4. What size reptile will you be comfortable keeping?
5. Are you after something visually eye catching?
6. How much money are you willing to spend?
The next decision you must make is where to purchase your reptile from. As a purchaser you have several options and again this is a vital step in your decision making. If you choose a reputable pet shop, don't count on their expertise. While they may sell reptiles they may not have the experience to give you the required information. In some instances they are unfortunately sold merely as profit pieces.
It's often a wonder they even made it to the pet shop in one piece and alive. Exotic pet sales have gone through the roof, so many of these wonderful creatures are handled wrong right from the start. It pays to research how a healthy reptile should look before you make the commitment to purchase. Just having a license to sell a reptile does not make the management responsible people with consciences.
One of the best choices you have is to purchase from a breeder. Visit several and ask questions. No question is a silly question. Ask to see if they keep records. If you are purchasing young reptiles, make sure they are eating before taking them home. Make sure they are not too thin; this could be a sign of bad health. Ask if you can handle your reptile. Make sure they are lively and moving freely.
If you are not 100% sure do not make the purchase. Take your time.
Remember, a responsible pet owner is not just someone who loves animals. It's someone who makes the effort to care for the animals properly. There are many well-meaning people who call themselves animal lovers and still don't have what it takes to be the right caregiver for reptiles. You may be the perfect match for a dog and far from the perfect match for a turtle, snake or a lizard! Know your limits before you commit.