5 common mistakes made by reptile keepers and how to avoid them.
1.) Over Handling
Handling of your reptile depends largely on the species , some species will see handling as a positive experience whilst others should never be handled and are for display only. We should also take into account the temperament of each individual animal, it shouldn’t always be assumed that all bearded dragons will be puppy dog tame or all monitors will be aggressive. As a rule, keep handling to a maximum of 30 minutes at a time. Always allow food to be digested before handling. Use slow calm movements especially with a young or nervous reptile. Buy captive bred reptiles as they are more likely to be used to handling.
2.) Incorrect Vitamin & Calcium Use
This part is just a general breakdown as it can be quite a complex area. All reptiles require a balance of vitamins and minerals. For most reptiles we would recommend a calcium powder without vitamin d3 for dusting 3-4 times a week , calcium is needed to digest the high levels of phosphorus found in live food , if the reptile doesn’t have enough calcium in its body it will start to use calcium from its bones which over time can lead to metabolic bone disease. If the calcium contains d3 there’s a chance of overdosing as the animal will have two sources of vitamin d if the correct uv is being used. A multivitamin powder such as vet ark nutrobal should also be used 2-3 times a week on alternate days to the calcium , this will contain vitamin d3, a,c,e,k. If the reptile has no source of UV it is then safe to use a calcium powder containing vitamin d3.
3.) Incorrect UV Lighting
It is vital to provide your reptile with the correct levels of UVB lighting in order for them to synthesise vitamin d3. It is important to do your research on what levels of UV are appropriate for your reptile. There are various types of bulbs on the market.
- 1, Arcadia pro t5 strip light. ( insert image).
- 2, Arcadia d3 basking lamp. Which provides UVA and UVB.
- 3, exo terra compact lamp. (Insert image).
If there is any debate about whether you’re chosen species needs UV our advice would be to provide it.
For many species of reptile just giving them a water bowl isn’t enough it is important to keep humidity to the correct level and providing a moist hide for arid species. Misting regularly will help as most species will drink from leaves and rocks. It is advisable to give some species a bath once a week to hydrate their skin.
5.) Do Your Research & Get Advice
It is vitally important that whilst researching your reptile of choice you should also do your research on vets in your area, it’s important to remember that not all vets have a wide knowledge of reptiles.