Reptiles are the name given to a group of air-breathing, cold-blooded, egg-laying animals most often having a covering of scales over their skins. In this article, we will deal only with those types that are kept as pets, being Lizards, Snakes, Turtles and Tortoises.
Is a reptile for you? Some key facts.
Reptiles can be long-lived for a pet. Pythons live for at least 15 years, large skinks such as blue tongue lizards for 20 and turtles can live for 30, 40, 50 years of more. Expect a reptile to outlive the enthusiasm of a child, and some to outlive the lifetime of many adults!
Reptiles are cold-blooded, thus you will need to maintain a warm environment for them. This may take the form of a heated pad, or heating light for a lizard or snake, or a water heater for a turtle or a tortoise.
Reptiles are Hobby, not companion animals.
Whilst some people allow their lizards such as chameleons or bearded dragons free range of their house, reptiles are never going to lick your face when you arrive home from work, and if they curl up around your legs whilst you watch the tv? Its because you’ve allowed them to get too cold and they are trying to get warm, as opposed to they are after some cuddle time.
That said, watching a pet reptile interact with its environment can be fascinating.
Reptiles bought from a Pet Shop, Often come with limited care information
The end result is that you might get home with a pet whose future you had not really bargained for. Small pythons become big pythons. Yes, reptiles poo, and since they live in an enclosure, you’ll need to get into it, to clean it out so, at some point, you might need to move a large snake…
Easy reptiles to care for if captive-bred include:-
Bearded Dragons (non-aggressive and easy to care for. )
Long-necked Turtles (easy to care for, don’t grow too big and fun to watch)
Carpet or Children’s Pythons. Non-poisonous, no aggressive snakes than can usually be handled with care.
Forget about owning a crocodile, alligator as a pet for obvious reason, and poisonous snakes should only be owned by experienced snake owners/handlers.
In Australia, you will almost certainly not be able to import and keep an exotic reptile – Australia has imported too many feral species to allow the country to be overrun with more! Not that this is a great issue, there are many Australian reptiles that are wonderfully suited for keeping as pets, you will, however, require reptile keepers licence – the laws relating to such licences differing from state to state.
It is illegal to capture the strain reptiles from the wild in order to keep them as pets – all reptile pets in Australia have been bred in captivity.
Some reptiles which are really not good pets: spectacled caimans (also known as “baby alligators”), venomous snakes and giant pythons.