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Reptiles: Big Commitments

First it was Green Iguanas. Now its Rhinos, Desert, Cuban, Mexican and Dominican Iguanas. Columbian Boas now share the spotlight with Rosy, Rainbow, Sand, Amazon Tree and Emerald Tree Boas as well as Bearded Dragons, Water, Frilled, Sailfin, Forest and Chameleon Dragons. Each species in these families although only a partial list, comes from different areas, may obtain different sizes and have very different requirements of food type, water source, light source/cycle, humidity, temperature gradients, sub-straight, stock density and behavioral requirements that if not met, result in stress, malnourishment and disease.

As Andy previously stated, we urge you to research before you buy to see what you're getting into. Wildlife rehabilitators and reptile rescue facilities are overloaded with these marvelous creatures. Sources of information include books (be sure they are current). Some books contain old reprinted material that is actually detrimental. The Internet is OK if the information is from a reliable source such as experienced reptile breeders, club web pages or reptile veterinarians. Experienced reptile veterinarians often found through local zoos, reptile clubs and pet shops may offer pre-purchase counseling over the phone, especially important with imported species.

One of your best sources is a local herpetological club. Found here is a wealth of knowledge from very experienced people often specializing in each species and willing to lend a hand and give you the real inside story. Remember reptiles are living, feeling animals too and should not be considered disposable pets when we cannot or no longer want to meet their needs.

Jack Landess D.V.M., C.H.S., A.W.V., A.R.A.V., Braden River Exotic Services 8123 U.S. Highway 301, Parrish, Florida, (941) 776-1100.


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