What Do I Need to Know About Caring for A Reptile?
What Are Reptiles?
National Geographic defines reptiles as air-breathing vertebrates covered in special skin made up of scales, bony plates, or a combination of both.
Reptiles don’t maintain a constant internal body temperature because they have no fur or feathers to insulate themselves. They cannot stay warm on a cool day or pant because they are without sweat glands. The slower metabolism of reptiles and heat-seeking behaviors classifies them as cold-blooded. All reptiles have one thing in common – they shed their outer layer of skin, and metabolism depends on their environmental temperature.
Reptiles include turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes, crocodiles, and even some dinosaurs!
“Kingsnakes and corn snakes are excellent first snakes,” he says, “and crested geckos are great for beginners as well.”
Some commonly recommended first-time reptiles include bearded dragons and ball pythons, but Jordan admits they require more initial investment, supplies, and care.
Reptile Health and Wellness Care
Like all pets, reptiles require regular health and wellness checkups, a species-appropriate diet, and in-home care.
Conditions such as irritated and dry skin, scale rot, and abnormal shedding are bound to appear in a reptile’s life.
Fortunately, products like Zylafen from Zymox are easily stored in your reptile’s first aid and care kit. Both the topical and spray-on solutions of Zylafen contain no steroids or antibiotics; they are non-toxic and won’t sting.
Jordan has rarely run into health issues with his reptiles, but he’s assisted with rescue over the years. He has seen metabolic bone disease, stuck sheds, and mites.
“While most skin and shedding issues can be prevented with proper husbandry, something to help loosen bad sheds or kill mites would be useful at times, especially on small extremities like tails and toes,” he shares.