Supplies and Pet Caring Advice for Reptile Enthusiasts
Thinking About a Reptile?
Owning a reptile is becoming more and more popular every day. The variations in lizards, snakes, turtles, amphibians, and other reptiles can really make reptile ownership a fun experience. Whether owning one animal, multiple animals, or different types of reptiles, owning a reptile can be a daily adventure and really set somebody out from the crowd. However owning a reptile, or any animal for that matter, should never be done as a fad. Caring for another animal is a huge responsibility, and owning a reptile is no different.
When owning a reptile, many things need to be considered. The first consideration is that reptiles need a large enclosure or terrarium. An owner will have to provide bedding, water, plants, rocks, ground cover, and food, not to mention all the accessories that will make owning a reptile so much fun! Not only can the costs add up before you realize it, but there will be regular maintenance costs, vet bills (yes you need to take your reptile to the doctor when it’s sick too!), and food generally needs to be purchased weekly – it’s usually alive!
If you want to own a reptile, costs can definitely be a factor in whether you decide to make that purchase. A reptile is an investment, and it takes time and money to care for the animal. You may want to consider the cost and accessibility of the food necessary for the reptile’s survival. Do you have a place to store food, if that is an option? Do you have the stomach to handle living food? Mice? Baby rats? Crickets? Meal worms? Not to mention that mice and rats can cost up to $2 each, with an average snake needing to eat 4 per week. 10 crickets might cost a couple dollars too, and a small lizard can eat that in a week! Your reptile will need distilled drinking water as well, and that will cost money as well.
When making your initial purchase, you should expect to spend anywhere from one hundred to two hundred dollars on just the terrarium, rocks, food and water dishes, initial bedding and flooring, heat rocks, plants and other accessories. The animal itself can cost anywhere from twenty dollars to $350! So make sure you have the money to make the initial purchase of the reptile, while also being able to afford the maintenance and food every month. The reptile will grow and grow, and as it does it will require more food, more water, larger habitats, and thus more supplies.
It’s important to educate yourself on the particular species of reptile you choose to own. Reptile care books are available at local libraries. However if you can’t find the one that you want at the library, you can usually find one for less than ten dollars at most regular pet stores, and you will definitely find what you need at a reptile store or specialized reptile depot.
You may also need to purchase other important supplies for your reptile. These should be taken into consideration before purchasing a reptile. A filter for an aquatic reptile or amphibian aquarium can cost almost forty dollars. If you own an iguana, food can be very costly as they need to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as live food like meal worms. Most reptiles need an ultra violet light, and a different reptile may need a different type of UV light.
Bedding for all reptiles must be kept clean to avoid disease, mold or fungus. It also needs to be kept clean to avoid ant infestations, or infestations of the insects you feed your reptile. Crickets will breed in the stems of the plants that you provide your animal if they are left in the cage too long or mature while in the cage. Then you will have hundreds of tiny crickets in your house – because they are small enough to escape. Meal worms may burrow into the flooring or bedding if they are left unchecked, and then you will have German beetles in your terrarium. Reptiles will often become sick due to overexposure to its own urine and feces. The cost can start at $2.50 and rise depending on where you purchase and what you prefer. Just keep in mind that not all bedding is safe for all animals. Replacement will depend on the size of the housing, the size of your reptile, and how many reptiles you own.
If you have a reptile that climbs, you may need a fresh air habitat with a mesh screen and water resistant bottom. A green iguana or large monitor will enjoy its life significantly better if it is able to move freely. Small fresh air reptile enclosures can cost around $30. But it will cost nearly $100 for a large habitat – which you will want to get so your reptile doesn’t out grow it.
UV Lighting will run you about $18 for a 10 inch clamp-on lamp that dims. There’s also the cost of the electricity needed to run the environmental equipment. And you will likely want to buy a timer for that light, so you can control the day and night of your animal to keep them out of or put them into breeding season.
Remember, owning a reptile is a huge responsibility. Some reptiles can live many years. Some even longer than you. You must take into consideration the quality of life you can provide your reptile before you ever make that purchase!