|If your children are anything like mine, the Christmas requests are coming thick and fast. Anything from the latest phone to a hamster have been mentioned, and I imagine they are not finished yet.
Pets are often a common feature on Christmas lists, and reptiles are becoming more and more prevalent. Great for children with allergies and very low maintenance you may well decide to grant your child’s Christmas wish.
However, in the first few months of every year, many pets are given to shelters as the new owners cannot meet the requirements, whether in time or cost. Before you make that Christmas purchase, it’s a good idea to do as much research as possible to make sure you are well prepared for the time, cost and maintenance involved.
Looking at a selection of the most popular reptiles, we have compiled some essential information that will help you to make the right choice.
- Docile little lizards, these attractive reptiles are a great reptile for beginners as they don’t require much supervision.
- They require a terrarium, a heat lamp and a heat mat plus substrates
- Crested Geckos can live for a long time in captivity maybe 15 to 20 years, so they are a real commitment. With good care and attention they can respond well to humans, and make a great pet for older children.
- Another Gecko, this species are very popular thanks to their Leopard like colouring of brown and yellow. They need a vivarium, a heat source and more.
- Leopard Geckos are happy to live alone or in pairs, and respond well to constant handling and attention.
- They too can live a long time. Some have been known to live for 20 years, so consider the commitment before you take one on.
- A very popular choice thanks to their attractive appearance and personalities, Bearded Dragons are favoured by both children and adults.
- They are tiny as babies, but can grow to around 60cm in just a year. So they will soon need a bigger vivarium. They also require a basking lamp and a UV source to make sure they get enough heat and light.
- Most Bearded Dragons are better kept alone, they would live alone in the wild so it’s best to keep to this natural behaviour. However, handled regularly, they respond well and can be a great pet.
- Bearded Dragons can live for up to 10 years, so again consider this when choosing this reptile.
- Great for busy families, Corn Snakes sleep during the day so are at their most active during the evening.
- Beautiful colours, Corn Snakes are an increasingly popular amongst reptile keepers. They live alone in their natural habitat, so are happy to be kept on their own.
- They require a vivarium, heat lamp and heat mat to provide the best environment for them to be happy and thrive.
- Another long term pet, Corn Snakes can live for up to 20 years.
- Salmonella can be a concern if you are thinking of buying a reptile. If you have children of 5 or younger, do not allow them to touch a reptile at all, as they are more susceptible. For older children, and of course adults, promote good hand washing techniques after handling.
The initial cost of the equipment needed for a reptile can be quite costly, however once set up, it can be relatively cheap. Food and replacement bulbs are the only ongoing essential requirement. Of course, just as with any pet there are countless accessories available to brighten your pet’s living space.
As you can see the main factor when choosing a reptile, is the life span. They can live as long as a dog or cat which is a long term commitment. Consider who would look after the reptile when you are on holiday, and be willing to feed him insects!
Reptiles can make fantastic pets, so before you make your mind up, do as much research as possible to make sure you have the right pet for your family.
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