Reptiles & Amphibians
Reptiles tend to have very long life spans, but 90% of them die within their first year. Mostly, that's because of the misconception that they are easy-care pets that don't require much attention. The truth is, their habitats require constant monitoring, and they are among the most hazardous pets to keep in a home. Some things to keep in mind:

•Salmonella is present in 90% of all exotic reptiles, and they shed it in their feces. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet or cleaning its habitat.

•Do your homework to discover your reptile's temperature requirements. You'll need primary (undertank heaters) and secondary heating sources (basking lamps) to meet those requirements, and you'll need to check tank temperature and humidity regularly. Be careful not to overheat your pet. Signs you should adjust your habitat temperature include your pet staying in shaded areas and, in lizards, visible panting.

•The most common habitat for frogs is semi-terrestrial, i.e. half land, half water. Do not use tap water in your habitat, as frogs are very sensitive to chemicals. Dechlorinate tap water by letting it sit for at least 24 hours before adding it to the tank.

•Don't house multiple frogs unless they are the same species and are similar in size. Otherwise, you risk exposing the animals to toxic counterparts, or species that may attempt to eat the others in your tank.

•These can live 25 years or more, and depending on the species, turtles can range in size from 4 inches to 80 inches. Make sure you know how big your species can get, and plan the habitat accordingly.

•Turtles like hiding places, so make sure you include them in the habitat. You can purchase materials from a pet store, or use plants or driftwood.

•Snake owners may get a kick out of giving their pets live prey, but pre-killed or frozen prey is safer. Prey shouldn't be wider than the widest part of your snake's body.

•State permits may be required to keep a snake in your home. State law in Florida, where a recent pet escape in one home resulted in a fatality, dictates that pythons are to be kept under lock. Check your local laws before you bring a snake home.
Ask TOH users about Pets

Contribute to This Story Below