Animal Welfare

Reptile Awareness Day celebrates Australia’s more peculiar pets

This October 21 Reptile Awareness Day will celebrate the diverse group of animals that is reptiles, including turtles, lizards, snakes and even crocodiles.

Australia is home to about 14 percent of the world’s reptilian population and has some of the largest known snake and lizard fossils in the world1.

While it may be problematic to keep a crocodile as a pet, many Aussies still love their reptiles, with snakes and lizards making up the majority of reptiles housed in Australia according to reptile experts.

In celebration of Reptile Awareness Day this October, PETstock has compiled some care tips on how to keep scaly pets happy and healthy at home.

Reptile care tips from PETstock:

  • Reptile houses are called terrariums. In general, they should be draft and escape proof, moisture and heat resistant and well lit. Terrariums can be tall and narrow to accommodate tree dwelling reptiles (e.g. chameleons) or low and wide, suitable for most lizards and ground dwelling snakes. Get the largest terrarium you have space for and can afford. The reduced space requirements make them ideal for apartment living.
  • Snakes and lizards are very susceptible to microorganisms and parasites when kept in captivity. Daily cleaning of water and bowls is important. The terrarium itself should be cleaned once a week. Bleaches or alcohol-based cleaners are better tolerated than phenol cleaners (such as Pine-o-Clean).
  • Diets vary depending on your type of reptile. However, each animal is primarily one of three types: Herbivore (a plant eater), Carnivore (a meat or protein eater), or Omnivores (eat both plant and meat or protein). You should consult specific care sheets for advice and visit your local vet.
  • Access to plenty of natural sunlight is the best type of full spectrum lighting.

Scaly fast facts:

  • There are 6,500-10,000 species of reptiles, which live on every continent except Antarctica.2
  • All reptiles are cold-blooded, have scales and reproduce either by laying eggs or giving birth to live young. Some reptiles are aquatic animals, although most live on land.
  • The Australian crocodile is the largest living reptile in the world. Also known as the Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile, adults average 3 to 5 metres in length!

REPTILE CHECK LIST

  • Appropriate license
  • Terrarium
  • Cage décor
  • Plants
  • Heat device
  • Incandescent or fluorescent lighting
  • Substrate e.g. sand, reptile carpet etc.
  • Thermometer
  • Thermostat
  • Reptile carpet
  • Specific food
  • Reptile friendly disinfectant
  • Water & food bowl
  • Care book specific to your reptile
  • Visit your local vet for regular check ups