Your Starter Guide
for Purchasing a Reptile
There are a few requirements to consider before purcahsing a reptile
Type of Reptile
There are few reptiles available to us here in New Zealand mainly the Blue Tongue Lizard, Bearded Dragon, Water Dragon and some Geckos. When deciding on the species of reptile you are wanting, it is always important to consider how big the animal will grow so you can purchase the appropriate enclosure and items.
Accommodation needs (habitat/husbandry)
It's important to provide the proper living environment for your reptile. Vivarium’s need to be escape-proof, have good ventilation, enough space for mobility and all the accessories you will need inside the enclosure. You also need to consider factors like cleaning, sanitizing, and routine maintenance.
Feeding and nutrition needs
Each lizard has their own type of nutritional needs/diets. Lizards such as Leopard Geckos eat live insects only, Bearded dragons can eat live insects along with some fruits/vegetables, the same with a Blue Tongue Lizard. One thing they do have incommon is their need for calcium, this can be bout as a powder or a liquid concentrate. Calcium with D3 should be dusted onto their food and a small lid filled with calcium without D3 can be left inside their enclosure for them to consume when they want. Calcium without D3 should be the only calcium left in their enclosure, too much D3 in their diet can cause health issues. Lack of calcium can cause Metabolic Bone Disease.
Being cold-blooded, a captive reptile doesn't have the luxury of maintaining its body temperature within the range that it needs. It has to rely on you to provide an environment that allows it to stay healthy. There are different varieties of heating such as Heat Mats, Deep Heat Projector and Ceramic Heat Lamps.
Warm side: where the heat element will be Cool side: where the UV lamp will be
Leopard Gecko warm side: 30-32 cool side: 22-25 Blue Tongue warm side: 30-35 cool side: 22-25
Bearded Dragon warm side: 38-42 cool side: 22-26 Water Dragon (aus) warm side: 32-38 cool side:20-25
UV Lighting is required for all reptiles, they each have their own percentage of UV requirements. A UV lamp converts natural cholesterol in the skin of reptiles to pre-vitamin D3. The warmth from the heat lamp then coverts the pre-vitamin D3 into vitamin D3. This vitamin is used to help the lizard store and absorb the calcium from the digestive system.
Every Lizard coems from differnet environemnts where the humidity is differnet, so once again they each have their individual needs. Leopard geckos and Bearded Dragons enclosure humidity of 30-40%. Blue Tongues enclosure humidity of 40-60%. Water Dragons enclosure humidity of 40-70%
Amount of care
If you select a reptiles that requires careful monitoring, you must be prepared not only to commit the time and energy to provide that monitoring, but also be prepared for emergencies like equipment failure, illness, stress and general difficulty in keeping and handling. You'll need to make arrangements for someone knowledgeable to take care of your reptile if you're away and if it gets sick, you want to be sure there's a veterinarian in your locale familiar with reptiles.
Reptiles can be great additions to the family. Reptiles such as Blue Tongue Lizards and Bearded Dragons are great for those with kids as they're calm, friendly and enjoy human interaction. It's important that you handle your reptile properly, lizards should never be picked up their tails. Remember to always wash your hands after handling reptiles