As your Greenfield veterinarian, we are passionate about education for all pet owners. The better you understand your pet, the better the experience for both of you. If you are considering keeping a reptile, we want you to know that there are some major differences between keeping reptiles and mammals. Knowing some of the main differences can make it easier to decide if a reptile is right for you and your household.
Challenges of Keeping Reptiles
Unlike dogs or cats, or mammals in general, there is much less known about reptiles. They have been studied extensively, but they have not been kept regularly as pets for thousands of years. Humans have an innate ability to have successful relationships with dogs and cats, but most do not have an affinity for reptiles. The lack of experience with reptiles makes it more difficult to know exactly what they need – each has a specific diet and environmental needs, for instance. There are a lot more ways to make a mistake that harms the reptile, as many new reptile keepers have discovered.
Some of the biggest challenges in keeping reptiles include:
- Some need live prey – If you get a pet that requires live prey, like a gecko, you will need to feed it a proper diet. Feeding a live baby mouse to a reptile is a significantly different experience than pouring out kibble. Research the diet of your intended pet before making a decision.
- Many carry salmonella – Reptiles tend to carry salmonella on their bodies and in their waste, which means that the reptile can contaminate people that touch it and will contaminate any surface it moves over. That is why the CDC recommends that children under 5 and adults over 65 avoid touching reptiles, as these groups are more vulnerable to the bacteria.
- Reptiles can bite – If a reptile is aggressive, it will attempt to bite its handler. While such behavior can be managed, it is important to remember that the same behavior issues exist in large reptiles. Keeping a large reptile requires protecting yourself and anyone who handles the pet.
Mammals Have Their Own Challenges
While reptiles can be challenging, so can mammals. Being a good pet owner means taking good care of your mammal, and each type of pet has its own requirements that others don’t. While most of these requirements are easy to meet for mammal owners, there are people who prefer reptile ownership because of it’s own unique qualities.
Here to Help Care for Your Mammal or Reptile
We want you and your pet to have a wonderful experience with each other, which is why we work so hard to ensure that all your pet’s are healthy. Whatever type of pet you have, we encourage you to get in touch with our team and schedule an appointment if you need vet care. We are excited to meet you and your pet – mammal or reptile!
Please call 414-282-5230 today to find a time that works for you.