Here are our top 5 facts on keeping a reptile:
1: Where on earth…?
It’s almost impossible to tell whether a reptile has been bred in captivity or snatched from the wild. make matters worse, traders sometimes lie about where their animals come The trade in wild-caught reptiles is driving species towards extinction don’t support it!
2: Captivity drives reptiles up the wall
Reptiles, unlike mammals and birds, are not parentally educated. They are born expecting a life in the wild for which they have evolved to cope and find many aspects of captivity highly stressful. This stress can lead to disease, and very often the death of the animal.
3: Life in a tank? No thanks!
Reptiles should NEVER be kept or confined in glass tanks. In the wild, reptiles never encounter transparent boundaries and don’t adapt to cope with them. Repeatedly trying to escape is a sure sign of stress and can even lead to facial injuries. Captive reptiles need carefully designed, spacious and naturalistic enclosures at the very least.
4: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
A lot of websites, care-sheets and guidebooks contain misleading, and sometimes even dangerous, advice on reptile husbandry. Good quality information can be found in scientific publications and a lot of reading up is needed in order to learn how to provide even basic care for ANY reptile species.
5: Reptiles carry a government health warning
Most reptiles carry salmonella bacteria, which can remain on clothing, hair, inanimate objects and in the general environment. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has advised that direct and indirect contact between reptiles and infants – and anyone who is immuno-compromised – should be avoided.
Victims of trade
It’s a sad fact that most people who buy a reptile get more than they bargained for when they realise how time-consuming and expensive it is to try to replicate the animal’s wild environment. As a result, most reptiles die within a year in captivity. Others are neglected or discarded, causing untold misery, and many abandoned reptiles end up in overcrowded rescue shelters. Meanwhile, the reptile trade is an expanding industry, so traders continue to import reptiles in large numbers while breeders flood the market with curiosity hybrids and albinos.
Do you still want to keep a reptile?
Keeping a reptile is a major responsibility and could be a very long-term commitment. We hope that we have dissuaded you from getting a reptile. But if you know someone who won’t listen and is determined to keep a captive reptile then contact NARA for advice on offering a home to one that has been rescued.
*All the information listed above was kindly given to us by the Animal Protection Agency.