Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Tropical vs. Desert

Reptiles, that is. It is my opinion that desert dwelling reptiles make much better pets (or at least pets that are easier to care for). Why? First off, they don't require the humidity that tropical herps do. Cleaning up poop in a moist environment is a pain, and you have to do it way more often. Desert poop, if you go away for the weekend, you don't have to worry about it contaminating the entire enclosure. In a tropical terrarium, the high humidity will not allow the poop to dry out, which means it is more prone to spreading around the enclosure. Plus, maintaining a constant 80% humidity (or whatever) while allowing adequate ventilation is a pain, especially in the winter when the ambient air is constantly being dried out.

Have you ever spent a night in a desert area? It cools down there. This is good for the herp keeper, because it corresponds with the ambient household temperatures. Also, many of the commonly-kept desert dwellers come from places with cool seasons (bearded dragons and leopard geckos come to mind). Again, this can work to our advantage, as these animals can be cooled slightly in the winter. This is not to say that you can turn off all the heating apparatus, but that you don't have to keep the enclosure at "optimum" (eight to ninety degrees) temperature year round. In fact, these animals often won't breed without a cooling period.

Finally, the decor is easier. Naturalistic decor for a jungle herp involves lots of places for crickets and other feeder bugs to hide. This is bad, because many reptiles hunt by sight- if they can't see it, they won't eat it. Also, feeder insects that are turned loose in a terrarium loose their nutritional value if not provided with food, and they may even eat your herp! We don't want that, do we?

I will admit that I'm prejudiced- I keep desert reptiles, and I love them. But still.

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