Saturday, August 07, 2004

Getting to know you

(This is a herp post)

First, a PSA:
Dear Jerkface,
If you order two geckos, please don't leave them sitting at the post office for 2 days! That's not very nice.

Second: The Point
The point is, taking proper care of a reptile involves a lot of research, pre and post purchase. Obviously, first you have to decide what type of herp appeals to you: snakes, lizards, frogs, whatever. I like lizards, followed by snakes. Then you'll need to limit yourself to a few species. Ideally, a beginner should pick a species that is readily available, captive-breed, and not too pricey (it's best to start with something inexpensive until you get the hang of reptile keeping). Next, break out the books. You'll find info online, at the libary, at the zoo...it's all out there. You should look for information about the herp's natural habitat (where in the world is it found, is it a desert animal or tropical, etc), about captive keeping (temperature, size of enclosure, need for UV lighting, food), and temperment (handleable or not).

So now you should know which species best suits you. Dont ever buy something just because it's cool- you must know how to care for it properly. If you don't do your research, your herp will die. Period. You must know at the minimum, the basics- heat, light, food, water, humidity, size of enclosure.

Once you bring your new pet home, don't stop researching. Keep up with the latest info on the species. However, now's the time to learn through observation. All reptiles are different, and all have different needs. Assuming you've set up your tank correctly, deviations from the norm are probably just the way your dragon is. If it's eating, pooping, and shedding on a regular basis, it's likely OK. You can learn what food your herp prefers- does the beardie like nastursiums better than collards for instance. Also, by handling your herp regularly (if it will tolerate it), you can keep a better eye on it's health.

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