Reptiles and Amphibians

Understand routine care for reptiles and amphibians.

This is a description of the basic care of reptiles & amphibians in the home.  A summary of basic feeding and daily care. 

Reptiles and Amphibians are collectively referred to a s and are ectothermic which means they cannot regulate their own body temperature and simply adapt to the environment in which they live.  Therefore heat and light are crucial to the wellbeing of the animals and should be continually monitored using an appropriate thermometer.  The floor covering is also important as is the aquarium décor and cleanliness routine.

Fresh food and water in clean dishes should be provided every day and the cage and all décor items should be cleaned – washed and disinfected – weekly.  Sand or logs which are introduced from the outside should be cleaned and bleached before putting into the cage.

The diet of the individual animal will depend entirely upon its breed – whether it is a herbivore, carnivore or omnivore:

Herbivores, such as iguanas, tortoises, generally need large amounts of varied food.  Specific diets are available but in the absence of this, fresh foods, particularly those high in fibre eg parsley, dandelion leaves, romaine lettuce and fruits would be suitable.

Carnivores, such as snakes and lizards eat mice, rats, rabbits, chickens etc.  These can be given live or, if bought from frozen must be completely thawed before feeding.  Insects can be fed, such as crickets, mealworms as well as earthworms and many other insects can be purchased for feeding.

Supplementing the diet with reptile vitamin and minerals is recommended.  A calcium/phosphorus supplement is vital to help with the skeletal growth of growing reptiles and to prevent osteoporosis.  Some vitamin supplements help to encourage reptiles’ appetite and increase their energy while others aid food digestion.

Amphibians should be fed daily.  Anything that hasn’t been eaten should be removed after approximately 10 minutes.  Other herptiles benefit from a rest day from eating therefore after a few days of regular feeding, a day should be missed.  Snakes which eat rodents are fed once a week, but ultimately the individual needs should be researched based on the specific breed, but all breeds require fresh water in a clean bowl daily.

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