Many reptiles and amphibians can make for great pets for the kids or family, but there are many important considerations that should be made before you make that decision to do so. Have you thoroughly researched this animal or species? What sort of enclosure or space requirements does it need? How long can they potentially live? Do you know what to expect with this animal and is the right pet? These, among other considerations, are all important factors to consider BEFORE getting that new pet.
-Most reptiles and amphibians have specific care requirements in which to thrive and do well in. These include providing the proper diets and supplements, temperatures, lighting, humidity, and other factors. Have you researched, and are willing and able to meet all of these animal’s needs throughout its lifetime? Be aware that caring for some animals may also require keeping live insects and/or rodents.
-Most reptiles, and even amphibians can live for a long time! Many snakes and lizards can live anywhere from 20 to 40 years or more, while most turtles and tortoises can live for 40 to 100 years or more. Do you know how long this animal will live for, and are you willing and able to meet its long term needs throughout its life?
-Realize that if you purchase a pet for the kids or family, it will ultimately become YOUR responsibility. Do YOU want this pet, or are you willing and able to continue caring for it should your children lose interest, move out of the house and off to college, or for other reasons? Do you know what to expect with its care requirements and behavior and will this be the right pet for you, your family, or your kids? Your kids should always be closely monitored to ensure they are caring for this pet properly.
-Have you considered all of the potential costs of keeping this animal? Can you afford any and all of the necessary food or diets, housing/enclosure, heating, lighting, and other supplies needed for this animal? Do you have a reliable and knowledgeable veterinarian in your area which can see your pet if it gets sick, hurt, or if anything else happens to it? Are you prepared for any potential vet costs for this pet?
-Giving pets as gifts can be great in some cases, but requires proper planning and foresight ahead of time. Is the recipient of this animal expecting and wanting this particular animal? Does everyone in the household approve of bringing this animal home?
-Sometimes, unexpected life changes or other unavoidable situations may occur where an animal may need to be given up and rehomed. If this is the case, find a local reputable rescue organization in your area or state which may be able to help. Never release any unwanted animal into the wild!
-If you have considered all of these factors above, and are still interested in bringing a new reptile or amphibian into your home, GREAT! Many captive bred and born pets can be acquired locally from reputable pet stores, breeders, and rescue organizations. We welcome you to join our Kid’s Herpetological Society to learn more! http://madisonherps.org/kids-herpetological-society/