If you are thinking about getting a pet but traditional pets aren't right for you then you might find an interest in reptiles. Today, our New Iberia exotic animal vets talk about how to care for a pet lizard and potential health concerns to keep in mind.
Pet Lizards & How To Care For Them
Owning a pet lizard can be a rewarding and unique experience. While lizard ownership can be incredibly exciting you must keep in mind that life with a lizard is not the same as owning a cat or dog and so there are some things that you should consider before making that decision. Your exotic animal vet in New Iberia will be able to help you decide what type of lizard might be right for you.
How To Care For a Pet Lizard
Not all lizards require the same type of care, their requirements will greatly depend on the type of lizard they are. When considering lizard care you need to think about the following:
- Dietary Requirements
- Habitat Needs
- Susceptibility to Disease
If this will be your first lizard then you may want to consider looking into a breed that is known to be more docile and easier to care for. Your exotic animal vet in New Iberia will be able to provide you with more information about the different types of lizards and which one might be right for you.
What Does a Lizard Eat?
If you have decided to own a lizard for the first time then you may be intimidated by the thought of how to feed them and what all they need to stay healthy. Luckily there are several lizard foods available usually in the form of pellets that help to provide your pet with all the nutrients they require.
While these have the basic nutritional needs of your lizard you should also provide your reptile with a variety of other foods such as fruits and vegetables that have been cut into bite-sized pieces.
You should be sure that you provide their food in a dish that cannot be tipped over if your lizard leans on it and your new pet will also benefit from an added dash of nutritional powder on their fresh food to ensure that they are getting everything they need to stay strong.
If you have a lizard that primarily feeds on insects then you will want to be sure to add the nutritional powder to their food as insects will not provide them with all of the vitamins and minerals that they will need.
How Do I Set Up a Lizard Habitat?
One of the main things you should know if you choose to get a lizard is that they are cold-blooded and their body temperature is mainly dependent on the air around them. Keeping your lizard at a comfortable temperature will completely depend on you. This is why the majority of lizard owners opt to keep their pets in a special type of enclosure called a vivarium which is usually fully enclosed in glass except for the grill that allows airflow.
Your lizard will need heat and light in their enclosure. You can choose to heat the vivarium by a heat lamp or by a thermostat-controlled heating device. Thermostat-controlled heat allows for the adjustment of the temperature from day to night which is beneficial to your lizard as they prefer their habitat to be cooler at night.
Your lizard will need full-spectrum lighting which provides both UVA and UVB rays. UVA light stimulates feeding, and UVB light helps the lizard’s body produce vitamin D3 which affects the calcium levels of your lizard. You should be sure to replace the bulbs approximately every nine months.
The substrate and materials that make up the habitat will greatly depend on the type of lizard that you have, desert lizards will prefer dryer conditions with more sand while climbing forest lizards will benefit from more greenery and moisture. Be sure to research the type of lizard you have chosen thoroughly to ensure that you have provided all of the elements that they will benefit from in their vivarium.
What Health Concerns Do Lizards Have?
While it can sometimes be difficult to tell when your lizard is not feeling their best there are some signs you should look for such as poor appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. If you are concerned that your lizard may be unwell you should contact our New Iberia, exotic animal vets, as soon as possible.
Some of the common conditions that affect lizards are:
- Internal parasites
- Mouth Rot
- Difficulty Shedding
- Lack of Calcium
- Vitamin D deficiency
The best way to ensure that your lizard stays happy and healthy is by consistently ensuring the cleanliness of their enclosure and monitoring their diet and environment. Be sure to contact your exotic animal veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about caring for your lizard.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.