Should you choose a chameleon as a pet? 0 371

Pet chameleon

Chameleons are not the easiest pet to take care of, and are more for the advanced reptile enthusiast. That said, they are beautiful creatures and they can thrive if well looked after.

Our pet care advice below will help you decide whether a chameleon is right for you:

Different types of chameleon

There are a few different chameleons suitable to be kept as pets: The Veiled or Yemen Chameleon is one of the easier species to keep. They can grow to two feet, so make sure you consider that when buying a cage.

Panther Chameleons are active during the day, and require a similar environment to the veiled chameleon. They grow up to about 20 inches.

Jackson’s chameleons are the smallest of these three breeds, and grow to around 10 inches. Some species of Jackson’s chameleons also have a horn.

All chameleons prefer not to be handled, and need to be housed on their own. If you want to breed your chameleons, make sure you look into this carefully.

Getting the environment right

A chameleon’s natural habitat is the humid rainforests and arid deserts, so they need a humid environment with enough space to allow for their tree climbing – the minimum size is three feet by three feet by four feet tall.

You’ll need to include lots of tree branches and foliage within the cage. The chameleon likes to bask, and you’ll need different basking spots, in a range of different temperatures, depending on your type of chameleon.

You’ll also need UV lighting that’s designed for reptiles as well as a misting system if you’re not going to be there to ensure humidity is at the right level. Misting needs to take place twice a day.

Feeding your chameleon

Chameleons are insectivores, and so a mixed diet of crickets, roaches, and worms is their preferred menu. Some also like vegetation such as fruits and vegetables.

Chameleons don’t drink from a bowl, preferring to take droplets of water from the leaves, so it’s important you’re misting twice a day, or providing a water system that drips.

With the right pet care, chameleons are a fascinating pet to keep, but are probably not for you if you want a reptile to handle. You’ll also need to put time into making sure their environment is right, as they can easily get sick if not.

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Five snakes that are good for beginner reptile keepers 0 249

Pet Ball Python pet

Snakes are the most popular reptile pet to keep, but are they easy to look after? They do make unusual pets, but with good pet care – the right equipment, food and environment – they will thrive.

If you’re a beginner, what snake should you get to start you off? Here’s our rundown of five snakes that will make a great pet for first time snake keepers.

Corn Snake

Corn snakes are one of the most popular first time snakes to buy. They don’t grow too big – an adult corn snake needs a 20 gallon tank. They will live for around 20 years.

They’re easy to handle and to look after. They feed on mice. Corn snakes are quite active, so will need time outside their tank for exercise.

Royal or Ball Python

The royal python (also known as the ball python) can live for up to 30 years, and grow up to five feet.

Royal pythons are a timid species, so don’t appreciate much handling – they need somewhere to hide within their tank. For tank size allow 1 square foot to each foot of snake in length.

Royals eat mice or rats, depending on the size of their mouth.

King Snake

King snakes live for about 15 years. There are lots of different types, with some growing up to six feet.

King snakes are active, so will need time out of their tank, and can bite when cornered, but with careful and regular handling should settle.

They feed on mice and rats, and need the same sized tank proportions as a royal python.

Rosy Boa

Rosy boas are fairly docile, but can bite if caught unaware. Rosy boas grow to about four feet in length and will live for about 30 years. They need a reasonable size tank, and places to hide as well. Rosy boas feed on mice.

Garter snake

Garter snakes grow up to three foot long, and live to about 10 years.

They need around a 29 gallon tank to be comfortable. Garter snakes do eat mice, but prefer fish, and food like frogs, so it’s best to give them a varied diet.

How do you home a terrapin? 0 165

A terrapin is an excellent and unusual pet to own. As amphibians, they need access to both water and land. When housing a terrapin you’ll need to create an environment for them that mimics their natural habitat as closely as possible and gives them plenty of space to enjoy both the land and water. Here we explore some pet care advice for keeping terrapins in your home.

Plan ahead

The most important thing to note with these unusual pets is that they will live for up to 30 years in captivity. Before you take a terrapin into your home you need to be prepared to care for them for their entire life. While they’re small when you first get your terrapins, they will also grow rapidly. In the first 2-4 years, your terrapins will over quadruple in size and the larger species will grow to 25cm within 5 years.

How to home the terrapin

While a tank with constructed land areas will be suitable for the terrapins at first, they will quickly grow out of a standard tank and you will need to expand their living space. Terrapins should be homed in a large tank or secure pond that has both adequate heating and lighting. The pond needs to be secured to prevent the terrapins from getting out and also to prevent children or pets from falling in. You’ll also need to control the heat, light and water carefully:

• Temperature – The terrapin needs a varying heat in their tank. They need both a basking area under a hot light and an area where they can cool down again.
• Light – You will need to install a 7-12% reptile lamp. This will expose them to UVB, which they desperately need to store calcium. The lamp will need to be regularly replaced and caution needs to be taken to prevent any exposure to broken glass for the terrapins.
• Water – Terrapins will make a mess of the water so you will need a powerful filter. A pond-standard filter will be required and this will need to be properly maintained and regularly cleaned.

Terrapins are fantastic and unusual pets to own, but you need to plan ahead seriously to do so. They will take up a large amount of space in the home and will need a great deal of kit to get started.

Photo: DSC02846 by acme licensed under Creative commons 2