Introduction to pet reptiles
Here we take a look at the reptiles that are most commonly kept as pets today...
The Bearded Dragon (Pogona Vitticeps). Bearded Dragons are currently the most popular pet lizard in the UK, they are a medium sized reptile attaining sizes of up to 24". They are remarkably friendly allowing for plenty of human interaction outside of the vivarium. The Bearded Dragon is a diurnal (day active) reptile with a large appetite. Bearded Dragons are omnivorous lizards, their diet in captivity consists of fresh livefood such as crickets, locusts, superworms and waxworms. They also require fresh plant matter in the form of dandelions, watercress, rocket and green vegetables. Typical life span of the Bearded Dragon is between 7- 8 years, however lifespans are increasing as captive husbandry improves (we currently own a 11 year old captive bred female). Bearded Dragons are native to inland Australia and thanks to Australias strict import/export policies on livestock all bearded dragons that are for sale in the pet trade are Captive Bred. These reptiles can be kept on their own or in female/female groups or as a male / female pair. The Bearded Dragon Manual is an excellent book for anyone considering one as a pet, you can also create your own bearded dragon set up on our website.
Leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). The leopard gecko gets its name from its adult coloration of black spots on a pale yellow body. Although a great number of colour "morphs" have been selectively bred for their striking colours and patterns. Leopard geckos are found in dry desert areas of Pakistan and India and are a very long lived lizard, the oldest recorded captive leopard gecko is 38 years old!. They are an insectivorous reptile only eating livefoods such as crickets, mealworms and can have waxworms as a treat. The Leopard gecko is a nocturnal lizard, this makes the cost of setting up a home for one relatively inexpensive as they do not require any expensive lighting systems in there vivarium. With regular handling the leopard gecko will become fairly tame allowing you to handle them. Care must be taken never to hold a leopard geckos tail firmly as they will "drop" their tail as a defense mechansim. This tail will regrow but will have a short stubby appearance. The leopard gecko manual is an excellent book for anybody considering a leopard gecko as a pet.
Corn snake (elaphe guttata) Corn snakes are a North American rat snake they get the name "corn snake" because the first american settlers used to encounter these snakes in vast numbers in their corn barns, they mistakenly believed the snakes were eating their corn - actually they were not after corn, the "Corn" snakes were being drawn to the large numbers of mice that were eating the corn!. The captive corn snakes diet consists of mice, Frozen mice that have been defrosted and warmed before being placed in the snakes vivarium. A corn snake kills its prey by constriction, first it strikes out at its prey, holding it in its jaws. It then wraps a few coils of its body around the victim constricting it until its dead, The corn snake then usually searches for the head end of the victim and then swallows it whole. They are placid snakes that rarely show signs of agression and take to being handled very well. Typical life span of the corn snake is 15 years and they grow to a length of approximately five feet. Corn snakes like leopard geckos have been selectively bred to produce many amazing colour morphs. The corn snake manual is an excellent guide for anyone considering purchasing a pet corn snake.
Yemen Chameleon - also known as the veiled chameleon, often thought of as a pet lizard for the more advanced keeper, this is true for most chameleons but the yemen chameleon makes an excellent first chameleon. As long as the basics are provided Heat, UVB light, an arboreal vivarium with plenty of foliage and ventilation then they are a hardy species. Naturally found in the yemen (saudi) they are omnivorous eating livefood such ascrickets, locusts, superworms and waxworms, they are also known to eat pinkie mice and plant matter particularly the ficus benjamina plant. The Yemen chameleon is a short lived lizard with females typically attaining 3 years and the males achieving ages of around 5 years. The female produces large quantities of eggs even if not mated so therefore must have an egg laying box to prevent her from becoming egg bound. Chameleons are famous for their colour changing abilities and there long sticky tongues. The yemen chameleon typically grows to a size of between 14 - 18" but has been known to achieve lengths of 24". Essential care of Chameleons is an excellent book for anyone considering keeping a chameleon