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Today is 2013 Reptile Awareness Day!

You may not know it, but reptiles make great pets. They’re especially good for busy pet parents, so long as you don’t get a turtle or a tortoise (both turtles and tortoises require daily attention).

Reptiles also face a lot of unnecessary fear and discrimination. People tend to assume that these pets are dangerous, or incapable of love.

And those who are willing to take in a reptile are often unaware of the animal’s needs.

That’s why today’s National Reptile Day is so important. It’s a day to learn all about these pets and what they need.

Are Reptiles Affectionate?

According to an article in Oregon Live, these pets don’t lack affection. Tim Criswell, owner of “The House of Reptiles,” explained:

They may not be as cute as a kitten, but they can make for interesting long-term companions.

“Reptiles are not quite as emotive as mammals are,” Criswell says. “They don’t wag their tails, they don’t lick us in the face, but they do express some responsiveness to our attention and care.”

They also live longer than cats or dogs do, and so need true “forever homes.”

Proper Care is Key

Reptiles need habitats that allow them to stay warm enough. This can mean buying special UV lights to control their environment.

Without proper lighting, they’re susceptible to a serious condition called metabolic bone disease…Since they aren’t exotherms, they can’t generate their own heat, which is why it’s crucial that their enclosure is warm enough.

If you can solve the warmth problem you may find reptiles very easy to care for. Snakes, for example, only need to be fed once a week.

There are misconceptions about reptile foods, however. Many people assume that they are doing a snake a favor by feeding it live food. In fact, thawed frozen food is best, so that your pet doesn’t injure himself trying to have lunch.

Helping Reptiles

Perhaps you don’t think a reptile is the right kind of pet for your home. You may still want to help yours out. Reptiles of every sort face habitat loss and extinction threats.

You might consider donating to a reptile rescue such as ForgottenFriend.org or RSPCA for reptiles. It would be a nice thing to do on this reptile awareness day!

If you are already a reptile owner, and you live in the Washington DC area, remember that you might need some good peeps to help you out. It’s hard to find places that will board snakes or lizards. However, one of our peeps will be happy to look after your pet at your own home while you’re away. Contact us today!

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