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Reptiles

  • Anorexia is a common problem in snakes but it is not a single disease – it is a sign brought on by many different causes.

  • Reptiles are popular pets. Some people want to own them to be different (never a good reason for owning any pet), some enjoy the lower cost of veterinary care as compared to dogs and cats (this is also not always true), and many people who don't have the time to devote to a dog or cat enjoy the relatively "maintenance-free" appeal of a snake, lizard, or turtle.

  • Common conditions of pet snakes include stomatitis (mouth rot), parasites, respiratory disease, difficulty shedding, and septicaemia.

  • If you think your pet is unwell, you must take it to your veterinarian for prompt attention. ANY deviation from normal should be a cause for concern and requires immediate evaluation by your veterinarian.

  • All reptiles grow by shedding their skins periodically. Dysecdysis describes the failure to shed skin properly.

  • Unlike most pets, snakes eat whole prey items including mice, rats and hamsters. Larger snakes will also eat whole rabbits.

  • Smaller juvenile pets often do well in a 10 or 20-gallon aquarium, or even large plastic "lunch" boxes (cut small air holes!). As your snake grows, he must be moved to a more comfortable enclosure.

  • Red-eared sliders (or terrapins), Trachemys scripta are commonly kept in New Zealand. They reach a large size and can be hard to keep with the result that they are often released (although this is illegal).