If you are thinking about getting a pet but the traditional furry pets aren't right for you then you might find an interest in reptiles. Today, our Ocala 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
Having a pet lizard can be a rewarding and one-of-a-kind experience. While lizard ownership can be extremely exciting, keep in mind that it is not the same as owning a cat or dog, and there are some things to consider before making that decision.
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.
What Does a Lizard Eat?
If this is your first time owning a lizard, you may be intimidated by the thought of how to feed them and what they require to stay healthy. Fortunately, there are a variety of lizard foods available, most of which come in the form of pellets and help to provide your pet with all of 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 most important things to remember if you decide to get a lizard is that they are cold-blooded and their body temperature is primarily determined by the air around them. It is entirely up to you to keep your lizard at a comfortable temperature. This is why the majority of lizard owners keep their pets in a vivarium, which is usually completely enclosed in glass except for a grill that allows airflow.
Your lizard will need heat and light in their enclosure. You can choose to heat the vivarium with a heat lamp or with 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 be difficult to tell when your lizard is not feeling well, some symptoms to look for include a loss of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. If you suspect your lizard is ill, please contact our Ocala, as soon as possible for more information.
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 its enclosure and monitoring its diet and environment.
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.