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Keeping Snakes and Lizards as Pets

Snakes are fascinating animals that have acquired a bad rap over time. However, more and more people are finding them interesting enough to keep as pets. To mark World Snake Day, the Animal Protection Agency Foundation wants to talk about the importance of getting informed before committing to caring for a reptile.

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Can you really give a lizard or snake a good home?

Before you acquire a lizard or a snake it is worth bearing in mind that much of what you may have been told about their suitability as a pet may be incorrect. There is a lot of bad information ‘out there’, much of which has followed from people not appreciating lizard and snake biology and then passing misunderstandings to others.

Pet shops, snake breeders and even vets frequently get their facts wrong and fail to realize just how difficult it is to keep a lizard or a snake. Indeed, much if not most of the reptile care guidance on the Internet in general is poor or misleading. Examples of bad information are that:

  • Lizards and snakes are easy to keep
  • Snakes are agoraphobic and don’t need much space
  • Snakes don’t need vitamin D from sunlight
  • Some common lizards and snakes are domesticated
  • Reptiles are good pets for people with allergies
  • Reptiles are good pets for small apartments

All that ‘information’ is wrong! Lizards and snakes are highly sensitive, delicate, complex animals that (whether wild-caught or captive-bred) do not adapt to captivity like dogs and cats do.

To better understand what a lizard or snake needs, you are probably best researching information from scientific books and articles (these are often written for easy access anyway) and from looking at pictures and film of a particular species as it lives in the wild – at least you will see the kind of habitat it prefers.

It is a sad fact that most reptiles do not cope well with captivity and die within a year. But with great care (and perhaps a lot of ‘luck’) some reptiles may survive for decades, and this also means that one should not get a reptile unless fully prepared to dedicate years of care and likely significant expense to looking after it.

Stay tuned to find out what the Animal Protection Agency Foundation recommends is the best care for lizards and snakes.

Animal Protection Agency Foundation

Animal Protection Agency Foundation

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The Animal Protection Agency Foundation conducts awareness raising programmes on issues concerning the trade in wild animals as pets