Home Sweet Home: Acclimating Your Pet Reptile to its New Habitat
Moving to a new place can be tough, especially for our reptile friends. Exotic animals are especially prone to stress and don't care for sudden changes. If you've recently added a new scaly family member to your home, help your snake, turtle, or lizard settle in with these simple, easy tips for acclimating your pet reptile to its new habitat.
Prepare the Enclosure
Rolling out the welcome mat may look a bit different for snakes, turtles, and lizards, but preparing their enclosure is a critical aspect of getting any new habitat ready. Exotic pets require a very specific environment in order to thrive. Research the breed specific requirements prior to welcoming a new arrival and be sure their tank or terrarium is set up prior to introduction. This will save you and your new pet the stress of a last minute move!
Remember the three key environment factors common to all reptiles:
Cold-blooded friends require a warm, cozy environment. Most reptiles need a heat lamp or rock to stay comfortable. Set your temperature at least 24 hours prior to your new pet's arrival so the enclosure has time to acclimate. This will reduce the stress of the move and allow them to settle in immediately.
Balancing the humidity is a key component of any reptile habitat. Most snakes, lizards, and turtles come from tropical or subtropical climates. Be sure their island paradise has an appropriate degree of moisture prior to welcoming your new family member.
No welcoming party is complete without a bottle of wine on the table! In this case, a source of clean, fresh water will do. Research the water requirements for your reptile and ensure they have an accessible, shallow dish for bathing and drinking. When under stress, reptiles tend to require more hydration than usual and greatly benefit from fresh H2O.
Making the Move
Once the new home is ready, make the move easy on your reptile by following these simple steps.
If you're nervous, chances are your pet will be too. Avoid sharp, jerky movements and try to minimize the tension by handling your new pet as little as possible while he or she is getting situated. If your reptile came in a carrier or bag, place the carrier inside the enclosure and allow your pet to come out at their leisure. Introducing a new habitat is best achieved slow and steady.
Prior to introducing a reptile to a new habitat, dim the lights to create a serene atmosphere. Keep other pets in a different room so your new friend doesn't have to deal with scary new sounds and scents right away. Ensure the heater remains on and place the reptile near their water source. This will allow them to get acclimated in a stress-free environment.
Allow Time to Adjust
This may be the hardest rule of all, but avoid handling or pestering a new reptile until they've had at least 24 hours to explore their new domain. Allow your reptile to investigate on their own accord. We promise, they'll learn to love their human parents after they've had time to unwind and unpack.
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