Reptiles & Amphibians

These are resources that relate to amphibians and reptiles.

Heating and Temperature Control for Reptiles

Reptiles are often referred to being “cold-blooded”, which can be misleading.  More appropriately they should be considered poikilothermic or ectothermic. This means that, unlike mammals and birds, reptiles are unable to regulate their body temperatures internally and change their body temperature in adaptation to their environmental temperature. Because reptiles do not need to expend as much energy heating their bodies, they have a much lower metabolic rate than that of mammals. Each reptile species has what is referred to as its preferred optimal temperature zone which is a narrow temperature range at which they are active and undergo typical functions such as feeding, digestion, fighting off infections, and reproduction. Outside of this range these functions may be hindered or cease altogether. Some species will hibernate during colder months and during this time their metabolic rate will decrease.  

Ultraviolet Lighting for Reptiles

Ultraviolent or UV lighting is a type of light radiation outside of the visible light spectrum found at higher energies than violet light and it is found in 3 forms: A, B, and C.  UVA is used by reptiles to regulate their daily biological cycles and rhythms. UVC is damaging radiation that leads to skin damage and cancers. UVB is the most important light for reptiles as it is necessary for many reptiles to properly absorb calcium from their diet in order to utilize it for hardening their bones and other metabolic processes throughout their bodies. 

Respiratory Infections in Reptiles

Respiratory infections in reptiles are often associated with exposure to low environmental temperatures, either by consistently keeping the temperatures in the lows 70's°F or simply occasional drops to much lower temperatures.  A lot of times these drops are due to a power outages that disrupts the heat elements in the enclosures.  Sometimes the cold temperature is due to a failure of the heat source for the cage, either the light burns out, a fuse or circuit breaker fails, or the heat source is simply not warm enough for the size of the cage.

Mite Infestations in Reptiles

Mites are small parasites that can live on the skin on reptiles and cause disease. Sometimes they can be seen with the naked eye on your pet reptile or in its cage. Other times, a microscope may be needed to see them. Mites can cause clinical signs in your pet reptile such as loss of appetite, inflamed or infected skin, itchiness, restlessness, rubbing on cage decorations, more frequent or longer soaking, and frequent or abnormal shedding.

Toxic Plants

If you can't identify a plant, don't feed it to your pet! 

Pokeweed, a common poisonous weedNurseries, agricultural extension agents, botanical gardens and arboretums, and various books and websites are available to help you identify plants.  Plants often have different common names throughout the country so make sure you know the scientific name of the plant in question otherwise you might end up with the wrong information.

Can My Pet Make Me Sick?

All exotic pets, even ones that appear to be outwardly healthy, have the potential to carry and spread contagious diseases that can impact the health of people.  This sort of disease is called a "zoonosis", "zoonotic disease", or "zoonotic infection". 

Pages