Reptiles come in a variety of species and are constantly changing to survive and adapt to their environment. However, can pet owners who are well-intentioned meet their complex needs?
Reptiles have been around longer than humans, having evolved from amphibians about 380 million years back.
They can be found on all continents and come in many sizes. The Komodo dragon, for example, can grow to 3m in length, while the leaf chameleon, at just 2.5 cm, is about the same size as a thumb.
Many reptiles are cold-blooded, meaning that they adjust their body temperature by moving around in different environments. If they feel the need to heat up, they’ll go to a sunny area, while if they feel they need to cool off, they’ll go to the shade.
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Play, maternal care and tool use
Many believe that reptiles are primitive and have only basic behaviors. Scientists have discovered fascinating facts about many reptile species’ complex lives.
Nile crocodiles, for example, take care of their eggs by incubating them and protecting them from predators. Mother Nile crocodiles were observed helping hatchlings when they needed it . Crocodiles can even be seen playing with moving objects , as well as using sticks and twigs for prey capture .
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We know that chameleons can change their colour to camouflage in the wild. Chameleons have the ability to change their colour from pink, yellow, and blue. This protects them against predators.
Harmless Scarlet Kingsnakes have been known to imitate deadly poisonous coral snakes. This is done to fool predators into not attacking them.
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Reptiles are complex creatures with specific needs. These include specific dietary needs and the need to have certain levels of heat or light in order to be healthy. They need to have space and enrichment in order to maintain their mental and physical health.
Reptiles are increasingly popular pets. Many people keep snakes, turtles, and lizards in their homes. Every day thousands of animals, including reptiles are taken from the wild to be bred in captivity for exotic pet trade.
It can be difficult to ensure the well-being of exotic pets, including reptiles. It can be very difficult for pet owners, even if they have the best intentions, to meet complex needs of their reptile. They might not have the right knowledge or be able provide a comfortable living environment.
Reptiles can display complex behaviors in the wild. These behaviours should be possible for every reptile. Unfortunately, they may not be able to perform these tasks if they are kept as pets in artificial environments.
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Protecting reptiles against the pet trade
By working with governments to improve their policies, we are helping to end the suffering and cruelty of reptiles as well as other animals involved in the exotic pet trade. We are also looking into how exotic pets are obtained.
As we prepare for 2018’s new campaign, we will be asking you to protect exotic pet animals and reptiles.
This is great! Gemma’s blog last week about pigs and why they aren’t worthy of the negative labels that go along with their names.