How To Care For Your Pet Reptiles At Home

Keeping reptiles at home can be a lot of fun, and there are plenty of benefits to this, including companionship and safety. However, there’s an important element that can’t be missed: when tending to reptiles at home, they must have the proper care to keep them healthy and safe. If you need more information on caring for your reptile at home, there are a number of resources available online such as Reptile Direct, for example.

Infrared heat lamp for reptile and amphibian care. Green iguana relaxing and warming up under the red glow of a heat lamp in the tank.

Do Your Research

When it comes to taking care of your reptilian friend at home, you will want to make sure you have researched extensively so you’re better prepared for any situation that may arise. There are many ways you can conduct your research, whether you go to a bookstore or library to find some books, or maybe talk to an experienced associate at a local pet store, or just browse the internet. 

You will also want to consider researching the appropriate diet and bedding your reptile may require, and whether they will need a heat source or not. Maintenance of your reptile is also important to know. Fortunately, some reptiles don’t require as much maintenance as some others. If you do need to take some steps to keep your reptile’s health in good shape, then there are plenty of books out on the subject and sites to be researched, which should give you some good information. For general health standards, it’s important to follow basic steps regarding daily vitamins and proper food source, having a proper cage or tank, choice of UVA or UVB bulbs, temperature or humidity rates, and acclimation time. 

Daily Vitamins And Proper Food Source

The first thing you will need for your reptile is a good source of food. This will vary depending on the species of your reptile, and will thus require research to ensure you’re giving your pet the right food. If you are not giving your pet the appropriate food for their species then they will likely suffer from deficiencies that will be detrimental to their health. They also may simply not eat at all and starve.

Regardless of which food you’re giving your reptile companion, it’s possible that they will be missing out on a number of vitamins and nutrients that are imperative to their overall health. It’s not difficult to find these vitamins. You can purchase them online or you can go to a local store that stocks what you need. An experienced associate might be able to help you pick out which vitamin is best for your reptile.

Proper Cage Or Tank

When housing your reptilian friend, you will want to make sure they have plenty of room to move around and explore. If they’re in a space that’s cramped and generally not big enough, your reptile will likely start to become depressed or agitated and lash out. During your research, you will find that a tank is best for certain reptiles, while cages are more appropriate for others. It really just depends on the species and how big your reptile will get as they continue to grow. Make sure that when you’re choosing a size for a tank or cage that you consider how big your reptile may actually grow. 

UVB Or UVA Bulbs

It’s recommended that you don’t keep the housing of your reptile in direct sunlight, as that constant heat will cause your pet harm.  Dehydration is a perfect example. While housing your reptile away from direct sunlight, it’s important to consider which heating bulb is best for your pet. Do the research to find out which bulb is correct for your situation. 

A UVA bulb is a black light while a UVB bulb is for heating. These bulbs will help promote the reptile’s natural behavior, including eating, breeding habits, and immune system strength. Without these bulbs, your pets can suffer from paralysis. Their life cycle becomes accelerated and they can actually die sooner than you’d expect. It’s like taking away the sun from our race. We would eventually freeze to death because there’s no longer a source of heat.

Once the proper bulb or bulbs are in place, it’s recommended that you change them whenever they time out, or at least every 12 months. It might not seem like such a big deal, but it can be quite important when it comes to your reptile’s health. 

Temperatures And Humidity

This topic will require the most consideration and the most research. The temperature and humidity of your reptile’s climate is something that needs to be checked regularly. Having the appropriate equipment like a thermometer and a humidity gauge will make this easier to handle. Keep track of the varying degrees to best benefit your pet. 

For example: 

  • Average Temperature: 65-85°F (18-29°C)
  • Basking Temperature: 90-110°F (32-43°C)
  • Humidity: 10-30%

This will not be difficult to research, and may take only a couple minutes to do, but it will be detrimental to the overall health of your reptile. You don’t want the enclosure to be too humid, or too dry, and cause your pet to be dehydrated.

Give Them The Right Acclimation Time

When you first bring your pet home, you will need to give them time to acclimate to their new environment. If you try to handle them within the first few days of bringing them home, there’s a good chance they will lash out. So, give them time to adapt to their surroundings, and slowly introduce them to your touch over time. Don’t immediately try picking them up, as they’re not used to you. This action can make them aggressive and attack you, so take your time. Once you recognize that they’re more active in their enclosure, reach in and touch them gently every so often. This will help them become more acclimated to your presence. 

Eventually, you’ll be able to hold them and give them attention in a more personal fashion. You might even let them roam around the room and explore for themselves, as long as they’re supervised. Eventually, letting them out of their cage and handling them appropriately will be a great benefit for their overall health. 


There’s a lot of research that must be conducted to properly care for your reptilian friend. No one wants to watch their pet suffer, or pass away too soon. So, whether you have just brought your pet home, or are thinking about getting one, make sure you’ve researched everything that relates to your reptile of choice. If you do, then it’s likely that they will live for many years to come. Make sure to have fun when keeping your reptile around the house, too. You’ll learn a lot about them, and yourself, in the end.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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