posted on 12 Oct 2011
Reptiles and amphibians together make up a group of animals known as herptiles (meaning "bumpy skin"). This group includes, but is not limited to: lizards, snakes, frogs, and toads, turtles, newts and salamanders. All herptiles are ectotherms, that is, unlike mammals they do not produce internal body heat. Instead their temperature is determined by their surrounding environment. Understanding this fact is crucial to proper herptile care and makes caring for herptiles both fun and challenging. Caring for herptiles is not like caring or a cat or a dog but it can be equally rewarding.
Probably the most important factor in caring for herptiles is designing and establishing the proper habitat. Because different herptiles have different habitat needs it is important to know what environment your herptile comes from in the wild. Understanding the conditions of your herptile's natural environment will greatly help you to be able to mimic these conditions in captivity. For instance, if your herptile comes from a desert-like environment you can design its habitat to more closely mimic a desert. If your herptile's natural environment is a swamp, you will want to make its captive environment more swamp-like. Most iguanas come from tropical forests, thus a captive environment that is warm and humid with plenty of vertical climbing area would be ideal for them.
We cannot emphasize enough the need to research and understand the natural environment condition of your herptile for proper herptile husbandry. The following are several factors that are important to consider when designing a proper enclosure:
The above information should be considered only an overview of herptile care. If you have specific questions or comments you are welcome to phone us and schedule an appointment with a veterinarian who sees herptiles or ask to speak to a technician who is familiar with herptile care.