It probably isn’t much of a surprise to learn that reptiles typically live much longer in captivity than they do in the wild, as long as they get proper care. However, even with top-notch care, your pet reptile will sooner or later enter their golden years. How do you make sure your snake, turtle, or lizard is comfortable in their ‘reptirement?’ A Scottsdale, AZ vet offers some tips below.
Provide Great Care
First things first: provide your reptilian pal with a clean, comfortable habitat; plenty of fresh water, including soaking pools if needed; and a proper diet. Of course, this applies to reptiles of all ages, but it’s still worth repeating!
Watch For Signs
As your pet ages, he or she may become less active, and not seem as alert or responsive. You may notice your reptile’s scales becoming duller and less colorful. Their claws and beaks may also get longer. Senior reptiles tend to spend more time basking, and may lose bone and/or muscle mass.
Do Some Research
Life expectancy varies widely among our scaled friends. Some smaller lizards may only live about a year, while there are turtles out there that are well over a hundred. Do some research to get an idea of when your pet will officially become a senior.
You may need to adjust your reptile’s menu, especially if they start looking bony. Some animals, such as snakes, will benefit from getting smaller meals more frequently. Others may need their food cut into smaller portions. You may also need to give your pet extra supplements to ensure they are getting enough calcium and Vitamin D. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice.
Older animals often have weakened immune systems. This of course makes them more susceptible to illnesses and infections. Keep your scaled pal’s cage clean! You may need to rearrange your pet’s home to make it more comfortable for them. Your vet may also recommend increasing the amount of UVB light your reptile gets.
Keep up with your pet’s veterinary appointments. In between visits, watch for signs of illness, such as lethargy, lack of appetite, and strange behavior or posture. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything wrong.
Please contact us, your Scottsdale, AZ vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your reptile’s diet, health, or care. We’re here to help!