People often think about reptiles and amphibians as effortless pets for beginners. But they are nothing but that. Reptiles are complex creatures that can be difficult to keep in captivity.
Lizards, tortoises, turtles, amphibians, and crocodiles are ectothermic animals that rely on their environment to execute essential physiologic functions. An article from The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) highlights this vital point. It is important to educate this. "There's a difference between surviving and thriving in our care," says Meghann Cant, manager of companion animal welfare science & policy for the BC SPCA. "I think it's time we ask ourselves what's in it for the animal."
Your most important contribution - mimic the diverse elusive wild
Reptiles in the wild live in a wide variety of surroundings, from deserts to oceans to rainforests. These habitats fulfill their varied needs to hunt, excavate, climb, swim, hibernate and reproduce.
Wild reptiles can move between habitats with differing microclimates to meet their needs, not just during the day but from season to season. "Captive environments just can't replicate this complexity," Cant continues. Unfortunately, many people who keep reptiles as pets recognize that their animals are not doing well solely if they show late-stage signs of severe health issues. These include wounds, disease, dehydration, malnutrition, and even death. Therefore sizable numbers of reptiles are experiencing considerable suffering in captivity.
Helpful technology is vital for a stable climate
"Many products made for reptiles are advertised as having all the elements necessary for the animal to thrive," continues Cant in the article. "But, in reality, they often allow animals to do insignificant more than perch, hide, eat and drink." But with innovation, research, and the development of the latest appropriate technology, we can come closer to ensuring the health and well-being of captive reptiles and amphibians. Technology can play a vital role in controlling the environment and its elements. Let's work for diversity and contented, healthy animals.