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Pet Health & Wellness

Unveiling the Hidden Benefits of Keeping Pet Reptiles and Amphibians with Animals at Home

Pets are more than cats and dogs, learn about the benefits of having reptile or amphibian as a pets with Animals at Home.

I am writing this from my home office which doubles as an animal room and podcast studio. To my back, is a special group of animals, some of which have been in my care for nearly two decades. The animals are a gecko, and a few different species of snakes. I host the Animals at Home Podcast, a herpetoculture-themed (i.e., the practice of keeping reptiles and amphibians) show, with emphasis on ethical keeping (i.e., improving animal welfare, advancing breeding methods, and promotion of natural replication). The podcast is in its 6th year of production, has 200 episodes recorded, and has been listened to nearly 3 million times.  I am sure you are asking, “Why would anyone want to keep a reptile or amphibian as a pet?”. Well, let me explain.

First, allow me to mention some of the utilitarian reasons someone may want to keep a pet reptile. Reptiles and amphibians are hypoallergenic, most species do not make noise, they generally have no smell, and depending on the species, they do not take up much space. Most species do not require daily interaction and can, provided their husbandry is adequate, be left unattended for several days without any issue at all. My snakes, for example, only eat once every 5-8 weeks. All these reasons make reptiles and amphibians a great option for busy individuals who are not able to devote the time and space for a conventional dog or cat. However, there are far more meaningful reasons that one might be motivated to keep a reptile or amphibian as a pet.

Many reptile and amphibian keepers use the practice to interact with a complex puzzle. In the same way that marine aquarium enthusiasts need to balance water salinity, set up special lighting, and build robust filtration systems, reptile and amphibian keepers need to understand their animal’s native habitat, and the climatic patterns they are exposed to including temperature, humidity, and solar UV levels. Many keepers create naturalistic habitats for their pets that aim to replicate a slice of the animal’s natural habitat, including rich soil, live plants, climbing branches, and ponds to swim in. From learning about natural ecosystems to tinkering with misting systems and UV-producing lights, reptile and amphibian keeping is really for the ultimate nerd. Not to mention the stunning centerpiece a well-set-up vivarium can add to a room in your home.

There are also benefits to reptile and amphibian keeping that extend beyond the enjoyment of the keeper. There have been countless species bred in captivity for the first time in the hands of a private keeper. This is especially important when keepers are working with threatened species. Well-constructed habitats also allow the keeper to connect with nature. As our industrial world continues to grow, a connection with the natural world is crucial. Finally, many reptile and amphibian keepers aid in conservation. For example, the Animals at Home Podcast is partnered with the Amazon Rainforest Conservancy, and a percentage of the profits are automatically donated to the charity. Reptile and amphibian keepers are animal and nature lovers at heart, protecting the natural world is something many of us are passionate about.

All these topics are explored deeply on the podcast. We cover everything from increasing your animal’s welfare to highlighting conservation projects and more. If you are interested in potentially becoming a reptile or amphibian keeper or are a curious person looking for a complex project, I recommend checking out the podcast to learn more about the fascinating world of herpetoculture! Find the show by searching “Animals at Home” on YouTube or your favorite podcast app.

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