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Choose your equipment:

In general, reptiles are complex animals and life in captivity is not always easy, we must recognize that despite their beauty and fascination, not all reptiles are made to live in cap- tivity. Some require very specific care. It is important to be well informed before buying one. A lot of issues can be really bad for your animal health.

The wild life:

In general, reptiles born in captivity have better health and are more easily adaptable to life in captivity than those taken directly from nature. There are many species of animals in amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and reptiles that are threatened. Each and every one of us is partly responsible for this.

The native fauna:

The most important thing is never to release a reptile or anything in the native wildlife around us. A released animal can transmit disease to this wildlife and compete with esta- blished native species for food and shelter.

Basic principle of material:

Depending on the reptile species chosen, it may vary its habitat slightly. But remember that the basic principle remains the same. Think about how your reptile lives in nature.

The terrarium:

The terrarium is the most important purchase for a reptile in captivity, s it is the place

where it will spend its entire life. It is therefore important to choose it well.

Every environment has its advantages and disadvantages; you just have to be aware of them to give the maximum comfort. If you take a terrarium too small we must take into ac- count that we will add: hiding place, branch, bowl of water, decoration etc. Will there be room for the reptile?

The rack:

Some reptiles can live their whole life in racks. It depends on their biotope (where they live in nature). It will of course require a heating cable or mat.

Substrate:

It is a matter of taste and personal choice. It is chosen on the basis of keeping more or less the required moisture for the chosen species. There is a wide variety of possibilities to facilitate cleaning. The most important thing with the substrate is to be careful in order to avoid the ingestion of these non-digestible materials, which can cause intestinal obstruc- tion, which in the short and medium term can cause death.

Use certain edible materials (calcium sand) for certain types of lizards. Calcium sand does not replace multivitamins and calcium; if the reptile lacks these vitamins then it will eat the sand in large quantities and this may cause intestinal obstruction.

Temperature:

The thermostat is the most important tool; there are several models on the market. It should be placed in the centre of the vivarium and slightly above the substrate.

At 95% of the time if you have a problem with your reptile, the cause is the wrong tempera- ture, so it is important to have a thermostat and especially to place it in the appropriate place. If the thermometer indicates the recommended temperature for the chosen species, we will obtain by moving to the heating light the hot spot and to the heating plate the cold side. If the terrarium is too small by placing the light at one end as recommended, (not for- getting that it cannot be on the same side as the film or stone heating) it will be difficult to get the ideal temperatures, either a hot side and a cold side (TMP/TMC (preferred average temperature or average body temperature) is required for the reptile because the distance from one end to the other is too short.

Light:

In nature we find two types of lighting.The sun for every kind of day life, the moon for any type of nightlife

Lighting may vary depending on the environment; clouds, mist, desert, tropical, if we are safe or in the open. For the reptiles we keep in captivity, it is important to simulate the ligh- ting we find in the natural environment. On an optional timer it should stay on for 10 to 12 hours a day. (depending on species and season). For diurnal reptiles, we have heating light, which with a bulb gives heat and UV rays. On the market there are several models and different companies: all have specifications according to the environment and the cho- sen reptile species.

Some bulbs give more heat than others: the beam can be narrow or wide as needed. It is important to make sure you know the right type of bulb for your reptile.

Above all, you should never try to recreate natural lighting by placing your vivarium directly at the edge of a window; this environment is deadly for a captive reptile in need of UV. First the UVB rays do not pass through a window and then the fact of placing a vivarium

directly in the sun on the edge of a window, has the same effect as a car in full sun with the windows closed. Greenhouse effect that can be deadly for the reptile.

Also watch out for the lifespan of your bulbs, some last only a few months. The recom- mended installation for heating light is to fix the light on a ramp or in a bell to avoid burns if the lamp is in the terrarium. .

For nocturnal reptiles, we find the lighting that with an infrared or blue bulb, gives heat, but without UV rays. It should not be forgotten that in nature the nights are cooler, so it is normal for the temperature of the vivarium to go down at night so that your reptile is cy- cled.

It is also important for the reptile to have the choice to stand in the sun or shade; it is up to you to plan to offer it both possibilities. Don’t forget the bowl of water.

Heating mat or cable:

The mat or heating cable does not heat the environment. They are programmed by the manufacturer to reach heat to the touch and designed for reptile digestion (so important to its metabolism after a meal).

Decorations and various elements:

The branch, the vines, the plants must be placed in the direction of the lighting of the terra- rium so that the reptile can get closer to its hot spot and thus take the UVB rays transmit- ted by the neon or the spiral as the case.

The Bowl of water:

It is true that a simple box or other can be used as a bowl of water for your reptile. On the other hand it is easily astounding by this one and of course less aesthetic. This is why there is a wide variety of specialized bowls for all types of reptiles. The important points of the water bowl are the front; in the first place it is better to place it away from the heating light. The water being more comfortable, the reptile often takes advantage of it to do its needs, because it is easier for it to dilate in the water. Often we replace the water and if it is comfortable, and soon after it is already soiled by excrement of a reptile. Each reptile may have different needs in a bowl of water: some must be larger, deeper, while others must be heavier or have an access ramp to reach it. It is important for the well-being of your reptile to choose it according to the species.

The Hiding Place:

The hiding place is installed on the warm side of the installation. When the reptile is not in the hiding place, it is often under the light for its exposure to the sun, take the UVB it needs (depending on the species), or in its bowl of water to fetch the moisture it lacks. De- pending on the size of the vivarium, other hiding places can be installed in different places (in the center, on the hot side, etc.). If you have several hiding places, the reptile will have a greater choice to place itself where it will be most comfortable. The important thing is to give him the opportunity to choose, but to give him room to move around as well.

Observation:

Pay special attention to your reptile: in a too small environment, if it is too hot it will stand on the coldest side, will try to hide from the sun (your light that emits too much heat), will hardly move and in the medium or long term he will become ill.

On the other hand, if it is too cold it will stand on the warmest side, will try to get closer to the sun (your light does not emit enough heat), will hardly move and in the medium and long term it will fall ill. A vivarium that is too big is exactly the same thing; in addition it is often more difficult to heat and keep the ideal humidity unless investing a much higher

amount for specialized equipment.

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