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Tips for Befriending a Reptile

February 01, 2019

Have you recently adopted a baby snake or lizard? Congratulations! It’s important to remember that reptiles are essentially wild animals. Even those who have been bred in captivity really aren’t entirely domesticated. Some, however, tend to be more friendly than others are. Of course, it’s much easier to make friends with a baby reptile than with an adult. Here, a Pasadena, MD vet discusses befriending a reptile.

Making Friends

While it’s often advised to handle lizards frequently and gently, there are some caveats here. You really want to get your little buddy used to you before you try to hold him. The best way to do that? First, give your pet lots of time to settle in before you try to handle him. Talking to your reptile can also help get him used to you. Offering him treats will also help, though you may not want to hand-feed your pet. For one thing, many reptiles eat things like worms and bugs, which many people, understandably, don’t care to hold. With bigger reptiles, this also puts you at risk of being bitten. You can use tongs to give your reptilian pal treats. After a few weeks of this, you may notice your pet seeking you out.

Understanding Signs of Fear

Reptiles can show fear in many ways. Some will defecate, others will try to hide, and some will bite. Some lizards just freeze in place, which can be mistaken for calmness. If you see signs of fear in your reptilian pal, give him some space.

Are Reptiles Affectionate?

Reptiles aren’t necessarily cuddly, but some seem to like being held and petted. Snakes often like warm, dark places, so some won’t mind curling up inside your shirt. Turtles and tortoises sometimes like their tummies (the underside of their plastron) rubbed. Others like having their jaws and heads scratched.

Signs of Progress

Reptiles don’t purr or wag their tails, so it isn’t always easy to tell how they feel. However, if your pet doesn’t hiss, bite, run away from you, or actively try to avoid you, you’re on the right path. Keep giving your scaled buddy treats and space. Before long, your pet may start to relax while you hold it, and may even fall asleep on you.

Please contact us, your Pasadena, MD vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about reptile care. We’re here to help!


Posted in Behavior, General

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