A reader who has kids that want a reptile asks Dr Platzhund about the pros and cons of keeping one.
Q: My kids would like a reptile as a pet, but I’d like to know the pros and cons of owning one of these creatures first.
A: All pets are 100 percent dependent on their caregivers. Reptiles are the least demanding pets, as they don’t suffer from behaviour disorders, because they don’t do much to start with. The amount of food a reptile needs isn’t much; however, correct feeding is important. These cold-blooded creatures depend on environmental temperatures for activity motivation. Therefore, they’re less active in hot temperatures than they are in cooler ones. They don’t need affection, but once they become comfortable with their surroundings, they tend to enjoy being handled. Reptiles are generally silent pets. They make better pets than hamsters and rats as they’re daylight creatures, and I don’t know of anyone who has shown allergies caused by reptiles. An indoor atrium with environmental enhancements, such as tree stumps, rockery, sand and water features, is recommended to house pythons. Bearded dragons may require a cage of about 2m x 1m. You must carefully monitor the climate and cleanliness of the cage at all times.