Reptiles As Pets Friday 07 October 2016 @ 08:51
By Tim Faulkner.
Australian reptiles have become one of the world’s most favoured pets. For instance, in the UK, calculations by the British Federation of Herpetologists (BFH) indicate that there are now as many as 8 million reptiles being kept as pets in comparison to an estimated dog population of 6.5 million.
The most common reptiles that have become prolific in the pet world are bearded dragons, carpet pythons, children’s pythons and turtles of a variety of species.
Why do reptiles make great pets?
Reptiles do not need to be fed as often as a dog or cat, so those who are time-poor are able to benefit from the low amount of time needed for caring.
Their enclosures are reasonable simple and extremely sustainable meaning that once the initial set up has been completed, the resulting maintenance is very little (if done correctly).
Reptiles as pets are tremendously rewarding because, aside from the public misconception, they are very interactive you can touch, feed and hold them, which encourages a healthy connection with wildlife for kids.
Why are pets important for kids?
Pets in any capacity are important from a sense that it provides children to develop empathy, compassion and care. It is scientifically noted that children with pets mingle better in social environments and have a better sense empathy, care and compassion through the interaction with their pets. This is transferable to reptiles as pets, as children have the same ability to develop these traits whether they were to have a reptile, dog, bird or cat.
What is needed to be able to keep a reptile as a pet?
Reptile ownership in Australia is a privilege, not a right. The trade and keeping of reptiles is regulated on a state-by-state basis, and the laws are subject to change. In most instances, licences must be applied for before a reptile is obtained, and records must be kept, with annual returns required. There are also reputable sources to purchase reptiles from that are certified. The cautions are that there are people who harvest animals from the wild and that is why reptiles should always be bought from reputable sellers with a licensing system and a background history.
To sum up, I cannot be a bigger advocate of reptiles as pets. Reptiles make one of the most engaging pets, and with modern life and housing becoming smaller, they require limited area and time, but give all the rewards and provide everything that kids need to form a connection with nature.
By Tim Faulkner, General Manager, Australian Reptile Park 2015 Australian Geographic conservationist of The Year.