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Tips to winterize your exotic pets

Tree Frog
Tree Frog
Hyla Japong

Cold weather is rolling into the Denver area and as an exotic pet owner, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your furry, scaly and sometimes slimy friends. In this article we will discuss the proper way to “winterize” reptiles and amphibians to get them ready for a drop in temperature.

Reptiles and amphibians are cold-blooded and they are not able to maintain optimal body temperature on their own without the aid of their environment to stay warm. In the winter, it becomes most important for reptile enclosures to be closely monitored in order to maintain the reptile’s optimum body temperature.

Thermometers kept on both sides of the enclosure will help ensure the temperature in constant.

External heat lights, ceramic heating elements, and under-tank heaters are all good devices to help regulate a reptile’s temperature. Reptile owners should be cautious about heat light and heating element placement. Heat lights should be kept out of reach of the reptile’s body to avoid injury. Hot rocks are also thought to be ineffective temperature regulation devices for reptiles and are recommended to be sources of heat if used at all.

Be sure to check on your pet two to three times a day, especially during cold snaps to make sure that their habitat is not to cold or to hot due to over adjustment.

If enclosures are kept near large banks of windows or if your friend is in an indoor - outdoor enclosure, it should be moved to a spot where temperatures can be easily adjusted and not weather dependant. If the reptile going to be kept primarily outside during the winter months, reptile owners must place blankets or other thermal materials over the reptiles’ enclosure to help regulate the temperature inside the tank.

Many of the reptiles and amphibians that we keep as pets in Colorado are non-native. Most species tend to come from Africa, South America, or Australia, where climates are very different from Colorado. To keep your reptile alive and happy during the winter months, much like a car, pet owners need to “winterize” their pets. Providing a properly regulated environment is the first and best step to take in making sure that your scaly kid is healthy and happy when the snow begins to fall.