So you think you want a reptile as a pet? | Local News

Well, that might be a good idea if you want low-maintenance, quiet, and unique pets. Reptiles are perfect for workers who have very little time at home. You don’t need to take them for walks and they usually don’t need more than five minutes of cleaning once a week. Snakes, for example, eat once a week and poop once a week… how easy is that to keep?

My top choice is the Ball Python. They are named ball pythons because they curl up and hide when bullied. Due to their docile and calm nature, you will want to handle your ball python a lot. Over time, you will build a trusting relationship between you and your ball python.

These nocturnal snakes need moisture as they are native to West and Central Africa. Ball pythons come in over 500 different colors and patterns. They don’t get too big like other pythons. Most reach a maximum length of four and a half to five feet, but they can become thick over time. Ball pythons can live up to 30 years.

Please note that ball pythons are renowned for their pungent food; they like their food best alive, but some will go for freshly killed or thawed. Their favorite food is the soft-furred African rats. Small, but significantly higher in protein than American domestic rats. They also sometimes stop eating for long periods of time, usually because they need to lose weight. Babies eat one mouse a week until they grow up, then switch to an average rat a month as adults. Live and frozen rats can be purchased at Barb’s Pet World in Trenton.

Another favorite is the bearded dragon. Purchased as babies, they can become great pets. They are from Australia. They are easy keepers who come from a desert environment and like the temperature of their terrarium between 80 and 85 degrees.

They eat leafy greens, fruits and insects, mealworms and small tender crickets. Insects are available at Barb’s Pet World in Trenton. Beardie needs a 20 long tank, ventilated screen lid, heat lamp, UVB light, water dish, food dish, branches and a hiding. Harnesses and leashes are available for walking your beard, as it can run FAST.

A great snake to keep as a pet is the milk snake. They range from the United States to Mexico and are bred in captivity for the pet industry. They don’t need a lot of humidity, so it’s good to use a UVB bulb for sunlight and a heat lamp to keep them warm in half of their environment. They also like a hot rock or under tank heat radiating upwards. They like a temperature range throughout the terrarium of 70 to 90 degrees.

Nelson’s Milksnakes are carnivorous. We have found that mice are the best diet for Nelson’s milk snake. A particularly large Nelson’s milk snake may transition to smaller rats when fully grown, but an all-rodent diet is best.

Baby milk snakes should be fed pink mice weekly, as the snake grows the size of the food should be increased until the snake takes on large mice or even jumbos or rats in size difficult. Adult milk snakes can be fed once every two weeks as they can become overweight if fed weekly. You should always include a medium or large water bowl in the snake’s enclosure. You may notice the snake using it for bathing, usually to cool off or to help loosen its skin. The water bowl should be kept on the cold side of the enclosure to prevent it from raising the humidity in the enclosure.

Be careful when buying reptiles or ANY pet on the internet. Some “dealers” are scammers, some ship weak or poor quality animals, and some animals simply cannot handle shipping.

For more reptile information, be sure to check with Barb’s Pet World in Trenton to find out if the one you like is available and what the current prices are. Maybe the local store can order one for you…or maybe it’s already in stock!

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