On a routine visit to the pet store for the usual pet supplies, I fell in love. Rocking slightly on her branch as she stared at me from her cage on the counter next to the cash register, the perfect spiral of her tail was the same soft green with blue and reddish brown speckles as the rest of her fabulously bumpy skin. The bright red "Sale" sign taped to the cage bars clashed with the peaceful scene of plastic plants, wooden branches, water fountain and viridescent chameleon it contained. I brought this chameleon, her cage and all it's contents home on an impulse. I had cared for dogs, fish, rodents, snails, insects, cats and birds as pets, so I thought to myself, how much different could reptile care be? Yeah. In my defense, I was a young college student just beginning my journey as an adult pet owner. But there is no excuse for taking reptile ownership or any pet care lightly. Everything about this chameleon impulse purchase set me up for failure. Among those was that the pet store sold me the wrong enclosure for the environment this pet needed and I had no idea what I was doing. It is in honor of the chameleon who I failed to properly care for that I am writing about responsibly caring for reptile pets. When I did my best and failed at caring for my chameleon, there was no easy access to information on how to successfully care for a snake, turtle, bearded dragon, lizard, tortoise or chameleon. I want anyone and everyone who falls in love with bumpy skin, beady eyes and cold blood like I did to never have to experience my heartbreak.
Have you had a reptile pets that would have had a better or longer life if you been more informed about proper reptile care?