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Read About Australian Reptiles

Australian reptiles of many species and sizes can make interesting pets. Everything you need to know about them is contained in this article.

Australian reptiles - Facts

  1. Description:

    Reptiles are cold-blooded, egg-laying vertebrates, and are usually covered with scales or horny plates. They breathe through lungs, the same as birds and mammals. Australia is home to more species of reptiles than any other continent.
  2. Varieties:

    There are well over 800 varieties of reptiles in Australia, ranging from snakes to turtles to frogs to lizards.
  3. History:

    Fossils of reptiles in Australia have been dated back 200 million years.
  4. Physical Traits:

    Reptiles have a thick, dry, scaly skin called the epidermis. Many reptiles shed this skin regularly. Most are shades of green, brown or gray, although some have brightly colored skin. Reptiles also are vertebrates, meaning that they have a backbone.
  5. Other Defining Characteristics:

    Reptiles have keen senses of taste and smell to help locate their prey, and to find information about their surroundings.
  6. Habitat:

    Most Australian reptiles are found either in desert areas, tropical areas or in the ocean. This is due to the fact that they are cold-blooded, and are unable to generate their own body heat, so they depend on the sun to keep them warm.

Australian reptiles - Concerns

  1. Benefits:

    In the wild, reptiles eat small animals such as mice, rats, and many destructive types of insects. As pets, reptiles can be a good way for children to learn about exotic animals.
  2. Liabilities:

    Some Australian reptiles are poisonous, and this in itself is a reason for not keeping them as pets. Also, reptiles can turn on their owners during feeding time or mating cycles. Therefore, anyone, especially children, must be very careful when handling any type of reptile.
  3. Health Issues:

    Reptiles are prone to respiratory infections and parasites, and can pass diseases such as salmonella on to people. You should wash and dry your hands well after handling a reptile.
  4. Specific Care Needs:

    A reptile enclosure needs to be kept clean and dry, and should have a lockable lid so that the reptile cannot escape. Many reptiles need live food such as insects or mice, and all reptiles need access to clean water. Reptiles also need a source of heat, such as a special light, or a heating rock, to keep them warm.
  5. Reaction to Children and other Pets:

    A reptile may be surprised or frightened by children who are unfamiliar with their handling, as well as by pets. Adult supervision is recommended.
  6. Special Household Needs:

    Reptile enclosures should be secure and difficult for children or other pets to get into.

Australian reptiles - How to Choose

  1. What to Look for:

    A healthy reptile does not appear skinny or have bones showing through the flesh. The skin should not appear to be excessively dry or wrinkled. The eyes should be clear and free of discharge. The mouth should be a healthy pink color.
  2. Supplies:

    You will need an aquarium with a locking lid, a heat source (generally a lamp or heat rock), and a good source of food (for instance, you may also need to raise mice to feed the reptile).
  3. Expense:

    An exotic reptile can be expensive, depending on its rarity, and the ease or difficulty of obtaining the proper food sources.