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Reptile Amphibian Pet Stores

Not all pet stores care for their charges the way they should. Here's what you need to know about Reptile and Amphibian Pet Stores.

Choosing a Reputable Store

Unfortunately, many pet store owners and employees know very little about reptiles and amphibians and, consequently, don't properly care for them. The staff many not even be able to accurately identify the various species they're selling. It's a bad sign if the pet store sells wild-caught specimens. These animals are often under intense stress and may be sick, injured and infested with internal and/or external parasites. External parasites are not always visible to the naked eye. Captive-bred animals may also suffer under improper handling such as insufficient or too much heating and lighting and improper diet. If the pet store staff seems uneducated about caring for these sensitive creatures, it's likely the animals are not well cared for and may even be sick.

To assess whether you should buy your pet from a pet store, visit a few different stores. Look for animals with clean, clear skin free from injury. Check their bellies and claws for ground-in feces, a sure sign the enclosures are not cleaned regularly. Look for lumps, bumps and swelling on the animals' bodies, limbs and tails. Do the animals look well rounded and firm or are their backbones showing and hipbones jutting out? These are signs of dehydration or possibly parasitic infections. Weepy eyes and open-mouthed breathing may indicate respiratory infections.

Healthy reptiles and amphibians will try to escape when someone attempts to capture them. If they don't make any attempts to escape, you should.

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