Has your little one been asking for a pet reptile? Our scaled pals can be absolutely captivating. However, there are some definite pros and cons to getting your youngster a tiny dinosaur. A Covington, GA vet discusses choosing a reptile for a child below.
Reptiles do have some great characteristics. They’re beautiful, quiet, and don’t need any training. A snake or lizard won’t bark all night, chew your shoes, or scratch up your sofa. They’re also a great option for kids with allergies. And, while some reptiles are definitely not suitable for children, others are cute, gentle, and need minimal daily care.
On the downside, you’ll need to consider the animal’s food and housing needs. Being a good reptile owner definitely requires conquering a learning curve. Longevity is another thing to think about. Some reptiles live 20 years or longer. An iguana, for example, can grow over six feet. Last but not least, your scaled buddy may need to eat things like live bugs. Needless to say, that can be a deal-breaker for some.
There is no one set age for kids to get their first pets, as children all mature differently. There are, however, some milestones you can go by. If your child does homework and tasks without needing several reminders, he or she may be ready to care for a pet. It’s also important to make sure your child understands that animals are not toys, and that they should always be treated with kindness and compassion.
If all the lights are green, it’s time to do some research and decide what type of reptile to get. Turtles are popular with kids, but they are very long-lived. In fact, some can live to be over 100! In past times, families passed pet turtles down through generations. That’s a great idea, but just isn’t feasible in this day and age. You’ll also want to choose a pet that won’t get too large. Turtles also carry salmonella, so your child would have to carefully wash their hands every time he handles his shelled pet or its belongings. As for lizards, bearded dragons and leopard geckos are both fairly docile and don’t get very large. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Please contact us, your Covington, GA vet clinic, anytime. We are dedicated to offering great care to reptiles!