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Caring for an Older Reptile

January 01, 2020

Part of being a good pet parent is taking care of your animal companion during their golden years. This applies to reptiles just as much as any other animal! A Covington, GA vet discusses caring for an aging reptile below.

Research Life Span

Expected life spans vary wildly with reptiles. Some, such as lacertid lizards, only live about a year, and can become seniors as early as 9 months! Others, like green anoles, rarely live more than 8 years. Boa constrictors, on the other hand, can live up to 25 years, while tortoises can make it to 100 or even longer. Make sure you know what your pet’s expected life span is.

Signs of Aging

Your beloved pet won’t go grey, so you may need to look closely to spot signs of aging. Your scaled pal’s beak and claws may get longer as your pet becomes less active. You may also notice your pet losing muscle, and looking a bit bony. Older reptiles are typically slower than their younger counterparts, so your reptilian buddy may spend more time napping or basking. With some reptiles, you may also see a change in their coloration.

Feeding

It isn’t uncommon for older reptiles to have a decreased appetite. Your vet may recommend making some changes to your pet’s diet. Snakes, for example, may do better having smaller portions, but eating more often. For turtles and tortoises, you may want to chop their meals up. Supplements may also help. Calcium and vitamin D3 can be very beneficial for older reptiles. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Handling

Older lizards often get bone breaks or fractures if they fall or are dropped. Be very gentle with your pet!

Habitat/Conditions

Just like people, reptiles get more fragile as they get older. Their immune systems also often get weaker. This is one reason that UVB lighting becomes especially critical for many older reptiles. It’s also important to make sure your pet’s cage is set up in a way that makes it easy for him to get around. Follow your vet’s recommendations.

Veterinary Care

Just like any other pet, your scaled buddy will need proper veterinary care to thrive. Keep up with your pet’s appointments!

Please contact us here at Oak Hill Animal Hospital, your Covington, GA, pet hospital, with any questions or concerns about caring for older reptiles. We’re here to help!


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