Celebrating the Holidays with Your Reptile

Thoughtful gifts, a special holiday feast, and close friends and family.

Just how do you celebrate the holidays with your reptile friends? The same way you do with humans: gifts, food and time together.

Gifts for your reptile: You can give the gift of privacy with a new hide-away, or update his habitat to a more natural look with a water dish that looks like stone. Along the same lines, some jungle vines and other plastic plants also can add a nice touch. And for the reptile who likes to kick back and relax, a hammock can be easily attached to the sides of his home for a cozy place to hang out.

Gifts for reptile owners:If there’s a reptile owner on your shopping list, he or she may appreciate one of the many books available about reptiles that you’ll find at your local bookstore, pet store or on-line resource. Another educational gift option is a subscription to a magazine like Vivarium or Reptile Magazine, or a paid membership to a local herpetology society organization. There are also numerous reptile-themed calendars and, of course, reptile jewelry. If you still can’t decide, you can always go with a gift certificate to the local pet store.

Holiday Meal: Another important part of the holidays is gathering together for a big feast, and there’s no reason your reptile friend can’t share in this tradition as well. Although you may not want to set a place for him at the dinner table, you can easily make him a “feast for one”, just make sure you cut and shred the food for easy eating

Your iguana would probably enjoy a nice plate of mixed fruits and vegetables, particularly acorn squash, apples, grapes, bell peppers, broccoli and assorted greens. Lizards that usually feast on crickets throughout the year may enjoy wax worms or mealworms for their special dinner. Tortoises, would probably like to dine on dandelion greens, turnip greens, kale and watercress. And for water turtles, you can add a nice earthworm or feeder fish to her normal menu.

Time with friends: You’ll want to make sure your reptile enjoys himself and
stays safe during your holiday celebrations. Here are some guidelines you may want to follow.

  • If friends and family who are visiting would like to hold your pet reptile, keep in mind that if he’s not used to having a lot of extra noise, the vibrations created by your guests may make him agitated and he may not want to be handled. If that’s the case, just explain to your guests that it would be in the pet’s best interest to view him in his cage.
  • If your reptile is comfortable with the extra attention, then feel free to show him off. Remember to always supervise young family members and show them the correct way to hold him. You may want to hold him yourself and then allow family members to pet him. This is an especially good idea if the family member is nervous about being in close proximity to your reptile.
  • Make sure everyone washes their hands thoroughly after handling or petting your reptile to minimize exposure to salmonella bacteria.