Acclimating Your Pet Reptile to its New Habitat

Bringing a reptile home can be stressful for both you and your pet. It’s important to know the proper way to introduce your reptile to its new reptile habitat.

Bringing a pet reptile into your home isn’t just difficult for the people who will be taking care of it. It’s also a stressful adjustment for your new pet to make. Starting off on the right note can be very helpful for your relationship with your reptile. By knowing the proper way to introduce a reptile to his new habitat, you can make sure your pet stays happy and healthy throughout the transition. Here are some tips to getting your pet safely into his new reptile habitat.

Prepare the Environment: Pet reptiles have very specific environmental needs in order to live healthily. Before you introduce your pet into his new reptile habitat, make sure you’ve researched all his needs and provided for them in his new tank, cage, or enclosure. There are a diverse range of requirements that must be considered. Here are just a few:

  • Temperature: Reptiles are cold-blooded and need to be able to warm or cool themselves using their environment. Research your pet reptile’s needs to see what range he should be living in, and then set up your pet’s environment to correspond to these temperatures. In all likelihood a heat lamp or under-tank heater will be necessary.
  • Humidity: Aside from temperature, humidity is another important aspect of a reptile’s habitat. Snakes and lizards from tropical or sub-tropical climates will need very humid environments. With too little humidity, reptiles can suffer from respiratory infections, improper shedding, and a loss of appetite. Conversely, humidity that is too high can lead to fungal infections, and bacterial growth.
  • Water: Reptiles, especially if they don’t come straight from the pet store, often suffer from dehydration when they are moving into their new habitat. It’s important to have a source of water readily available. This can also help with humidity.

Introducing Your Reptile: Once your reptile environment is all set up, you can move your new pet into his habitat. Here are some tips to do that:

  • The transition process can be quite disorienting for your pet. It’s thus important to stay calm during the move, as your nervousness can make your reptile nervous or agitated.
  • Before moving your reptile in, turn off the heat lamp in your tank, as the light can cause stress. If you have an under-tank heater, you should leave that on.
  • Your reptile will probably come in a small container or cloth bag. You should release your pet by placing the container on its side in the tank and opening it or unfurling the bag. This will let your reptile come out into the tank at his speed.
  • When doing this, place the container on the side without an under-tank heater, allowing the reptile to warm up at its own speed.
  • Make sure to place your reptile near his water source, so that he can hydrate as necessary.
  • After introducing your pet, let it acclimate with its heat lamp off for an hour if there is no other source of heat, and for a few hours if you have an under tank heater. Then, you can turn its light on and remove the transport container from the tank.