Sunday, May 27, 2012

10 Must-Have Items for Reptile Care and Maintenance

Over my many years of keeping reptiles and amphibians, I have decided that certain objects are necessary for their care and maintenance. Here are 10 items that I cannot live without. 

 Detachable Shower head

This is one of the most important items on the list. Since we live in an apartment, I can't just take the cages outside to hose them down. We have no hose or backyard! So we have a detachable shower head instead. It makes cleaning cages and cage furniture a snap. Plus, we don't have to worry about dumping bleach water on the lawn. It just goes down the drain! And the high pressure setting really helps wash off stubborn bits of eco earth. In my opinion, this is a must have for anyone with caged animals.

 Huge Mister

This is pretty self-explanatory. Reptiles and amphibians (even desert species) need the occasional misting. This monster of a mister makes it very easy.

  Probe Thermometer

Let's face it: most of those sticky cage thermometers suck. They aren't very accurate and they constantly fall off. Heaven help you if one of the adhesive-backed cage thermometers falls into eco earth. It will never stick to the glass again! While I do use sticky cage thermometers to get a general read of the cage temps, I prefer probe thermometers because they can move and they are much more accurate. I have hung this one on a tack stuck into a cork board. I can remove the thermometer easily to test cage and water temps. When I am not using it to test cage temps, it measures the room temperature for me. Very handy!

 Hand Sanitizer, Paper Towels, and Enzymes

Paper towels are an obvious must-have. Same thing with hand sanitizer. The enzyme cleaner is a little unusual, but it is one of those things I cannot live without. Unlike many reptile cleaners, it is completely harmless to the animals. And while I would never spray it on an animal or in their water bowl (duh), I can use it while the critter is in the cage. It doesn't sanitize the cage (I use a small amount of bleach and a lot of water for that), but it is very good at reducing odors! It works very well with care fresh. When combined with a paper towel, it also helps remove stuck-on snake poo.

 Spare Light Bulbs

Because you never know when a light will go out. And most pet stores aren't open 24-hours.
Feed Tongs, Sand Scoop, and Scrub Brush

Feed tongs are useful for more than just feeding. They can be used to move objects in cages (like when you are feeding your pacman frog and accidentally drop the cricket cardboard in his cage and don't feel like losing a finger) or as an "emergency" snake hook for rowdy snakes after feeding (or whenever). You may think, 'who owns a reptile and not a pair of feed tongs'? But trust me, I have met plenty of people who own snakes and not feed tongs. Sand scoops can be used to scoop up all kinds of substrate. They can also be used to separate meal worms from the material they are packaged in (especially when you are down to your last few). Scrub brushes are awesome for cleaning water dishes (don't use cleaners, though)! As a side note, you can also see a thing of calcium supplement in the drawer. I didn't include that in the list because then I would have to include reptile food in the list.

So there you have it. 10 must-have items for reptile care and maintenance.

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