This section covers the details a pet owner should know for settling Exotic Birds or Exotic Reptiles.
Petting a feathered friend can be extremely exciting for you and your family. Most birds crave attention and they will not do well if you do not spend enough time with them. Unlike other pets, birds do not exhibit any signs like wagging their tail, or making a noise to show their happiness or sadness instead they use body language which we humans need to judge whether the bird is content or stressed, agitated or sexually stimulated. Also, birds will be happy if there are other birds in the cage, so it is advisable to buy them in pairs or multiples. Birds require space to play, to exercise, to enrich, so it is important to have a cage big enough that doesn’t suffocate them.
Below mentioned are the key essentials one needs to have before bringing these birdies home.
While setting up for birds, choose to keep your birds’ cage far enough from a window so that they do not get direct heat from the sun. Keep it against a wall or a big piece of furniture so that the birdies get to watch everything without worrying about anyone sneaking up on their backside. One can use a towel to cover the cage to keep warm and for the birds to relax in the dark. Also, always keep the cage at a fixed location as birds are reluctant to environmental change and it can cause them to lose the sense of direction. Feather picking is a common phenomenon in birds hence, we need to also put enrichment within the cage so that the birds are always occupied when you are not around to play with them. If there are other pets, the birdcage needs to be placed in a secure spot where it will not be disturbed by curious cats or dogs.
During the initial few days (up to 72 hours), do not touch the birds, just let the birds be in the cage and allow them to get used to their surroundings. Don’t be surprised if they are quiet and inactive for an initial couple of days. Keep caution while changing the cage liner, refilling food and water because the birds are very receptive to touch and can get scared.
Exotic Reptiles (Turtles, Tortoises, Iguanas and Snakes):
The process of warm welcoming these cold-blooded creatures into your house can be quite challenging. Lack of information or incorrect information available with the pet store owners can further add to your worries since these pets are not so popular. Besides, these reptiles have a high upfront setup cost due to the requirement of a large space to keep, maintaining temperature and humidity conditions and making arrangements for live food (like mice, worms, etc. for carnivore reptiles). Some states and countries have specific rules for keeping reptiles, hence one needs to also check all region-specific regulations before bringing them home.
The list of essential items required for settling these reptiles include:
- Terrarium (Never use glass or steel enclosure. Size differs from species to species- reptiles that climb need a taller than wider terrarium while those who don’t climb, should have a wider terrarium. It should have a warmer end (with a heater) and a colder end for your reptile to travel back and forth)
- Two thermometers and a hygrometer to monitor the temperature at both ends and the humidity respectively
- Lighting/Heating unit– 75W UV bulb (Some reptiles are diurnal while others are nocturnal, hence having a lighting source is important to keep them oriented towards day and night)
- Bedding material/carpet (Use calcium sand, coconut fiber, etc.)
- Toys (Like a hut or a hiding object, artificial branches, etc.)
- Water Bowl (Prefer a shallow one and keep it away from light source)
- Food (Fruits and vegetables are good for herbivores while for carnivores, one needs to feed them live food like mice, worms, etc.)
- Food supplements (Consult your vet to understand your pet’s needs)
For setting reptiles in your home, place the terrarium on a stable surface in a quiet place away from direct sunlight. It should be near an electrical outlet for lighting and heating units. Each reptile has a specific requirement of heat, humidity, diet, and water level, depending on their place of origin, size, and age therefore, one needs to contact their nearest vet to understand this according to their pet type. With these reptiles, handling is not an option so one may wish to have an extra container to keep their pet in while they clean out its regular home.
Allow some time for your pet to settle in your home. Reptiles are not receptive to human interactions, if your reptile enjoys being held then they will enjoy the quality time with you. If your reptile doesn’t enjoy being handled, it is important to show your love for them by keeping their home clean and in proper condition.