Celebrate Reptile Awareness Day
Saturday is Reptile Awareness Day—a time to celebrate all the cool things we love about reptiles. According to the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, there are 9.4 million reptiles in the U.S. and 4.7 million reptile-owning households across the country. Of those households, snake and lizard ownership are at an all-time high at 32 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
There are some fascinating facts about the more than 8,000 species of reptiles. The Aldabra tortoises can live more than 150 years, and ball pythons can live up to 40 years. There are over 300 turtle species worldwide, including roughly 60 types of tortoise and 7 sea turtle species. And despite the image that comes to mind because of their fearsome name, bearded dragons are relatively small lizards that enjoy munching on vegetables along with their staple cricket diet.
And while some people are afraid of all snakes, basic care and handling practices can eliminate almost all of the risk of having a nonvenomous companion animal snake. It’s not just snakes, though—it is important to ensure that all reptiles are getting proper care. Learning about diets, enclosures, escape prevention, and other factors is very important to keep a pet healthy in the home, and to prevent its escape into the wild.
Reptiles and amphibians are very popular with hobbyists, and important to zoological organizations and research institutions. Reptile breeders have also developed assurance colonies—captive populations of imperiled species—to assist conservation programs in rebuilding wild populations when their numbers reach critical levels.
And PIJAC’s industry-created small animal care standards provide guidance for reptile hobbyists and professionals to ensure healthy pets are provided to loving homes.
We encourage all those who own reptiles to celebrate—and if you are thinking about getting a reptile, make sure to get the right one for your lifestyle!