Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (NSHP), commonly referred to as “Metabolic Bone Disease”, is a common and serious health problem in pet reptiles. This disease causes the bones to become soft and brittle, easily bending and breaking. These fractures are referred to as pathologic fractures or fractures that occur during normal activity due to disease of the bone, not because of excessive trauma. In many cases, reptiles may have multiple fractures all over their body. Young growing reptiles may also develop swelling of the jaw and limbs, called fibrous osteodystrophy or “rubber jaw syndrome”. In severe cases, where the calcium in their body becomes dangerously low, reptiles develop muscle tremors, paralysis, and can lead to death.
Reptiles & Amphibians
These are resources that relate to amphibians and reptiles.
Easy for follow diagrammatic instructions on building an artificial burrow for your tortoise.
A list of a variety of different plants, both cultivated and wild, that tortoises and land turtles can eat.
Reptiles are often referred to being “cold-blooded”, which can be misleading. More appropriately they should be considered poikilothermic or ectothermic. This means that, unlike mammals and birds, reptiles are unable to regulate their body temperatures internally and change their body temperature in adaptation to their environmental temperature. Because reptiles do not need to expend as much energy heating their bodies, they have a much lower metabolic rate than that of mammals. Each reptile species has what is referred to as its preferred optimal temperature zone which is a narrow temperature range at which they are active and undergo typical functions such as feeding, digestion, fighting off infections, and reproduction. Outside of this range these functions may be hindered or cease altogether. Some species will hibernate during colder months and during this time their metabolic rate will decrease.
Respiratory infections in reptiles are often associated with exposure to low environmental temperatures, either by consistently keeping the temperatures in the lows 70's°F or simply occasional drops to much lower temperatures. A lot of times these drops are due to a power outages that disrupts the heat elements in the enclosures. Sometimes the cold temperature is due to a failure of the heat source for the cage, either the light burns out, a fuse or circuit breaker fails, or the heat source is simply not warm enough for the size of the cage.
It is very important to recognize what is normal and abnormal in the droppings of a reptile. If you see abnormal droppings, you shouId collect a sample and bring it to a veterinarian so it may be checked for parasites and other diseases.
Mites are small parasites that can live on the skin on reptiles and cause disease. Sometimes they can be seen with the naked eye on your pet reptile or in its cage. Other times, a microscope may be needed to see them. Mites can cause clinical signs in your pet reptile such as loss of appetite, inflamed or infected skin, itchiness, restlessness, rubbing on cage decorations, more frequent or longer soaking, and frequent or abnormal shedding.
If you can't identify a plant, don't feed it to your pet!
Nurseries, agricultural extension agents, botanical gardens and arboretums, and various books and websites are available to help you identify plants. Plants often have different common names throughout the country so make sure you know the scientific name of the plant in question otherwise you might end up with the wrong information.
Although this article was written for reptile, the information is applicable to all exotic pets, including rodents, birds, and other animals.