According to Wikipedia, reptiles are characterized by breathing air, laying shelled eggs (except for some vipers and constrictor snakes that give live birth), and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes.
The Reptile Database lists six categories of reptiles: Lizards, Snakes, Tuataras, Crocodiles, Amphisbaenians, and Turtles. Within those six categories, there are many different species from the tiny Dwarf Gecko to the huge saltwater crocodile.
The Reptile Channel is a great resource of information, including a special page about Reptile Awareness Day, with suggestions on things you can do in observance of their day. If you have a reptile as a pet, be sure to check out their Care Sheets for great information on how to be a responsible reptile owner.
SOME REPTILES ARE ENDANGERED
- The numbers of San Francisco Garter Snakes has dropped to between one and two thousand, mainly due to collectors selling them on the black market, and well as urbanization and pollution.
- The Green Sea Turtle population off the coasts of Florida and Mexico are close to extinction because of commercial harvesting. Did you know that it takes a female Green Sea Turtle 20 to 50 years before she begins to lay eggs?
- The world's largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon, is found in only one place today -- Komodo National Park and a small group of islands off the coast of Indonesia. They are threatened due to volcanic eruptions and forest fires, as well as human destruction of their habitat.
- The Tuatara is a lizard-looking reptile that is believed to be one of the oldest species on Earth! They live in New Zealand, and face the threat of extinction due to habitat loss and the introduction of predators like rats, weasels and badgers.
- The Gharial is a crocodile-like reptile with a long, narrow snout and numerous sharp teeth. It is found only in the rivers of India, and a few surrounding areas like Bangladesh and Pakistan. There are only about 1,500 Gharials in the wild today. Source
Disaster Preparation for Reptiles
In the event of a disaster or emergency that requires evacuation, you should have a special disaster kit just for any reptiles you keep as pets. The following is a list of items for your kit from Red Rover:
Food and Water:
A two-week supply of feeders/prey items if fed
A two-week supply of water, stored in a cool, dark location. Rotate every two months to ensure freshness. If tap water is not suitable for humans to drink during a disaster, it is also not suitable for cats to drink.
A two-week supply of pelleted food if fed, stored in an airtight, waterproof container and rotated every three months for freshness.
Food and water source for feeders
Baby food or fruits and vegetables stored in their own juice or in water, with a can opener if needed
Ice chest and cool packs to store frozen prey items
Calcium and/or vitamin supplementation if needed
Dechlorinator for water
Tongs for feeding
Baby food and canned fruits and vegetables are a great substitute when fresh produce is not available. However, avoid those with added salt or sugar. Many reptiles and amphibians eat live or frozen/thawed prey. Consider the care and nutrition of the prey animals when making your disaster plans
Housing and Transportation:
Carrier or evacuation cage if your existing enclosure is too large to transport
Small enclosure with a secure lid for when destination is reached
A hide box such as a bowl, box or flower pot that can help your herpatile feel more secure.
Most reptiles and amphibians can be transported in a small, hard-sided carrier, but snakes are normally more secure and safe in a knotted-off pillowcase. Bring your own extension cords to make use of power outlets, but prepare to provide heat without power.
Microchip (many larger reptiles and amphibians can be microchipped; ask your veterinarian)
Photos of you with pet to prove owership if you are separated
Photos’ showing any distinguishing features of your pet
Copy of veterinary records
Health and Safety:
A two-week supply of any medication your pet is taking
First aid kit including antibiotic ointment, Betadine solution for cleansing and disinfecting, gauze for cuts and wounds, cornstarch to stop minor bleeding, tweezers and scissors and Q-tips. Ask your vet for other recommendations. Order a complete pet first aid kit at the UAN Store.
Hot and cold instant packs
Contact numbers for your vet and a vet out of disaster area
An appetite stimulant such as Reptaid can come in handy if your reptile or amphibian stops eating due to the stress of the emergency. Spray bottles are handy for misting the enclosure to ensure appropriate humidity. Instant hot and cold packs are great for regulating the temperature of the enclosure during a power outage.
Cleaning and Sanitation:
Liquid soap for washing food and water bowls, paper towels, and disinfectant for cleaning crates and carriers.
Rinse all dishes/enclosures well, as reptiles and amphibians are sensitive to chemicals ingested or absorbed through the skin.
Here's a video about How to Care for Reptiles. Your kids will like it! Happy Reptile Day, everyone!
Photo Credit: "Posing Toad" by Ray Closson
Help ensure disaster aid information is provided online DONATE NOW