Meet reptiles close-up

DOWNEY - To many, the idea of being in close quarters with a reptile sends shivers up their spine, but surprisingly there are 4.7 million reptile owning households in the U.S. today, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association.Petco is encouraging reptile owners all over the nation to unite in support of their pet and attend a July 17 "Reptile Rally" held at local Petcos beginning at 11 a.m. In addition to giving reptile parents an opportunity to show off their pride and joy, the company is inviting those who are squeamish (ahem, moms) to attend for meet-and-greets with everything from the bearded dragon to the less intimidating turtle, as well as care and habitat "how to" seminars and feeding time led by reptile specialists. For the parent or reptile novice considering taking on a new, cold-blooded pet, some incentives include maintenance averages $10-$15 per month, they make virtually no noise, and do not require exercise or an over-abundance of attention. Here is a snapshot of the most-popular: • Leopard Gecko - This reptile is considered to be the ideal lizard for beginners. These cute little terrestrials are smaller size, which makes it a cinch to meet their housing needs. A standard 10 gallon aquarium can maintain one or two adults for life, especially if they receive plenty of handling attention as exercise. Leopard geckos are also the lizards that show the most variety in color and pattern, with new designer morphs debuting each year to pique your interest. • Bearded Dragon - A finer pet reptile is hard to find. Their adult size of 16 to 18 inches is ideal, their disposition is placid, their care needs are simple and their looks are perfectly prehistoric. New color varieties are emerging yearly as well! Diet is a combination of fresh fruits and veggies (well, and insects of course). • Corn Snake - These popular pets are named for the patterning of their belly scales that resemble maize, an ancestor of modern day corn. Corn snakes come in a wide variety of colors, are beauties, docile and easy to care for. • Ball Python - Ball pythons (also called royal pythons) are named for their habit of curling themselves up into a tight ball with their heads pulled firmly into the center when they are nervous. The name royal python is based in part on the story that Cleopatra supposedly wore the snake around her wrist. They're smaller, usually quite docile and again, easy to care for. For more information and to find a local event, visit

********** Published: July 1, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 11