Reptile Keeping: 9 Signs You’re Doing It Wrong!

  1. You feed your leopard geckos an exclusive mealworm diet, from a bowl, with a separate dish of calcium powder. Groan…..

2. You have no idea where in the world your animal originates, or what it’s actual habitat looks like.


3. Your reptile keeping inspirations are certain US ‘big breeder’ YouTube sensations who stack ’em high, & rack ’em wide!


4. Your stock answer to the question “What temperature are you keeping them at?” is: “It has a 60W bulb”.


5. You believe that sand causes impaction, and not that sand impaction is a symptom of poor husbandry and/or nutrition.


6. You ask for advice for an urgent medical condition your pet reptile is suffering from on 7 Facebook forums, 5 local petshops, 3 breeders you know, 1 vet you know through Facebook (ahem!) and your mate down the pub…..before finally booking a vet appointment 2 weeks later.

7. You are breeding normal Bearded Dragons currently in the UK despite a massive overpopulation and welfare problem with unwanted Beardies.

Baby bearded dragons


8. You buy or ‘rescue’ reptiles without researching them, then ask other people how that species are best cared for or what medical care it needs (that you can’t afford) now you’ve taken it from the previous owners.


9. You don’t recognise the difference between an animal surviving Vs thriving, and continue to defend old school husbandry practices like withholding UV lighting from species that are exposed to it in the wild.


11 thoughts on “Reptile Keeping: 9 Signs You’re Doing It Wrong!

  1. Ah yes, the American big breeders. They are like grown up pokemon collectors….. Gotta own and create every colour and pattern of the rainbow regardless of what it does to the animal. Scaleless?! Sure, reptiles don’t *need scales*! I can create an Albino animal that loves to bask under high UVB levels without considering any long term implications? Why the hell not, that would look GREAT in my collection.


  2. Pingback: Reptile Keeping: 9 Signs You’re Doing It Wrong! – Perfect Pets

  3. I love how this article pretty much calls out Brian Barczyk from BHB. This article is great and a much needed read for those incompetent to research anything in the hobby.

  4. I’ve been trying to talk sense into common gecko and snake people for years, trying to convince them that barren racks are literally the laziest, least involved, and most unstimulating way to keep a pet, to no avail. I always get a tremendous amount of backlash, followed by assertions that their animals are “happier” in small plastic tubs than they would be in larger, properly set up enclosures. It really grinds my teeth. Now I link them to this blog post as well, to see if a vet’s word will sink in!

  5. Very good post. Am curious about the fact of impaction. I know that it isn’t only due to sand, but on the other hand, people over-use sand for species that that not live on it, like bearded dragons or leopard geckos. Then the sand might get in their eyes, nostrils, behind their lips, etc. And it is also impractical, too heavy and difficult to clean. Why use sand? If you want so much a naturalistic setup, mix it with some soil. Again though it would be too heavy and difficult to clean. I would like you to write an article on impaction, the truth and myths, in the future.
    As for the racks, I am following the debate for much time. I cannot denounce all the rack keepers, because they have their good points. I don’t think that the keeping of geckos or more active colubrids is acceptable in shallow racks (it could be done though I think with more furniture inside for geckos), but the keeping of small ‘boids’, like ball pythons, might be. Too many to ignore keepers report better feeding responses in their animals in those setups. As there is no controled study about possible negative effects and most anecdotally at least agree that in them the snakes feel safe, we must give some credence to these anecdotes. They aren’t terribly active animals anyway, with a tiny brain. In fact to me they seem more like brain-dead animals that momentarily skip out from their perpetual semi-stupor to grab a prey item and then return back to it.

  6. Snakes dont “do” anything in dimensionless plastic tubs because they have the capacity to perceive that there is no stimuli and nowhere in them to go. If snakes were as inert as some claim, they wouldnt be as complex biomechanically,ie; a fully innervated, well musculatured fully articulated skeletal structure, fair and sometimes even keen sight, and possessing acute tactile awareness, as well as a vomeronasal organ to analyze a vast spectrum of chemical input.

    That some people keep snakes in tubs, but also go herping in wild habitats, yet are blind to the very biome detail they actually see snakes existing in, and sometimes even enter in data bases, well, the disconnect is confounding.

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