An Exotic Pet Craze

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An Exotic Pet Craze

Gabriella Ortiz's snake Jötunheimr. He's a 5 month old ball python.

Gabriella Ortiz's snake Jötunheimr. He's a 5 month old ball python.

Gabriella Ortiz

Gabriella Ortiz's snake Jötunheimr. He's a 5 month old ball python.

Gabriella Ortiz

Gabriella Ortiz

Gabriella Ortiz's snake Jötunheimr. He's a 5 month old ball python.

Gabriella Ortiz, Contributor

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Normally, when you think of pets cats and dogs come to mind but an increasing amount of South Broward High School students are taking an alternative look at the pet craze.

While reptiles and arachnids are exciting to own the care of many of these is difficult. This is not to say that animals like this can’t or shouldn’t be kept as pets, just that many new owners may get in over their heads and provide improper care.

For example, ball pythons are often marketed as a beginner reptile, and compared to reticulated pythons or boas, they are. But even something as simple as maintaining temperature and humidity is difficult and can be fatal to a snake. They require a hot spot, either provided by an under tank heater, or by a ceramic heat emitter. A large tank, usually a 75-gallon long depending on the snake, should be provided as well as food-a frozen-thawed rat-and water. For any reptile, sand should be avoided as a substrate and they always do best by themselves.

As far as lizards go, leopard geckos are by far the most popular. They require at least a 20-gallon long tank and do best with an under tank heater as well as an eco-earth substrate to encourage digging. All animals need enrichment and space reptiles are no different.

“Hopefully, if people understand what they’re getting into, fewer animals will end up being mistreated, abandoned or re-homed.” says sophomore and new snake owner, Miriam Schonwetter.