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The 5 Best Holiday Gifts for Reptiles, Amphibians and Their Owners

Today I’d like to offer some gift suggestions for the herps and herp owners on your holiday shopping list. Several are items that we just never seem to think of, despite the fact that they can lighten our workload and improve our pets’ quality of life. Others can be classified as critical life support equipment for certain creatures. Included are some that I have tended to do without – until I saw how much easier life became with them! Please see the linked articles and post questions below if you’d like further information on any of the products covered here.


t255193ReptiTemp Digital Infrared Thermometer

I’ve highlighted the Zoo Med ReptiTemp Digital Infrared Thermometer in other gift-oriented articles, but it deserves a re-mention here. This wonderful product allows us to remotely sense temperatures and can also be set to continuously record. Most importantly, the critical task of establishing a temperature gradient is greatly simplified. Amazing technology for a very reasonable price…I was hooked on the idea from the moment I first used the original, bulky prototypes in zoos years ago.


Red Foot Tortoise

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by H. Zell

Forest Tortoise/Box Turtle and Grassland Tortoise Kits

American Box Turtles and many tortoises can make wonderful, long-lived pets, but their specific needs are not always fully understood by new owners. Our Forest Tortoise/Box Turtle and Grassland Tortoise Set-Ups contain much of what you’ll need when getting started with a variety of species, including Russian, Greek, Sulcata and Red-Foot Tortoises and American and Asian Box Turtles. I especially like the fact that Zoo Med products are included among the heating, UVB, diet and other supplies found in each kit.


mediaCork Bark

This suggestion may sound odd at first, but throughout my zoo-keeping and pet-keeping careers, cork bark has proven indispensable in so many ways – yet an ideal-sized piece is rarely at hand when needed! We ordered it by the skid-load at the Bronx Zoo, but always needed more.


Large rolled sections look great in terrariums and can serve as “hollow logs” for both arboreal and terrestrial snakes, lizards, frogs, tarantulas and others, while flat pieces make great sheltering spots for most anything that needs a place to hide. I wedge pieces between aquarium glass to create convenient, smooth resting sites for turtles, newts and frogs. By positioning the bark just below the water’s surface you can also provide the submerged sites favored by musk and other aquatic turtles and many amphibians. I could go on, and I’m sure most readers have found other uses as well. Trust me, the herpers on your gift list will appreciate all the cork bark you might send their way!


t243860Humidifiers and Rain Systems

Zoo Med’s Repti Fogger, with a 1-liter reservoir, will be very useful to those keeping Emerald Tree Boas, Red-Eyed treefrogs and other rainforest-adapted species. It may also help to stimulate breeding, and is nearly indispensable to rainforest herp fans living in dry climates.


The Exo-Terra Monsoon Rainfall System parallels models I’ve relied upon for years in zoos. Frogs and other herps that come into breeding condition in response to rain often respond to artificial showers as well. Able to deliver multiple “storms” ranging from 1 second to 2 hours in duration over a 24 hour period, the Monsoon System can be programmed to meet the needs of the species you keep.


Panther Chameleon

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Marc Staub

Portable Screen Cages

No bulb, no matter how well-designed, comes close to mimicking the UVA and UVB levels provided by the sun – even when it is shielded by clouds! Zoo Med Repti Breeze Screen Cages, available in 3 sizes, offer herp keepers a means of providing chameleons and other lizards with natural sunlight while assuring ample ventilation. An aluminum frame renders the cages very light in weight, so that carrying them outdoors is a snap (be sure take predators and possibility over-heating into account). Repti Breeze cages also make fine permanent homes for mantids and other insects, anoles and many other arboreal lizards.






Further Reading

More Herp-Oriented Gift Ideas

Constructing a Rain Chamber


About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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