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Exotics

Reptiles

Peter Lennox, one of the vets here at The Park Veterinary Practice, has a particular interest in reptiles. He has attended many specialist lectures on various reptile species, and has kept snakes himself.

As you can imagine, reptile medicine and surgery is quite a specialised area. Snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises are all very different creatures - they live in very different habitats and have very different feeding requirements. If you have chosen a reptile to care for, you have chosen a challenging but ultimately interesting and rewarding pet. Most of the problems we encounter are related to poor husbandry. This is generally not due to lack of enthusiasm, but can be due to poor advice from out of date books or lack of knowledge from the person selling the animal.

It is particularly important to research the needs of the particular species of reptile that you are intending on keeping before you buy your pet. The Tortoise Trust, Reptile Forums, Herpdigest, Reptile Keeper and Reptiles Magazine are all good sources of information. Poor husbandry often will not show itself immediately, and in many cases will not become apparent for years.

Many species require reasonably expensive equipment to keep them correctly and you should factor that in to your setup budget. These can include a heater, hydrometer, max/min thermometer, thermostat, vivarium and a source of ultra violet light (e.g. Repti Glo or Sunglo). You must also consider what your new pet will want to eat. This can be anything from fruit and vegetables to live insects to small rodents. (NOTE: In the UK it is illegal to feed live vertebrate animals and they are usually obtained frozen). Some species have very specific dietary requirements - you can obtain many of them online e.g. Livefoods.

If you need advice about any aspect of keeping reptiles, just ask to see or speak to Peter. He also performs surgery on exotic species -most recently on a corn snake with an internal abscess, a tortoise with a shattered shell and an iguana with a broken leg!

Birds

The surgery and medicine of birds is also a highly specialised area and Peter is the vet to speak to at Park Vets. Like with reptiles, most of the problems we encounter are related to poor husbandry and diet. Pet birds are all prey animals, so they often do not let on that all is not well until they are very seriously ill. By the time a pet bird starts to look off colour, treatment is often required urgently. If at any time you think your pet bird may be unwell, it is vital that you seek help immediately.

If you need any advice about any aspect of keeping a bird, please ask to see or speak to Peter

"Pocket Pets"

Both Tim and Peter have an interest in "small furries" like hamsters, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs and the like. We can often do more than you think for a small pet, but early diagnosis and treatment is almost always vital.