Hot Takes on Reptiles

I agree, some people are so critical. They will see something in a picture,disregard the question and tear into the person. At least they could ask nicely and offer advice kindly.

This is a regular discussion I have with people about adult bps. My adults are fed biweekly to once a month depending on if they’re maintaining weight.

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This thread is a bit old, but I’ve just had this happen again in one of the reptile discord chats I’m in and need to vent about it.

This shouldn’t even be a hot take, but if you can’t handle live insects/your parents won’t allow you to have live insects, DON’T GET A REPTILE/AMPHIBIAN. Recently had someone throw a hissy fit in a discord chat because their bearded dragon care continued to be terrible. They also complained that we “ganged up” on them previously for getting a notoriously piggy reptile that loves eating insects (especially when a juvenile) because they were “unable” to handle bugs. The only bugs they’d feed their dragon are waxworms and hornworms. If you can’t provide live insects to insectivores don’t get one. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve run into a smarmy a-hole like that, I’d have all of my dream herps and then some.


I have two that everyone agrees with ‘in theory,’ but almost no one follows through on. In no particular order:

  • I believe that almost all herp keepers under-utilize appropriately knowledgeable veterinary resources, to an extreme that constantly blows my mind. While it’s awful, I’m not surprised.

  • I believe that almost all vets that see herps under-utilize appropriately knowledgeable hobbyist resources, to an extreme that constantly blows my mind. While it’s awful, I’m not surprised.

How many of you made it to the second one without getting cranky?


What do you mean by both?
Like, what things do the herp community not listen to from vets?
I’m asking because I always do want to hear about new/better ways to care for an animal.
And vice versa of course.


By the herp community not listening to vets I think that not always taking reptiles in for treatments for severe problems and instead trying to DIY it against the vets advice. Also I think not all keepers put their reptiles first, and do things that are most practical to them, most keepers do this to an extent, it’s just about how little you can do and still provide sufficient care and have the reptile be stress free. By vets not listening to keepers I think some herp vets expect breeders to keep all of our reptiles in 20-45 gallon tanks, which is not practical to us breeders, it’s a compromise on care, providing sufficient care and still being able to mass own and breed reptiles.


I can see what you mean there.
Like when people ask: “oh does my snake have an RI?”
And some people say, no just bump up the humidity, it’ll be fine…

And it’s funny you mention the tank thing for vets.
My brother purchased a snake awhile back and put him in a 20 gallon tank.
He wouldn’t eat for a month…
We put him in a plastic bin, he started eating the week after… is simply coincidence?
Maybe. But overall I do think people should be a little more receptive to other’s suggestions.


I don’t want to hijack the thread, but @erie-herps definitely captured the meat of it. :+1:

As just one really quick example: people will take their pet dog +/- cat in for yearly wellness to get an individual baseline of health to compare to in the even of illness as well as to examine for any problems/discuss preventative care. But aside from me, back in the day, I have never met anyone that takes their pet reptile in for yearly wellness. It’s not any less beneficial just because it’s a herp, so long as you go to a legit herp vet.

If you guys want to discuss further, I’m down for starting a new thread, I just might be very slow to respond. I’m going through and trying to reorganize and clean all my reptiles & reptile-stuff, so I’m gonna be more busy than usual.


I do yearly wellness exams for all my pets. When I had my farm animals I just had the vet do a farm call. I also took regular fecals in to make sure they didn’t pick up anything. Not sure why reptiles should be any different. I figure regular vet care is calculated into the cost of whether or not a person can afford to keep that particular kind of animal, including extra savings or pet insurance for emergency vet visists.


I think my hottest take is that it’s beneficial to the physical health of ball pythons to have enrichment and an enclosure long enough to stretch most of the way out and at least a foot tall. Specifically because when they have more incentive to move in different ways, and the option or need to move in more dimensions they engage muscles they don’t have opportunity to utilize otherwise. This first occurred to me when I noticed a consistent difference in the muscle tone of snakes I acquired who were kept in racks vs the ones who had been in tanks, supported by the universal increase in muscle tone of the rack snakes after moving them into taller enclosures with enrichment.

To make it extra spicy I suspect that this is particularly pertinent to breeding animals. While I haven’t seen any studies about the correlations between fitness and reproduction on reptiles, the ones I have seen or read about for other animals indicate that better fitness correlates to higher success in breeding, fewer complications during birth, and healthier and occasionally more numerous offspring.


Rescues/CL “bargain bin” buys shouldn’t be bred, ever. (95% of the time.)

If you can’t answer to the quality of an animals genetics, where it came from, etc, it shouldn’t be passed on.

Kind of a conservationist responsibility. May not seem as necessary for a plentiful species but we are taking the place of Nature in determining which genetics get passed down et, so only strong healthy animals should be bred- and you usually can’t answer to the “family history” etc of a rescue.

Fully in support of rescues but I’ll admit I have some distaste for the “look what I found” posts where someone got a “rescue” and are already planning on breeding after rehabbing it back to health.

That’s my hot take. I don’t know if I’ll ever change my mind on that or not, it’s not a topic I have discussed with others much at all it’s just my gut.


I feel like this is a corollary of the “I have it (or can easily get it) so I should breed it” fallacy. The standards for qualifying an animal for breeding should be much more than ‘it is capable of reproduction’.


Most of these don’t seem like very hot takes IMO, everyone seems to be in agreement, except maybe the cohab beardies :rofl:

I’d say a “hot take” is something that a majority of the community would disagree with, or make a significant group really mad.

With that said, here’s my two pennies:

Most of the hubbub about enrichment is anthropomorphizing. I can’t speak for a lot of reptiles and their care, as it’s impossible to have extensive experience with every species, but for many snakes as long as their physical needs are met then you’re golden. That isn’t to say you can keep them in an enclosure where they barely fit and can only sit kinked up, but your ball python is not going to get snake anxiety from living in a rack system on paper.

Second, my biggest pet peev however would be with hybridization. Specifically with animals that are similar enough that the hybrids might be confused with the parent species or, and this get’s me ridiculously mad, breeding with the intent of crossing over one gene into a different species. I’m a Short-Tail guy, and there are currently attempts to breed the Piebald gene (among others) into Short-Tails. It’s the worst aspects of the Ball Python breeder mentality bleeding into what is a really respectable community of enthusiasts. The most ironic thing is that there’s already a Blood Python pied out there, but there are those who are simply too impatient or too greedy to wait. Make some Woma-Balls or Bateaters, I don’t care, just leave my shorties alone :rage::dagger:

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9 posts were merged into an existing topic: Enrichment versus minimalist

This is going to be a very unpopular opinion, but for me, it’s handling. For the most part, despite what some people may say, snakes don’t like being handled. It is stressful for them. I’m not saying you should never do it, but some keepers are really being excessive. My animals are handled when it is necessary for cleaning or whatever, when I photograph them, and occasionally to show them off to a friend. It’s ok for someone to handle them more than that, but don’t pretend it is for the benefit of the animal. Every time I see a post like “He loves being held! He loves chin scratches!” I am like, no, he tolerates them. Snakes do not get enjoyment or enrichment out of being touched by a human. Many snakes will let you do it. But that doesn’t mean that they actively enjoy it. The belief that snakes enjoy handling is anthropomorphization, pure and simple.


I hate when people post dumb questions about breeding like,

“What should I buy next to breed to my single gene male from craigslist”

if they have to post a thread about such question, then they probably have no business breeding in the first place.


Honestly, I’m shocked that no one has mentioned anything about keeping and/or devenomizing venomous/toxic herps. While a black mamba is a more extreme example, this also applies to animals like Fire-bellied toads.


I think most people are against the removal of venom glands as it hurts the snake a great deal. Not sure if any vets will even do this these days, so it would be up to the people that own them to botch the “surgery” themselves. Not sure about fire bellied toads, but the toxins dart frogs produce are from the prey they eat in the wild. Only way we could make them poisonous is by feeding them whatever it is they eat in the wild.


Yeah I’ve not met a vet yet that I know will see hot herps at all, much less treat. Generally the ones I heard of will only see hot herps after hours, with minimal staff, and with procedures in place in the event of a strike. While its understandable most won’t risk it, it does create unfortunate situations where veterinary care isn’t available for an animal that needs it.

I used to work a LOT with fire-bellied toads, and they produce the toxin themselves. They can actually even poison themselves if it gets too concentrated (not enough clean water), which can be an issue when maintaining their environment. There are other examples, like gilas, rear-fanged, etc., but fire-bellies were the only one that came to mind. :relaxed:

With the more mild stuff, I feel like it’s a fair question to ask oneself- if a toad is toxic, should it be kept in a home with small children? Should venomous animals be legal to keep for hobbyists? In what kind of housing/location? Or should they only be kept by researchers, wildlife centers, and zoos?

As it happens, I don’t personally have much of a stance when it comes to hot herps. I’m actually kinda embarrassed I don’t have a super strong position on the matter, but I think part of it is that I recognize my own ignorance with regards to keeping hot herps. I’m very curious what others think, and their reasoning behind their conclusions.

I guess I do have a slight inclination- I feel that, if high quality, specialist veterinary care is available, and the surgery can be done under anesthesia, with subsequent pain control, etc., then I find it acceptable for places like zoos, where there is no use for venom production, but there is substantial risk to staff and visitors. I also think I’m inclined to support medical research that requires venom collection by qualified personnel. What are other peoples’ thoughts?