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Ordering Reptiles/Amphibians Online

Updated on February 12, 2015

A Panther Chameleon

Introduction:

Are you interested in buying herps (term used for reptiles/amphibians) online? Is it a hassle to go or find a pet store near you? Are you looking for a particular pet that you haven't been able to find in stores? With buying online, you can easily find what you are looking for and get it fairly quickly, so why not order a reptile or amphibian?

This hub will show you all the pros and cons of buying live herps on the internet and all the steps you should take when ordering.

Are you ready?

As I ask this, I am not only asking if you are prepared to order a reptile online, but a reptile in general!

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Do you have enough money to purchase the reptile/amphibian and supplies (remember shipping and handling charges are added to anything you purchase online)?
  • Do you have the time/patience for your pet?
  • Are you for certain that a reptile/amphibian is a pet for you?

If you answer yes to all of these questions, congrats, you should be a great herp owner! If not, let's go through these subjects to help you out.

Herps are not only very interesting and fulfilling pets, but most are a bit expensive and so are the supplies! Reptiles and amphibians require a lot of equipment such as heat lamps, thermometers, flat bowls, a dripper system, etc (note that not all reptiles/amphibians need such complex set-ups but most need high temperatures and easy accessible feeding/watering methods). For example, a simple green anole and accessories are quite cheap. The lizard itself would most likely not be more than ten dollars and the aquarium and necessities for it would be cheap as well since the lizard is quite small and hardy. With other reptiles/amphibians, especially rare or special morphs, the animal itself would be costly! The supplies might be the same as required for the green anole but yet, if you are searching for a very unique herp, it will be the most pricey part of buying! If you have a certain budget, be sure to research on the type of herp you are interested in and find how much it will cost to correctly own it.

Reptiles and amphibians might seem like manageable and easy to take care of pets since they are caged, but one must have the time for them! In my opinion, I love to have animals that one can handle and show physical affection to and with that comes patience in getting your pet used to this kind of attention. There are some herps that you cannot mess with and hold but they still require top notch time and care! You must remember to feed them and clean their habitat. Most owners "spot clean" their reptile's cages, this means to clean up the animal's waste instead of letting it build up and cleaning the whole tank. Also, most herps have a longer life expectancy than most pets such as cats, dogs, and rodents. When you buy a herp, you are basically dedicating your life to a friend you'll have for years to come! Over all, owning a reptile or amphibian is fairly simple but you must have some commitment.

There are some really fascinating pets like the Basilisk (Jesus) lizard that can run across water or the Mata Mata turtle which has a very unique appearance. Even though these reptiles are quite cool, most people wouldn't want them as "pets". When I think of a "pet", I think of a companion, an animal that will enjoy my company and that I can hopefully cuddle up with. Reptiles and amphibians aren't usually looked at for their ability to snuggle but some say that herps can have lovable personalities! If you are like me and want a pet that isn't "Look and don't touch!", you should do a bit of research (I recommend a Bearded Dragon or Blue Tongue Skink) on herps that can be handled. Also, I for one don't mind feeding my pets feeder insects but simply CANNOT use rodents as food. You should find a reptile or amphibian in which you won't mind their eating habits. There are many herps that are herbivores as well if you can't deal with "live food".

Research, research, and more research!

Researching is a very important thing to do when purchasing a new pet. Here are the things you should look into before buying your new buddy!

  • Research on the herp that most interests you (look for websites with care sheets)
  • Research experiences with the herp and watch videos of people who may have the herp as a pet (notice how the herp acts and it's actual temperament)
  • Research on the best site to buy your herp and possibly it's supplies

If you have an amphibian or reptile you are already interested in, that's good! If you are just interested in buying a herp in general and have no idea as to what is available and what would most fit you, there are sites that can tell you all the best herps that could be your possible pet. After finding what you are interested in, go investigate, find out what this animal needs to suffice. Websites with care sheets are the best to look at, these tell you what a particular pet's diet is, what enclosure they need, temperatures, life span, etc. These are very helpful and can give you all the information you need on any animal!

The reason why I ask you to watch videos and get other people's opinions on the herp your interested in is because everyone's opinion differs and so does the pet itself. Not all pets have the same personality and not every person has the same thought on a subject. By looking at forums which talk about the herp you desire, you can find some valuable advice and different view points on the animal. Some people may tolerate more than others, such as behavior, reptile enthusiasts may accept their animal to occasionally nip while a few won't. Watching videos of the herp's behavior towards humans is also very useful. But, take this in mind, it also depends on your animal. Every herp has a different personality as the same with people. You can always train your pet and make them warm up to you though.

Not only is it useful to find an animal that fits you, but in this case you must find background checks on the sites you want to order your new friend from. I have had some bad experiences with a couple herp selling websites, some of the reptiles I ordered were sickly looking and wild caught or the shipping had messed up. Always look at the reviews and testimonials, although most sites do have a couple bad reports, people always make mistakes and they shouldn't be bound to happen to you. Don't set your heart on one site, look at all websites possible. Some have better deals or service than others. If you are looking to buy more than one reptile/amphibian, most sites don't increase the shipping and handling price no matter how many products you buy. I have even found sites that have free shipping for anything over 100 dollars or more. Once you place an order, you should be completely prepared to be receiving your new herp, it is hard to do returns and most sites don't offer them. Make sure that you really want to go through with your purchase.

A Crested Gecko

Poll Time!

What is the best herp to own?

See results

Ordering your pet:

After all that research, you have finally found the herp you want. It is a perfect fit, exactly what you want and need. So that means you can finally order your new addition! Here are some things you should inspect and expect before ordering!

Before making your purchase:

  • Have all supplies bought
  • Make sure weather conditions and timing is right
  • Make sure you can keep your pet

When your pet arrives, you must already have their enclosure set up with the right temperatures and heat settings. Although your pet might not eat right away, you should have food readily available as soon as possible. Without these things, you will not have a place to safely put your herp. Also, your animal will most likely be very stressed due to being shipped so having it come when things are not ready can easily stress it more. Remember to research on what your pet needs to survive and thrive!

My most recent reptile was ordered about a month ago and the weather right now is fairly chilly. For some of us, we live in quite cold places like Minnesota (where I unfortunately inhabit) and it remains freezing for almost half of the year. But have no fear! Most websites CAN ship your little buddy in cold weather due to heat packs. Some sites might charge small fees and other might not. My Blue Tongue Skink could ship in weather anywhere 10 degrees Fahrenheit or up. Take in mind that the shipping process occurs overnight and night is usually cooler than the daytime. Your seller should alert you if the package cannot be shipped because of chilly temperatures and will most likely wait till they can find a well-weathered day to ship. Along with this, you should also consider timing. Make sure the day your package arrives at it's destination that you will be able to pick it up or open it ASAP. You wouldn't want your friend to be in a box for longer than intended. Depending on if the package is shipping straight to you or to a post office, you should still make sure your schedule is open and pick up your little present as soon as it shows up.

Lastly, I can not tell you how many times I've heard people get a pet in general and not be able to keep it. If you are living in an apartment or living with parents/friends that do not want this animal, you will most likely not be able to get it. Some apartments have strict rules on pets, trust me, I've lived in them and sadly disobeyed their rules PLENTY of times. Although this is very "bad" and I don't recommend doing this, you can sometimes get away with keeping unwanted pets. If you don't want to risk being kicked out, I do not propose you house a herp. If you live with your family or friends, that is a different story. Some may think reptiles and amphibians are creepy, mean, or ugly creatures but this is not the case. Herps can make terrific companions! Inform your housemates about them, list all the advantages of having a herp and gain your family/friend's trust that you will definitely take care of them. If none of this works, try persuading your cohabitants that you can do tasks and chores for them in return for buying a herp. Sadly, some still might reply "No, and that is final." If this is the case, you might have to wait until you get your own place or the time is right. Ordering a pet that you cannot keep will waste your money and cause problems for your pet. So before ordering, talk to your housemates and make sure that it is okay to buy a reptile or amphibian.

A Red-eared Slider Turtle

When your herp arrives:

Finally, it's here! Your slimy/scaly/creepy/crawly friend is home! Here is what you should do when your new pet arrives.

  1. Carefully remove your herp from its box. Open the box with a box-cutter or cut open the the tape with a sharp object, be sure to NOT stab the box deep, you might hurt your critter. Remember that your herp is delicate and by unwrapping the shipment box, you should do so without shaking or disturbing. Once you get to the container/bag your animal is in, lift it up gently and make sure your hands are supporting it.
  2. Putting your pet in it's tank. You should have your animal's enclosure already set up for this occasion and nearby. Because your herp is going to be awfully stressed from shipping, try handling it as little as possible. Open up the container/bag your creature is in and carefully put it in it's habitat. You can do this with your hands (hands should be covered with gloves if necessary) or letting your pet get out on it's own.
  3. Make sure your pet looks healthy and let it get used to it's surroundings. Observing your herp can be done inside it's cage or the package it came in. Notice if there is anything peculiar about your pet, any signs of sickness or injuries. If you believe your animal looks sickly or you are unsatisfied with the condition of your herp, contact the site that sold it to you. But, if things look good, you should now leave your critter alone for a couple of days. This will help it settle into it's new home and have a better chance of bonding with your new friend.

Important Note: If your animal is dead upon arrival, IMMEDIATELY contact the website. I have had this occur on one occasion due to shipment troubles and it broke me up inside, especially when I waited a couple weeks to receive the package. The website will replace the dead one for free but some might want a shipping cost still, other sites will refund your order if preferred. This does not happen quite often but can take place sometimes.

Overall, you now have a new herp and can start your life with it. I hope this guide has helped you throughout your journey and if any of your questions were not answered, feel free to ask anything. Thanks for reading!

By: Alia Norwood


A White's Tree Frog

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