When buying an exotic pet you need to make sure you get the right animal. This can be easy or it can be stressful. It often depends on the rarity of the exotic animal you want. The rarer the animal the less likely there will be abundant choice from breeders/pet stores near you; the more uncertain an average pet shop worker will be when asked questions about the animal; the more research you’ll need to do before committing to buy.
Take for instance the blue-tongued skink. It’s not the most common lizard but boy is it striking. It’s a great pet and I recommend it but there are a few things you need to watch out for when buying. I’ve compiled a few tips and questions that you should bear in mind and actually ask the pet shop or breeder before you go ahead and pick up your animal. I present to you the buyers guide to blue-tongued skinks:
• Is the animal wild (caught) or bred in captivity? I recommend avoiding former wild blue-tongues. They can harbor disease, parasites and a more rough attitude than a captive skink.
• What’s the age of the animal? You’ll need this information so you know how much and when the animal needs feeding. Lizards can be smaller than their age with underfeeding and larger than their age with overfeeding so bear this in mind.
• What is the animal’s current diet? Make sure the animal is on a healthy diet before you buy—you don’t want to end up with a neglected, sick animal. Incidentally, ’insects’ isn’t a good enough answer. A good skink diet includes fresh chopped greens, fruits, and so on
• What’s the animal’s current vivarium size and substrate? You should have your own vivarium set up before you take your skink home but if you’re buying everything with the lizard (your first) you’ll need to make sure you get the right size.
• Has the animal (or any animal in the store/breeder’s premises) had a history of mites? The store worker/breeder should be all over this question with reassurances – mites are a tough to get rid of problem.
• Are the pet shop/breeder’s blue tongued skinks being housed separately? They should be, especially if you are purchasing an adult. You can expect cuts, missing toes, and damaged tails from animals that have been housed together.
• Guarantees and warranties? What are the company’s or indvidual’s health guarantees and warranties? Will they offer customer service after you get the animal? Are you free to call them on the phone if you have a question? Can they recommend a good lizard vet in the area if there’s a problem down the line (not covered by warranty)? These are important questions, your pet’s health is a priority.
A lot of these questions apply for any skink – in fact any lizard. Some are important questions to ask when adopting or buying any exotic pet (or regular pet for that matter). Owning an animal is fun you should be looking forward years of happy times with your pet. But preparation and research and a willingness to ask questions are very important when you take ownership of an animal.