IDENTIFY STRESS BEHAVIORS
HOW TO INTRODUCE A REPTILE TO A MULTI-SPECIES HOUSEHOLD
by Gabbie Abesamis
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp
How to introduce a Reptile to a multi-species household Bringing a Reptile into your home is an exciting time; however, it can quickly become a stressful situation, not just for them but for all the other animals living in the house. Making slow adjustments between a new Reptile and other animal members of the household is a tedious process, but it’s important to make sure everyone feels safe, at ease, and secure with each other. If the introduction process fails, the situation could quickly escalate and result in injuries. Here are eight general rules to consider when introducing a Reptile to a multi-species household. Your animal companions may have become quite comfortable at home, but they have their ancestors’ blood flowing through their veins, which means they sometimes still adhere to the natural order. Dogs may eat Birds, Cats may eat Reptiles, and Reptiles may also eat Birds – this is natural in the wild. Your Dog or Cat may be the most loving and gentle fluffy being in the house, but as soon as you bring in someone small or different to the house, tread carefully, because things could get ugly fast. Never assume that your animal companion won’t hurt a Fly; sometimes, their hunting instincts kick in when you least expect it. All animals have stress indicators that they normally display when agitated. For example, when a Bearded Dragon gets scared, they will puff up, turn their beards black, or attempt to bite whatever they deem is a threat. Dogs would change their body posture whenever they’re on the hunt or in defense. Their eyes focus; they may growl, bark, or start getting aggressive out of nowhere, which would also stress out your Reptile at the same time. Identifying the stress behavior of the animals in the house is a great way to know how they’re feeling and how you should approach things. If you see that your Cat, Dog, or Reptile are acting unusually or defensively, it may be best to take a step back and try introductions at another time and at a slower pace.