Quarantine, What?

When you’re ready to acquire your first, second, twentieth Hognose, the excitement of a new hiss noodle tends to make one to forget the basics.  Many owners research enclosure set-ups,  temperature gradients, substrate choices, prey items, prosepectable pairings, what Shrek character to name them after, etc.  What many people often overlook, is quarantine.  Whenever you bring a new reptile into your house, practicing proper quarantining procedures is the most important and often overlooked care aspect.

Why should you quarantine if you’re purchasing from a reputable breeder?  What does proper quarantine entail?  There are tons of reasons why you should quarantine any new animal.  Ranging from ensuring that your new reptile is healthy, having regular bowel movements and free of mites, to making sure it’s disease, parasite free and shedding properly.   Some parasites such as Cryptosporidium serpentis and varanii, can lie dormant for over a year. However, the dormant stage of Cryptosporidium is known as an oocyst, which is what most tests look for when determining whether an animal is infected or not.  Even as good as one’s reputation is, they can never be 100% sure if one of their animals is ill.

Proper quarantining procedures involve keeping the new reptile in a room separate from the rest of your collection.  Use paper towel or newsprint for bedding, it’s easier to inspect their fecal matter and spot mites.  Minimize the amount of decor in their enclosure, porous decor can make the perfect host for mites to hide.  Use separate feeding tools, dishes and food for your other animals, don’t try being resourceful by feeding uneaten prey to your established collection.   Collecting and sending fecals to your local vet or lab for parasite or virus testing is a proactive step in furthering your quarantine protocols.  These procedures are suggested to be followed for a minimum of 90 days, but we quarantine for 180 days.  The extra time and effort you put into making sure your new pet is healthy, could potentially save a lot of heartache and money, while keeping your other animals safe.