. You must hold a National Parks & Wildlife Reptile Keepers Licence (NSW) or the equivalent for other states.

. Make sure you have the appropriate catagory of licence for the reptile you are seeking. (Check the species lists - N.P.W.S.)

. When importing a reptile from another state you will also require an import / export licence.

∑ Study a good reference source and learn about the conditions the reptile normally encounters in the wild Ė temperature, humidity, food source and habitat.

∑ Talk to experienced keepers who have kept the species in question.

∑ Find out from the seller if the reptile is eating, and if so, what itís eating and how often.

∑ If you buy a hatchling, start it off in a suitable size enclosure Ė some small snakes and lizards can become extremely stressed in a large enclosure.

∑ Provide the reptile with suitable hiding places.

∑ When furnishing the enclosure, make sure that all rocks, branches, bark etc. are as sterile as possible to avoid introducing mites etc.

∑ If you get an adult reptile, make sure it has an enclosure with enough room for the animal to move around comfortably.

∑ If you choose a climbing reptile, furnish the enclosure with some branches or logs, and
enclose heat lamps etc. so that reptile is not burnt by contact with the heat source.

∑ Take care to provide the correct type of lighting. A number of reptiles require more than just a heat source, many also need UV (Ultraviolet) light to help them absorb the nutrients they need to keep their bones strong and growth and development normal. This can be achieved with exposure to sunlight or artificially with UV tubes and lamps.
Keep in mind that UV lights must be close to the reptiles basking area to be effective.

∑ Set up your enclosure so there is a temperature gradient from one end of the enclosure to the other.
(for example 32 degrees at the hot end to 28 degrees at the cooler end) This allows the reptile to regulate itís temperature as required.

∑ If you find that your reptile is stressed or agitated to the point where it strikes at the glass of the enclosure, it is a good idea to cover it until it has a chance to get used to itís new surroundings.
(It is possible for reptiles to injure themselves badly by striking at glass doors)

∑ Keep your enclosures clean, remove reptile waste regularly, remove uneaten food as soon as possible and change soiled substrate. Provide clean water in a suitable container on a regular basis.

∑ Donít use adhesive tapes to seal up gaps or holes in an enclosure, reptiles particularly snakes, can get caught in tape and be injured or even die.

∑ If you have a wire mesh cage it is a good idea to have something smooth around the bottom, many snakes and lizards injure their noses and mouths trying to get through the wire.

∑ If you notice something out of the ordinary with your reptile talk to an experienced keeper or take it to a recognized Herp vet.

* This information is based on personal experience and the expertise of other herpetologists, I hope it is of some assistance..........Jeff Watson.