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Acacia Offers Care for Turtles, Iguanas & Other Reptile Pets


Many pet owners choose reptiles to accommodate the demands of their busy lifestyle. Some owners prefer this independent companion to dogs, cats, or many pocket pets. Importantly, the choice of a reptile is excellent for people allergic to fur or feathers.

However, these exotic pets offer unique challenges. Acacia Animal Health Center offers veterinarians skilled in the care of reptiles. In addition, we provide comprehensive support, guidance, and resources for new and veteran reptile owners. We are experienced in treating a wide variety of these pets and can advise you about veterinary concerns: habitat, health care, and long-term needs.

Caring for Reptiles

The care of reptiles is varied, unique to the type of reptilian pet. Each type of reptile requires very specific care, equipment, and diet.

Unless you live in a tropical climate, a heat-controlled environment with regulated temperature and moisture is required. The very precise environmental conditions required by reptile pets can be difficult, and even expensive, to duplicate.

Size is an important factor when choosing a reptilian pet. Some may eventually be too large to contain in a small house or apartment aquarium. For example, a small turtle soon outgrows that tiny desktop aquarium and an adult iguana may mature to be four feet long.

Nutrition and diet can be a challenge for some reptile owners. Pets that require a “live” diet can be intimidating to those who are uncomfortable with this experience.

Health Concerns When Raising Reptiles

Reptile pet owners and their family members risk exposure to the Salmonella bacteria, which causes illness in humans. To address this concern, we provide sound education, guidelines for good hygiene, and schedule regular veterinary care for the health of these pets and their owners.

The CDC Healthy Pets, Healthy People website provides information about the health-related risks of owning and caring for companion animals. We encourage you to explore the website to learn about caring for pets and preventing zoonotic diseases.

We recommend you contact our veterinarians for a consult prior to your purchase or adoption of a reptile pet.


Most turtles are at least semi-aquatic and omnivores. Omnivores eat both animal protein and plant-based diets. Most turtles (the exception being the box turtles species) are flatter, with thin skin and webbed feet.


Tortoises are land animals, frequently from desert environments. They are heavier bodied, with thick skin and short stubby feet. They resemble little armored tanks. They are herbivores, exiting on a plant-based diet.

Following are resources for reptile and snake owners:

Following are resources for iguana owners:

Following are resources for turtle owners:

For more information click here for the San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society

Learn about captive care for many types of reptile pets from author and educator Melissa Kaplan.