8: Enrichment for Reptiles

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Today’s episode is all about environmental enrichment for your reptiles! In the episode I layout the thought process I used when trying to determine if the statement below is true or false.

Reptiles require environmental enrichment in order to reach a maximum level of health in captivity. It is our duty as owners to provide that.

In the episode, I share plenty of academic sources that support the claim in the above statement. After you have listened to this episode you will have a clear understanding of what environmental enrichment means, you’ll be able to make an educated decision on whether or not you feel enrichment is important and you’ll come away with a few key ways to include enrichment into your animal’s enclosure.

I tried to be as thorough as possible during this show. My hope is that you are able to form your own thoughts and opinions on the subject (either for or against my claim), which will then allow you to join the discussion!

This is a complicated matter and the more we discuss it, the better. I do also discuss why I believe the reptile hobby has moved away from enriching and towards industrial style care and what we can do about it. I mention the influence Brian Barczyk has had on the hobby, in both a critical and complementary way.

ACADEMIC & VIDEO SOURCES MENTIONED IN EPISODE:

WILIKINSON, S. (2015). Reptile Wellness Management. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, 18(2), 281-304. ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S109491941500002X?via%3Dihub)

JOHN V. ROSSI, Chapter 4 – General Husbandry and Management, Editor(s): Douglas R. Mader, Reptile Medicine and Surgery (Second Edition), W.B. Saunders, 2006, Pages 25-41, ISBN 9780721693279 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B072169327X500080)

ALMLI, L., & BURGHARDT, G. (2006). Environmental Enrichment Alters the Behavioral Profile of Ratsnakes (Elaphe). Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 9(2), 85-109. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327604jaws0902_1)

Meredith J. Bashaw, Mallory D. Gibson, Devan M. Schowe, Abigail S. Kucher, Does enrichment improve reptile welfare? Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) respond to five types of environmental enrichment, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 184, 2016, Pages 150-160, ISSN 0168-1591 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159116302350)

Burghardt, Gordon M., Environmental enrichment and cognitive complexity in reptiles and amphibians: Concepts, review, and implications for captive populations. Applied Animal Behaviour Science , Volume 147 , Issue 3 , 286 – 298. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159113001214)

Heidi Hellmuth, Lauren Augustine, Barbara Watkins, Katharine Hope, Using Operant Conditioning and Desensitization to Facilitate Veterinary Care with Captive Reptiles, Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, Volume 15, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 425-443, ISSN 1094-9194, ISBN 9781455749683, (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1094919412000515)

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