The first step to becoming a reptile vet is to get your hands on a reptile guide to Australia. I highly recommend the eBook by Sandown Zoo. It covers all of the aspects of keeping reptiles in Australia, including all the legal issues as well as practical tips for starting your own reptile business. The book has beautiful photography that shows all types of Australian reptiles in their natural habitat. It also contains information about keeping them in captivity and what you can expect from your first pet snake.
Once you have your own business, the next step is to specialize in one particular group of reptiles, whether it’s frogs, lizards, snakes or insects. This will give you a firm grounding in the field and you’ll be able to easily relate to your customers more readily. If you do decide to offer services to other pet owners, it will be much easier if you are familiar with the pets you treat on a personal level. Reptiles are not the same as cats or dogs in that respect. They are quite different and a proper education will prepare you well for the job. The book mentioned below offers information about the husbandry of snakes.
You can be an exotic pet specialist for general pet care, or specialize in reptile care for one particular group of pets, like snakes. To be successful, you should have an undergraduate degree in entomology. It is the science of insects. You can receive an associate or bachelor’s degree in entomology, but your four-year degree will qualify you for veterinary work in the field, so it is recommended to have that long a degree earned. There are some interesting courses available at schools of veterinary medicine. Many schools also offer a shorter, two-year course for an even shorter period of time.
Veterinary school will train you to do many things, but the primary duty of a reptile vet is to diagnose, treat and prevent all animals suffering from disorders of nature, including reptiles. Some of the veterinary jobs require specialized training to become a reptile veterinarian. Specialization can be achieved by taking classes that deal with specific reptiles. The most common specializations are musculoskeletal pathology, dermatologic, nutritional biochemistry, cellular biology, clinical nutrition and pharmacology.
A herp vet is a specialist who specializes in reptile diseases and injuries. A herp vet is not required to take an entomological, mammal or zoological science course. Many herp vets go on to complete graduate degrees. In the United States, these degrees are offered by schools of veterinary medicine. A few universities also offer degrees in entomology, because many people are attracted to reptiles and want to become herp vets. To find a school offering a degree in entomology, check with local colleges.
Some states require that a person wishing to become a reptile veterinary technician also get an entomological license. These licenses must be renewed periodically. Licenses are valid for two years and can be renewed online. To apply, a candidate must complete and pass a four-hour exam. Applicants can get help from the state board. To find out more about obtaining an exotic pet license, contact your state board.
Some states have a regulated exotic pet market. These are dealers of exotic pets and may require licenses. Some states do not regulate this market and people wishing to buy or sell exotic pets may not be required to obtain a dealer’s license. Some states have limited license establishments but all animals (even reptiles) may be imported or exported to other countries. To learn more about importing or exporting reptiles, contact your state department of revenue.
Whether you are purchasing, selling or adopting an exotic pet, you will want to choose a vet who has experience treating reptiles. Reptiles require different care than other animals. Bearded dragons require special heat lamps, UV lights and fresh water regularly. A vet who is experienced with bearded dragons will be able to advise you about these things. Choosing the right vet is important when it comes to exotic pets and reptile care.