ABSTRACT: Behavioural responses vary significantly within the Reptile Class when stressed, fearful or frustrated, making it very difficult to observe or measure their emotional state. Reptiles are not commonly seen in general veterinary practice which can mean that suitable accommodation is not always available, and as there is a huge variation in a reptile’s ability, or lack of, to signal changes in emotional state, it can be challenging for veterinary nurses to identify and address the stress response. The veterinary practice can reduce negative behavioural responses by managing transportation, sampling and handling methods to improve the patient experience. This article refers to reptile species commonly kept as companion animals in the UK, including snakes, lizards and tortoises, which may be presented for veterinary treatment. It also examines possible routes to the identification of Reptile species as suitable pets, and indeed the suitability of Reptiles as pets at all.


Jane Williams B.Sc., M.A., M.Sc. (CABC)

Jane completed the RG.Dip. in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling and a research MSc at the University of Southampton. Her first degree is in Zoology (University of Nottingham) and she has an M.A. in Education Management from the Open University She has been a full member of the Association of Ret Behaviour Counsellors since 2009 and was its Chair 2017-20. She is currently an ARBC Committee Member and Head of the Assessment Team. She is Animal Behaviour and Training Council Registered as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist, and as an Animal training Instructor. Jane was the ABTC Chair (2018-20) and is currently a Trustee and its Secretary Jane is a member of the Association of Ret Dog Trainers and the British Veterinary Behaviour Association. She is a Rets as Therapy assessor and a guest lecturer at Writtle University College.

Danielle Beck BSc, MSc (CABC)

Danielle is a Clinical Animal Behaviourist based in Greater Manchester. It is Danielle’s aim to provide caregivers with an insight into how their animals think and the reasons behind their problematic behaviours. The primary species Danielle works with are dogs however; due to her background in zoology and work within zoological facilities she is happy to see both domestic and non domestic species. Danielle’s previous work history includes zoological collections. exotic pet stores and ken­nels. Danielle is the first and only registered clinical animal behaviourist who has been assessed for reptiles and is both passionate and enthusiastic about reptile welfare. Danielle’s MSc thesis focused on the factors affecting the stress of Green Iguanas kept as companion animals and she has a passion for enhancing and improving the welfare of captive reptiles.

Keywords: Reptiles; reptile stress; frustration; fear; anxiety; sampling and handling;
stress reduction

To cite this article: Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 36 (07)• July 2021 pp213-216

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