Kristen Leanne, Reptile Go To on YouTube
Catching Reptiles in the Backyard Leads to Popular Social Presence
As a young child, Kristen Leanne would roam her two-acre backyard in East County, San Diego, CA, after school, playing with bugs and catching lizards, frogs, tadpoles and more. “I've loved animals of all kinds since I can remember,” she said.
She did have one feisty pet at home.
“My dad had a Green Iguana named Iggy when I was little,” she said. “I wasn't allowed to hold him because he was kind of mean and would often make my dad bleed.”
A Beardie of Her Own Hooks Her
And then she was hooked.
“Having reptiles from a young age continued into my adulthood,” she explained.
When she turned 18, she got a snake that she named Cleopatra. “I thought I was adopting a Colombian Red Tail Boa, but it never got longer than 2-3 feet. I wish I could remember what species she was,” she added.
Research and More Research
Researching animals was not as easy then as it is now.
“I didn’t do much research then but now it’s so easy to find so much information on the internet,” she said.
She recommends getting to know the most you can about any reptile you consider getting. “I definitely do much more research now when I decide to get one and I make sure the enclosure is ready to go, before bringing them home,” she noted.
Kristen Leanne does rescue quite a few reptiles and often needs to get up to speed quickly. Typically, she will rehabilitate them, setup a proper enclosure, and then find them a great forever home. She has been known to form a special bond with a few and keep them for herself.
Now she owns quite a few reptiles, in addition to other non-reptile pets. They include a Red Argentine Tegu, Crested Gecko, Ball Python, Bearded Dragon, Bullfrog, Green Tree Python, Anoles, Panther Chameleons, and a Green Iguana.
“Each of them has their own unique qualities which I find interesting,” she explained. “I recently got two baby Ambiole Panther Chameleons that I named Bonnie and Clyde. They are fun to keep and I love their attitudes and big personalities. However, they are definitely not for the beginning reptile keeper.”
She particularly enjoys watching them hunt and eat.
Things Every Reptile Owner Needs to Consider
Kristen Leanne finds different species of reptiles can be challenging in their own way.
“It’s important to determine all of their needs and see how that can fit into your daily life,” she said.
“For instance, if you are getting a reptile for your child and he or she goes to sleep at 8pm, you may not want an animal like Sugar Gliders since they’re typically up throughout the night, just like other nocturnal animals,” she explained.
She said there are some relatively easy reptiles too.
“Leopard Geckos, Crested Geckos, and Bearded Dragons are somewhat simplistic to care for,” she noted. “In my opinion, a Bearded Dragon is the way to go. They cannot drop their tails and they’re diurnal, so they'll be sleeping when you are, and they’ll be awake when you are.”
One thing she did not know until she had a beardie is that they brumate for 2-4 months or even longer in some cases. “There are things you need to provide for them when they are brumating so they can do it comfortably,” she explained.
Tips for Beardies
Kristen Leanne’s important enclosure tips for Bearded Dragon owners include:
- providing as much space as you can afford to give them,
- having proper UVB lighting and basking spots at proper temperatures,
- making sure the enclosure has enough climbing space, and,
- gut loading them with a variety of good insects.
Her more general animal husbandry tips for all reptiles include:
- studying where they are from and mimicking that environment as closely as possible,
- owning a heat gun to check the temperature and a hygrometer to check humidity in the enclosure,
- using a UVB meter to test your UVB to make sure when bulbs are no longer effective and need to be changed (not having proper UVB can cause serious damage to the pet).
She also recommends reptifiles.com for a wealth of husbandry information. “A fellow herp keeper told me about the site, it's a great resource.”
There is one tip she believes is the most important.
“It’s good to read a variety of books and websites and talk to people who have experience caring for that type of reptile. But you do need to be cautious, there is a lot of incorrect information on the internet,” she ended.