If you purchase a reptile or amphibian, make sure you buy a captive bred animal. As the name states, captive bred animals are animals that were not taken from the wild, but were bred in captivity. What is the difference?
First of all, captive bred animals do not impact wild populations that may be declining or in serious trouble. Through captive breeding programs (not within the pet trade) the American alligator, once a federally protected endangered species, has made an amazing comeback.
Captive bred animals are generally healthier. Of course, you have to make sure you buy the animal from a reputable breeder. Go on some reptile forums like www.faunaclassifieds.com and ask about breeders. Tell people what kind of animal you want to get. If you are inexperienced, ask questions.
Wild caught animals often have parasites, both internal and external. If their excrement is extremely smelly or runny, that could be a sign of internal parasites. You will need to take a fecal sample to your vet to get the answer. Prescription medication is required to get rid of parasites. Always check under the chin or around the vent for ticks or mites before you make a purchase.
Wild caught animals often refuse food. Feeding can be one of the most difficult issues with pet reptiles. If they do not eat, they will not thrive. A stressed reptile can even die from anxiety.
Many snake owners like to feed frozen thawed rodents. Wild caught animals are less likely to eat frozen thawed, especially in the beginning. They can be trained, but it can be a long battle. Feeding live prey can be a huge pain, always having to get animals or to breed them yourself. With frozen, you can buy them in bulk and defrost them as needed.
Before you make that reptile purchase, think about where you are getting the animal. If it is a baby, it probably is captive bred. Always ask to be sure. You will be glad you did.