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June 1, 2016

Food and water bowls for reptiles would seem to be a static category. They just need to provide a place for the pet to obtain nourishment and hydration. However, more companies are rethinking the tried-and-true bowls to offer keepers and their pets more interesting options.

Hobbyists vary on what they want in food and water bowls.

“Bowls are basic items that every pet owner needs,” said Terry Shaw, manager at Fish-N-Pets Unlimited in Houston. “You always need to have enough of them in stock and have a variety. A lot of keepers go with the cheapest ones, but plenty of others want the bowls to fit the look of the setup.”

Back to Nature

“Many hobbyists want their pets’ food and water bowls to blend in with the other items in cage,” Shaw said. “Ones that look like they’re made of rock or wood sell pretty well.”
Manufacturers offer a wide range of bowls to fulfill this desire for a natural look.

The Zilla Terrarium Dish line from Central Garden and Pet fits perfectly into various herp habitats. The bowls have a shallow rim for the pet’s easy access. The ceramic finish makes them easier to clean than natural surfaces.

The Zilla Terraced Dish combines a natural look with small steps allowing pets to climb in and out easily to access food or water. According to the company’s website, it is particularly useful for turtles and tortoises. The finish is easy to clean and is bacteria resistant. The wide base prevents tipping.

Repta Bowls from Fluker’s provide a rock-like look and are available in five sizes and several colors.

The Castle Crib, also from Fluker’s, provides for three of a reptile’s needs in one compact item. It has a bowl, a hiding place and a basking platform. It is available in two sizes and has a rocklike appearance that will suit most terrarium décor.

When it comes to feeding, there are options other than bowls. Some items provide food for reptiles that better match the way they obtain food in nature.

Zoo Med Arboreal Food Clips provide owners a way to feed leafy greens to tree-dwelling lizards, such as iguanas, veiled chameleons and bearded dragons. They can also be used to elevate food to provide a change of foraging for ground-dwelling leaf eaters, including tortoises and uromastyx lizards.

The Zoo Med Mealworm Feeder is an elevated container with small holes in the bottom, allowing mealworms to fall out slowly. This gives insect-eating pets an opportunity to hunt individual insects. Many pets will learn that the Feeder provides delicious bugs and eagerly wait for them.

For insect-eating herps that live up in branches or rock walls, Hagen offers the Exo Terra Canopy Worm Dish. An adhesive clip fastens this bowl to the terrarium glass. The escape-proof bowl holds mealworms or similar feeder insects above the enclosure floor, providing the pet with a more natural feeding experience.

Running Water

Reptile hobbyists can also meet their pets’ water needs in a more natural fashion with some the products now available.

According to the company’s website, “Zoo Med’s Drippers simulate natural rainfall and provide humidity for captive reptiles. The Dripper has a folding handle lid that allows you to suspend it above the enclosure. Especially helpful for animals that do not readily drink standing water and instead drink “dew” from leaves (i.e. Old World Chameleons).” The Drippers are available in two sizes.

For hobbyists that keep reptiles that need dripping water to drink and want something that looks nice in the enclosure, the Exo Terra Dripper Plant fits the bill. The included pump circulates water from the reservoir up to the top of the realistic plant so it drips down the leaves. The moving water stimulates arboreal reptiles to drink.

Another option for reptiles that prefer to drink moving water is the new Exo Terra Reptile Fountain. Water cascades from the top down the faux stone structure enticing reptiles to drink.

According to Hagen’s website, “the Exo Terra Reptile Fountain is easy-to-maintain, as it consists of only two pieces that can easily be dismantled for cleaning purposes. An Exo Terra Repti Flo pump is included to provide water circulation.”

Other Options

Not every hobbyist wants realistic water and food bowls. Some prefer them to stand out from the décor of the cage or to match a theme of unrealistic looking décor.

For those hobbyists, Zoo Med’s Glo-Bowls might be just what they are looking for–they glow in the dark. Glo-Bowls are combo food and water bowls that nest together for convenience. They have a low profile for easy access by the pet and a smooth, easily cleaned surface.

It’s no secret that reptiles can make a mess in their water bowls. Keeping the water safe and hygienic for the pet can be a chore.

K-Rex Kleanbowl from Kinn, Inc., addresses this issue. The bowl holds an eco-friendly, biodegradable inner bowl. When the bowl gets soiled, the inner bowl can be thrown away and replaced with a fresh one. The package contains three inner bowls and refill packs are available.

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