A microchip that is used for reptiles, is exactly the same as what is used for dogs and cats. It is a small electronic device that is about the size of a grain of rice. This device is then inserted by a trained vet, using a quick injection. Each animal and species will have their microchip inserted in slightly different locations on their bodies. Once inserted, a reptile cannot feel the microchip. It is encased in a special coating that is designed to last your pet’s lifetime meaning once it’s under the skin, they should never need the procedure doing again.
The microchip is coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. This unique identification number is what stores your personal data on a secure database. If your reptile is found and scanned, your data such as name, address and phone number can be accessed. It is very important to keep your personal details up to date on your pet’s microchip.
Can all reptiles be microchipped?
The majority of reptiles can be microchipped. However, as the microchip comes as a set size (similar to a grain of rice), it needs to be realistic to the size of the animal. It will not be suitable for a small or young reptile to be microchipped.
For larger species such as snakes, tortoises and most lizards, microchipping is a safe and recommended procedure that is always carried out by a trained professional. Always seek the advice of your nearest specialist reptile or exotic vet first if you’re not sure.
Tortoises and Turtles
Tortoises and turtles (collectively known as chelonians) can only be microchipped once the underside of their shell reaches 10cm in length. The microchip will be implanted under the skin of the back left leg. Tortoises must be microchipped at least several weeks before hibernation, to make sure the implantation site has plenty of time to heal.
In most species of lizard, if they are large enough, the microchip is placed in the muscle of the back left leg, or under the skin in this area. The point where the microchip went in will be sealed with a special glue. This holds the microchip in place and allows the scales to heal.
Snakes are microchipped under the skin on their left-hand side. This is usually done at approximately twice the length of the head from the tip of the nose.
Why should you consider microchipping your reptile?
Sadly, even if you are regularly checking on your reptile, they may still be able to escape. Microchipping cannot tell you where your reptile is, but if your reptile is found they can be scanned, and you can be contacted. Without this, it can be very difficult to return a lost reptile to their owner, or prove your ownership in the sad event of any ownership disputes.