Warwick, C., Arena, P., Lindley, S. et al. 2013. Assessing reptile welfare using behavioural criteria. In Practice 35(3), 123-131.
While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change in reptiles, as in other animals, is often the primary indicator of disturbance, injury or disease. Just as a behavioural sign may be an indicator of stress or a physical problem, a physical sign may be an indicator of a behavioural problem, and abnormal behaviour may result in injury and disease. This article focuses on abnormal behaviour in reptiles, including signs of captivity-stress, injury and disease and their aetiologies, and takes a fresh look at some old and established biological and husbandry problems. Concise diagnostic guidance on behaviour issues is also included. The article might serve to prompt questions that may be asked of reptile keepers when evaluating animal and husbandry background.