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A home where the reptiles roam

An alligator in the tub, an iguana out back

Daily baths, natural stone floors, misting nozzles, heat lamps, a cool pool, fresh greens. No, this isn't a luxury resort spa -- it’s the life of a kept reptile. What leads some homeowners to cater to these toothy, scaly, often-maligned beasts in this way? Call it cold-blooded love, maybe. It all comes through in the clear, simple excitement in their voices and in their pet reptiles' sometimes extravagant, customized living quarters. Herpers, as those people impassioned by reptiles and amphibians are known, are a different breed, and outfitting homes as oases for exotic animal life is no simple task. Keeping reptiles in a residential setting requires more than devotion, to be sure -- it's a science of controlled humidity and finely-tuned temperature gradients, and specialized food, vitamins and supplements. It ain’t easy. According to the American Pet Products Association, 4.6 million U.S. households have made the effort to take care of 13 million pet reptiles as of 201...

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