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Microchipping your reptile

All you need to know about microchipping your reptile

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What exactly is a microchip?

A microchip is a small electronic device about the size of a grain of rice. The microchip is inserted into your reptile (location dependant on species) via a quick injection. Once inserted, a reptile cannot feel the microchip and the special capsule around it means that it does not break down and is designed to last your pet’s lifetime. 

The microchip is coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. Microchips do not store personal data – this is kept against the unique identification number on a secure database. If your reptile is found and scanned, the microchip database is accessed online and the organisation that has your pet, for example a veterinary surgery, a rescue centre or the police, can use the number to find your details. You can then be contacted and your pet safely reunited with you.

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Can Any Reptile Be Microchipped?


Microchipping of reptiles can be done depending on the size of your reptile. The microchip is the size of a grain of rice, and for small species, or for young reptiles, this may be too large. However, for larger or older reptiles such as snakes, tortoises and lizards, microchipping is a safe and recommended procedure. Microchipping of any reptile should only be done by a confident reptile vet – If you aren’t sure if your reptile is big enough or suitable to be microchipped, consult your reptile vet for advice. 

Microchipping Chelonians – Tortoises and Turtles


Chelonians can only be microchipped once their plastron (the underside of their shell) measures at least 100mm in length.  The microchip will be implanted under the skin of the back left leg, or into the muscle in thin-skinned species. 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. Tortoises must be microchipped at least several weeks before hibernation, to make sure the implantation site has plenty of time to heal. 

Microchipping a Lizard

Lizards come in a range of shapes and sizes. In most species, if they are large enough, the microchip is placed in the muscle of the back left leg, or under the skin in this area. For very small lizards, approximately shorter than 12.5cm from snout to vent, the microchip is placed under the skin on the left hand side of the body.

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. 

Microchipping a Snake

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. 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. 

Why Should I Microchip My Reptile?


Sadly, even with regular enclosure checks, our reptile friends may have the ability to escape and leave the home. Even tortoises, not known for speed, can move when they want to and easily escape a garden if unattended. 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.