Marc Morrone Newsday columnist Marc Morrone

Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to

The Lunar New Year is coming up, and this is the Year of the Dragon. Dragons are pretty hard to find these days, but other reptiles, such as bearded dragons and leopard geckos, are gaining in popularity, especially in pet-keeping homes where a family member is allergic to fur and feathers.

These pets are all cold-blooded and depend on us to maintain their vivariums at the proper temperature. We usually use heat lamps or heating mats. Like anything else in life, they can break down or fail at the most inopportune moments, leaving reptile pets out in the cold. So, during the winter months, I always advise having doubles of any heating source you use for your pet reptile. This way, if something breaks down on a Sunday night and you cannot get out to buy a new one, you will still be able to keep your pet warm and safe so it, too, may be able to celebrate the Year of the Dragon.