Reptiles make great pets, but you need to choose carefully the species you want to care for. You see, some inexperienced owners can be overwhelmed when they realize how hard and expensive some reptiles are to keep them. Unfortunately, many pet owners just go home after visiting pet stores with incorrect and incomplete information on the right way to care for their beloved reptiles.
As a result, they can end up surprised when they find out what it takes to look after their pets. Poor advice and unmet expectations about the chosen reptile can lead to a bad experience and can also be fatal for the reptile. This article explains everything you should know about the best reptiles for beginners.
Best reptiles for inexperienced pet owners
While some reptiles are good choices for beginners, others are not. This is because you need to consider their environmental needs, diet, and adult size. But you can find some readily available reptiles that are excellent for beginners.
These reptiles are relatively low to maintain compared to others, though they may still require a significant investment when it comes to buying equipment for them. So you need to do thorough research before choosing the pet and getting the enclosure set up before you decide to bring them to their new home. Read this reptile guide to help you to make an informed decision. Below are some of the reptiles that are excellent for beginners:
Iguana is one of the common types of lizards you can find in pet stores, but it’s not a good option for beginners. This is because of their size, specific environmental and dietary needs, and they tend to be aggressive when they mature.
The other lizards, such as the Chinese water dragons also have very specific needs like lighting, heat, humidity, and diet. That said, they are a few lizards that can make a good pet for beginners.
For example, leopard geckos are regarded by many pet owners to be the suitable lizards for newbies because they are quite small and easy to care for. All you need is to have a 15 to 20-gallon tank to keep an adult leopard gecko.
These are nocturnal lizards, meaning they don’t require specialized lightings like UVB or UVA lighting. Even better, they feed on insects, so you can give them various insects. Also, they are easy to handle and pretty docile.
Alternatively, you can decide to choose bearded dragons, though they may be a bit challenging for beginners, mostly when it comes to equipment required to keep them. These are Australian natives and they can reach a size of between 18 and 24 inches, so you need to have a reasonably sized tank of about 50 gallons for an adult. You should expect to spend some money to get a proper enclosure for these lizards. The good news is that it’s worth the investment because bearded dragons can be easily tamed and are entertaining. Their diet includes a combination of insects, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
Frill-necked lizards are also excellent pets for beginners. These desert dwellers need a relatively high temperature to thrive and you also need to expose them to UVB and UVA light. These bulbs can be quite expensive but they last for a long time.
Many pet owners desire to care for snakes, but the biggest obstacle is their diet needs. Some of the commonly kept snakes require that you feed them whole prey like rats or mice.
But snakes have an advantage over other reptiles as they may only need to be fed at least once a week or even less. This means you can leave them alone for a couple of days without any need for a pet sitter. They also don’t require UVB or UVA lights.
Some of the snakes ideal for beginners include corn snakes and ball pythons. Corn snakes are beautiful reptiles that are docile and easy to care for. They can reach an adult size of about three to five feet long and they can live up to 10 years or more. These snakes are good escape artists, so you should have an enclosure with a tight-fitting lid.
On the other hand, ball pythons are small constricting snakes that are usually easy to care and are docile. However, they are known for refusing to eat, so you need to get a healthy captive ball python.
It can be a good idea to ask for tips to make sure that the snake readily feeds on mice or rats. You can expect ball pythons to live between 20 and 30 years, and perhaps they are the most common snakes you can ever find.
Although turtles like the red-eared sliders used to be excellent pets for children, this is no longer the case. Aquatic turtles tend to grow large, can be messy, and children find them boring.
It can also be hard to meet their housing and environmental requirements. For these reasons, you should always prepare carefully before you decide to get aquatic turtles.
One of the turtle species you can care for is an eastern box turtle. This turtle can live for a long time, and they don’t grow as large as the other turtles and tortoises.
Best of all, they don’t require the aquatic environment that red-eared sliders need, so they are easy to maintain. Eastern box turtles can live in varied climates and they are omnivores, meaning they can eat both insects and plants.
Caring for pet reptiles
Now that you’ve chosen your favorite reptile, you need to ensure that you get a new enclosure. It should have a proper setup, such as habitat, lighting, humidity, heat, and nutrition.
Heat and lighting are perhaps one of the most important factors for the health of your reptile for various reasons. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals, so they depend on invisible UV, heat, the day and night cycle for them to function well. You should also remember that reptiles don’t just need generalized heat. Instead, they require a wide range of temperatures to enable them to regulate their body temperature as required.