Choosing Exotic Reptiles as Pets
Thinking of getting a reptile as a pet? Great idea. The only question then becomes deciding which kind of reptile to get. When it comes to choosing exotic reptiles as pets, there are a few key qualities that can determine how easy (or hard) it will be to take care of them. Here’s what to look out for, along with our top recommendations for the best reptile pets for beginners:
Qualities of a Great Beginner Reptile Pet
All reptiles may be cold-blooded, but there can be a world of difference between each species. More so than simply how large they are or how many legs they have. There can be a drastic difference in species’ care requirements, temperament, and personality, as well. All of these factors impact how suitable they would be for first-time reptile owners.
Bigger isn’t always better. The larger the reptile, the bigger (and more expensive) the housing they will need. Cost aside, a larger reptile can be more difficult to manage which can make removing them from their tank to replace their substrate, clean their tank, feed them, or check for health issues, difficult for someone less experienced. A good-sized reptile would be one that’s a dozen inches to six feet in length.
Reptiles require external sources of heat and light to regulate their body temperature and ultimately, keep them healthy. Depending on the region a particular reptile species is from, they may prefer a hotter basking temperature, a greater variation between their day and night temperatures, or a certain level of humidity in the air. Humidity can be a tricky environmental component to control for a beginner. Too little or too much moisture in their tank environment can result in your pet reptile getting sick. It also increases the potential for bacteria to grow and thus, also requires more frequent deep cleanings.
Reptiles aren’t known for being particularly affectionate pets. Still, their temperament plays a great deal of importance when it comes to handling and interacting with them. Some reptile species are naturally more docile and tame than others. They will get along better with humans and be less prone to aggressive behavior. This also tends to lend to a more social personality and that is more tolerant of handling (a.k.a. Physical interaction).
Just like humans, a reptiles’ disposition can vary between species. Some can be feisty while others tend to be shy. Specific tendencies tend to persist in each species although variations can occur. These tendencies are important to know as they can determine how easily a reptile gets stressed or agitated, which in turn can determine both how long and how often you can interact with your pet. Certain reptile species like chameleons are easily stressed and prefer a hands-off approach. Others, like the friendly corn snake, have no such afflictions and are hardy little creatures.
Pros & Cons Of Different Reptile Species
The reptile class is made up of several different families. Snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises make up the types that are the most commonly sold in the exotic pet industry. While there’s plenty to love about each reptile family, they can each offer a unique type of reptile owning experience.
Snakes offer some of the most low maintenance of all reptile pets for the simple reason that they do not need to be fed daily. Only needing to eat every 10-14 days, they are a great pet option for frequent travelers or those with hectic, unpredictable schedules. In terms of appearance, snakes offer an unrivaled array of visual options with thousands upon thousands of morph combinations in a rainbow of colors and patterns.
Lizards vary greatly in shape, size, and color so it’s hard to pin a single generalization on this group. This family houses some of the most intelligent reptiles, however, making them a great choice for highly interactive pet owners.
These aquatic creatures are a common pet choice for children. They tend to stay fairly small and are therefore relatively easy to house. Being aquatic creatures, they require a high level of cleaning that might not be suited for everyone.
Tortoises are land-dwelling creatures that typically require large tracts of space to roam around, making them a not-so-great choice for this in small living situations. For those who have space, be prepared for a serious commitment as these gentle giants can live for decades and grow to be several hundred pounds. Your reward will be a loyal and affectionate reptile that will likely want to follow you around and boop your leg in the request for pats.
You can find the best selection of reptiles for sale at specialty online pet stores, like XYZReptiles.com. They have a vast variety of exotic pets, beautiful morphs, and all the equipment you could need to care for them. Get started with your new reptile pet today!
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