10 Best Pet Reptiles for Beginners
Contrary to other pet choices, reptiles are unique and relatively easier to look after. Regardless of being cold-blooded, their unusual personalities instantly warm the hearts of those they encounter. In addition, they require minimal space and make ideal pets for those living in condos or apartments.
Considering that reptiles come in diverse sizes and shapes, finding the right fit for your family can be a knotty affair. We take the initiative to narrow down the ten top best reptile pests for novice enthusiasts.
Generally, Bearded Dragons are gentle and docile creatures with vibrant personalities. As a result, they are easy to handle and excellent pets for beginners. To keep them healthy, offer gut-loaded insects like crickets, waxworms, mealworms. Likewise, throw in some leafy greens and limited fruit portions.
While baby beardies require feeding daily, adults would perfectly survive on a meal every two days. Remember that these beaded reptiles love heat and would appreciate an enclosure with about 100 degrees.
Do not forget to install a basking corner using a reliable heat source. When fed well and kept in a clean environment, Bearded Dragons can live for about 8 to 15 years and weigh 280 to 510 grams.
Leos are some of the most undemanding and adorable reptile pets. Other impressive traits include the vibrant leopard spots and diversification of skin colors and morphs. Some of the most popular Leo’s morphs include carrot tail, blizzard, high yellow, tangerine, raptor, hypo melanistic, and others.
All you need to keep a Leopard gecko happy is a well-sized enclosure, healthy diet, heat-controlled mat, and sunshine mimicking the spotlight. Also, place a shallow bowl to hold clean drinking water. Mainly Leopard geckos survive on gut-loaded insects such as cockroaches, sowbugs, crickets, beetles, mealworms, waxworms, and butterworms. Dust the insects with minerals and vitamins for added nutrition.
Note that a well-fed adult Leo can enjoy an enhanced lifespan for 8 to 20 years. Additionally, they weigh 45 to 65 grams and measure about 7 to 8 inches.
While most reptiles loathe handling, skinks are very friendly and enjoy a pat on the chin or head. Moreover, they are gentle, quiet, and easily trainable. Apart from the unique blue tongue, Skinks have dull teeth and short chubby legs and spend most of their time crawling on the ground. Compared to other lizards, they are slightly larger and measure about 20 inches. If kept in a suitable environment, Skinks can live for 10 to 20 years.
When agitated, they usually bite, hiss, or expose their tongues as a defense mechanism. Skinks require a nutritious diet of green beans, carrots, kales, parsley, and pinkie mice. Then, add vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent common ailments like metabolic bone disease.
Beyond anything else, ensure that they live in an enclosure within 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and a basking spot of 35 degrees. Besides, install full-spectrum lighting for at least 12 hours daily.
Corn snakes stand out among the most popular serpent pets because of their striking patterns, pleasant nature, and small size. On average, Corn snakes measure 61 to 180 cm and weigh 900 grams. Most heartening is that they enjoy frequent handling and require minimal requirements. Since they are expert climbers, ensure that the vivarium has an abundance of foliage and branches.
Remember that your slithering friends will also need a hiding spot and heat mat. Fortunately, Corn snakes do not require specific lighting in the cage. Primarily, feed your pet snakes with mice or rats at least once weekly.
If possible, avoid feeding your snakes with live prey because they can harm them in the process. Similarly, ensure that rodents measure not more than their head size to deter absorption issues.
Ball Pythons got their name from their inclination of curling up in a ball. Some individuals refer to them as Royal Pythons because of their elegant patterns and colors. In consequence, they are some of the most preferred snake species in the python family. Also, they are relatively small, friendly, and require minimal attention.
In captivity, Ball Pythons enjoy an incredibly long lifespan of 30-40 years. What’s more, they weigh 4 to 5 pounds and grow up to 75 inches. Comparable to other snake pets, place a heat mat and install logs, rocks, and hides in the enclosure. Feed them at least once weekly on a healthy diet of tiny rodents.
Although Iguanas are pretty beautiful, taking care of them requires commitment and tolerance. This is because they often portray aggressiveness and take considerable time to train or tame. Nonetheless, with proper handling, Iguanas make adorable and exciting pets.
Iguanas are herbivorous and mainly feed on vegetables. As a snack, you can give them nutritious commercial pellets from reliable vendors. A healthy Iguana grows up to seven feet and weighs approximately 20 pounds. On average, they live for 10 to 15 years.
Green iguanas are a popular choice among beginner reptile owners because they are easy to care for.
Red-footed tortoises make exceptional pets because of their easy maintenance and bright red, orange, and yellow markings. Besides, they are courageous, friendly, and curious. Albeit their easy-going nature, Red-footed tortoises prefer less handling.
You need to invest in a large enclosure of about 8 feet by 4 feet for your tortoise friend. Additionally, keep it heated at around 100oF and install UVB lighting of 10% to 12%.
Given that they do not have teeth, they use the beaks to grasp food and bite when offended. Even if the bites are usually rare, they can hurt or break the skin. In total, a healthy diet for Red-footed tortoises includes berries, fruits, green veggies, hay, carrion, snails, and slugs.
Bear in mind that juveniles require their meals daily, while you can alternate a day with your adult pets. Usually, an adult Red-footed tortoise measures 28 to 34 centimeters long and weighs roughly 9 kg. When kept in captivity, they live slightly longer than their wild counterparts for about 50 to 90 years.
Red Eared Slider
Equivalent to other turtles, Red-eared sliders carry the salmonella virus on their bodies. However, this should not deter you from enjoying a satisfying relationship with your shelled pet. Instead, all you need to do is practice proper hygiene before and after handling them.
Stakes are high that your Red-eared slider may hiss or bite if someone unfamiliar touches their shell. Therefore, minimize the touching or talk to an expert about how to do it right.
In the wild, Red-eared sliders feed on small fish, decaying matter, and aquatic vegetation. You can mimic that in captivity but also add pellets or commercialized healthy foods. When it comes to providing a convenient home to your turtles, invest in a 40-gallon tank with a lockable screen lid.
Check on the habitat dimension and ensure that your pets have enough space to move around. During the day, keep the temperatures at 75 to 80 degrees. Then, add a basking location of 90 to 95 degrees. Turtles require regular dips in the water each day. Therefore, place a water tank in the enclosure and keep it warm at around 74 to 78 degrees. If you have hatchlings, increase the water temperatures to 80 degrees.
Without any doubt, Crested geckos make the perfect beginner’s pet because of their small size, striking colors, acceptable behavior, and easy maintenance requirements. Sometime back, Crested geckos were extremely rare and almost classified as extinct.
Years later, and after widespread breeding, the crested beauties are now readily available and quite popular. Similar to other nocturnal creatures, they spend their days sleeping and become active at nightfall. Ensure that you have enough foliage and branches for your pets to climb or hide in the enclosure.
Restrain from keeping males together because of territorial brawls. Nutritious meals for Crested geckos consist of gut-loaded insects, waxworms, waxworms, mealworms, and commercial gecko foods. Healthy Crested geckos live for about 15 years, measure 4 to 5 inches, and weigh 30-55 grams.
Chinese Water Dragon
Physically, the Chinese water dragon looks more like baby Iguanas. Although they have intense requirements like iguanas, they spend most of their time in the water. It is common to hear some individuals refer to the Chinese water dragon as an Asian water dragon or Green water dragon.
Either way, Chinese water dragons require constituency and patience before getting accustomed to a new environment.
Additionally, they need large enclosures of at least six by three by six feet. Proper humidity should range between 70 to 80%. On the other hand, maintain the cage temperatures at 28 to 30 degrees during the day and 24 to 28 degrees at night.
On a daily basis feed your pets with gut-loaded locusts, tiny feeder fish, crickets, earthworms, and waxworms. Also, introduce minimal fruits and vegetables like carrots, mangoes, figs, dandelion, green beans, sweet potato, and squashes.
Occasionally, offer adult wagons with pixie mice and add vitamin D3 and calcium supplements to the meals. Dragons held in captivity live at least for 10 to 15 years and measure 35 inches.
Ultimately, choosing your most preferred reptile pet depends on the individual’s partiality. Whatever the choice, strive to meet your pet’s specific requirements without failure. As a reward, your reptile friend will reciprocate with a long lifespan and years of unsurpassed friendship and companion.