Let’s face it- though reptiles make great pets, they’re not the easiest animals to own. Reptiles demand a unique kind of care that requires a special breed of owner. Even if you are one of the select few willing to feed your pet live insects or frozen rodents, there’s a lot to know about the animals for which you’ll be caring before you commit to owning one.
To help you out, we here at EntirelyPets have compiled a list of some of the best reptiles to own as pets. These pets are ideal for people who have never owned a reptile but are looking to start. We hope this list helps you come to the right decision- even if that decision is to stick with something a bit more mammalian.
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These awesome little guys make an ideal pet for the owner who doesn’t have a lot of space. These small, nocturnal lizards can be perfectly content in a small aquarium and a few simple amenities.
Food:: Insects- usually crickets or mealworms Habitat: 20 gallon aquarium with a few inches of sand, a water bowl, an undertank heating pad and overhead heat source, and a hollow log. Size: Can grow up to 8 inches in length. Lifespan: The average Leopard Gecko lives to be about 15-20 years old with advanced owners and breeders increasing this average to 20-30 years.
These snakes are the most domesticated breed and are a perfect starter snake for owners that haven’t owned reptiles before. The corn snake are gentle and can easily be kept in a smaller habitat.
Food: Killed mice every 10 days. You can freeze pre-killed mice and feed them at regular intervals. Habitat: A 20 gallon aquarium with a secure top and pine chips, carpeting or Astroturf to be replaced when soiled. A branch and hiding place should be provided, along with fresh water. A heating pad under the substrate and an overhead light should be used to control the temperature. Size: Corn snakes can grow to be up to four feet long. Lifespan: The average lifespan for a corn snake is 10 years.
Russian tortoises are low-maintenance pets that make for excellent pets to the green reptile owner. These tortoises are native to the harsh climate of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and the surrounding areas.
Food: Broad leaf plants. An ideal diet would consist of a variety of weeds, including dandelions. Other easy to attain foods include Romaine lettuce, kale, and cabbage. The key to a healthy diet is variety and preventing over-eating. Habitat: A 75 gallon aquarium should be fitted with a circulating fan but a Rubbermaid storage container can provide a less-expensive option and take up less space as a 50 gallon enclosure. Environments should use sand and coir brick as substrates to provide a 2” deep floor. Enclosures also require a basking light to keep the habitat between 70 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is very important and should be kept in a very humid environment of at least 40%. There should also be a supply of water available at all times. Size: Adults can grow to be 6-8 inches long. Lifespan: 50+ years with proper care. Make sure you are in it for the long haul when adopting this pet!
These lizards are great for anyone looking for a medium-sized lizard that’s not too much of a hassle. Bearded Dragons are easy to tame and rather lethargic, especially during the winter. There is a high mortality rate in young lizards, so it’s best to buy one that is at least 6 inches long.
Food: Insects when young, mouse pinks when 6 inches long. Habitat:55-60 gallon aquarium with newspaper, Astroturf or carpet lining is recommended. You will also need a primary and secondary heat source and both visible and ultraviolet lights. Recommended furniture include branches, smooth rocks, empty cardboard boxes. Plants are also recommended. Size: Bearded Dragons can grow up to 20 inches long. Lifespan: The average lifespan for a Bearded Dragon is 7-10 years.
Captive Bred King Snake
Kingsnakes are friendly and relaxed, making them great starters, so long as they are captive bred. Captive bred kings can be fed easily but should be kept individually, as they have been known to eat other snakes (including smaller king snakes).
Food: Killed mice one to two times per week, feeding mice that are about one and a half times the width of its head as it grows. Habitat: A 20-30 gallon tank with a locking lid and tank heaters with dim lighting. Aspen and pine can be used for bedding or paper towels or newspaper. Provide a source of fresh water and a hiding place made from cardboard or wood. Do not use cedar, as cedar wood can cause respiratory problems in snakes. Size Adult Kings can grow up to 4 feet. Lifespan: 12-15 years is the average lifespan of a king snake, though they can live to be more than 20 in some cases.
Red Ear Slider
Red Ear Sliders are another pet that can live ling lengths and require little active care. Red Ear Slider are extremely active so they can be endearing to watch and know; however, they spend much of that time swimming, so they will need a place to swim. Food: These turtles need vegetables and plants, commercial foods and live protein. The turtle should be fed mostly vegetables and plants like dandelions, carrots, and mustard greens. Plants should make up 50% of your turtle’s diet. The other half should be split evenly between commercial turtle food that is low in protein and fat but high in nutrition and protein sources such as earthworms and crickets. Habitat: Red Ear Sliders need a tank that is at least 120 gallons. The tank should be deep with a lot of space and a large amount of water. The tank should have a filtration system to clean the water of turtle waste and areas for the turtle to bask in the light of an overhead heating lamp with UVB and hear light. The UVB light should be 5% or more and the bulbs need to be replaced once every 6 months. The basking areas should contain a large, smooth rock with some river rocks and plants that help the turtle transition from the water to the rock. Size: Red Ears can grow up to 12 inches long. Lifespan: With proper care, red ears live up to 50 years in captivity.