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guide to pet reptiles

A Beginner’s Guide to Pet Reptiles

by Gloria Louden
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Owning a reptile as a pet might not seem very conventional, but is very rewarding if done right. The experience can be overwhelming for new pet owners. Taking care of a pet reptile requires understanding certain aspects that are not necessary for a dog or a cat owner. Inadequate knowledge of reptiles may lead to unpleasant surprises for owners, who might not handle situations properly and fatally injure the reptile.

Although reptiles make excellent pets, they are generally expensive to care for. Unprepared owners might get swamped with the complexity of keeping the reptiles healthy and active. Choosing the right species and breed for a pet is crucial. A decent amount of research is suggested before opting to adopt a pet reptile. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the various types of reptiles that are suitable for keeping as in-house pets.

Bearded Dragon

Arguably the most popular species of pet reptile, bearded dragons are adorable creatures preferred by reptile enthusiasts all over the world. Owning a bearded dragon is challenging indeed, but with the right approach, the experience can be seamless and enjoyable. Feed them a healthy amount of dubia roaches, as these insects are nutritious for their bodies.

Dubia roaches can grow up to 24 inches and require a relatively spacious, high-end habitat for mobility and comfort. They enjoy being physically handled, unlike most other insects in their classification. Bearded dragons also consume small insects like worms and crickets, as well as certain fruits and vegetables. Many beardies have been seen living for over a decade, and still going strong.

Bearded dragons are naturally desert dwellers due to their need for extensive heat to survive. Make sure you maintain strong heating conditions in their habitat. Hence, the major portion of expenses behind owning a pet beardie is invested into their abodes and should be taken very seriously by their owners.

Corn Snake

Similar to the bearded dragon, corn snakes are also highly popular amongst reptile fanatics due to their compliant nature and relative ease of maintenance. They have an average lifespan of around 20 years and can grow up to 60 inches in length.

Acquiring a corn snake is actually quite simple due to its availability in most parts of the world. They make amazing pets as they are very submissive and safe to handle. Although they do bite occasionally, these are not venomous and usually require little effort to cure.

The maintenance cost of corn snakes is also very reasonable, as no artificial environmental conditions are required to be installed in their habitat. Just make sure there are no existing gaps in the habitat to prevent the snake from escaping – which they frequently do!

Corn snakes crush their prey by wrapping around them and squeezing with sheer force. They love to eat rodents and prefer killing them instead of being served with ready-made food. Small frogs and lizards are good for their nourishment. Quail eggs may occasionally be served to them, but not too frequently. Make sure to keep a keen eye on their diet to maintain their health and activity.

Leopard Gecko

Another reptile highly popular among pet lovers is the leopard gecko. These lizards are the perfect choice for beginners due to the overall ease of handling and the low costs of maintenance. Leopard geckos originate from hot, desert regions, and require a similar atmosphere to survive. These brilliant creatures are very sprightly in nature, which can be quite pleasing for most owners.

Leopard geckos can grow up to 12 inches in length, and live for a very long time – as long as 20 years! Their dietary requirements are also very straightforward, as they tend to feed mostly on insects. Give them an assortment of crickets, wax worms, or small locusts and watch them cutely nibbling away. Do not overfeed them, even if they are not refusing food, as this might cause health concerns.

Provide them with a decent habitat with enough space for movement. Generally, no expensive setup is necessary due to their low maintenance. Leopard geckos do not need specialized and dedicated lighting because of their nocturnal nature, which saves money for the owner. Just give them decent heating, and they will be by your side for decades to come!

Chameleon

Chameleons are iconic reptiles due to their unique color-changing qualities. You may have passed by a chameleon, perched on a tree trunk, without even realizing its presence. Such unique camouflaging characteristics are extremely rare in the animal kingdom.

These emblematic reptiles can grow up to 27 inches in length and can live for some years in an artificial habitat. Chameleons dislike life in captivity and may struggle to adapt to an artificial environment for a considerable amount of time. Feed them collards and mustard occasionally, in order to sustain a healthy intake of green vegetables. Regular diet includes insects like crickets or wax worms.

Taking care of them requires a certain level of expertise that beginners might take time to acquire. However, the learning curve is not so high, and with honest effort, you can make your pet chameleon one of your closest buddies. Keeping a chameleon as a pet can be an experience like no other!

Final Words

Pets provide enormous emotional support to their owners and are generally adored in decent households. Although reptiles are usually not considered ideal animals for pets, they sure have their own set of antics people love. Many reptiles are quite low maintenance, despite the significant investments required during the initial stages of acquiring or adoption.

Make sure you do not skip the research before deciding on getting a particular breed. It is not mandatory to be a herpetologist to own a pet reptile. Proper knowledge of all the intricacies of handling them can go a long way towards ensuring a healthy and joyous life for your beloved pet.

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