Best Beginner Reptile
Reptiles are very popular in today's society. They can be found in thousands upon millions of homes. Different types of people have reptiles as family pets, not just the stereotypical goth or punk kid. Business people, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, college students, veterinarians, doctors, teachers, managers, corporate employees, etc. Many people think that only tattoo and pierced "goths" have reptiles as pets. It's just not true. I've researched reptiles for over six years now, and I've had them as pets for over four years now. I'm not the typical "goth;" I won't deny I have several ear piercings and one tattoo. I won't admit that I love piercings and tattoos, but I will admit to sharing the love of reptiles with thousands of other Americans long before I got my second hole in my earlobes.
Many people think reptile think "Ew. I'll never have a scaley creature in my house willingly.' But they're not so bad, but I'm partial. It took my parents two years before allowing me to get a leopard gecko, and then another, and another, and a bearded dragon, and so on till to this day I have 11 leopard geckos, 5 African fat tail geckos, 2 crested geckos, 2 bearded dragons, and 1 ball python, amongst many small. furry animals, and 2 dogs. So, there's my intro, now for the good stuff...
If you want something on the smaller side, you're best bet is a gecko of some sort. Now which to choose? You've got tokay geckos, day geckos, leaf tails, gargoyles, cresteds, fat tails, and leopard geckos amongst many other gecko species that are kept in captivity. Which to choose??
Crested geckos and gargoyle geckos are by far the easiest of the gecko species that I have encountered. They do not need much extra heat or light sources unless your house is kept below 75F, and can be housed in a 15 gallon tall aquarium. They eat a specially formulated Crested Gecko Diet, that you just add water to. Fruit baby foods can be given to them once or twice a week as a treat, and they eat crickets once or twice a week. But, their main source of food is Crested Gecko Diet, and yes that's exactly what it's called.
Leopard geckos and African fat tail geckos are housed nearly the same with slight variations. Leopard geckos are housed at temperatures between 85-90F, and AFT's are housed between 82-88F. AFTs need slightly more humidity, which can be provided with a humid hide (Tupperware container with a hole cut in it with moist moss, vermiculite, etc. to hold humidity). These geckos can be housed in 10 gallon aquariums, but they really need a 20 gallon long aquarium, which can actually house up to two geckos. Fat tails tend to be prone to eating crickets, whereas leopard geckos will eat crickets, mealworms, butterworms, silkworms, etc. You DO NOT want to mix the two species because they do have different requirements.
These four geckos are the best choice for beginner geckos. They all have docile temperaments. Crested geckos are a little more jumpy, but not considered bitey by a long shot.
Of the lizard pets, the best beginner, in my opinion, is a bearded dragon, for the sole reason of their temperaments. Most bearded dragons are very docile and laid back. Mine are. Although, they do get bigger, up to two feet including tail, they are a better beginner lizard than others, such as the chameleon or iguana. Bearded dragons should be housed singly in a minimal of a 40 gallon breeder aquarium with regular bulbs as well as a UV bulb with temperatures near 100F. Babies should be fed a staple insect several times a week, and have a salad mixture offered daily. Adults should be fed a salad mixture daily and staple feeder insect (crickets, superworms, roaches) at least twice a week. Feeder insects should ALWAYS be sized appropriately, no larger than the width between the eyes at the top of the head.
Some bearded dragons can be temperamental, but for the majority of captive bred bearded dragons, they tend to be very docile, and great beginner lizards.
Of the myriad of snakes in the pet trade, the best three beginner snakes include the ball python, kingsnake, and corn snake. Of course, before purchasing a snake, you need to check your state laws for owning snakes. For example, in Georgia, you cannot own corn snakes because they are native. You really aren't supposed to own kingsnakes, but you can get away with a California kingsnake. Just a heads up to check your state laws before purchasing a snake.
Ball pythons are very docile and laid back, more so than the other two snakes I listed. I have a ball python, he has never tried to bite, snap, or show any signs of aggression. Before, during, or after a shed, he is nothing but polite. Hungry, on the hunt, or killing his prey, he's never struck me. I've picked him up while he coiled around a frozen mouse (he took one for the first time in over a year) and placed him in a different tub. Ball pythons can reach 5-7 feet, females being larger than the males. They tend to be very stocky snakes. The only concern with ball pythons are that they are very finicky eaters; they can go up to 6+ months without eating if they choose too.
Both kingsnakes and corn snakes are more finicky than the ball python. They average anywhere from 2-4 feet in length, and stay thinly built. I have seen and held many a calm kingsnake, but I've also seen and been weary of many aggressive ones. The one good thing that I like aboud colubrids, is that they are NOT finicky eaters as compared to the ball pythons. Every colubrid that I've encountered will readily take a thawed mouse.
Reptile Care Sheets
- Caring for Leopard Geckos
Leopard geckos are one of the best beginner reptiles. They are a more docile reptile that is of a relatively smaller size.
- Crested Gecko Care
Crested geckos are relatively new to the pet trade, but from what is known they have fairly simple husbandry.
- AFT Care
Being the close cousin to the leopar gecko, African fat tail geckos, are included as a beginner reptile.
- Bearded Dragon Diet
Making sure to have the proper diet for a bearded dragon is one of the two most important things to keeping a healthy bearded dragon.
- Caring for Bearded Dragons
Being able to provide the proper husbandry for a bearded dragon is the second most important factor in keeping a healthy bearded dragon.
- Feeding Habits of Ball Pythons
Ball pythons make great beginner reptiles, but they can be very picky eaters. In fact, their well known for being picky.
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