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Help Caring for Pet Reptiles

Updated on December 27, 2008
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises, and other exotics since 2003.


Reptiles make great pets. They usually have pretty simple husbandry requirements and diet, but that's not always the case. Make sure that your do all your research before you decide to bring home a pet reptile, as each reptile has different care.

Also, remember that you match your experience with the species. You don't want to end up with a species that is either way too large for what you'd prefer to care for or way to complicated.

The more research you do, the better.

Pet Reptiles

Pet reptiles are pretty popular among many people, believe it or not, so before you decide to take the plunge and bring a reptile into your home, you'll want to make sure that you know how to properly care for that particular species.

If you already have a pet reptile, but you opt to move or have to move, you may be trying to figure out how to get your reptile to your new home without endangering his husbandry and his safety and health.

Although, reptiles are pretty popular, that doesn't mean that just anyone can go out and purchase any ole reptile and care for it. There are some species that are better beginner reptiles. I mean for someone with no reptile experience, you wouldn't want to bring home a chameleon, they take a lot more care than other species on the market.

Pet stores are probably the easiest place to come about a pet reptile, but before you bring home a reptile from a pet store, you want to make sure that you know the pros and cons. You may also be interested in hearing about a few other places where you can purchase reptiles.


One of hte best beginner reptiles, leopard geckos are pretty easy to take care of, but you want to make sure that you know and understand husbandry, diet, care, etc. You may be interested in a great reference book about leopard geckos. Find out just about anything and everything you'll need to know about caring for leopard geckos, from finding out why your leopard gecko isn't eating to breeding leopard geckos.

Crested geckos are another one of the best beginner reptiles. They have very simple husbandry requirements and diet. The only concern that I have for them being a beginner pet reptile is that they are jumpy, which may not be the best for younger children.

Find a few tips for setting up a crested gecko cage.

Although this is not a good staple diet, you may want to make a homemade diet for your crested geckos to have as a treat once a week or so. Check out the blends of fruits that you may want to consider.

This is a great resource for signs of sick crested gecko and how to choose a healthy crested gecko.

African fat tail geckos have a similar enclosure design as the leopard gecko, except they need a higher humidity. Actually, AFTs are quite similar to leopard geckos in general. They are very docile reptiles.

Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are relatively good beginner reptiles. They have a more complicated husbandry and diet requirement than the gecko species I have care sheets for above, but they are very docile reptiles and can be great pets.

Like I said, they have a more complicated diet that requires its own link all on its own. Ha. Find out the best feeding regiment for bearded dragons and what you should and should not offer them as a part of their diet.

Pet Snakes

Snakes make great pets, believe it or not. Ha. They have relatively simple husbandry requirements and feeding schedules. But remember that depending on which snake species you opt to keep, make sure that you understand it's care guidelines before you bring it home.

Yes, in the wild snake's eat live prey, but in captivity, it's just safer for your snake to feed on frozen (of course thawed) prey. Rats and mice are very prone to biting, which can really hurt your snake if the rat gets a little nippy. Find out the benefits of feeding frozen prey items, and a few safe alternatives.

Mites can be a pain to get rid of once you've got them. Find out prevention and treatment tips for getting rid of mites in and around your snake's enclosure.

Snakes are usually pretty healthy and robust, but that's just not always the case. Keeping the proper enclosure requirements and keeping it clean, will help prevent many common illnesses. Find out the common illnesses that your pet snake may encounter.

Ball pythons are probably the most commonly kept pet snake. Many people find themselves browsing the animals at the pet store, and find themselves captivated by the baby ball pythons and end up bringing one home. Well, I don't commend this behavior, as you should always research first. But, if you're one of those people, research NOW! Never rely solely on what the pet store told you or the pet store care sheet. Do your research.

Ball pythons are very picky eaters, which is why people should do their research first. Maybe you don't want to get stuck force feeding or stressing that your snake hasn't eaten in months. There are other great beginner snakes. Do your research first.

Easy to understand (I hope) guide to breeding corn snakes. Pre-breeding tips, post-brumation, egg laying, and incubation.

Turtles and Tortoises


Russian Tortoises are one of hte better pet tortoises that you can have as a pet, since they aren't huge like some of the other tortoises that are on the pet trade.

Breeding Reptiles

Just because you think you know what you're doing and want to breed your pets, you should do more research. You never always know what you're doing. You don't want to put your reptiles in danger by stressing them out by breeding, especially if you're not prepared to deal with it all.

If you really want to get into breeding, you'll want to invest in a few higher quality reptiles versus pet store quality, which is usually pretty low quality.

Here you'll find what all I've spent breeding my reptiles. It's not a pretty picture, as the dollar signs just shoot up with each purchase whether reptile, supplies, or feeders.

Find out about my breeding hobby, and what all I breed and hope to breed in the future.


Common Health Concerns

Reptile impaction can be deadly if you don't catch the signs and symptoms early on. Reptiles who are housed on loose substrates such as sand, dirt, aspen, etc. are more at risk than reptiles who are housed on reptile carpet, paper towels, tiles, etc. Also, those reptiles who are fed prey item entirely too large- feeding young leopard geckos superworms for example.

Metabolic bone disease is a risk for reptiles who are not getting proper UV (diurnal reptiles only) and/or calcium (all reptiles) in their diet. Remember that by supplementing Vitamin D3 at least once a week, it will help your reptile better absorb calcium.

Miscellaneous Info

Fake rock is a fun way to decorate and spruce up your reptile's enclosure. Find an extensive instructional about how to make fake rock.

Find all the gadgets and gizmos that you may want to use in your reptiles enclosure. Some of these gadgets are more common sense, whereas some of them, maybe not. Some are requirements for mos reptiles, whereas some are optional. Check it out.


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    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Georgia

      I have tips on the ball python caresheet within the comments about humidity. I really would prefer BP questions on that hub, if that's ok. The egg can be thrown away; there's no reason to keep it. Aspen is fine, typically as long as the water bowl is large enough for the snake to lay in the humidity will be fine.

    • profile image


      12 years ago


      and i have had some trouble keeping the humidity up for more then like 45 minutes, u put aluminum foil over half the top and have been spraying the cooler side every now and then. should i switch my bedding from aspen to reptibark? or should i gett one of those habba mister things?

      oh and the breeder put the egg that the snake was hatched in with the snake when it was shipped, should i put it in the tank so he feels comfortable??

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Georgia

      It is odd that they fed him before shipping, as most breeders do not feed before a shipment bc of the stress of shipping process. It can cause the gecko to regurgitate. Definitely give it some time.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      They said they gave him a meal before they shipped him so i guess every tuesday i should feed him

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Georgia

      It is good he is adjusting. So it was shipped to arrive today, which is more expected than Friday. Do not mess with him for at least 5-7 days. Don't try to feed him or anything. He's just exporing and checking things out. Find out from RC what his normal feeding schedule was and stick with that. Just wait at least a week before handling and trying to feed.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Hey this is C from the ball python care sheet my comments wouldnt show up so im writing here on my account i meant to say tomorrow wich is now today and he got here at 10:15am and he seems to be adapting well to his new enclosure but he's moving around and flicking his toung alot, does this mean he's hungry?

      P.S. i got him from RC reptiles

    • evemurphy profile image


      13 years ago from Ottawa

      Very nice! Everything on one page for a nice bookmark.

    • rodney southern profile image

      rodney southern 

      13 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      Love that first picture Whitney! Wonderful hub as always


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