For many people, pets are almost always synonymous with cats or dogs. However, reptiles are becoming increasingly popular as house pets, and for many good reasons.
These intelligent creatures make great companions, especially for those who can not adopt a furry pet due to dander or fur allergies. If you are intrigued by the idea of keeping an unusual pet, then a reptile might be the perfect companion for you.
Despite lacking that adorable appearance of fluffy animals like cats and dogs, these cold-blooded, scaly vertebrates make up for it with their peculiar and unique personality.
Here are some of the most popular reptile pets out there. We can not possibly rate these curious creatures, so the following are listed in no particular order.
Named after the skin that flares out around their neck when they feel nervous, stressed, or defensive, bearded dragons make very sociable pets if raised and socialized properly.
These non-nocturnal vertebrates are most active during the day, and they come in different shades of brown, yellow, and orange. Despite their fierce name, bearded dragons actually have a gentle nature.
For these reasons, they can make a great addition to many families, as well as households with small children. These bearded lizards eat insects like crickets and worms, as well as vegetables.
On average, they live for 10 years or longer, and they need enough space to move around freely. Despite their relatively small size – compared to iguanas – these colorful reptiles can grow up to 24″, so they need plenty of space to live happily.
Many people think tortoises are the same as turtles. But, while they do look quite similar, the former lives on land, whereas the latter dwells in both water and land.
Russian tortoises are among the smallest of their species; they grow to about 6″ in length. They are calm, friendly, and willing to socialize.
While they don’t need as much space as other reptile pets, Russian tortoises require serious commitment because they can live for 30 years or longer if cared for properly. They thrive on a healthy, simple diet of grass and dark, leafy greens.
To remain healthy, they need regular exposure to ultraviolet light – either from natural sunlight or a UV lamp.
As one of the most popular pet snakes, ball pythons are relatively small, docile, and easy to handle. They come in a wide range of colors, including yellow, silver, white, black, and grey.
When fully-grown, these pet snakes measure between 3-5 feet in length. They are content in simple enclosures, so you don’t need to invest in a very large or elaborate tank.
They earned their name from the fact they curl into a tight ball when they feel threatened. With proper care, ball pythons can live for 20-30 years. Adult snakes eat mice and rats, while the young ones can survive on large insects, but ideally, they should eat small mice and rats.
Leopard geckos have a friendly appearance and temperament. They look like they are always grinning, and they make affable companies. These amiable lizards have bumpy, yellow-brown skin with black spots – hence, the name.
They are nocturnal by nature (mostly active at night), and they eat small insects like crickets and mealworms. Leopard geckos are quite small in size, so they don’t need a large enclosure.
The ideal environment for them is a glass tank with rocks to climb, a dark, moist cave to hide, and a shallow water dish to soak in.
They have a calm demeanor and are easy to handle, which makes them ideal pets for first-time reptile owners. However, owning one is a big commitment, as they live between 10-20 years, on average.
Chameleons are unique, fascinating animals. Many species can camouflage with their surroundings by changing their color through combinations of red, blue, green, orange, yellow, black, and others.
They usually eat live insects, such as grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets. Some large species eat small birds and lizards, as well.
These striking vertebrates make great companions for the more experienced reptile owners, as they need a large, carefully-maintained habitat to thrive. To avoid stress, which they are prone to, their environment must be kept at a specific temperature and humidity level.
African Sulcata Tortoises
Also known as spurred tortoises, these are among the largest tortoise species out there. African sulcata tortoises can grow to weigh 80 pounds or more, so they need to live outside where there is plenty of space for them to walk around freely.
These gentle creatures are easy to handle when young, and they feed on fruit, grass, and leafy greens. They are one the most common types of reptiles kept as pets, owing to their long lifespan that averages between 50-150 years.
These docile, calm, non-venomous snakes come in various color combinations, including red-orange, orange-yellow, red-brown, and black.
They prefer to eat live or freshly-killed mice and enjoy climbing branches. Besides the branches, their ideal habitat should include a hiding spot, a hot area for basking, a cool spot for chilling, and moss for humidity.
Corn snakes are known for having Houdini-like skills, so their tanks must be secured shut at all times to keep them from escaping. When fully-grown, they measure around 4-6 feet in length, and if properly cared for, they can live for up to 20 years or longer.
From lizards and snakes to tortoises and other peculiar animals, you are sure to find the ideal reptile companion for you. Much like other types of pets, these scaly creatures have different needs, depending on their species.
Every breed or type has unique requirements. Therefore, you must do your research and choose a pet that will not grow too large and doesn't have an aggressive temperament.
A house-friendly pet reptile will make a good companion, even for novice pet owners. The key is to do your homework, learn about your chosen reptile’s needs, and ensure that you are fully prepared to care for them.