postheadericon How to Choose the Right Reptile for You

Reptiles are fascinating and beautiful animals, but choosing one to keep as a pet requires careful consideration of your time, budget, and experience caring for reptiles. It can be tempting to buy a reptile on impulse, but more often than not this leads to a neglected reptile and an unhappy owner. This article will explain how to choose the right reptile for you.

How to Choose the Right Reptile for You

1 Appraise your level of experience in caring for reptiles. If you can sum your experience up with “look at those awesome lizards at pet stores,” choose an easy to care for reptile perfect for beginners, such as leopard geckos or corn snakes. Reptiles such as iguanas or Burmese pythons, and most turtles or tortoises, are best for experienced reptile owners who are knowledgeable about the animal’s care and have owned or cared for similar reptiles. If you are a beginner, keep in mind that choosing an expensive, high-maintenance reptile is very likely to lead to discouragement, wasted money and yet another unwanted animal.

How to Choose the Right Reptile for You

2 Consider your budget. Reptiles are exotics and can be very expensive to care for, as some require large enclosures with specific temperatures and humidity levels and care from an experienced veterinarian who specializes in reptile care. The purchase cost of a reptile is very often far smaller than the cost of caring for a reptile – a bearded dragon that costs $60 can cost you hundreds of dollars more to care for, especially if you purchased it from a chain pet store or if it’s unknowingly sick. Talk with your family honestly about how much you expect the reptile will cost, and decide if you can afford to purchase and care for it.

How to Choose the Right Reptile for You

3 Decide how much time you can commit to caring for a reptile. Reptiles are not “starter pets” or “easy to care for,” and larger reptiles in particular require large time and financial commitments. In addition, many reptiles can live for twenty or more years – consider how events in your life (such as going to college, moving, having a baby, etc.) will affect your ability to care for your reptile. You can’t just put a reptile in the closet when you get bored with it like a child does with a new toy. Decide if you’re ready for the responsibility – and boredom – of cleaning the cage, preparing the food, handling the reptile if necessary, checking the temperature, etc.

How to Choose the Right Reptile for You

4 Consider the size of the reptile. Large reptiles require extremely large enclosures that are very expensive. Very large reptiles such as anaconda snakes can be difficult to handle without assistance, and without regular handling they can become nippy and potentially deadly. Smaller reptiles are less expensive but can be more skittish and difficult to tame. Ask your family how comfortable they are with the size of the reptile you’re considering, and consider how big of a commitment the reptile you want will become.

How to Choose the Right Reptile for You
How to Choose the Right Reptile for You

5 Talk with your family. Bring up the idea of owning a reptile, and sit down together to discuss whether a reptile would be a good fit for your family. Review species of reptiles, and discuss if anyone is afraid or uncomfortable with a reptile such as snakes. Overview how much you expect the reptile will cost, and whether you will be able to cover all of it’s needs or if some or all of the family will have to pitch in. Is this going to be your pet, or a family pet? If it’s going to be a family pet, who will feed the reptile, take it to the vet, clean the cage, etc.? Explain that most reptiles will have to be fed animals such as rodents and/or insects such as roaches. Is the family comfortable with that? What about feeding the reptile rats or rabbits? Be honest about how much money and time you expect the reptile will require, and take your time while deciding if a reptile is a good fit for your family. Remember that the entire family must agree. Even if Sally is the only person afraid of snakes, respect that she’s afraid of them and do not purchase a snake.

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