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Exotic Reptiles: 5 Best Pet Lizards & Snakes of 2021

Lizards and snakes are part of a vast order of reptiles known as Squamata. These types of reptiles represent the most numerous and diverse group amongst this animal class with nearly 11,000 living species. If you’re trying to pick just one as your next potential pet, the options are so numerous that they could be overwhelming. This guide of the 5 best pet lizards and snakes will help you cut through the noise and figure out which one is right for you. 

The 5 Best Pet Lizards and Snakes of 2021 Are:

Ball pythons

The most popular of all snakes, ball pythons check off every box. Naturally docile and social, this snake species does very well with human interaction. They love to climb around their owners, exploring arms, shoulders, and anywhere else they can get to. Ball pythons are also non-aggressive by nature, making them an exceedingly safe snake option that’s even suitable for children. 

Best of all, ball pythons have the most variety in physical appearance than any other snake. With literally thousands of different colors and patterns (known as “morphs”), these snakes are ultra customizable. Whether you want a snake that stands out or one that matches your aesthetics, the ball python is the species do it with.

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are another contender of an all-around favorite. Regarded as one of the best reptiles for beginners, beardies are the perfect combination of being easy but still interesting. They are medium-sized lizards that grow to be about 16-24 inches (the majority of this length is in their tail) making them easy to house in a medium-sized tank.

Don’t let their spikes and grumpy countenance fool you, these Australian natives are super friendly and sweet to boot. Their above-average intelligence (compared to other reptiles) is one of their most winning qualities. This enables them to do things most other reptiles can’t, such as recognizing their owners, learning tricks, and being affectionate.  

Blue-tongued Skink

A great choice for intermediate reptile owners, there is never a dull moment with a blue-tongued skink. They are similar in size to the bearded dragon, about 18-24 inches, and a great size for housing and holding. They are extraordinarily friendly for a cold-blooded animal and are one of the most affectionate of them. Known to form strong bonds with their owners, they enjoy human contact and aren’t shy about demanding snuggles. 

Blue tongued skinks like climates that are warm and only moderately humid, which helps keep things simple. Their thick, stocky body makes them poor climbers and swimmers, which negates the need for fancy tank decor. 

Corn Snake

The corn snake is a sweetie and an ideal beginner snake: Docile, calm, and easygoing. Corn snakes are thin-bodied and easy to manage, even by children. They are extremely adaptive and can be found in a variety of environments, ideal for someone who doesn’t have the hang of managing temperature just yet. Another plus, they also come in a growing variety of colors and patterns, making them another fan favorite.

Kenyan Sand Boa

Another snake that’s native to Africa, the Kenyan sand boa is a wonderful snake for beginners. Its uniquely shaped head makes it a standout amongst other snakes, along with its giraffe-like pattern. They are sweet and calm, and do well with frequent handling. Although not as popular as the ball python yet, these rising stars are quickly becoming a favorite of both new and experienced herpers. 

Qualities of Great Reptiles

Determining “best”, “most”, or “top” anything can be difficult to pin down. What one herper values most in a scaly reptilian companion may be low on someone else’s list of priorities. Our criteria of what makes a great pet reptile is as follows:

Temperament: A pet lizards and snakes with bad attitudes are no one’s idea of a good time. There are plenty of adventurous reptile keepers that enjoy the challenge, but for the average reptile pet owner, the hassle of a temperamental pet can be a major pain. A great reptile will either be naturally docile or one that’s easily tamed. This will make everything from feeding to cleaning to handling, much easier (and much more enjoyable).

Low Maintenance: In today’s modern times, everything is always go-go-go. To avoid adding a lengthy list of pet chores to our already numerous responsibilities is always a good thing. We chose reptiles that have straightforward requirements and need minimal equipment, allowing prospective owners to save money and time. 

Fun: What’s the point of having a pet if you don’t find the experience enjoyable? Although this quality isn’t exactly quantifiable, we felt it is a necessity for our reptile pet rankings. This can be anything from their personality to their activity levels to their readiness to interact with humans.

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