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Types of Reptile Pets

Most people, when thinking about types of reptile pets, think of snakes. However, the world of snake keeping is large, varied, and unique. There are hundreds of reptiles available to the fanciers of the world, all varying in sizes and care needs.

Snakes as a Type of Pet Reptile

While there may be a stigma surrounding snakes and the ownership of them in the general public, they make for easy to care for, long-lived pets. Contrary to popular belief, they are rather calm, not slimy at all, and don’t need to live off of live prey to thrive. However, not all snakes make great pets. Here’s a list of manageable, docile snakes that make for great companion animals in a variety of homes.

Ball Pythons

Ball pythons are one of the most commonly available types of pet reptile for sale, and it’s easy to see why. They are beautiful and sport a variety of colors and patterns thanks to a huge community of caring breeders. They are among some of the most docile pet snakes out there, being notably slow-moving and content to relax on their owners shoulders and arms for hours.

Corn Snakes

Originating from the swamps and forest of the southeast US, these snakes are a keystone species for a variety of environments. Keeping the population of pests like mice at bay, they are greatly appreciated by farmers.

Growing to around a manageable 5 feet, corn snakes fit neatly in a variety of small enclosures. Although they sport a beautiful contrasting red-and-yellow color pattern that makes them very aesthetically pleasing, they can be confused for the venemous copperhead when in the wild.

Kingsnakes

Like the other snakes on this list, the kingsnake is a relatively long-lived, docile reptile pet that matures to a manageable adult size.

Unlike the other snakes in this list, kingsnakes are unique due to their propensity to eat other snakes in the wild, even consuming the deadly rattlesnake at times. These reptiles can’t be housed with other snakes or each other because of this.

Tortoises as a Type of Pet Reptile

Docile, easy to take care of, and even affectionate in many cases, tortoises are an excellent option as a pet. Especially for those that have done their homework. There are a variety of easily available tortoises that vary in lifespan (some of which can live past 80 years, like the sulcata), dietary, and care needs.

While these animals are largely herbivores, some supplement their diets with fruit and even some protein. Unlike the similar-in-appearance turtle, tortoises are not amphibious and exclusively live on land. Some tortoises are able to be kept indoors in a terrarium. A few of the larger species may require space that’s only available in an outdoor environment.

Unlike the other types of pet reptile on this list, taking care of your tortoise’s shell on a regular basis is a must. You can maintain your tortoise’s shell (preventing scratches, pyramiding, and other damage) by making sure that it has proper exposure to UVA/UVB light, a good diet, and dietary supplements like Calcium with D3.

Lizards as a Type of Pet Reptile

Lizards make up a large family of reptiles found all around the world. Typically defined by their smaller size, long body, long tails and legs, they adapt to a variety of environments. This makes lizards pervasive and important to a variety of ecosystems. Their smaller size and variety of appearances also make them highly appealing as pets.

Unlike amphibians, most lizards don’t live in the water. Many are arboreal or prefer hiding in rocks and sand. Many have specialized mechanisms that help them climb a variety of surfaces, such as the setae-coved feet of the day gecko.

Lizards also have a very unique trait in their ability to easily lose and regenerate their tails. This is a point of fascination among many reptile keepers and is widely studied among research communities. If you are seeking out these reptiles as a type of pet for sale, make sure that you seek out a reputable breeder.

Bearded Dragon

Native to the deserts of Australia, these small to medium-sized reptiles have been popular as low-maintenance pets for decades. Unlike most reptile pets, the bearded dragon is capable of safely wandering outside of its enclosure for a short period of time, with many owners purchasing small harnesses and attempting to “walk” short distances with them. These lizards live mainly on a diet of insects and vegetation. This makes their food accessible and affordable.

They sport an immediately identifiable ruff of spikes around their neck. Many keepers find this to be rather appealing aesthetically.

Skinks

A salamander-like medium-sized reptile, the skink family is varied and found throughout a variety of environments, and makes for a popular type of pet for many homes.

While there are a variety of pet skinks, among the most popular of them is the blue-tongue. These are the largest of the skink family, growing to around two feetlong as adults. As part of their feeding response or when they’re threatened, these lizards flash their blue tongue. Other defining features of this lizard include its triangular head and long, tubular body with short stubby limbs.

Geckos

The smallest lizards on this list, geckos rarely grow to over half a foot long. Dozens of gecko species are available for sale, all with different appeals to their personality and appearance. Various insects and nectar make up the eclectic diet of the gecko.

These lizards are mostly tree-dwellers. This means that they will need specifically designed vertical enclosures. They will also require a large variety of branches, vines, and other plant matter to grab on to.

Thoughts on Types of Reptiles you can Keep as Pets

With proper care and attention, any animal on this list can live a full, happy life in captivity. The variety of reptiles available as pets for sale easily competes with your more typical options. However, the care and needs of your animal will vary drastically based on the pet you eventually choose. Understanding which animal can thrive within your lifestyle and knowing what you can properly care for will be the first step in your reptile-keeping journey. 

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