Reptiles are not commonly mentioned as best pets but with knowledgeable care, they make a great addition to your home. While they may not be furry and cuddly, they have a unique beauty and big personalities that will surely keep you entertained all the time. Reptiles make the most rewarding and gratifying exotic pets.
In this article, we will discuss the best small reptile animals that make great pets.
The bearded dragon is one of the most common reptiles being kept as pets. They come in many colors and as they regulate their body temperature, they can undergo different color changes. They’re a great option for young and busy pet owners as they are very low maintenance.
This animal is called Bearded dragon or “Beardies” for a reason. They have a pouchlike skin folds under their necks that look like a man’s beard. When they feel threatened, they puff out their beards and open their mouths to make themselves look bigger. If taken correctly, this friendly, active pet can live for 12 to 13 years.
Beardies are reptiles that love handling and interaction. They usually respond to their owner’s voice and compared to other reptiles they are even-tempered. They also wave in submission to their owner. Because they love to be warm, they snuggle up to their special human’s neck and chest. You’ll sometimes notice them watching you watching them which is normal. Aside from that, they love basking, eating, climbing or moving around in their aquarium.
Bearded dragons are also very easy to feed. They are omnivores and go for leaves, flowers, fruits. They also eat insects like crickets, small lizard or even hard-shelled insects like beetles. As for their environment, these creatures are desert animals that need a temperature between 78 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit during daytime and not less than 70 degrees during the night. Provide a place for your bearded dragon to bask and climb like flat-bottom rocks and branches.
Chinese Water Dragon
If you wanted to adopt an iguana but got discouraged because of their required environment and their behavioral nature, then you might want to compromise with a Chinese water dragon. While these geckos look very similar to iguanas with their dark to light green complexion and their vertical and slanted stripes, they’re not as aggressive as iguanas and considered as one of the friendliest reptiles.
Just like other reptiles, these pets can get aggressive if scared or feel threatened but with regular handling, they tend to get secured with their new living environment and their caretaker. The Chinese water dragon is an active type of lizard that loves to climb and swim. They are also sociable and thrive when housed in pairs or groups.
Chinese water dragon makes good pets but is not recommended for first-time owners as they require more maintenance compared to other reptiles. They need to be in an enclosed box preferably an aquarium that is big enough to replicate their natural environment. They need plenty of branches to climb and bask in addition to live plants. They also need a good pool of water that is large and deep enough for their size. Since they usually use their pool as a toilet, you’ll have to clean the water tub daily. Misting their aquarium is needed every once or twice a day to maintain a humidity of 80%.
As for food, they usually eat insects like crickets and worms. Occasionally you can feed them with finely chopped vegetables and fruits. Certain mineral and vitamin supplements to keep your pet healthyare readily available in pet stores. Make sure to consult with your vet to be able to provide all the necessary supplements they need.
Compared to other species, these tortoises are relatively small which can grow in a maximum of 8-10 inches only and can stay as a family pet in an average of 50-100 years. These creatures are usually being kept as pets because of their big personality that allows them to interact with their owners.
Russian Tortoise is a low maintenance reptile. They do not have water requirement and is best to be house outside in large, penned off area with plants. Provide small flat rocks inside their pen that will allow them to climb and exercise. Aside from that, they also need a place to dig like sand which they usually use for toilet and to discard food.
Crested geckos are cartoon-looking reptiles that were once believed to be extinct but rediscovered in the early 1990s. They are docile, entertaining, child-friendly reptiles that you will surely love.
Crested geckos move vertically and love to jump. This is the reason why they need an aquarium that is taller than is long. They are arboreal so make sure to provide an environment as close to its natural habitat as possible. Crested geckos are sensitive to high temperatures. Do not rest a heat source right at the top of their tank.
When it comes to food, they are the easiest to care for as a commercial pellet is already available in the pet store that will already keep them healthy. Juvenile crested geckos need to fed daily but once they grow old, you can limit their food to three times a week.
Unlike other lizards, crested geckos cannot regenerate their tails so you have to make sure that they do not get frightened as not to drop their tails.
Leopard Geckos are popular species for first-time lizard owners. They are very easy to care for and comes in a variety of colors. They are considered as one of the best family pets because of their docile and placid nature. If your family is awake during late nights or early morning, they are perfect as these lizards are nocturnal.
Leopard geckos can live comfortably in a 10-gallon aquarium. They are sensitive to cold so while it looks like they might be comfortable in a bigger tank, make sure that is not bigger than a 20-gallon aquarium. They also love to hide so provide them a place to hide like a small cardboard box lined with moist moss. Make sure not to handle your leopard gecko before they are at least 6 inches long.
Feeding a leopard gecko is very easy. They like mealworms or cricket. However, before feeding it to your little friend, make sure that these insects were fed by a special powder that can be bought in a pet store. Their prey insects need to be dost before feeding them to your lizard. The number of insects to feed your pet depends on its length. If your gecko is 5 inches long, offer him 10 dusted insects every other day.
Green anoles are chameleon-like lizards because of their ability to change colors from green to brown and back. Just like a chameleon, they are look but no-touch reptiles. This is because of their quick and agile ability that may lead them to escape. While they might be skittish, a healthy green anole is very active and fun to watch. They love to climb trees, walls and windows
Green anoles are best kept in an aquarium with a screened top for ventilation. They need UVB lighting to create artificial sunlightthey need to survive. Since they love climbing, live plants and tree-like branches is great to replicate their natural environment.
As for feeding, they are very similar to a bearded dragon. However, they have a fast metabolism so it is best to feed your pet the same hours each day. An adult green anole needs to be fed 5 dusted insects each day. Green anoles do not drink water from a water dish. Instead, they love to drink moistures from leaves so make sure to mist their place twice and thrice each day and if possible, drop pieces of water on plant leaves to allow them to drink.
Children Python can grow up to 2.5 feet at most which is why they are the second smallest snake in the world. They can be a little feisty when small but will become calmer as they grow old. While they are not mostly mentioned as great pets, common snake dealers have them available.
Children Python are placid but will still strike when they feel danger. It is best to keep them inside their aquarium all the time. They are best kept alone as they can get aggressive and competitive when with another python.
Being a nocturnal species, Children Python doesn’t need an ultraviolet light just like other reptiles. They need to be caged in a close enclosure with proper ventilation. The temperature inside their habitat needs to be between 71 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They usually crawl in flat areas so make sure that their place is big enough for them to exercise. Occasionally, they climb trees in the wild. Try to replicate this living environment by adding some branches and artificial rocks.
While they are relatively small as a snake, children phyton are known for being good eaters. They usually feed on frozen rats and mice which can be bought in pet stores. A juvenile python needs to eat one rat a week while an adult one needs to be fed thrice a week. They also need fresh water to survive. Make sure to change their bowl of water every day.
Corn snakes make great pets for first-time snake owners. They are a docile type of snake that doesn’t have temperamental tendencies. They’ve got their name from their skin pattern that consists of large patches of red-orange ringed and yellow bands that looks like corn. Their average lifespan is 5-10 years but when taken correctly, they can live longer than 10 years.
One thing that makes corn snake special is its amazing ability to interact with a human. Once they get accustomed to their new environment and their special human, they can tolerate handling for hours. They don’t get easily provoke and bite which is why they are great with children as long as their interaction is, of course, supervised.
Corn snakes need to kept in a vivarium big enough to allow then to stretch out fully. They have a required thermogradient needs with a range of 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit on one side and 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side. UV lighting is also needed to keep your corn snake healthy.
As for food, they eat frozen mice and quails that are usually available in pet stores. Keep in mind that their food width should not be greater than 1.5 times the widest part of your pet’s body. Freshwater should always be available in their tank.
- ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry bacteria and diseases contagious to humans, through handwashing after contact with a pet is highly needed.
- Always give your pet a few days to adjust to their new environment before handling.
- Make sure to supervise children closely when they are around any reptile.