5 Questions To Think About Before Getting A New Reptile

 5 Questions To Think About Before Getting A New Reptile

Which reptile will fit my lifestyle?


It seems like there are countless reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates to go see at pet stores and reptile expos. Each animal is unique in their appearance, temperament, and maintenance. Before you bring home a new pet, there are a few things you need to think about.

1. Do you have a busy schedule?


If the answer is yes, you should not be getting something that needs daily attention. Not all reptiles are able to go a whole day without getting a light misting. Some require a lot of care. Do your research and ask breeders the maintenance level of the pet you are thinking of bringing home. Traveling a lot for work is not going to be fair to your critter if they need more attention. 


One example of a reptile that needs daily care is a chameleon. There are many different kinds of chameleons that you can have as a pet. Moving around can stress them out as well and cause them to become sick. If your job requires you to move often, you need to get a hardy animal. 


Most types of geckos, bearded dragons, ball pythons, and other smaller snakes can be transported with their enclosures with minimal stress.


Aquatic animals might also not work for you if you are gone all day or travel a lot for work. Even if you purchase a water filter, the water still needs changed and the tank still needs cleaned regularly. Cleaning a tank and changing the water could take a good bit of time whether you are an expert or not. 

2. Do you have enough space?


Reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates are usually small enough to fit in a nice glass enclosure. However, there are some animals like iguanas or larger snakes that need more room. Apartment life is not suitable for every animal. Research how large these animals will get and if apartment life is going to be spacious enough. 

3. How much experience do you have?


One of the reasons many reptiles are re-homed, thrown out, or sent back to pet stores is because people get an animal that is too much for them to handle. Getting an animal just because it looks cool will lose its magic pretty fast. Many species of snakes, iguanas, skinks, and monitors need experienced owners. 


An example of a snake that needs an experienced owner is the Green Tree Python. These snakes are extremely cool to look at, but they take a lot of work. They are temperamental, they will strike, and most of them don’t prefer being held. 


If you are getting a reptile for the first time, you need an animal that needs minimal maintenance and a docile temperament. This is why leopard geckos and bearded dragons are pretty good first pets to have. 

4. Do you have enough money?


The animals themselves might not be expensive, but their enclosures and supplies can add up. It can also cost a pretty penny to see a vet if they are sick or needing a procedure done. Having enough money saved up to cover those costs is important. 


If money is tight and you still want a reptile, you will need to get something that can have newspaper as substrate and eats inexpensive food. Crickets or superworms are fairly inexpensive to purchase. Geckos, bearded dragons, smaller snakes, and anoles are cheap eaters. They also don’t require very many supplies. A decent sized enclosure, a couple of lights, one or two hides, and their food is usually all you need. 


Aquatic animals are going to be harder to maintain financially. They need filters, water changes, a lot of accessories, fish food, bloodworms, and other variety of foods. Turtles, water dragons, axolotls, salamanders, and alligator lizards can be a little expensive up front for all of their supplies. 


There are also different morphs of bearded dragons, geckos, and snakes that are more rare. The rare and unique reptiles can cost at least $500. If you want that unique colored beardie or ball python, expect to pay a lot of money. Bright colored panther chameleons can also go at a higher price too because of their lineage. 

5. How responsible are you?


Taking care of an animal is a huge responsibility no matter how big or small they are. They depend on you to feed them, clean their tanks, and water them. If keeping a fish or plant alive is hard, then do not bring home another animal. It is easy to push off maintenance since they are usually in an enclosure and not roaming around like a cat or dog. 


Too many animals end up going to rescues or pet stores looking malnourished or sick. A lot of times the owner didn’t know how to take care of them or forgot to feed them. Research wasn’t done for proper food and enclosure hygiene either. 


If you are someone who has time and can keep a good routine or schedule, then a new reptile is something you can consider. If you aren’t sure what you can handle, talk to a breeder. Breeders leave their information on their websites all the time to answer questions. Just do your research!

Wrapping Up


Next time you think about adopting a new pet, think about all five questions listed above and be truthful with yourself. Your life will be harder if you have little experience and you get something like an iguana. The animal’s life will be negatively impacted too if you don’t know what you’re doing. Ask breeders, do a lot of research on what they need, think about the pros and cons, and be honest with yourself on what you can handle. These animals may only be in a small part of our lives, but you are their whole life. So make it a good and healthy one. 

Jade Messieh

Proud bearded dragon, tortoise, crested gecko, and green tree python mom. I've always been passionate about animals and hope to help other reptile & amphibian enthusiasts along their journey!

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