5 Reptiles That Enjoy Being Handled

 5 Reptiles That Enjoy Being Handled

Which Reptiles Like To Be Held?


Many new reptile owners want a pet that they can interact with and hold. The top five reptiles we recommend handling for new owners are bearded dragons, leopard geckos, ball pythons, crested geckos, and blue tongue skinks.

Bearded Dragons


Bearded dragons are one of the most popular reptiles in North America and Europe. One of the reasons they are so popular is their disposition. Baby bearded dragons can be a little skittish at first, but they grow used to their handlers with regular handling. Bearded dragons are very unlikely to bite their owners unless they are provoked. Bearded dragons can also be pretty lazy and just hang out on your shoulder for a long time. A popular beardie hangout spot is also in the hood of your hoodie. Beardies are also safe to keep around children who are old enough to handle them, making them great family pets.


The best way to get your bearded dragon used to being held is by sliding your hand under their bellies to pick them up. Bearded dragons have a “third eye” on the top of their heads that can detect shadows and movement. If you reach from above, they can become threatened and worry that it is a predator. Your bearded dragon will eventually become accustomed to being picked up and they may even climb on your hand right away. This will take time, but it is worth the patience. 

Leopard Geckos


Leopard geckos are another popular reptiles for adults and young children. They have really sweet temperaments and they are incredibly cute. Leopard geckos don’t mind being held for a few minutes at a time. They like the warmth of our hands as well. They may even crawl up your arm to explore. Leopard geckos rarely bite their handlers as well if they have been treated kindly. Avoid handling them by their tails as well because they may drop it. Leopard geckos are very active in the evening and nights too. The evening is the best time to get to socialize with your leopard gecko. 


One of the least threatening ways for you to hold your gecko is by sliding your hand under their bellies. Once they are comfortable with you they may even crawl on your hand all on their own. Hand feeding can also build a good bond with you and your leopard gecko.

Ball Pythons


Ball pythons are one of the most popular snakes to have because of their temperaments. Most snakes prefer to be left alone, but ball pythons are the exception. They don’t mind hanging out on your hand or slithering up your arm to spend time with you. Many people can have their ball pythons out of the enclosure for a good amount of time while they watch television or sit at the computer. They like the warmth from our bodies, but they also feel comfortable with their handlers fairly quickly. Ball pythons also grow to be a decent size which makes them easier for children to handle as well. Ball pythons are safe for children to hold, but there should still be adult supervision. 


It is important to give their bodies support when holding them. They also like to coil into balls which is why they are called ball pythons. If you can properly support their tails and bodies, they will feel safe and maybe even ball up in your hands. 

Crested Geckos


Crested geckos are known to be jumpier than other geckos. Crested geckos like to spend their time high in the trees or at the highest points they can find. Even though they can be jumpy, they are still great pets. It can be fun letting your crestie jump to your shoulder or your head. Some crested geckos will sit in your hand calmly for a few minutes. It depends on their personality. They will not bite their handlers as long as they are being handled gently.


Crested geckos have little pads on their feet that act like suction cups against vertical surfaces. They will use their pads to climb up to your head or jump to the nearest wall. Overall, crested geckos are interactive and fun to have as pets. 


If your crested gecko is a little bit more squirmy and can’t stand being in your hand for too long, place them back in their enclosure or allow them to climb. Crested geckos can become injured if you are squeezing them too hard in your hand. This will also cause a lot of stress for your crested gecko and they may drop their tails. Their tail will not grow back. It is best to avoid causing them stress altogether and just allowing them to jump around their enclosures. If you do want them to jump outside of their enclosure, make sure they are not too far from the ground. They may become injured if they fall from a high distance. 

Blue Tongue Skinks


Blue Tongue skinks are another very popular reptile because of their temperament. They have a very docile temperament and may even come out of their hides with their handler walks by. They are incredibly social with their owners and are safe to have around young children with supervision. Blue tongue skinks can also live up to their teens and only grow to be around 20 inches long. When they are socializing with their owners a popular place to hang out is on their laps. Instead of a lap dog, you get a lap lizard. This reptile is very easy to tame and they grow up to be gentle giants. 

Wrapping Up


Having a reptile to interact with is very important for beginner owners. You want a reptile with a docile temperament, easy to tame, and stays at a manageable size. It takes a lot of time and patience for reptiles to become comfortable with being held. Think about how you are approaching your reptile when you go to hold them. Try to be as least threatening as possible. Overall, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, ball pythons, crested geckos, and blue tongue skinks are great pets that enjoy being held. 

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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