So you think you want a pet reptile? Reptiles can make wonderful and rewarding pets, but there are several things to take into account before going to the pet store.
- What type of animal are you looking for? Do you want a reptile you can take out and handle regularly or one that is more of a display animal?
- Reptiles live longer on average than mammalian pets: many lizards can live 10 to 20 years, snakes can live 15 to 30 years, and turtles and tortoises can live for decades. Purchasing a reptile pet is a major commitment and one must be prepared to care for the animal its whole life.
- Most reptiles are predatory and need to consume other animals (crickets, mealworms, mice, etc) to survive. If you cannot handle feeding one animal to another, a reptile may not be for you.
- Reptiles are known to carry salmonella and should be avoided by those with compromised immune systems (children under 3, the elderly, pregnant women).
- Always research the animals you are interested in before you consider making a purchase. It is vital to educate yourself and know what exactly you are getting yourself into.
- Because reptiles are considered “exotic” pets, you have to take them to specialized vets and the bills may be pricey.
- Because reptiles are cold-blooded, it is necessary to provide heat and lighting. This will result in an increase in your electricity bill.
- Most reptiles do not bond with their owners in the way a dog or cat would. If you are looking to have a deep, two-way emotional relationship with an animal, consider a different species.
- Reptiles require specialized habitats and lightning, which can be expensive. Investing in a pet reptile is in many ways no different from investing in a dog or cat.