Some things to think about when searching for a pet reptile that is great for beginners
So you have decided that you want to have a pet reptile. Congratulations! This is a good thing. Reptiles are fascinating creatures, and living with an animal that resembles a dinosaur can only make life more interesting. No matter whether you are interested in snakes, lizards or turtles, there is surely a wonderful reptile out there just for you. The purpose of this article is not so much to discuss specific species that are widely regarded as great reptiles for beginners, but to instead cover a variety things you need to seriously consider before you go out and buy yourself a reptile. Just like with bringing any other animal into your home, you need to make sure you are ready and get the one best suited for you.
So why do you want a reptile?
Before you go to the pet store and even consider buying a reptile, ask yourself this. Why do you want one? There is no single right answer to this question because everyone has their own reason for getting a reptile. Maybe you want to get a Box Turtle for educational purposes, or wish to eventually become a breeder of Bearded Dragons. Whatever the reason, write it down and read it out loud to yourself. If the first thing you say is "because they are cool", you would be wise to put a lot more thought into the prospect of buying a reptile. People purchase reptiles all too often on impulse these days without any thought ahead of time about what owning this animal is going to be like down the road, and whether or not they will be able to still take care of it once it is full grown.
If you have not really thought through why you actually want a pet reptile, you are only thinking about how satisfied you would be with your purchase in the initial days and weeks. But will you still love that reptile as much as you do now in 6 months when the excitement of having a new pet has blown over? How about 5 years? 15? 25? When provided optimum care, many commonly owned reptiles can live at least as long as a regular dog or cat, and some can even live for over 20 years. So before you go out and do anything, consider how much of a long term commitment owning a reptile will be and ask yourself, "Do I love reptiles enough to want one for a long time?" If the answer is yes, that's great, and you should definitely get a reptile if you can afford the costs! If not, it might not be a bad idea to think on it some more. There is no point in investing easily a minimum of $150 for purchasing a reptile and all the materials you will need, only to realize half a year later that owning one is not what you were hoping for.
Don't buy a reptile solely on how cool it looks
If you are going to be starting out as a first time reptile owner, it is critical to pick a species that will be suitable for you. Just as some dog are known to be great all around pets and others only for the very experienced owner, reptiles are no different. It is important not to pick out your first reptile based solely on how it looks because you might end up finding out a few years down that you have chosen a specie that is really only suited for advanced hobbyists because of size, care requirements and temperament. Many reptiles are small, adorable and seemingly tame when they are babies at the pet shop. They do not all stay that way. Because of this, I highly recommend that for your first reptile you choose one of the many species that are tried and true great starter pets. For snakes this could mean Corn Snakes and King Snakes. Bearded Dragons and Leopard Geckos are fantastic choices for lizards., and Box Turtles are great for beginners as well. Do your research and find out about all the different options for beginners, and then make your choice based on what will best suit you for space, care requirements and size. There are so many great options for beginner hobbyists to choose from that you will surely find something that can suit your needs and still please you aesthetically.
How comfortable are your family members you live with around reptiles?
Some people are so scared of reptiles that even knowing the animal is safely locked away somewhere in the house puts them on edge. It is not fair to other individuals you live with to have an animal in the house that they are very afraid of. If you happen to live with someone who is nervous around reptiles, talk to them about whether they are willing to make a compromise with you so you can have your dream pet. Maybe they will be ok with you having a reptile as long as it isn't a specie they are afraid of, or perhaps if you just promise to never take it out of a certain room.
If you have kids, they will probably want to hold the new pet
If you have children and are considering buying a pet reptile, it is important to consider what your safest options are. Many children are fascinated by reptiles, and if you bring a reptile home, there is a good chance at least one of your children will want to try holding it. It does not make a whole lot of sense to own a reptile that you cannot allow your children to interact with even under your supervision because of safety reasons. Aggressive or potentially dangerous reptiles have no business interacting with children, so if you do have kids, take the opportunity to buy a reptile that is known for having an easy going personality and won't get too big. Doing so will not only fulfill your desire for a pet reptile, but also enable you to use the animal for educational purposes with your kids and their friends.