The exotic pet trade has exploded and reptiles are (finally) gaining recognition as being wonderful pets. Snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises have made their way into the hearts and homes of over 4.5 million – and it’s not hard to see why. Reptiles are incredibly low maintenance, don’t require much space to keep, and significantly less expensive when compared to the average dog or cat.
Step One: Finding Your Dream Pet Reptile
These cold-blooded creatures are full of quirky and cool traits. Each reptile species has its own unique benefits and care requirements. To find the best pet reptile, it’s important to know what your priorities in a pet are. Whether you’re looking for a reptile with shock value or the ability to snuggle, read on to find which reptile would be the best pet for you.
If you want a colorful reptile
Snakes offer a dazzling variety of colors and patterns in the reptile pet trade. These variations in appearance called morphs are often the result of specific breeding. The results are fantastical colorations that would otherwise never appear or survive in the wild. Take heed that these morphs can be expensive, and rare snake morphs can easily dip into several thousands of dollars. Garter snakes and ball pythons are pet-friendly species with vivid and bold appearances.
If you want an affectionate reptile
Just because these creatures are cold-blooded doesn’t mean that they’re cold-hearted. While reptiles don’t have the same capacity to love as dogs do, it doesn’t mean they are incapable of bonding or recognizing their owners. Tortoises are one of the most intelligent reptiles and have the greatest capacity for feeling affection. While their actions may be more subtle than what we’re used to, tortoises may extend their neck with the desire of a scratch, may follow after you, or bump you with their nose or arm.
If you want a low maintenance reptile
Snakes are the lowest maintenance reptile a pet owner could want. Aside from a few particulars such as required temperatures and humidity levels, the day-to-day of snake ownership is delightfully hands-off. Unlike cats and dogs, snakes do not need to be feed daily. Most adult snakes eat on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. No need to hire a sitter if you plan on going out of town on an extended vacation, your pet snake will do just fine. Since they eat so infrequently, they defecate infrequently as well making clean up a breeze.
Step Two: Finding Reptiles for Sale
Previously, these exotic pets could only be found through breeders and hobbyists. They have since made their way into mainstream pet retailers, both online and in-store, with an impressive variety. Thanks to their increasing popularity, there’s a strong likelihood that there are reptiles for sale near you. Be sure to buy from a trusted and reputable pet store that sells captive-bred pets and not wild-caught reptiles. Reptiles bred in captivity are healthier, live longer, and are overall happier as pets.