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What are some good beginner reptiles?
04-21-2012, 10:30 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-30-2012, 04:46 PM by Thor.)
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Ram Offline
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What are some good beginner reptiles?
What are some best beginner reptile pets?
Something can be easily taken care of, and can be easier accepted by other family members. Some reptile pets such as snakes might give other people a heart attack whether you like it or not lol.

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04-22-2012, 07:29 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-22-2012, 07:31 AM by Fishbone.)
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
That is a good question. I think as far as easiest, least expensive, and personable, I would vote leopard gecko. They are available almost everywhere, and there are tons of morphs, with different colours & patterns. The care and husbandry is not too complicated. And if you get one as a baby, or an adult already used to handling, they are quite tame and personable.

Quite a few people would say bearded dragon, and I won't say they aren't good for a beginner, but they can be a bit complicated. They are very sensitive in their needs for basking lights, light cycles, uvb, and heat. They also have somewhat complicated nutritional needs. They are not hard, nor expensive to feed, but there are certain things you should and should not feed them, and they do need to be fed everyday, and a varied diet is best. They also tend to be, needy. They really like people, and they like to be out and interact. Which is good, unless you don't have the time. So they are not a pet you can put in a small tank, leave alone, and feed three times a week. And there are tons of people who will dispense bad advice on them nowadays, starting with "I had a bearded dragon for a year until he died." A captive Beardie should live at least 4 years, probably over 7. So these people, in reality, are teaching other people how to kill a bearded dragon in less than a year.

Ok, I'll get off of my soapbox now. Tongue They do make great beginner pets if you learn about them and how to keep them so they thrive. There are other geckos that can be good beginner pets, crested geckos are good. Fence lizards and anoles are good as well, albeit not as handleable.

For snakes, the ubiquitous ball python is a good beginner snake, calm, easy to set up an environment for, and readily available in a variety of morphs. Captive bred corn snakes, king snakes, milk snakes, and rat snakes also make good beginner pets, though they do sometimes take longer to get accustomed to frequent handling. And a boa constrictor actually makes one of the best beginner snakes, as long as you are aware of the size potential of the subspecies or locality you have, and prepared for it to grow to it's adult size. Very calm and inquisitive, and fairly easy to care for.

The thing I have always told people is to make sure you have done a little research on the animal you are getting, and that you really want it. Too many people buy a reptile on impulse, and three months later are bored with it, and it becomes neglected. Or the little baby grows and needs a too big of an enclosure, &/or becomes too much work. Or they don't know how to care for it when they first get it, and then can't get or afford to get the necessary items they need.
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04-22-2012, 04:05 PM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
I just checked around for the photos. Leopard gecko looks cool. As the name suggests, their pattern looks like leopard.

Bearded dragon is something I have heard quite a few times when people talk about lizards. It seems to be very common.
It is quite a surprise to hear that pet lizard can be wanting attention. Must be fun to have one.
What do they do in order to get attention?

Now you talk about a lot of more complex needs. Variety of diet, that applies to most pet species, not just reptiles.
Light cycle, uvb, umm those are something new.
It seems to be quite a lot for a beginner to handle without extensive research on the detailed care.
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04-24-2012, 07:52 AM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
(04-22-2012, 04:05 PM)Ram8349 Wrote: I just checked around for the photos. Leopard gecko looks cool. As the name suggests, their pattern looks like leopard.

Bearded dragon is something I have heard quite a few times when people talk about lizards. It seems to be very common.
It is quite a surprise to hear that pet lizard can be wanting attention. Must be fun to have one.
What do they do in order to get attention?

Now you talk about a lot of more complex needs. Variety of diet, that applies to most pet species, not just reptiles.
Light cycle, uvb, umm those are something new.
It seems to be quite a lot for a beginner to handle without extensive research on the detailed care.

Bearded dragons are very, very personable. My oldest will actually give me the "cold shoulder", turn away and ignore me, when I walk up to his tank if I haven't taken him out for a while. Or he'll poop in his food dish, which he knows irritates me. And makes me come clean the tank faster. Most of them really like to be out and with people. There are exceptions, if a dragon isn't used to any attention for example.

Every species of reptile has specific needs, mostly for it's environment. If it has evolved in a tropical climate, it may need constant warm temperatures, high humidity, etc... And without these, they can develop a range of problems, poor shedding, respiratory infections, etc... UVB for some species of lizards is very critical, for vitamin d production and calcium usage. Once you understand what the specific animal needs most of the time it is not to complicated. It is the research and understanding part where many people fail. Light cycles are just generally a good idea. Most reptiles are very sensitive to their environment, and have a natural tendency to be either diurnal, nocturnal, or somewhere in between, and trying to give a natural light cycle just promotes better health. It is the same with many species of fish and coral. Something that lives near the equator naturally, will do better with a 12 hour light/12 hour dark cycle.
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04-24-2012, 08:04 AM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
We use automatic timers for the lights on our aquariums.

Do you also use automatic timers for the light cycle on your reptile tanks?

UV is also used by some fish keepers to kill parasites or algae. It seems it is used for different purpose for reptiles as stimulating the sunlight.

How do you control the humidity in reptile tanks?
What do you used to measure the humidity? Many of those devices aren't accurate at all.

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04-24-2012, 09:38 AM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
I have my bearded dragon tanks on similar timers. It's the exact same concept as with fish. I've actually run a fish tank and reptile enclosure on the same timer.

With the UV, the lizards that need it need UVB specifically, 280nm - 315nm I think, and there are bulbs designed specifically for this. Without it, those species will develop what is call metabolic bone disease (MBD), which results in deformities and various other problems, from a lack of vitamin d production and calcium utilization. I think all animals benefit from some UV, I am redesigning some cages to incorporate a better UV light source. It goes along with the natural day/night light cycle. Promoting normal behavior, etc... I have been looking into building some LED light strips, the types people are using for fish, as there are some UV LEDs available now. Most of the ones I've seen are around 400nm, so they won't do for the animals that need uvb, but might be good for some others just to get a more "natural" light. I was going to ask around here is any of the fish guys had any websites or companies they would recommend.

There are multiple ways to control humidity. That is actually on the list of articles. Reducing air flow, using a moist substrate, adjusting where and what type of heating, forgers/misters/spraying systems. I use a simple digital outdoor humidity monitor, with a probe on a wire. And no, there seems to be no way to get an exact measurement. I don't think it is as important to have a constant humidity, I let most of the enclosures "cycle", wet them down in the morning and let them dry a bit through the day. It greatly reduces the chance of any mold, which can be quite bad. It depends on the species and the necessary environment. I actually go mostly by "feel" at this point. I don't actually measure humidity much at all, though for someone with little experience it may be helpful.
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04-24-2012, 09:54 AM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
If you would like to find some equipments, I have posted the recommended list of pet stores in the following thread
http://petskeepersguide.com/forums/Threa...Pet-Stores

I have shopped from almost all of them. Being my favorite, Petmountain.com probably has the cheapest prices for most items, but they do not have the largest selection. I got my aquarium freshwater T5HO lights from marinedepot.com. You don't need T5HO unless you want plants. Otherwise it will just cause more algae. Fish don't need lights the same way the reptiles do. Most of their food are fortified with multivitamins.


I actually have a small multitask device to tell me the humidity. It is uselessly inaccurate, and I never take its reading seriously.
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04-24-2012, 12:01 PM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
My first reptiles were green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) and a ball python (Python regius). The anoles are great, as they are fairly easy to catch and handle, even for small children. They eat crickets, and need water. Other than that, not a lot of maintenance is required apart from heat and light.
Just to give them a little variety in their diet, I would feed them fruit a few times a week as well. You can either put small chunks in their enclosure, or even throw some in a blender and give them a smoothie. The crickets love it too, and in turn, the anoles will love the crickets.
They also change colors a bit like a chameleon, which is pretty cool if you haven't seen it before (kids think it's incredible).

Ball pythons are, as mentioned in an earlier post, very docile for a beginner snake. They can be trained to eat frozen/thawed mice/rats, which makes feeding easier (you can order in bulk and store dozens in a freezer when needed).
They are tropical snakes, and need a fair amount of heat, light, and humidity. Measuring it can be tricky, but as long as there is always adequate water in the tank, the heat from any reptile lights/heat pads will help raise the humidity inside. Just don't let it get so moist that mold grows.
In the 10 years I have had mine, she has only bitten me once, and it was after feeding. I still never figured out what caused it, but it was years ago, and has not happened again.

The only problem that I can think of with ball pythons is something I have both experienced and heard from other owners. They tend to be finicky eaters. Most reptiles can go weeks to months without eating, but will still eat if presented with food. My python will demonstrate her hunger by trying to hunt at night, and then not eat for months, despite attempts.
However, she has never shown any health problems. Activity remains normal, she drinks water regularly, scales are clear and healthy, sheds normally, etc. So, if this happens to you, just monitor their health. If they start changing their behavior or appear sick, take it to a vet. Otherwise, just continue to be frustrated by their desire to want food, then not eat it. The longest mine went was 8 months. It seems to be completely random and based on the snake's mood.
(This can also be a problem when attempting to 'stretch' the snake out to eat larger meals; after several months of not eating, you may have to use slightly smaller meals at first)
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04-24-2012, 01:41 PM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
8 months without eating? Or simply giving you a hard time during the feeding for 8 months?

If I get a snake as pet, it would be the best to be a species that stay really small. Otherwise they will scare away the guests who aren't too open mind.
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04-25-2012, 03:33 AM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
Ball pythons really are an ideal beginner reptile. They are very calm, commonly available, and don't get particularly large.

A healthy adult snake of most species can go amazing amounts of time without eating. Males of allot of species will completely go off food in the winter &/or spring even if there is not a female anywhere near them. I have never had a snake go 8 months without eating, I generally start to get concerned after a few months, and figure out why they aren't eating. I wouldn't be concerned that a healthy adult snake hasn't eaten in 8 months, they could still be perfectly fine. But personally, I would be concerned that the snake hasn't been interested in eating in 8 months. That could be a sign of something wrong, in the environment, or in anything. Has she lost any weight over the 8 months? That is the only way you can really know for sure. If there is a steady dropping of weight and no feeding response then there something should be done, IMHO.
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04-25-2012, 01:05 PM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
Yeah, the not eating thing can be situational. I've monitored her health closely, and there are no changes. She demonstrates interest in eating, right up until she has the rat dangling in her face. Then she just goes back to her business until I try again the next week. No weight loss, no dehydration, etc.
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04-26-2012, 09:37 AM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
(04-25-2012, 01:05 PM)Black Mamba Wrote: Yeah, the not eating thing can be situational. I've monitored her health closely, and there are no changes. She demonstrates interest in eating, right up until she has the rat dangling in her face. Then she just goes back to her business until I try again the next week. No weight loss, no dehydration, etc.

Do you take your snake out to check on her weight regularly?

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04-26-2012, 11:14 AM,
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RE: What are some beginner reptiles?
I can't speak for Mamba, but I do, and I keep the records. But, I have allot of animals, more than what my feeble mind can remember all of. Big Grin
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