11 Best Reptiles for Beginners to Own as Pet

Best Reptiles for Beginners
Photo by Autumn Bradley

We have made available in this article the best reptiles for beginners since the number of reptile species now available to people who keep reptiles as pets have skyrocketed over the past few decades due to the popularity of reptiles as pets.

There are almost certainly more than a couple of hundred different species that are usually made available to the typical enthusiast.

This is wonderful for experienced keepers since they have the skills and knowledge necessary to care for animals that are little known and alien, but it frequently makes things more difficult for novice keepers.

Many species of reptiles are kept yet as pets, but many of them demand laborious care that inexperienced owners find difficult to supply. Other species are famously difficult to handle, yet others are the best reptiles for beginners.

However, there is no need to feel concerned because a wide variety of animal species can serve as suitable pets for novice owners. The following is a list of the very best reptiles for beginners. 

1. Corn Snakes

Corn snakes, also known as Pantherophis guttatus, are often considered the best reptiles for beginners. Snakes have slower metabolisms than most other animals, making them easier to handle than most other animals with legs, easier to feed than lizards and turtles, and easier to handle than their counterparts with legs. Snakes are also easier to handle than their counterparts that have four legs.

Corn snakes fulfill every one of the requirements we identified previously, except for one: They are not strictly nocturnal; instead, their activity patterns change depending on the environment, the availability of food, and other factors.

However, this is of little consequence since the overwhelming majority of snakes appear to be able to live even without the presence of elaborate illumination (which is the reason nocturnal reptiles are normally preferred).

A corn snake won’t even care if you light his habitat; he will do just fine with the light that is already present in the room anyway.

Each year, thousands of corn snakes are produced in captivity; these snakes are often tame, and throughout their entire lives, they will be able to flourish on a diet consisting of rodents.

Corn snakes are also the perfect size, although really large specimens may come close to reaching 5 feet in length.

2. Ball Python

Another best reptiles for beginners is the Ball python(Python regius). Because ball pythons are tropical creatures and need warmer temps, they turn out to be a slightly better pick than the corn snake.

Putting everything to the side, keeping a ball python as a starting pet is just as rewarding as keeping a corn snake.

They are normally easy to tame, they may live without any additional lighting, and they develop to their full potential.

In addition, ball pythons taken in the wild can be extremely challenging to feed; however, those grown in captivity and widely available can often consume mice or small rats without any problems.

In addition, although ball pythons are incredibly gorgeous animals regardless of their appearance, the variations of color and pattern in wild populations are mind-boggling.

3. Russian Tortoises

Keepers with their sights set on a shelled critter should consider Russian tortoises (Agrionemys horsfieldii), as they are likely among the best reptiles for beginners.

To begin with the positives, Russian tortoises normally reach about 4 or 5 inches in straight-line shell length, making them an excellent choice for someone just beginning their experience with tortoises.

Not only are they submissive, but many of them may be considered “friendly” or “outgoing” according to reptile norms.

They unmistakably identify the people who take care of them, and if you aren’t careful, your Russian tortoise will follow you about, climb on your feet, and “beg” for food if you don’t pay attention.

However, new keepers will face several significant hurdles in order to care for them successfully. Because they are herbivorous and active during the day, these diurnal organisms need full-spectrum lighting and a properly balanced diet.

But what’s most concerning is that they don’t breed very frequently. Most Russian tortoises for sale are captive-bred specimens originally captured in the wild. New keepers would be well to search out specimens produced in captivity, as these are readily available.

However, novice keepers frequently find success with wild-caught Russian tortoises, provided they are willing to collaborate with their veterinarian to treat any parasites or diseases that may be present, provide adequate lighting, and formulate a suitable diet for their tortoises.

4. Bearded Dragons

It is not difficult to understand why bearded dragons, scientifically known as Pogona vitticeps, are considered to be among the best reptiles for beginners.

Bearded dragons can reach respectable sizes (the majority will grow to be between 18 and 24 inches in length), but they don’t get so big that it’s hard to keep them as pets because of their size.

They are often voracious eaters that do not present many issues when it comes to feeding, and they are among the most docile species kept as pets within the realm of the hobby of raising reptiles.

Additionally, One can obtain the bearded dragons as captive-bred animals. Because Australia does not allow the exportation of native species, the only individuals that keepers in the United States of America and Europe will have access to are those born in captivity.

In addition, bearded dragon breeders produce a wide range of colored offspring, giving keepers a wide array of choices when selecting a particular lizard to care for.

However, they do provide a few hurdles to overcome. Bearded dragons can only remain healthy when exposed to full-spectrum lights, and because of their voracious appetites, they generate an equally astonishing amount of waste. Therefore, you will discover that it is vital to clean your dragon’s habitat daily.

5. Leopard Geckos

If you were to conduct a survey of every “Best Reptiles for Beginners” article, you would most likely find that leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) on the list.

They are insectivorous lizards, implying that they will need a little more attention than a corn snake or a ball python.

Geckos with leopard patterns are likewise on the diminutive side. This is an excellent option for parents ready to provide their child with a pet that won’t require a significant amount of space in their home.

However, this means that you will need to handle the lizard with much more caution than you would if it were nearly twice as large.

6. Blue-Tongued Skink

Blue-tongued skinks, which belong to the genus Tiliqua, are lizards with a distinctive appearance. They have very smooth scales, huge heads, and relatively small legs.

Their brilliantly colorful tongues, which they will use to frighten away any imagined predators, are where they got their name.

However, the majority of blue-tongued skinks kept in captivity become quite tame and are easy to handle, making them one of the best reptiles for beginners.

The blue-tongued skink is an omnivore that is generally simple to provide its diet. You will, however, be responsible for ensuring that they have access to a variety of foods in order to give them a nutritionally sound diet.

This will generally involve offering your pet a diet consisting of various items, including insects, rodents, fruits, vegetables, and foods prepared commercially.

It is not apparent whether or not blue-tongued skinks require full-spectrum lighting because there is insufficient evidence to support either hypothesis.

While some lizard keepers provide their reptiles with lamps that emit UVB wavelengths, others stick to the tried-and-true method of placing basking lights in their reptiles’ enclosures.

It is in your best interest to ensure that these lizards have access to full-spectrum lighting until it is certain that it is unnecessary for them.

7. Common Kingsnake

The common kingsnake(Lampropeltis getula): Another excellent choice for beginners interested in the reptile hobby. They attain perfect sizes (the majority of them are between 3 and 5 feet long), they are quite hardy creatures, and in most cases, they are relatively gentle.

When handled, hatchlings frequently immediately start releasing a putrid-smelling musk, although the vast majority of them eventually calm down and become quite tame.

A few hatchlings can be difficult to feed because of their choice of reptilian food; nevertheless, it is usually not challenging to find juveniles bred in captivity who are willing to eat rodents.

Common kingsnakes, similar to the vast majority of other snake species, do not require any specialized illumination to survive, and they can also live contentedly in cages of a size that is just moderately large.

Although there are multiple distinct subspecies of the common kingsnake, it is possible to keep any of these snakes healthy by following generally similar care procedures.

Although California kingsnakes are perhaps the most well-known species among those interested in reptiles, eastern (L. g. getula) and Florida (L. g. floridana) kingsnakes are also interesting choices.

Multiple color mutations can develop within this species, providing keepers with a wide variety of options in terms of appearance.

8. Rosy Boa

Rosy boas, also known as Charina trivirgata, are a species of snake that is grossly underrated even though they are among the best reptiles for beginners.

In contrast to some of their relatives, rose boas only grow to a length of about three to four feet, making them an excellent choice for novice snake keepers.

They are also quite docile and don’t mind being handled by their keepers or interacting with other people.

Rosy boas are able to live in environments that are not overly complex, and they do not require any additional lighting to maintain good health.

They rarely cause complications when it comes to feeding because the majority of individuals are aggressive eaters.

Because people consistently breed them in captivity, it should not be too difficult to locate rosy boas born in captivity. In addition to being beautiful creatures, rosy boas have stripes that run lengthwise, a pattern that is not very common among snakes.

Additionally, rose boas have several distinct subspecies, giving you a wide range of color variations from which to select. Even the albino (melanistic) version is obtainable for purchase.

Since rosy boas are native to dry environments, the environment in which you keep your boa will need to be generally dry.

However, it is typically simpler to care for animals that need a dry habitat as opposed to species that require high humidity and enclosures designed in the style of a rainforest.

9. Crested Gecko

Another strong candidate for the role of best reptiles for beginners is the crested gecko, scientifically known as Correlophus ciliatus.

After being considered extinct for several decades, scientists did not find these lizards again until the middle of the 1990s. Keepers were able to quickly determine their requirements in captivity and the best way to care for them because it did not take very long.

Because their requirements are so uncomplicated to fulfill, crested geckos are ideal pets for anyone just starting out in the pet-keeping industry.

Not only can the crested gecko maintain their health without full-spectrum lights, but they are also quite small, which means that they do not require extremely big cages or habitats.

They can also get all the nutrition they need from foods created commercially, so you don’t have to give them any insects if you don’t want to.

Additionally, crested geckos are able to flourish at relatively mild temperatures; hence, depending on the temperature that you keep your home at, you may not even require the use of heat lamps to keep them alive.

These lizards aren’t as tame or simple to handle as bearded dragons or leopard geckos, but they’re not likely to become aggressive or bite unless provoked.

In addition to being handsome lizards, crested geckos come in an almost limitless variety of colors and patterns to choose from.

10. Musk Turtles

Taking care of an aquatic reptile is one of the most challenging things a newbie may attempt. You will need to educate yourself on how to care for a “normal” reptile, and you will also need to educate yourself on how to care for an aquarium.

However, if beginners put in enough effort and have access to the right resources, they can (and frequently do) be successful with aquatic turtles.

Musk turtles, or Sternotherus odoratus, are likely the species with which beginners will most likely find success. However, because they have an unremarkable appearance, many people look elsewhere.

Despite this, musk turtles have quite a few things going in their favor. They are exceptionally resilient despite their diminutive size (most of them reach approximately 4 or 5 inches in straight-line shell length).

They are willing to consume almost everything. It is simple to ensure their well-being by providing them with a variety of diets, including pellets, bugs, fish, and even some vegetable matter.

They are also active at night, which suggests that they do not appear to have any particular illumination requirements. Musk turtles aren’t the friendliest reptiles, but they’re not typically hostile either. 

11. Painted Turtles

If the thought of musk turtles does not appeal to you, you might want to look into painted turtles instead (Chrysemys picta).

Even though they require a bit more work to care for, painted turtles are still a good choice for those just starting in the hobby.

Painted turtles are more active than musk turtles and also grow to be a larger size than their counterparts. This indicates that you will need to give them a pretty large tank – a container with a capacity ranging from fifty to one hundred gallons would be excellent.

To maintain the cleanliness of all this water, you will require a considerable filtering system, which will cause the original cost of the habitat to grow by a considerable amount.

To keep their bodies at the appropriate temperature, painted turtles must be provided with full-spectrum lighting and a basking lamp.

They are often easy-going turtles that are simple to handle and reasonably simple to feed; typically, a diet that includes pellets, fish, insects, and plant matter will maintain them in good health.

Because red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), sometimes known as red-eared pond turtles, are more readily available in the pet trade than painted turtles, many people suggest that beginners start with red-eared sliders.

On the other hand, red-eared sliders can reach larger sizes than painted turtles, which allows the keeper to reach additional challenges that are not essential.

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