Find the best reptiles for beginners to own as pets so you don’t get in over your head. Some may try to sell you popular but difficult reptiles. You should know the difference.
So we are expanding our article on the Top 4 Best Reptile Pets For Beginners to include 11 more of the best reptile pets for beginners by popular demand. What are the best reptiles for beginners to buy as pets? This list is here to help you narrow your search for your new pet. When selecting which species of reptile you would like to get, consider feeding habits, enclosure sizes and special heat and lighting needs that your prospective pet may need to live a healthy life. This list is organized from the top being the best of the best.
Refer to our How to Buy Your First Reptile Pet article if you are a beginner reptile owner looking to buy a new reptile pet. If you’re looking at buying a baby reptile, check out our How to Buy Baby Reptile Pets article.
And please be responsible and only buy captive born reptiles and never release them into the wild! Find a great home for them if you are not able to keep them any longer.
So here’s the list starting with the fabulous Bearded Dragons.
Bearded dragons are docile creatures that enjoy human contact. They are arguably the very best reptile pet for beginners. They are one of the most personable, friendly, tame, and interesting reptile pets. They love to hang out on your shoulder and their behaviors make them fascinating to watch.
They do have specific diet and environmental requirements so care should be taken. Bearded dragons are so named for their neck spines that flare out when they are agitated. They eat a mixed diet of
green veggies and insects, and should be fed every few days. A 40 to 50 gallon tank is best for this animal, and it requires special heating. One side of the enclosure should be kept at a temperature of 80 degrees fahrenheit and the other should be 100 degrees. A UVB light is also necessary.
For more information on the bearded dragon, click here.
The leopard gecko is a ground dwelling lizard that is very common in pet stores. Leopard geckos are friendly creatures, and can be handled with little worry. They eat various insects and should be fed every other day. Leopard gecko’s only need a ten gallon tank and do not require any special lighting. They do like to be supplied with two temperature zones, with one side of their enclosure being 90 degrees and the other being 80.
For more information on leopard geckos, click here.
The blue tongued skink is a very smart creature that has surreal features. This is a very cool lizard. Blue tongued skinks actually seem to like attention from people, and will actively seek out human contact. Handling these docile creatures is quite easy. Blue tongued skinks are territorial, and will attack each other if kept in the same enclosure, so one skink per cage is a must unless breeding. The diet of the blue tongued skink consists of a mix of greens, fruit, meat and insects. These animals do require UVB lighting, as well as two temperature controlled areas. One should be 80 degrees and the other should be 100.
For more information on the blue tongued skink, click here.
The crested gecko is a small simple lizard that has a somewhat fragile build. They can be handled, but owners should be wary of their gecko’s safety when around children and/or other pets. Crested geckos should be supplied a food powder mix that is given to them nightly, as that is when they are most active. Crested geckos should also be kept in temperatures of 65-80 degrees. Any temperatures exceeding 80 degrees can put serious health risks on your geckos. Crested geckos appreciate hide spots and do not need deep water to swim in (although they will need some to drink!) or special UV lights.
For more information on the crested gecko, click here.
The corn snake can grow to be six feet long and comes in a variance of colors. They make excellent pets and are very docile and many are raised in captivity, so are quite accustomed to humans. Corn snakes eat a mouse every 7-10 days, and dead mice are safer for your pet to eat. Corn snakes do not require any special lighting and the enclosure should have a cool side at 70 degrees and a hot side at 85 degrees. A 20 gallon aquarium works just fine for housing a corn snake.
For more information on corn snakes, click here.
The ball python is a gentile giant and will calmly rest on the shoulders of familiar humans. They grow to be six feet long and quite thick. Ball pythons eat a diet of rats, fed every week to ten days. They also need a 25-30 gallon tank with two temperature zones. One of these zones should be 80 degrees, and the other should be 90. The humidity of the enclose should not drop below 70%, as ball pythons are native to rain forests and require this moisture in their environment. Ball pythons require no special UV lighting.
For more information on ball pythons, click here.
The sand boa is a smaller cousin to the ball python, and grows to be up to three feet long. Sand boas are yellow with brown spots and are known borrowers. A soft substrate should be used, and only a ten gallon tank or tote is needed to house these animals without issue. The enclosures should be kept at room temperature, with a 95 degree basking spot available to the snake if it gets cold. No UV lighting is necessary. The sand boa is a friendly and inquisitive creature that can be handled easily. Sand boas eat mice and should be fed every week to ten days.
For more information on sand boas, click here.
The king snake can grow to be anywhere from 4-6 feet as an adult, and has a behavioral tendency to shake its tail like a rattler when threatened. King snakes of all kinds are docile and curious, and make great pets that are easy to handle. A king snake does not need more than a 20 gallon enclosure, and should not be kept with other snakes as it may eat them! They should be fed a mouse of appropriate size once a week. King snakes need a dual controlled temperature as well, with one side of their habitat being 70 degrees and the other being 85 degrees. In addition, about ten hours a day of UV light is required for a king snake.
For more information on the king snake, click here.
The uromastyx is an ancient looking animal. They can grow to be up to 18 inches long, and the Egytian uromastyx can reach 30 inches. They are black or green and have a large spiked tail that they can use as a defensive measure. Uromastyx can be handled safety, but owners should be careful of it’s spines. A large tank is necessary to care for an uromastyx properly, and owners will need at least a 6×2 enclosure. Uromastyxs, or “uros” as they are known, are active during the day and lots of fun to watch. They eat greens and seeds that should be sprinkled weekly with a calcium supplement. Uromastyxs also need UVB light and an enclosure with two temperature settings. One side should be 80 degrees, and the other should be 120 degrees.
For more information on the uromastyx, click here.
The Rosy Boa is a fantastic, attractive little snake which can make a great pet. The are extremely docile and rarely get over 3 feet in length. They can vary in color quite a bit, but most have a rosy colored underbelly which is where they get their name. A 15-20 gallon aquarium with an escape proof lid is sufficient. Humidity should be kept very low for these snakes as they can develop respiratory problems otherwise. A water bowl can be kept in the cage but perhaps not every day because of the humidity. One side of the cage should be 95-90 degrees and the other 70-75 degrees with a hide in each temperature zone. Bites from a Rosy Boa is very rare and generally associated with feeding, or startling them when they are sleeping.
For more information on the Rosy Boa, click here.
The painted turtle is 6-8 inches and a curious and entertaining animal. Painted turtles should not be handled extensively due to transmittable diseases. The painted turtle eats a mixed diet of predominantly feeder fish and turtle tablets as well as some green veggies. These guys should not be kept with fish, as they will attack them! Painted turtles live in aquatic environments, and the water should be between 85 and 89 degrees. The depth of the water should not exceed the width of the resident turtle’s shell. Painted turtles also need exposure to UVB lighting.
For more information on painted turtles, click here.
The common musk turtle is an aquatic creature that will spend some of it’s time out if the water. The common musk turtle, or “stinkbox” as it is affectionately known, should be supplied with some spots on land where it can relax and bask. The humorous nickname comes from the unfortunate habit of this animal to secrete a foul smelling but non toxic liquid. The water in a musk turtle’s home should be 75-84 degrees and the basking spot on dry land should be 90 degrees. The common musk turtle make great indoor turtles, but should still only be handled sparingly. They are small, only reaching 4-6 inches and are not the best swimmers. Water levels in a common musk turtle’s habitat should be kept shallow for this reason. They eat mealworms, shrimp, krill and underwater plants. The common musk turtle also requires UVB lighting. They can be kept with some fish, but the shallow levels of water musk turtles need will restrict the fish.
For more information on the common musk turtle, click here.
The Berber Schneider Skink is cousin to the very docile blue tongued skink, and is comparably easy to handle. They can grow to be 16 inches and are known borrowers and climbers. Substrate and perches should be supplied. The enclosure for a Berber Schneider Skink should be no smaller than a 20 gallon tank. These creatures need exposure to UVB light and their habitats need to be carefully regulated. The temperature on one end should be 80-85 degrees. The other end should be 90-95 degrees. An additional basking spot should also be included that reaches 100-105 degrees. The diet of a Berber Schneider Skink includes crickets, mealworms, and pinkie mice. Meals should be sprinkled with a calcium supplement once a week.
For more information on the Berber Schneider Skink, click here.
The green anole lizard is a popular animal in exotic pet communities because its is easy to care for and inexpensive to own. Green anoles are green with a white belly and grow to be 8-9 inches. They are active during the day and will climb on smooth surfaces, such as the side of their enclosure. A number of these lizards can live in the same 20 gallon tank. Green anole lizards should not be handled, as they are very quick and can drop their tails and escape your grasp. Green anole lizards also need 14 hours of UVB light and a humidity level of 60-70%. A basking spot should be included as well at a temperature of 110-120 degrees. Green anole eat crickets and mealworms, and will also need a calcium and vitamin supplement sprinkled on their food weekly.
For move information on the green anole, click here.
The milk snake can reach a length up to four feet. Their coloring pattern is in imitation of the coral snake, which is poisonous, but the milk snake is harmless. In fact, the milk snake is quite docile and easy to handle. The length of a milk snake’s enclosure should be about 2/3 the length of the snake. Milk snakes need a slight temperature difference within the habitat, as one end should be around 80 degrees and the other end should be around 86 degrees. Milk snakes like hiding spots, and are most active during dusk and dawn. As they don’t much care for light, a UV light is not helpful to your milk snake. Milk snakes eat small pinkie mice up to adolescent mice every 7-10 days.
For more information on the corn snake, click here.
Please add any experiences you have had with any of the above reptiles in the comments.