We see customers every day wanting to try out reptile ownership for the first time. The majority of these individuals initially look for the least expensive lizard or snake, to see “if everything will work out” first. This is a major mistake as less expensive reptiles may not be the best first time choices. Anoles, garter snakes, and green snakes, for example, should never be kept as first time pets. None of these animals will tolerate the handling most beginning reptile owners tend to want to do. Much better choices would be bearded dragons, leopard geckos, or corn snakes. These animals are more suitable for handling and make much hardier pets.
No one wants their first experience to be a failing one. First impressions are lasting, and a bad experience at this point can end many budding enthusiasts ardor for the hobby. For those people wishing to purchase an inexpensive reptile, calling it a disposable pet… please don’t! Purchase a pet rock instead. Don’t put you or your child/family or the animal through this.
There are many choices suitable for the first time reptile owner. A leopard gecko or corn snake have to be about the best two I can think of. Both are available as captive bred individuals and exhibit a wide array of colors. Habitats adequate for less expensive animals are usually more than adequate for these better suited “first-timer” species. Both animals can be set up in a standard ten gallon aquarium with a locking screen. Using an under-the-tank heat source, lighting can be left as an option. With proper care, they could live in excess of twenty years!
For the next step up I would recommend a ball python or bearded dragon. Although the bearded dragon requires a more elaborate set-up, the personalities of these wonderful creatures cannot be equaled.
Amphibian lovers aren’t left out. The Aquatic Critter always has a large stock of White’s tree frogs on hand. These wonderfully droll little creatures epitomize captive animal husbandry. They have absolutely ravenous appetites and tolerate handling better than any other amphibian species. Other than a tank and top, heat source of some type, and a few decorations, the only other necessity would be a calcium supplement such as Rep-Cal for the insect eaters. Full spectrum lighting is also a necessity for most lizard species.
There is no reason your initial reptile experience shouldn’t be a good one, just ask the advice of the sales person helping you. That’s what we’re here to do. We’re the ones who take care of all the animals on a daily basis and have also had extensive experience with keeping reptiles and amphibians on a personal level. We know what works and it can work for you, too.