Which Reptile Makes the Best Pet?

Okay.  Some of my friends have massive reptile collections, and some of my friends believe that keeping any animal in a cage is wrong.  I’m sticking with my friends. 

Personally, given the global rates of habitat destruction and commercial development, I think pet reptiles offer one of the last opportunities for young people to physically interact with the wild, and that interaction is what leads to adults willing to protect it.  So, which reptile makes the best pets for beginners?  Hands down for me is the bearded dragon–they’re gentle, easy to feed, require manageable heat and UV, and have personality.  They live about ten years so they are not a multi-generational commitment like a tortoise.  They are all captive bred in the U.S.  (descendants, in nearly all cases from smuggled animals btw).  People who don’t like reptiles find them fascinating.   It is a fact of life this time of year that people make gifts of reptiles (make sure the recipient has asked for it first).  I vote for the bearded dragon, with runners up to the corn snake and the leopard gecko.  Feel free to send in your choice for best herp pet, or a pic of yours…

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