Choosing Your Pet

Reptiles and amphibians can make fascinating pets. Some look as ancient as dragons. Others turn all kinds of colors. They are relatively quiet and odorless compared to other animals, and they offer a variety of choices related to their size. With some of these species, like carnivorous snakes, you can even miss an occasional feeding without doing any harm. Cleaning is only required about once a week. Many reptiles also respond to people so that you can make a real connection with your pet.

Choosing a reptile or amphibian does require some initial effort and expense to create a suitable environment. Because they can’t regulate their body temperature, most reptiles need enclosures that accommodate more than one environment, such as water and land. This means they may need a relatively larger container to live in. To survive in captivity, reptiles must have precise temperature and lighting controls. Before selecting a specific species, it is essential to research the ecosystem of the animal’s native environment. To create a livable enclosure, you must reproduce this environment on a smaller scale.

Understanding the nature of a prospective reptile pet is an integral part of the research you must undertake before selecting. Reptiles vary in terms of how much they can be handled or trained. Some are easy to handle, others require protective gear, and some are just for viewing. Some reptiles and amphibians can be trained to have some predictable behaviors — such as non-fussy eating habits, staying in defined areas outside their enclosures, or responding to human touch — while others won’t change their essential natures.

Generally, smaller reptiles are more manageable choices for novice pet owners. Corn snakes, king snakes, or ball pythons are good snakes for beginners because of their gentle natures and manageable diets and environments. Leopard geckos make a good beginner lizard because they are smaller in size, insectivores, relatively calm, and do not require special lighting. But be prepared — healthy reptiles and amphibians have 10 to 20 years of life spans. A serious commitment is required if choosing a reptile for a pet.

Sample Vet Clinic


3010 Highland Parkway,
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Hours of Operation


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 5:00 pm