Nowadays it has become normal to own exotic pets. People are shifting from just keeping dogs, cats, rabbits to exotic animals. You won’t be surprised to find a pet polar bear, hippo, or even a hyena in your neighbor’s yard. Of course such animals require a lot of taming to become friendly. Instead of involving yourself in such hassles, why not lean towards keeping the coolest reptiles?
You heard me right! I am not talking about crocodiles or alligators. I am referring to reptiles that are easy to handle. There are so many beginner reptile pets that you can keep without the fear of getting harmed.
So, if you are looking for the best reptile pets for handling, you are in the right place. I have compiled a list of the coolest reptiles that are easy to handle and bond with. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Top 7 Best Reptile Pets To Handle
1. Crested Gecko
The crested gecko is one of the most kept pet lizards in the USA. This cute lizard is native to New Caledonia and is popular for being calm and docile. Cresties are available in various morphs, colors, and patterns.
Reptile keepers find crested geckos to be extremely beautiful, mainly because of their colors, large head, crests, and large eyes. Surprisingly, these gecko do not have eye lids and they have a tendency of licking their eye balls.
Crested geckos make good pets because they can tolerate handling. So if you are looking for a reptile to handle, the eye-lash geckos should cut it for you. Their skin is soft to touch and they cling pretty well, thanks to their webbed feet.
The good thing with cresties is that they require little maintenance. Besides, they do not bite and if they do, it rarely hurts or draw blood.
Cresties have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, meaning that you will have a long-time friend or pet. In terms of pricing, you can expect to pay somewhere between $50 – $300 depending on the age, morph, and gender.
Related Are Crested Geckos Good Pets?
2. Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are some of the most laid back lizards you’ll ever come across. Surprisingly, they have become the most sought-after reptile pets in America and this can be attributed to their friendly nature.
I bet you’ve come across a lot of people petting a bearded dragon. Mind you, people are now carrying their ‘beardies’ to the malls, stores, and pretty much everywhere they go.
Bearded dragons have a unique and attractive appearance. In fact, it is one of the few lizards that look like dragons or dinosaurs. Moreover, they come in various morphs and beautiful colors.
Apart from their beautiful appearance, they have the best behavior; you can pet them and handle them without worrying about bites. Besides, beardies enjoy daily interaction with their owners.
Moving on, beardies have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years depending on how you keep them. In case, you’d like to keep one, be prepared to pay around $50 – $100 for juveniles. Adult beaded dragons can cost in excess of $300 or thereabout.
3. Leopard Geckos
If you are looking for yet another pet reptile that has a good temperament, then you should consider getting a leopard gecko. It is quite popular and thrives in desert-like conditions.
As its name suggests, leopard geckos resemble leopards, meaning that they have dark brown spots on their bodies. As it’s the case with most lizards, leopard geckos are available in various morphs.
Taking care of a leopard gecko should be pretty easy. There are low-maintenance reptiles that do not require so much space to thrive. Besides leopard geckos can tolerate handling as long as you are not stressing them.
Unlike beardies or cresties, leopard geckos do not love to climb. So you’ll be better off giving them horizontal space instead of vertical space.
This species, does not eat fruits. They rely solely on feeder insects, meaning they are insectivorous. All you have to do is to supplement the insects with calcium.
In terms of cost, leopard geckos range below $100, meaning that they are very affordable for first-time owners.
4. Chinese Water Dragons
Chinese water dragons are becoming more popular by the day. They are mostly found in tropical climates and they like to climb a lot.
Chinese water dragons are known to be solitary animals, so do not keep them with other species. In case you’d like one, make sure you have a 55 gallons tank. Besides, you should ensure that this lizard gets a warm, humid environment in order to grow well.
Unlike other reptile pets, Chinese water dragons are a bit difficult to take care of. So avoid keeping one if you are just starting out. All in all, it is a good pet if you are looking for a reptile that likes to be handled. It doesn’t bite and the good thing is that it becomes friendlier and social the more you handle and pet it.
This water dragon relies on insects as its primary source of food. All in all, you can have it eat fruits and leafy vegetables. Also, don’t forget to dust the vegetables and insects with a reptile multivitamin and a calcium supplement twice a week.
A water dragon’s average lifespan is 15-20 years and costs around $100.
5. Argentine Black and White Tegu
If you are looking for a large-sized reptile pet, then you might as well go for the Argentine Black and White Tegu. It is native to South America, but has been spreading across Florida and other states as invasive species. They are a burrowing species and like to hide in burrows to avoid extreme heat.
Despite the Argentine Giant Tegu being a large species, it can easily be tamed. Once it gets used to you, this reptile becomes friendly and easy to care of.
Unlike most pet lizards, the Argentine Black and White Tegu are intelligent. They are escape masters, meaning that you have to keep them in an escape-proof cage. All in all, Tegus are always open to being handled and petted.
Their diet is a bit complicated because they prefer feeding on mice rather than insects, fruits, or vegetables.
In terms of life expectancy, these hardy reptiles can live for 15 to 20 years and cost around $200 to $500.
6. Corn Snake
Corn snakes make great beginner reptile pets for both adults and kids. This species does not get very large and are very easy to take care for.
The good thing about corn snakes is that they are docile. They rarely get aggressive and can tolerate frequent handling. In addition, you can get a captive-bred corn snake easily.
The other reason why corn snakes are some of the best reptile pets for handling is that they are good eaters. Besides, you just have to feed them defrosted food once every two weeks or once a week depending on the age.
As it’s the case with most pet snakes, corn snakes are available in loads of colors. You can literally choose a corn snake of your favorite color.
Corn snakes cost anywhere around $100 depending on the age and color variation.
7. Blue-Tongue Skink
Blue-tongue skinks are very intelligent and friendly as far as lizards and reptiles go. They are social lizards, but sometime they can be a bit grumpy if disturbed. The good thing is that they will always warn you by hissing or enlarging their bodies.
With a bit of socialization, blue-tongue skinks can be easily tamed. You’ll be surprised by how docile they are when they become used to you.
Skinks tend to be a large and heavy, but they can be handles easily. Even kids can handle them as long as you are supervising them.
Blue-tongue skinks are omnivorous with their diet mainly consisting of fruits, vegetables, large worms and small mice as well.
These Australia natives have a lifespan of 20 years and cost in excess of $300 or more depending on the morph.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Friendliest Reptile For A Pet?
Everyone has his or her own fears of reptiles, but that does not mean all reptiles are aggressive or dangerous. In fact, bearded dragons are the friendliest reptile for a pet. They love to be handled and interact with humans as well. Surprisingly, you can watch TV together with your beardie and take him or her for a walk.
Other friendly reptile pets include crested geckos, leopard geckos, Corn snakes, Green Iguanas, Uromastyx, and the Blue-Tongued Skink.
Do Reptiles Like Being Petted?
Yes and No! It all depends on the reptile in question. Some reptiles are better off being viewed than handled. Reptiles such as lizards and geckos enjoy being handled, stroked, and touched. On the other hand, some will be more inclined to run away or bite when you try to pet them.
Reptiles generally have to be acclimatized to their owners and new environment before you start handling them. Avoid overdoing it as it might make the reptile develop anxiety or even become aggressive.
What Is A Good First Reptile?
Not all reptiles make great pets for first-time owners. A good beginner reptile pet should be easy to care for, friendly, cheap, and tolerant to handle. Crested geckos and leopard geckos meet this criteria as they are low-maintenance lizards.
As you’ve read from this detailed write-up, lizards make up the highest number of the best reptile pets for handling. So, if you are looking for your first reptile, you’ll be better off with a lizard, gecko or corn snake. The ball is now on your court, make a wise decision when choosing your ideal reptile pet.