So, you have decided to join the ranks of reptile owners? Reptiles can make excellent and exciting pets whose antics can keep you
entertained for hours. When you are first starting out, it can be hard to look through a list of species and decide which one is just right.
It is important to remember that not all lizards were built the same. The differences between species can be vast and you need to know what exactly to expect when you finally get your new friend. If you jump in feet first, you may find yourself purchasing a Green Iguana
or a Savannah Monitor, both of which are completely awful starter reptiles. Never fear though, I am here to help you choose the best starter reptile.
First on this list is the Leopard Gecko. Leopard Geckos are a friendly, nocturnal species that are known for being docile and easy to tame. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns that are pleasing to the eye. On top of that, they have very simple care requirement and are relatively inexpensive. They have no special lighting requirements since they are nocturnal. They live off a diet of insects, mainly crickets or mealworms, and while the babies must be fed every day, adults are fine with being fed every other day. One of the best things about this species is that you do not need to buy a big, costly cage. Single adult leopard geckos can be kept easily in a 16 quart container. The only downside is that you will need to constantly keep several crickets or mealworms in your home. Speaking personally, these little guys are wonderful starter pets and
tend to tolerate being handled well. Leopard Geckos were my own starter reptile, they are hardy lizards and very entertaining to watch. They are not the only choice you have though, let's move on to our next species.
Second on our list is the Bearded Dragon, a highly-energetic and fun lizard. Unlike Leopard Geckos, these guys are diurnal which means they are awake during the day. Beardies are known for being docile, easy to handle, and inquisitive. If you go on YouTube and type in Bearded Dragon, you will find many different videos demonstrating just how much fun these guys can be. They typically like being around people and have been known to play with their owners. However, these guys are number two for a reason. Unlike Leopard Geckos, Beardies require UVB Lighting along with heat bulbs to keep the temperature just right. These guys are omnivores and they must have fresh greens every day. Baby Beardies are delicate and require feeding three times a day, while adults only need to be fed once a day. Beardies also need a considerably large cage compared to Leopard Geckos. As much fun as these guys are, they are not as easy to care for. If you do consider getting a Bearded Dragon, look for an adult or sub-adult for your first one. Let's continue to our final candidate.
Third and final on our list is the Crested Gecko. Yes, another Gecko that is nocturnal like the leopard gecko. Since they are nocturnal, they have no special light or heating requirements. It is important to note that temperatures above 80 degrees will stress these little guys out. One of the biggest pros to owning a crested gecko is their diet. Unlike the other two species on this list, these geckos can live entirely off a packaged powdered diet. They are one of the simplest species to feed. On the downside though, these guys are much more delicate than the Bearded Dragon and the Leopard Gecko. Cresties are prone to losing their tails accidentally, which doesn't harm them but their tails don't grow back. They also spend a lot of time hiding, so if you are looking for an active species then you will want to pass on getting these guys.
This is just a small sampling and there are a few other species known to be good for beginners. If you are serious about
purchasing a reptile, it is important that you thoroughly research the species you are interested in. Remember that while these species are recommended for beginners, you don't have to start off with a beginner species. If you have thoroughly researched a species and know exactly how to take care of it, there is no reason you can't get a more advanced species. While this guide can help with that decision, you are on the only one who can find your best starter reptile.