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Three Great Reptiles for Beginners

Are you new to reptile ownership? You probably don’t want to start out with a creature that can grow to several feet or one that needs an enormous cage. Here, a Matthews reptile vet offers suggestions for three great “starter” pets:

Corn Snake

Corn snakes are some of the most docile and easy-to-care-for snakes you’ll find anywhere, and they have beautifully intricate skin patterns. They only grow to about three to five feet in length and won’t need a huge living space. As with most snakes, you’ll need to feed your corn snake pre-killed small mammals—ask yourself if you’ll be squeamish or hesitant about this sort of thing before deciding on a snake!

Leopard Gecko

The leopard gecko is often considered to be one of the best beginner reptiles you can get. They don’t grow to be especially large, they’re very docile, and are easy to care for. They’re also easy to handle, which may work well with younger kids who aren’t ready for the specific handling requirements of larger or more sensitive reptiles. Another advantage of the leopard gecko is that they won’t need specialized UV lighting like many other reptiles. Keep in mind that the leopard gecko is nocturnal, though; since they’re active at night you may want to locate the cage somewhere besides a bedroom.

Ball Python

A python doesn’t sound like a great starter reptile, but the ball python actually serves as a decent beginner snake. The ball python doesn’t grow very large—they’ll max out at three to five feet—and are almost always very docile snakes. Like the corn snake, a python will require mice as food. It’s also important to remember that a healthy ball python can live to 20 years of age or longer. Before purchasing one you must be ready for this length of commitment.

Your Matthews reptile veterinarian is here to offer more help with any questions or concerns you have. With his or her expert guidance, you can make the most informed choice of reptilian pet for you and your family!

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