If creepy, crawly, scaly, and slithering sound fun to you, you might be in the market for a reptile best friend to call your pet. However, not all reptiles are likely perfect for you, your home, or your lifestyle.
Here's a quick buyer's guide to consider when you're looking for a reptilian roommate.
Longevity and Growth
Owning a pet is about making a commitment to provide a home for a creature you care about. Although the lizard, snake, skink, turtle, and/or iguana you're considering adopting might look cute today, you should consider how your new pet will thrive and grow with you.
Longevity: Turtles have lifespans of 10 to 80 years! That means that the pet you're considering adopting might have the chance to outlive you. Although this might seem like a morbid thought, it's important to know what you're buying when you're looking for reptiles for sale. Aside from researching how long your reptile pet might live, you might also want to consider the pet's potential cost of care. For instance, some species of lizards and snakes have highly specialized diets—translation—feeding that cute little lizard or snake is going to cost you thousands of dollars over the course of its lifetime. Most reptile pet owners are better off choosing reptilian besties that have reasonably short lifespans and relatively simple diets. For instance, many species of turtles and lizards can be fed commonly accessible fruits and vegetables.
Growth: One of the reasons why Florida is inundated with so many invasive species of reptiles is some pet owners don't consider how big their snakes, lizards, and iguanas are going to grow and feel compelled to release them when they can no longer care for them. To avoid this pitfall, research the maximum size the reptile you're considering will grow to and how quickly it will grow. For instance, some boa constrictors grow several feet in the first 3-5 years of their lives. That means that the terrarium you buy for a juvenile boa constrictor needs to be a lot bigger than you were probably thinking.
Sourcing and Restrictions
When you own a pet, it becomes more than just an object that moves around with you. Where you source the reptile you find for sale to the potential restrictions placed on that animal should be a part of your decision-making process when you're in the buying stage.
Responsibly Sourced: Exotic animal trafficking is among the most profitable and potentially environmentally devastating industries in the world. Although laws and customs enforcement are constantly ramped up to combat animal trafficking, it might only be truly quashed when pet owners stop buying exotic animals sourced, sold, and trafficked illegally. If you care about making a difference against animal trafficking, try to only buy CITES-certified reptiles. This will ensure that the pet you're considering buying won't contribute to an industry that endangers the wildlife and environments you probably love.
Restrictions: Purchasing a reptile before you have a permanent place to call home is probably a questionable decision. However, even if you own your own home, not all species of reptiles are welcome in all communities. For instance, New York City has strict bans against owning many species of reptiles. If you are caught with such reptiles, you will not only be forced to suffer legal ramifications, but you'll also have to surrender a pet you might love very much. If the reptile you're considering owning isn't welcome in your community, adding them to your home might be unwise. If you have any questions about potential restrictions on the reptile for sale you're considering, contact your local animal control offices for more information.