As most of my friends know, I have quite the collection of pets. Unlike my co-author on this blog, Carrie, dogs are not my only exprience with pet ownership.
This is thanks mostly to my lovely wife, Sarah, who brought to our relationship a blue and gold macaw named Melvin and various other small birds. I also bought Sarah a cat as a birthday gift a little over a year ago. In addition to our three dogs, one cat, Melvin the macaw and various small birds, we also own a collection of reptiles.
I’ve always been interested in reptiles, but Sarah was a true enthusiast, and we soon began keeping snakes. We have some little milk snakes, but my favorite reptiles are our lizards. I have always wanted a bearded dragon, and we got one a few months ago, along with some leopard geckos.
Our most recent additions came last weekend at the Oklahoma Herpetological Society’s reptile show. We bought a male mate for my female bearded dragon. Their names are Elizabeth and Andy. We also got a second breeding group of leopard geckos.
These shows are a must for anyone who has in interest in exotic animals. In addition to lizards and snakes, you can find various turtles, frogs, tarantulas, scorpions, centipedes, and most of the other little critters that often make people squirm.
Reptiles certainly aren’t the most common or popular type of pet, but I would encourage everyone to give them a chance, particularly the lizards. Bearded dragons and leopard geckos have a lot of personality and are a lot of fun. The main thing to consider when buying a reptile is to do your homework and know what you are getting into.
Large snakes aren’t for everyone and can be dangerous to those who don’t know how to handle them. Stay away from large pythons, paricularly the reticulated, Burmese and African rock pythons, unless you are an experienced snake keeper. Ball pythons, corn snakes and milk snakes can be good pets and require a fraction of the work of dogs, cats and small mammals like hamsters.
Iguanas are also a handful and should not be taken on by those who don’t have the means to care for them property. They need huge enclosures, expensive ultraviolet lighting and can be a bit cranky if not socialized. Leopard geckos and bearded dragons are a better choice for someone looking to take on their first reptile. They need a heating lamp or pad, and a few feeder bugs at least twice a week, but they are harmless, do well being handled if done with care and will keep you entertained as they cruise around their enclosure.
So don’t be a hater like Carrie. Give the creepy crawlies a chance.
- Staff Writer Bryan Dean