Owning a reptile is something I've wanted to do since I was 14. Other than hermit crabs, I never got around to actually doing it, but since taking a herpetology class in 8th grade, I consider myself a bit of an expert (I kid, I kid!). But seriously, this article covers just about all the bases of reptile ownership that I've come across in my random perusing of the reptile section in my local pet stores.
A few other bullets I'd like to point out, again from my own experiences:
- While lizards aren't as needy as a cat or a dog, the initial setup can get quite costly. The tank kits you see in your local shop are generally quite good (and usually have a water bowl, heat lamp, maybe a heat rock and a piece of driftwood), but there's so much more to setting up a tank the right way. You do really need to do some research (as the article states).
- Iguanas. IGUANAS. These things grow like weeds. If you've ever owned a fish tank, you know the general rule that the fish in the tank will continue to grow relative to the overall size of the tank. So, if you have 2 fish in a 20 gallon tank, and 2 in a 50 gallon tank, the ones in the 50 will grow larger than the ones in the 20. This holds true for Iguanas, but with a catch: Sometimes they will outgrow the tank! You'll need to get larger tanks as time goes on.
- Crickets: There is nothing quite like holding a handful of crickets. And good luck catching them if they get out.
- Starter lizards. The article suggests bearded dragons, anoles, leopard geckos, or crested geckos as starters. While I would basically echo those suggestions, a word of caution: they can climb walls. Think of it this way. You've got your arm in the tank to take out the water bowl but thought your friendly gecko was hiding from you because you've only had him for about 3 days. NOPE. He's already on the ceiling of your bedroom. I'd recommend a Savannah Monitor (my personal favorite), a bearded dragon, leopard geckos, or fat-tailed geckos. Keep in mind, though, that most geckos have a built in security feature... I'm not going to tell you what it is. You'll have to watch it.
Lastly, Chameleons: DON'T BUY THEM. They are the single most difficult reptile to keep in captivity. They need a ridiculous amount of space to thrive (you really need a room the size of a closet, humidity and temperature controlled, with foliage). That and the fact that they have a very low success rate of being kept in captivity. Just save yourself the heartache (and the hit on your wallet as they can be very expensive) and don't buy them.
Link scanned clean care of VirusTotal.com