Exotic Pets

How to Know Which Reptile to Choose

Want to get an exotic pet but don’t know which one is right for you? You’re in luck. This article covers what you should consider when selecting a reptile for a pet.

There are certain categories to think about to know which reptile is right for you. The answer will be different for everyone, but the considerations are the same.

Here’s how to know which reptile to choose…


Handleability is exactly what it sounds like. How easily would you be able to pick up and handle this animal?

For some people, handleability is a highly desirable characteristic in an exotic pet. They want a reptile they can take out and play with. Bond with.

Gecko hand pressed against glass

If that’s you, you’ll want to make sure you select an animal that does well with handling, and that can really narrow down your selection because most reptiles really don’t like to be handled.

That being said, many snakes and lizards can learn to tolerate handling if they have been accustomed to it since early in life. That’s something you’ll have to talk to the exotic pet shop or breeder about. If handleability is important to you, ask to take the animal out and see how it does.

Of course, not everyone cares about this, and you may be perfectly content to watch your reptile from behind the glass. It’s up to you.


How much effort do you want to put into reptile keeping? Again, this answer is going to be different for everyone. Don’t judge yourself if you really don’t want to put a lot of work in. It’s important to know this about yourself if you’re going to put an animal into your care.

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If you want a “level 1” pet, just be honest about it with the exotic pet store you’re buying from. They’ll be able to help you find the animals that require less attention.

Bearded dragon

For instance, some animals eat more often than others, and some need their terrarium cleaned more often or require more stimulation. Take these things into consideration rather than buying the wrong pet for you because it “looks cool.”


Hardiness is literally how easy or difficult it is to kill your reptile unintentionally. It can cover a lot of things, like how sensitive they are to dietary changes and how picky they are about the environment in their setup.

Brown snake on branch

Another thing to consider, however, when it comes to hardiness, is whether the animal you want is captive bred. Captive-bred reptiles are much less likely to have parasites or diseases, and they are also less likely to get stressed by human handling (see above). Yes, too much stress can kill an animal over time, or at least make it ill.


This may go without saying, but you can only buy a pet that’s available to you. Sure, you may see a reptile that looks really awesome on YouTube or Instagram, but if they’re rare or illegal, it’s less likely you’ll be able to get one.

Bright green python on branch

A good way to see what your options are is to go to your local exotic pet store, like The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights, and see what they have. Take your time. Look around. Ask questions.

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Upfront costs

Finally, and of course, there’s the issue of cost. All reptiles are different prices, and they have different needs for food and environment.


When you look at the upfront costs, remember to include all the supplies you’ll need to purchase in addition to the cost of the animal itself. If you can’t afford the food and supplies for the reptile, then you can’t afford the reptile.

You can come into The Tye-Dyed Iguana to check out what reptile prices run for various species. Have fun looking around!

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