Complete Guide: Are Reptiles Suitable for Children?
It is becoming more common to keep reptiles as pets every year, and many children now want to own an exotic pet instead of a hamster or rabbit. But you might be wondering, are reptiles suitable for children?
The short answer is yes; they certainly can be! Many reptile species are easy to care for. They are hardy and do not stress over the handling of a person. But as with purchasing all types of pets, this needs to be a family decision as many reptiles can live far longer than smaller mammals and require more specialized environments.
As we stated, certain reptiles can be suitable for children; however, many are not. So, it’s vital to do adequate research and know all the facts before choosing one.
Adult supervision is a must always to keep the children and reptiles safe. In addition, feeding and maintaining a clean space safely and optimally is vital for all those handling the reptile, such as the children.
Cost should be considered when bringing a reptile into your home. The setup with the enclosure, lighting, heating, decor, supplementation, food, and the reptile itself can be pricey.
Don’t Impulse Buy
Advertising, toys, TV shows and movies can trigger impulse buying, especially in children. Make sure your child has expressed interest for long enough to judge whether this is something they want. Most reptiles live long lives; many will still be alive when your child grows up and leaves home!
An example is turtles, which had a significant spike in popularity when the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles movie was released in 2014. Still, many of these are kept incorrectly due to poor research or re-homed and sold when the child gets bored a few months later.
Always go home, research, talk about the new addition as a family and then return to purchase once you have all the facts! Reptiles can be a commitment for a very long time.
Choose an Appropriate Species
Whether your child wants a snake, a lizard, an amphibian, tortoise, turtle or even a tarantula, make sure you choose a reptile taking into consideration the following:
- How big will it get as an adult, and do we have the space for the tank?
- Is it easy to care for?
- Does this animal enjoy being handled?
- How much food will it eat, and how do I care for this food?
- Are mom & dad willing to be responsible for the animal?
- What additional costs will be incurred, and are we prepared for this? (Food, Electricity, Potential Vet Visits)
Below we list five reptiles suitable for kids. (Always do additional research and know all the facts before you choose one.)
So Why Do Reptiles Make Good Pets?
You’ve considered all the above, and you’re thinking about making a purchase but are still worried that a reptile isn’t a good pet for a child. After all, snakes and lizards don’t exactly have a reputation for being cute and cuddly – but they still have their charm!
Here are seven reasons why they can make good pets.
Low Space Requirements
Many medium to small reptile species are suitable for children with minimal space requirements. If you have a floor space of 4 feet by 2 feet, you can provide an enclosure that will happily house most beginner species. If strapped for space, the enclosure can be placed on a dresser that is 2 feet long and could accommodate a leopard gecko for life!
Many To Choose From
There are dozens of species available captive bred and suitable for beginners. If you want to branch out, there are hundreds of different options. Whatever your size, time, finance, and cosmetic requirements, you should be able to find a species that fits your children’s and your family’s needs.
Once a tank is set up correctly, there is little maintenance other than feeding and cleaning. Reptiles don’t need to be handled, so if your child is too busy to get them out to “play,” that’s fine! Reptiles require no more time to care for than a hamster or fish tank in that regard as long as they have an adequate environment to live in – including space in their tank for exercise.
Low Risk of Injury
The bite from most snakes and lizards is less painful than a hamster bite, and if you’re buying a captive-bred baby that is an appropriate species, the chance of getting bitten is low. However, always take the proper actions and precautions when handling.
Most reptiles are entirely silent—no disturbance or noise complaints.
No Property Risks
These reptiles kept in enclosures do not cause any damage. Because of this, many landlords against pets, such as cats or dogs, will allow you to have a reptile in a secure tank. Always get permission from the homeowner before purchasing any pet. This, in combination with the No Noise and Low space requirements, can make them ideal for apartment living.
Reptiles can stimulate an interest in the natural world and promote education by getting your child interested in things outside their personal experiences and teaching them responsibility. They are cool and weird but also scientific – a fantastic educational opportunity and a family pet.
So, the question remains, “are reptiles suitable for children?”
Overall, if you are willing to take on a reptile for its lifespan, they can make great pets for children of all ages. Make sure you choose the suitable species and know how to care for it before buying – something for parents to discuss and choose together as a family.
What To Do If You Have Un-Invited Reptiles on Your Property
Precision Predator is your snake and reptile removal and control company for any of these reptiles that enter your property uninvited. If you have a problem with them, please reach out to us. We look forward to helping you eliminate them and keep them away.