1. What size enclosure do you want/can fit?
One of the first things you want to think about is the size enclosure an animal requires. There is a huge difference between a 10 gallon tank and a 40 gallon breeder for example. Decided where you want the enclosure, measure, and move from that point. If you want to stay on the smaller side, an animal like a leopard gecko or a fat tail gecko may be a good option but if you can and want to have a larger enclosure you can consider getting a bearded dragon that needs at least a 40 gallon breeder as an adult.
All species of reptiles require a certain range of heat with some being more specific than others. If you don’t want to worry about special lighting, crested geckos or gargoyle geckos might be a good choice as they are happy in room temps (between 67-75°). Some species need a heat source but no UVB such as leopard geckos and ball pythons. Others need a range of temperatures (including a higher basking spot) and a UVB source such as bearded dragons and blue tongue skinks. When considering heat and UVB keep in mind the cost (most UVB lights need to be replaced every six months) and if you have other animals especially cats the lights can be knocked over which have caused fires.
3. What type of food are you comfortable feeding your pet?
Understandably, some people find the idea of feeding insects, especially live, or rodents to an animal a little off putting. Non-insect and rodent reptiles include, again, the crested gecko or gargoyle gecko that can live off of a paste mixed with water. If rodents are your downfall you may want to cross the majority of snakes including corn snakes and hognose snakes off your list and stick to insect eaters such as leopard geckos.
4. Do you want a “hands on” or a “hands off” reptile?
Every animal is an individual but some species lend themselves to handling better than others. Your schedule should also be considered. If you are a night owl you may want to research nocturnal species but if you are an early riser maybe those sun craving species are a better match. While not reptiles, most frogs are hands off as the oils in our skin can cause irritation and further issues for them so while they are fun to look at they don’t make good cuddle partners. If you want a more interactive animal, you can look into species already mentioned like bearded dragons (love their sun!) or leopard geckos (nocturnal).
Our next blog post will continue on this theme but will delve into reptiles and kids. Stay tuned!