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10 Low Maintenance Reptiles (That Make Great Pets)

Reptiles can be fun and fascinating pets, but they have unique requirements that can make them difficult to keep. Dietary needs and habitat maintenance can be overwhelming and expensive for someone who is new to keeping reptiles. Don’t get discouraged. There are low maintenance reptiles out there that are beginner-friendly, and suitable for people with small spaces who don’t have room for a lot of equipment, or good for people who want to get into the world of reptile ownership, and don’t want to get in over their heads.

When purchasing reptiles, do your research and make sure you can handle its upkeep. Even low-maintenance reptiles have special needs. Never try to take a reptile from the wild. Always purchase them from a reputable exotics shop, or breeder. Keep reading to find out more about beginner-friendly, low maintenance reptiles.

Collage photo low maintenance reptiles

10 Low Maintenance Reptiles You Can Keep as Pets

1. Bearded Dragon

image: Pixabay.com
  • Adult Weight: 10-18 ounces
  • Adult Length: 18-22 inches
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 75 Gallons
  • Can you hold them: Yes!

Bearded dragons, playfully called “beardies” are laid back medium-sized lizards. These low maintenance reptiles are easy to handle, friendly, and enjoy interaction, which makes them a great pet for kids. Their diet is varied, and easy to acquire. They are omnivores and need insects and fresh fruit and vegetables to meet their nutrition. Crickets and mealworms along with parsley, sweet potatoes, peppers, and fruit make a nice well-rounded diet. They require both a basking light and UVA/UVB tube light in their enclosure.

2. Ball Python

image: Pixabay.com
  • Adult Weight: 4-5 pounds
  • Adult Length: 2-5 feet
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 30-50 gallons
  • Can you hold them: Yes!

Ball pythons are a great starter snake for the beginner snake owner. They stay fairly small, and are relatively inactive, so they do not require a large habitat. They are easy to handle, although they can be shy. They need a diet of mice and small rats, and they do have a reputation for suddenly refusing food. As long as they maintain a healthy weight, there is no need to worry. Be sure to find a captive bred ball python, as wild-caught pythons are often full of parasites, and may be extra skittish.

3. Leopard Gecko

Leopard Gecko – Jessi Swick | Flickr | CC 2.0
  • Adult Weight: 45-65 Grams
  • Adult Length: 7-10 inches
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 10-20 gallons
  • Can You hold them: Yes!

These small, beautifully spotted lizards are excellent low maintenance reptiles to keep as pets. They are very docile, and are tolerant of being handled. Leopard geckos are insectivores and need to be offered live insects to help trigger their “hunting instinct”. These little guys can live up to 20 years in captivity if well cared for.

4. Corn Snake

image: Pixabay.com
  • Adult Weight: 2 pounds
  • Adult Length: 2-6 feet
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 20 gallons
  • Can You hold them: Yes!

Corn snakes are one of the snakes most commonly recommended to beginners. They stay fairly small and are very docile, which means they do not need a large enclosure and are very easy to handle. They are very striking, coming in variations of coral and orange, which makes them popular with snake enthusiasts. They thrive on a diet of mice and can live for 15-20 years.

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image: Pixabay.com

5. Russian Tortoise

image: Futureman1199 | Wikimedia Commons | CC 3.0
  • Adult Weight: 1-3 pounds
  • Adult Length: 8-10 inches
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 50 gallon
  • Can You hold them: Not recommended

Russian tortoises are small hardy tortoises that require a fairly small habitat. They can handle an extreme range of temperatures, which is why they are often recommended to amateur reptile enthusiasts. These low maintenance reptiles are curious and interactive but prefer not to be picked up. They thrive on a diet of leafy greens, spring mix, kale, spinach, and for tortoises in outdoor enclosures broad-leaf weeds, will keep them healthy and satisfied. With proper care Russian tortoises can live up to 50 years.

6. Crested Geckos

image: Pixabay.com
  • Adult Weight: 35-55 grams
  • Adult Length: 8 inches
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 20 gallons
  • Can You hold them: Yes, with care.

Crested geckos are a small non-aggressive lizard. They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures than their spotted cousins, which makes them a good starter lizard. These little omnivores enjoy insects and fruit, and there is even a specially formulated food available in pet stores. Crested geckos can be handled, but need to be eased into it, and handled gently. If they are handled too roughly they may drop their tails, and their tails do not grow back.

7. California Kingsnake

image: Pixabay.com
  • Adult Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Adult Length: 3-6 feet
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 20-70 gallons
  • Can You hold them: Yes!

California kingsnakes are a popular snake with beginners, they don’t require special lighting, and are non-aggressive. In the wild, they eat bird eggs, rodents, and other snakes, but a king snake in captivity will be quite happy with a diet of mice and rats. They are a fairly active snake, so their enclosure will need room for them to slither.

8. Green Anoles

image: Pixabay.com
  • Adult Weight: 2-6 grams
  • Adult Length: 5-8 inches
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 10 gallons
  • Can You hold them: Yes, depending on temperament

Green anoles are a delicate green lizard, their small size, and easy maintenance makes them a very good pet for beginners. Their habitat will require a full-spectrum fluorescent UV B  bulb and a heat bulb. They are insectivores and enjoy a diet of crickets, spiders, and mealworms. They prefer their insects still be moving, they will not be tempted by dead insects. They can be trained to be held, but some individual lizards remain very skittish and may never enjoy being handled. They are also one of the most common lizards found in Florida.

9. Blue Tongued Skink

image: Pixabay.com
  • Adult Weight: 1.1
  • Adult Length: 18-24 inches
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 40-55 gallon
  • Can You hold them: Yes!

Blue tongued skinks are a gentle, lizard that is easy to handle. They are full of personality making this low maintenance reptile a fun introduction to the world of herpetology. On the larger side for a beginner lizard, these little guys are clumsy climbers so their habitat should not contain anything extremely tall. They are omnivores that benefit from a varied diet that can contain, avocado, eggs, canned dog or cat food, mealworms, carrots, and mangoes.

10. Rosy Boa

image: Greg Schechter | Flickr | CC 2.0
  • Adult Weight: 16oz
  • Adult Length: 24-36 inches
  • Adult Enclosure Size: 10-15 gallons
  • Can You hold them: Yes!
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This slow-moving snake is slightly smaller than it’s relatives the kingsnake and the ball python. It’s small size and docile personality make it a good snake for beginners. Rosy boas enjoy a diet of mice, and only need to eat 2-4 times per month in the spring, summer, and fall. Rosy boas can live for 30 years, and some have been reported to live even longer.

image: Pixabay.com