If you’ve ever considered getting yourself a pet, you may have considered getting some sort of reptile. Keeping a reptile requires some sort of enclosure in the form of a tank or vivarium. Tanks can take up valuable space in your house, so it may be important for you to get a pet that doesn’t require a larger set up. So in this list, we’ll suggest some pet reptiles for a 10 gallon tank.
To give you some perspective, the dimensions of an average ten gallon tank are roughly 20 inches (length), 10 inches (width) and 12 inches (height).
8 pet reptiles for a 10 gallon tank
It’s also worth noting that while many of these animals will do just fine in a tank this size, this sort of set-up is the bare minimum (depending on the animal) and it may be worth investing in a larger tank sometime down the line when your pet starts to grow older and larger.
1. Leopard Gecko
- Average length (at adulthood): 7-10 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 10-20 years
Leopard Geckos make great pets, especially for beginners. They are smaller lizards native to Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal where they inhabit rocky or dry grasslands or desert like habitats. They are hardy animals, making them low-maintenance for new pet owners.
They are also relatively lazy, meaning they don’t need a huge amount of space to be enriched. Leopard Geckos will spend much of their time sleeping in a shelter, so make sure you have plenty of space for them to hide away in.
2. Crested Gecko
- Average length (at adulthood): 6-10 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 15-20 years
Crested Geckos are a great option for somebody looking for a first time pet. They are arboreal, meaning that in the wild they prefer to climb. So if you are considering a Crested Gecko, it would be smart to get a vertical tank set-up, since they won’t spend much time on the ground.
Crested Geckos are also nocturnal, so if having a pet that is active when you are is important to you, keep this in mind. That being said, Crested Geckos are incredibly docile and don’t mind being handled.
This one would definitely be one of my personal favorite pet reptiles for a 10 gallon tank.
- Average length (at adulthood): 5-8 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 3+ years
Anoles, either Green or Brown are fairly easy to care for. They are very small lizards and are quite fragile, so it is particularly important to handle your anole with gentle hands, but caring for them is easy so long as their enclosure maintains high humidity. Anoles are also arboreal, so make sure to equip their enclosure with lots of vertical elements.
I’ve owned a few Anoles when I was younger, they’re certainly among the smallest reptiles for a 10 gallon tank you can own.
4. Pygmy Chameleon
- Average length (at adulthood): 3-3.5 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 1-3 years
Pygmy Chameleons, as suggested by the name, are very small chameleons that would be well suited for a smaller set up. They are native to East Africa where they live along the forest floor. That being said, they need an enclosure that has ample plant-like elements to keep them happy.
Chameleons are notoriously difficult to care for as far as reptiles go. They require very specific temperature and humidity thresholds, so they do not make a great beginner pet. Luckily, there are many online resources to help guide you through caring for your Chameleon.
5. Rosy Boa
- Average length (at adulthood): 24-36 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 20-30 years
Rosy Boas are very low maintenance, making them easy to care for even for beginners. Normally, you would want to make sure that the length of your enclosure is longer than your pet snake, so a ten gallon tank is a little on the small side for a Rosy Boa.
However, because Rosy Boas tend to spend most of their time coiled up, most would be okay in a ten gallon tank. But, if you are able to it’s always a good idea to give your pet more space than not.
6. Madagascar Day Gecko
- Average length (at adulthood): 8-9 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 10-15 years
Madagascar Day Geckos are striking animals with incredibly green scales and orange spots. They are incredibly territorial, so if you are considering a Madagascar Day Gecko as a pet, keep in mind that they need to be housed alone to be happy. They are also relatively high-maintenance and do not make great pets for novices.
7. Kenyan Sand Boa
- Average length (at adulthood): 18-30 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 20 years
Kenyan Sand Boas are a great choice for someone interested in keeping a constrictor. They are in the same family as other Boas and are distant cousins of the Pythons, however they look quite a bit different from other Boas.
As their name suggests, Kenyan Sand Boas tend to live in sandy habitats so a sandy substrate is the best choice for your enclosure. Kenyan Sand Boas tend to burrow down into the sand, meaning that they may spend a lot of time hidden.
8. House Gecko
- Average length (at adulthood): 3-5 inches
- Average lifespan in captivity: 5+ years
There are many different types of House Gecko, but all of them share relatively similar characteristics: they are small, somewhat plain looking, and are great climbers. House Geckos are commonly found on or even in houses of people living in Southeast Asia (hence the name) and really are not fussy animals to care for.
Male House Geckos are territorial, so if you want a male you will need to keep it on it’s own. But females are not, and because they are so small, you could easily keep several female house geckos in a single ten gallon tank. The most important thing is that they have plenty of things to climb on and places to hide.
Reptiles can make good pets for many reasons, including the fact that some of them may not need a large enclosure to be happy. The reptiles on this list would make a great pet for people looking for a pet that won’t require much real estate space in your home.
That being said, some of these animals may outgrow a ten gallon tank within their lifetime. If you find that your pet becomes unhappy in their enclosure, it is worth considering an upgrade. Luckily there are many resources available online for caring for your exotic pet, including some on our website.