Debunking the Myths of Owning a Reptile as a Pet 

Reptile are some of the most misunderstood pets, and many potential owners may be deterred by myths or exaggerated stories they’ve heard. With proper care and attention, reptiles can make wonderful companions with unique personalities that will enrich your life.

Let’s look at 15 common misconceptions about owning a reptile as a pet and how to dispel these myths:

1. Myth: Reptiles are smelly – Reality: With proper habitat maintenance, reptiles do not smell any more than other pets such as cats or dogs. Regular cleaning and spot-cleaning of the enclosure will keep odors from building up.

2. Myth: Reptiles are dangerous and can bite – Reality: Most reptiles are not aggressive when handled properly; however, all animals have the capacity to bite if provoked. It is important to research a species before purchasing it, understand its behaviors, and handle your pet with care and respect.

3. Myth: Reptiles require no veterinary care – Reality: All pets should receive regular veterinary checkups and preventative care in order to stay healthy. Reptiles may require more frequent visits than other pets, as they are particularly sensitive to changes in their environment and diet.

4. Myth: Reptiles are easy to take care of – Reality: While reptiles generally do not require as much attention as a dog or cat, they still need specialized care to be healthy and happy. Depending on the species, reptile owners must research and understand the needs of their pet in order to provide an appropriate habitat and diet.

5. Myth: Reptiles carry disease – Reality: All animals can carry diseases, but proper hygiene practices can reduce the risk of contracting any illnesses from your pet. It is important for all pet owners to practice good hand-washing techniques before and after handling any animal. Additionally, regular and thorough cleaning of the enclosure will help keep your pet healthy.

6. Myth: Reptiles are boring – Reality: Reptiles can actually have very interesting personalities, depending on their species and individual temperaments. Many reptiles enjoy interacting with their owners and may even develop strong bonds over time. It is important to do research on any potential species before purchasing it in order to understand how it will interact with its environment and you.

7. Myth: Reptiles need a lot of space – Reality: The size of an enclosure depends on the species; however, many small reptiles such as geckos or box turtles can thrive in relatively small enclosures. Those looking for larger pets should research the needs of a specific species prior to purchase in order to understand what size and type of enclosure it requires.

8. Myth: Reptiles are expensive – Reality: While larger reptiles such as snakes or iguanas can be more costly, many small species such as frogs and geckos are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Additionally, the cost of their necessary supplies will vary depending on their size and needs; however, research can help you understand the necessary costs before purchasing any pet.

9. Myth: Reptiles require special lighting – Reality: Depending on the species, some reptiles may need specialized lighting such as UVB bulbs in order to remain healthy and active. Other species may do fine with natural light from windows or lights specifically designed for reptile habitats. Again, it is important to research the needs of a specific species prior to making any purchases.

10. Myth: Reptiles need live prey – Reality: Not all reptiles require live prey in order to stay healthy. Some species, such as turtles or iguanas, may do fine with a diet of fruits, vegetables and commercially-available reptile food. Other species may do better with a combination of both live and non-live food sources. Research is key when it comes to understanding the dietary needs of your pet.


Reptiles can make wonderful and interesting pets, but it is important to do research on a species before purchasing one. It is also important for reptile owners to understand their pet’s needs in order to provide the best environment and care possible. With proper research, understanding and care, your reptile can be a healthy and happy companion for years to come.