Reptiles and amphibians are unique and unusual pets. They can be beautiful and fun to observe, and there is a thrill in owning a pet that might be dangerous, such as a snake. Here, we review the pros and cons of keeping such animals as pets.
Reptiles are one of the most common pets that fall into the “unusual” category. There are many lizards and snakes, varying from the more exotic (and expensive) to the more common, which tend to run cheaper.
Snakes and lizards are content keeping to themselves, but usually allow themselves to be handled, and are much safer to be handled if done so on a regular basis. Watching them grow and shed their skins (for snakes, anyway) can be educational for children. Watching them eat can be entertaining and exciting, perhaps even frightening. Temperaments can often be predicted by species.
The cons of owning a reptile are first, the cost of containment and upkeep: Terrariums can be expensive, especially if you need a large one; food for your reptile may be more difficult to obtain than, say, dog food; also, depending on the size of your reptile, particularly with snakes, the food may have to be quite large, and therefore more expensive. Second, keeping the terrarium clean is of vital importance to the health of your pet, and can be quite a smelly experience. Reptiles require the heat of a lamp and a place to hide. Third, safety can be an issue. It can be exciting to own a pet with fangs, until those fangs are embedded in your arm. It’s definitely something to consider.
Frogs and toads are quite common, and yet unusual, pets as well. Some of the pros of owning an amphibian are that watching their life cycle, if you are able to obtain tadpoles, is always educational; watching a frog or toad catch a fly with its tongue or take a large leap is fun, particularly for children; they can be handled daily or left alone and simply observed.
Some cons of owning an amphibian are similar to that of reptiles: A terrarium is recommended, which can be expensive and smelly to clean; food may be more difficult to obtain and more expensive; safety is an issue for some frogs, such as the colorful tree frogs, because their skin secretes a mild toxin, so anyone handling the animal must be careful to immediately wash their hands afterward. Another con is the necessity of maintaining a safe water pH level.