Green Iguana - Gallery Photo by AlliMarie

The Worst Reptiles for Beginning Hobbyists

by Petra Spiess

This article appeared in the June 1997 issue of Reptile Hobbyist Magazine

With all of the reptile species available today has come some misconceptions about which reptiles are best for beginning hobbyists. The cheapest species are very often not the easiest or most suitable for the beginner. Several species have in fact, been traditionally sold as "starter" reptile pets, when in fact, they are far from suitable. Many of these "starter" reptile species should only be kept by experienced herpetocultuists.


What Makes a Reptile Species Difficult?

Just with the best reptile species, there are several factors that contribute to making a reptile the "worst" species for beginners. Aggressive reptile species should not be kept by beginning hobbyists, these animals can be difficult to handle and can cause injury to an inexperienced keeper. Reptile species that are heavily parasitized, as is the case with the majority of imported species, are difficult to maintain for the beginner and should be avoided. Large species that are potentially dangerous, or that are expensive to feed, house, and maintain should be left to experienced keepers. Reptiles that require demanding environmental conditions, or reptiles that stress in captivity easily are difficult to maintain for everyone, not just beginners. Unfortunately, there is rather a long list of difficult reptile species, but it is important to know which commonly seen species to avoid.