Pets are amazing! They’re animals that quickly become members of the family. Even though we love our pets, they do some things that we don’t love. Pets can do things like ruin furniture and put us into debt. Plus, they can sometimes be really stinky! Luckily, most pet reptiles don’t smell bad at all.
In this article, we’ll list tons of pet reptiles that don’t smell.
When compared to other pets like cats and dogs, reptiles really don’t smell bad at all. Many reptiles like leopard geckos and ball pythons are odorless and only smell when they poop. The worst smells from reptiles will actually come from things like food or dirty bedding.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to make sure that you don’t smell anything bad coming from your pet reptile! We’ll list some of the least stinky reptiles so you can decide which pet might be the right one for you.
What Do Reptiles Smell Like?
Most reptiles are nearly odorless. However, there are a few stinky ones.
Snakes are probably the stinkiest out of all of the reptile groups. While many snakes don’t smell at all, some species of snake allegedly smell like bad cucumbers. Plus, many snakes have a defensive behavior called “musking” where they will release a could scent from their glands when threatened.
Garter snakes, copperheads, and rattlesnakes seem to be the smelliest snakes. Obviously, snake poop doesn’t smell good and can leave a cloying scent in the air if left uncleaned.
For the most part, lizards are odorless. They don’t have any scent glands or musking behaviors to worry about. However, just like snakes, lizards can have pretty stinky poop. Plus, since lizards usually eat more than snakes, they defecate more often!
Turtles don’t really smell much at all. Aquatic turtles might have a musky smell if they’re in water that has algae in it. On the other hand, outdoor tortoises might smell like dirt and mud because of the digging they do. Out of all the groups of reptiles, turtles and tortoises have the least stinky poop!
How To Manage Reptiles Smells
Since most reptiles don’t smell on their own, bad scents are pretty manageable. If you know what is causing the smell in your reptile’s enclosure, it should be pretty easy to change or clean the stinky item!
Here are 6 tips to help you reduce any chance of having a stinky pet reptile!
1. Change The Bedding Frequently
One of the first things that can start to reek is your pet reptile’s bedding.
Bedding comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people will use paper towels to line their reptile tanks while others use coco fiber. Whatever substrate you choose, you need to make sure you’re changing it out frequently enough. Any bedding that is soiled should be replaced immediately.
Furthermore, each time you do a deep clean on your reptile’s tank, you should also put in a new substrate. Not only can substrate smell but if you have a humid environment, you might notice that mold will start to grow. Mold stinks and can make your pet reptile feel very sick.
2. Clean Their Poop As Soon As Possible
When any pet poops it doesn’t smell great!
Reptile feces and urates are no exception. As soon as your pet poops, you’ll want to clean it up. Even though reptile poop can be small, it packs a punch.
For pets like snakes, it’s easy to keep on top of feces as they only poop after meals. For other pets like bearded dragons, you might need to do a little spot cleaning every day or every other day.
3. Remove Old Food
Another thing that can make a pet reptile smell is its food.
Reptiles have incredibly diverse diets. In the reptile world, you can find insectivores, herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. If you have a reptile pet that eats meat then its food might start to smell.
Imagine leaving a mouse in your snake’s enclosure for the whole day. The carcass will start to dry out and make the whole tank and maybe your entire room smell a bit odd.
So, if you have a pet that eats raw protein, try to remove the food if they don’t seem to go for it within an hour or so of offering it!
4. Clean Their Enclosure Regularly
Obviously one of the easiest ways to keep smells to a minimum is to keep a clean reptile enclosure.
Regular cleaning is more than just removing feces and food. You should be deep cleaning your pet’s tank on a schedule. To deep clean your pet’s enclosure, you’ll want to start by transferring your pet to a temporary enclosure. Then, you can remove everything else inside the enclosure. Any permanent fixtures should be washed with a non-toxic soap and dried, that includes basking rocks and water dishes!
When deep cleaning, you’ll also want to replace the bedding completely. This will really help with managing any bad smells. You’ll also want to wipe down the sides of your tank with a reptile-safe cleanser.
Deep cleans will help keep your reptile’s enclosure smelling fresh all the time!
5. Help Them Shed With Soaks
If you happen to have a reptile that does smell no matter what you do, it might just be them.
One of the things that can help with a stinky reptile is shedding. Shedding is the natural process where reptiles replace their old dead skin with new skin. If part of an old shed get’s stuck to a reptile, it might start to smell.
Soaks are a great way to help make sure your reptile is shedding efficiently. A soak is basically a shallow dish of warm water that you can place your pet into. For more information about whether or not you should give your pet a soak, read our article here.
6. Keep Stress Levels Low
The last way you can try to manage any potential smells from reptiles is to keep their stress levels low.
When certain reptiles like snakes are stressed, they may start to act defensively. For many snakes, this might mean releasing musk. Musk smells bad and if your snake is musking, something’s wrong.
Pet reptiles usually become stressed from something in their environment. Whether it’s an inappropriate temperature or poor handling, try to figure out what could be making your pet stressed to the point of musking.
15 Pet Reptiles That Don’t Smell
There really are so many reptiles that don’t stink! We’ll break them down into categories and name our top 5 picks in each group. Plus, we’ll talk about whether or not these pets would be good choices for beginners.
As we mentioned above, most lizards don’t have much natural stench. It helps keep them safe from predators in the wild and benefits us as pet owners. However, some lizards do have pretty smelly feces and urates.
Bearded dragons are one common pet lizard that has pretty gross feces, so, if you’re worried about smells, they probably won’t be the best choice for you!
Here are 5 pet lizards that have little to no smell.
1. Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos are a very popular pet reptile. They can make great pets for beginners because they’re easy to handle and care for. Plus, leopard geckos only eat insects, which means that you won’t have to keep any other food items for them besides bugs.
Leopard geckos are actually extremely clean reptiles and have been known to lick themselves clean just like cats do!
2. Green Anole
Green anoles are probably one of the smallest pet reptiles in existence. These lizards are some of the few that start small and stay small!
Because anoles are so tiny, they’re basically odorless. Their poop is small and they have no body odor. Even though anoles are small, they’re not always the best pets for beginners because they are difficult to handle.
But, if you’re happy to get a lizard to simply watch them climb and hunt throughout the day, an anole might be a great choice for you.
3. Crested Gecko
Crested geckos are another species of small arboreal lizards. These little guys are easy to handle, feed, and care for, and, as you’ve probably already guessed, they don’t stink!
Even though crested geckos are easy to handle, these animals will drop their tails when spooked. Be careful when holding your gecko because once they drop their tail, it won’t grow back!
4. Veiled Chameleon
Veiled chameleons are incredibly interesting creatures. They move slowly and climb across branches all day long. These animals don’t smell and don’t even poop very often for a lizard.
That being said, veiled chameleons are more advanced-level pet reptiles because they’re not easy to handle or keep. Chameleons are notoriously finicky and need their environmental conditions perfect to thrive.
5. Gargoyle Gecko
Gargoyle geckos are our last pet lizard that doesn’t stink. Gargoyle geckos are very similar to crested geckos but should never be confused with or housed with one another.
Gargoyle geckos spend their days climbing and hunting insects. Because of their diets, they don’t smell bad at all and their size makes them easy to clean up after.
Out of all of the groups of reptiles, snakes have the potential to be the most smelly. But, if you pick the right snake and make sure they don’t musk, you shouldn’t have any issues with bad smells with the five pets below.
For an even longer list of snakes that don’t smell bad, read our article about it here.
6. Ball Python
Ball pythons are one of the least smelly snakes not only because of their natural odor but also because of their tendency to not musk. Instead of musking, ball pythons will often opt to curl up into a tight defensive ball.
This is one of the reasons why ball pythons are easy to handle and can make great first snakes.
7. Rosy Boa
Rosy boas are a fairly small species of pet snake. As adults, they don’t usually grow to be any longer than three feet. Because of their smaller size, they’re relatively stink-free.
Rosy boas usually eat about once a week and the great part is they’ll only defecate once a week as well. That means easy clean up and no daily lingering smells.
8. Kenyan Sand Boa
Kenyan sand boas are burrowing snakes that are popular choices for pets. These snakes spend most of their time buried deep under the sand. To keep these boas, you’ll need a good supply of sand. Since sand isn’t easy to rinse clean, you’ll have to change it out as it gets dirty.
Besides that, Kenyan sand boas are pretty smell-free and extremely hardy pet snakes!
9. Amazon Tree Boa
Amazon tree boas are true arboreal snakes that won’t make your house smell. These beautiful green snakes spend their time hanging from branches. They’re quite large and need plenty of room to climb.
Because of their defensiveness, these snakes aren’t easy to feed or handle which can make them a difficult choice for beginner keepers.
10. African Egg Eating Snake
One of the things that can make snakes smelly is their food. Rodents don’t smell great whether you’re feeding them out as live prey or frozen/thawed. African egg-eating snakes are so cool because the only thing they eat is literally eggs.
For these snakes, you won’t need to do any food prep or keep any strange food items in your house. Plus, they’ll only defecate after each meal so clean-up is pretty easy as well.
Turtles and Tortoises
Our last group of reptiles that don’t stink is turtles and tortoises. Most of the smells associated with turtles and tortoises actually come from the water some of them might live in. For that reason, we’ve left most of the standard aquatic turtles off of the list.
Keep reading to find out which herptiles are the least stinky!
11. Russian Tortoise
Russian tortoises are common pet tortoises that eat a high-fiber diet made up of plants. These tortoises love to munch on fresh greens, hay, fruits, and flowers. Russian tortoises are often kept inside but can live outdoors in the right conditions.
Russian tortoises don’t smell at all and don’t defecate often. As long as you clean up after them ASAP, these small tortoises won’t stink up your house!
12. Eastern Box Turtle
Eastern box turtles are similar to Russian tortoises and can be kept in enclosures indoors. These turtles love humidity and their enclosures should be kept moist. With humidity comes the danger of mold growth so make sure you change the substrate in your turtle’s tank regularly.
13. Sulcata Tortoise
Sulcata tortoises are huge reptiles that you would expect to smell! However, these giants often live outdoors, where it’s hard to tell if they smell or not. Plus, when these tortoises poop, it’s pretty dry and doesn’t smell nearly as bad as it could for an animal this size!
14. African Side-Necked Turtle
African side-necked turtles are the only aquatic turtle that we think don’t smell too bad!
These turtles almost always need to be kept indoors. With an indoor aquatic turtle, it’s easy to maintain clean water with a good filter. African side-neck turtles eat things like brine shrimp and bloodworms which are easy to store and serve without any bad smells.
15. Greek Tortoise
Greek tortoises are another herbivorous species that aren’t stinky at all. These smaller tortoises can be kept indoors or outdoors depending on the condition. They love to have a soft substrate underneath them that they can dig into.
Regular cleaning and maintenance of a Greek tortoise’s enclosure will keep them almost completely scent free!
So many pet reptiles don’t smell. Compared to dogs and cats, you usually won’t even notice the way your pet reptile’s tank smells. With good husbandry and regular cleaning, a bad smell will be the last of your worries with one of these lovely pet reptiles!