Do you ever wonder if your pet reptile gets lonely? It’s a valid concern! A life in captivity can be long and quiet. For some reptiles, that’s a blessing, for others, they might miss out on social interaction. While no reptiles are the pack animals that dogs are, some of them do benefit from the company of others.
However, not all reptiles can be housed together. As a matter of fact, most of them can’t cohabitate!
In this article, we’ll name 6+ reptiles that like other reptiles. These reptiles are reptiles that can live with other animals of their own species or maybe even different species. Some of the reptiles we’ll discuss today are green anoles, morning geckos, and garter snakes.
First, we’ll talk about which reptiles you can consider combining with others. Then, we’ll discuss some rules and guidelines to follow to keep both of your pets safe!
Reptiles That Like Other Reptiles
There are reptiles that not only tolerate other reptiles but even like other reptiles! But, you should never assume that your pets will automatically get long. Cohabitation depends on the species of your pets and on the individual personalities of each of your pets!
This list represents 6 groups of reptiles that are best suited for cohabitation.
1. Mourning Geckos
Mourning geckos are small insect-eating and fruit-eating geckos that live very social lives!
In the wild, you’ll often find these geckos in large groups hanging out close to each other. These geckos actually like the company of other reptiles and might do even better as a pair than as a solitary pet. Mourning geckos are interesting because all of the members of these geckos are actually female. These geckos reproduce through a process called parthenogenesis.
Instead of mating with a male, they can just clone themselves! This process is present in many other reptiles and animals, even ball pythons have been known to do this!
If you combine 2 mourning geckos, you probably won’t need to be worried too much about aggression, but you may end up with more babies!
Since mourning geckos are mainly active at night and live up in the trees, they might do well with other species of reptiles that have opposite habits. Although they aren’t technically reptiles, some frogs might like the company of a gecko.
A frog that is active during the day and stays on the ground won’t bother a mourning gecko. It might be enriching for them to have the company and they won’t be in competition over food at all.
2. Most Turtles
For the most part, turtles are animals that you can rely on to like other turtles.
Red-eared sliders are great examples of turtle friendliness. At an animal rescue I worked at, we had a large colony of red-eared sliders. These turtles came as surrenders from families who could no longer care for them. We had a huge enclosure for them and would often have as many as 8 in a huge pool-size tank. Over the years, I saw almost no aggression between these turtles.
The only thing we made sure to keep an eye on were any smaller-sized turtles. Most turtles will get along well with others but if you put a small one in with a group of larger turtles, you will likely see bullying. We’ll talk more about that below in our rules for cohabitation!
3. Most Tortoises
In the same way that turtles tend to like other turtles, tortoises seem to like other tortoises!
Tortoises can be combined with others of the same species. You can also try to mix tortoise species, as long as the sizes aren’t too different. Tortoises seem to enjoy the company of others. The problem you might run into if you’re looking to get your tortoise a friend is a space limitation- especially if you’re trying to combine a larger tortoise with a smaller reptile like a leopard gecko.
Some tortoises like sulcatas can get huge so they aren’t a good choice if you’re looking for herps that stay small. It can be difficult finding enough room for one let alone two of these big tortoises.
Tortoises can also make good companions for other reptiles that enjoy company. You just won’t want to combine a tortoise with another animal that has the same diet, or you’ll need to keep an eye out for food competition!
4. Green Anoles
Green anoles are similar to mourning geckos in that they are often found around others of the same species in the wild.
Getting a few anoles in one enclosure is not a bad idea. These animals are too small to handle and socialize so they might appreciate having a mate or a friend to get them through the dull days. Anoles are some of the smallest pet reptiles out there, so you won’t be limited by space at all. It also helps that they’re arboreal so the small space they do need can also be vertical.
You can feel free to place female anoles together. You can keep one male with a few females, but you should try not to combine two male anoles if you can help it. These tiny animals get territorial and aggressive and might injure one another.
Anoles don’t tend to mind living with other reptile species. As long as your reptile is a vegetarian or insectivore, you shouldn’t have any predation issues.
5. Leopard Geckos (Controversial Pick)
Leopard geckos are a controversial addition to our list.
Leopard geckos are pretty easy animals to care for. They’re considered to be good pets for beginners and are usually housed alone. However, experienced reptile keepers have been known to risk keeping two of these lizards in one enclosure together.
Leopard geckos might really like another gecko, or, they might hate them! Females are known to be especially opinionated on this topic. In general, you should try to combine leopard geckos as early as possible so that they’re used to each other. If you do decide your gecko needs a friend, read our article here for thoughts on combining leopard geckos.
6. Garter Snakes
Our last reptile that likes other reptiles is a garter snake!
Garter snakes are very easy to care for and can make great pets. Garter snakes aren’t legal pets in every state, but are highly recommended for beginner snake keepers.
Garter snakes are super friendly and cohabitate well. These snakes are relatively small, and you could definitely find a terrarium large enough for two of them. One of the best things about garter snakes is that they can live off of fish and worms. For people who don’t like to keep mice and rats in their freezers, this is a win!
Hopefully, you’ve got some ideas for finding reptiles that like other reptiles now!
Guidelines For Safe Reptile Cohabitation
Cohabitation isn’t as easy as it sounds. Actually, cohabitation may be one of the most controversial topics in the reptile world.
No matter what your opinion is on this, it’s important to know how to do it safely. Cohabitation comes with risks. Your animals might injure each other or themselves. They could also breed and have a ton of babies that you aren’t prepared for. To spare yourself and your scaly friends, here are some things to keep in mind before even thinking about combining your reptiles.
Only Keep Animals Of The Same Size Together
One of the most important things to remember is to never mix sizes in reptile enclosures.
Reptiles can grow a lot in their lifetimes. Juvenile turtles may start out as small as a quarter but adults can become as big as bowling balls. If you put a small animal with a big one in a confined space, fights will happen. The larger animals might start to bully the smaller ones. In a worst-case scenario, a larger animal might predate or cannibalize a smaller one.
When you put two reptiles together, try to keep them as close as possible in size.
If You Mix Genders, You’ll Probably End Up With Babies
It can be difficult to tell the sex of most reptiles.
Some reptiles have obvious color or size differences between males and females, but many look almost identical. If you do mix two animals of the same species together, they might breed. Breeding in and of itself isn’t necessarily a problem, but when you end up with 20 baby snakes, you’re going to have a hard time finding space or a home for them.
The only way to prevent breeding is to keep males and females separate. So, unless you’re ready to be a reptile parent, try not to mix sexes.
Make Sure The Animals Have Enough Room To Escape
When combining reptiles, you’ll want to make sure that they have plenty of personal space.
If your pets don’t like each other right away, it’ll be good to have separate areas for them to eat, sleep, drink water and just relax. Territorial and space aggression issues are real. Having room to escape a roommate just helps to keep both of your pets safe. Plus, if your pets do end up liking each other, they still need plenty of stretching room!
Always Observe Your Animals
The biggest issue with having multiple reptiles in one tank is that it can be difficult to tell what’s going on.
When you have multiple animals in one space, you can’t always tell who’s eating what. You’ll want to spend some time watching your reptiles every day to make sure they’re all still eating and defecating. What you don’t want to see is one reptile eating the majority of the food while bullying the others.
No matter how much your pet reptile likes the new addition, you’ll also want to watch for any signs of aggression. A small tiff can quickly become a lethal battle in the reptile world.
There are plenty of reptiles that like other reptiles. Whether it’s another member of their species or a different one altogether, reptiles can benefit from cohabitation. It’s important to do your research and to be very careful when combining reptiles for the first time. But, if done correctly, you might realize that your scaly friend is happier with a buddy than they were alone!