Why Do People Keep Reptiles? (Vet Tech Explains)

Why Do People Keep Reptiles

The world of pet ownership is just as diverse as the creatures that inhabit it. From fluffy puppies to feathered friends, the variety of choices is extensive for a companion animal. However, in recent years, a new kind of critter has been steadily gaining popularity: reptiles. These cold, blooded animals with their unique characteristics have made their way into our hearts and homes.

But, why do people keep pet reptiles?

Keeping a pet has benefits like improving heart health and decreasing stress. Reptiles make perfect pets for some people for a variety of reasons. Reptiles are low maintenance, don’t smell, don’t take up much space, and don’t irritate people with allergies. For people living in apartments, reptiles are quiet and don’t require excessive training.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the motivations for why people keep reptiles as pets.

Why Do Some People Love Reptiles So Much?

We mentioned above that keeping a pet has immense benefits. Pets make people happier overall and give their lives meaning. Owning a pet will likely improve your heart health and decrease your stress. Pets can even help kids build their emotional and social skills at home.

While some people might choose to have a canine companion, other people, just love reptiles!

We’ll talk about some of the practical benefits of keeping a reptile as a pet below, but there are other reasons why people keep reptiles.

Reptiles are beautiful and fascinating. Reptiles can give us a window to the past as the descendants of long-extinct animals. These animals are fascinating to watch and display unique behaviors. Reptiles look like miniature dinosaurs and come in an incredible assortment of colors, patterns, and sizes.

Reptiles aren’t for everyone, and that seems to make reptile lovers like them even more. Just like their owners, reptiles are often quirky, individual, and special.

Besides the emotional attachments that many people grow to reptiles, there are tons of practical reasons why keeping a reptile is better than keeping any other type of pet.

What Are The Benefits of Keeping Reptiles?

How do reptiles compare to other pets in terms of practicality?  If you don’t already know, reptiles are some of the most practical pets you can own. There are many reasons why people choose to keep pet reptiles, as opposed to something furry or feathery. Here are a few pros of owning a pet reptile that you may never have considered.

1. They’re Low Maintenance

One of the best things about reptiles is that they’re so low maintenance.

First of all, feeding a reptile is pretty easy compared to feeding a dog or a cat. Most reptiles don’t eat any more than once a day. Many reptiles eat every other day, and some reptiles only eat once a week. Snakes are a great example of a low-maintenance pet that often only eats one meal every 7 to 10 days. So, if you’re worried about not being around to feed your pet two times a day, reptiles are a great option for you.

Reptiles are also low maintenance because they don’t need to be taken out on walks, or necessarily even taken out of their enclosures. They don’t crave attention and affection in the same way many other pets do. Some reptiles are completely content to go without being handled for the entirety of their lives. That being said, you’ll still need to make sure your reptile’s enclosure is awesome.

Reptile enclosures may require daily spot cleaning but only need to be deep cleaned semi-regularly. The amount of effort you put into your reptile depends on what kind of reptile you get. If you’re looking to learn more about easy and low-maintenance pet reptiles, you can read more about them in our article here.

2. They Don’t Smell

Another big reason why many people like to keep reptiles is that they don’t really smell.

Of course, all animals have some sort of natural odor. But, when you compare the smell of a reptile to that of a dog or a cat, there’s no competition. Reptiles don’t have fur to trap dirt and odors in. Reptiles also don’t defecate nearly as often and their poop usually isn’t as pungent as a mammal.

If you’ve ever met a pet reptile that does smell bad, it probably means that something is wrong. Either their food stinks, their enclosure is dirty, or they’re displaying some sort of musking behavior. If you’re really concerned about the stink, there are plenty of reptiles and snakes that don’t smell bad.

The lack of odor really encourages some people to lean towards keeping reptiles as pets.

3. They Don’t Take Up Much Space (usually)

Another reason why people keep prep reptiles is that they can be totally contained in their enclosures.

Dogs and cats are usually left free to roam our houses. Some people aren’t fans of this type of controlled chaos.  In some cases, a reptile may be preferable because they’re not roaming free or taking up too much space in the house. Even some species of snakes can be kept in small enclosures on the tops of desks or shelves.

Many reptiles can be housed in something like a 10, 20, or 30-gallon aquarium tank. This is incredibly convenient for people who move a lot or are renters. Having a small pet contained in an enclosure is a lot easier to take with you than a dog which may not be allowed in some apartment complexes.

Even though there are tons of reptiles that stay small and don’t take up space, there are plenty of large ones as well. Obviously, large reptiles are often kept for serious reptile enthusiasts or people who own land. Some species of tortoise are free-roaming and need huge yards to dig and forage in. Other species of snakes are so big that they need an entire room dedicated as their enclosure.

But, for the most part, reptiles are small and can be contained in little spaces.

4. They Don’t Require Training

Have you ever gotten a puppy and realized how much work training then will be? With reptiles, you never need to worry about training!

Training pets is a long and frustrating process. But, when you’re a dog, cat, or even a large part owner, you’ll need to train your pet to do a few key things. For dogs, you’ll need to train them not to bite to come back when called in to do some tricks. Cats need to be trained to use a litter box and sometimes need to be trained to play nicely with humans. Even birds can benefit from training and interaction with their human owners.

Reptiles don’t require training to perform their basic functions as pets. There’s no reason to train reptiles because they don’t generally go out in public or interact with strangers. At most, you’ll just need to do some basic handling work with your pet reptile. Hopefully, that’s something you’ll want to do it won’t feel like work.

People who keep reptiles don’t have to deal with training or maintenance of trained behaviors.

5. They’re Hypo-Allergenic

Many people with allergies keep reptiles because they don’t cause allergic reactions.

Allergies from pets are often caused by dander, saliva, and fur. Reptiles don’t shed dander, or for the way that cats and dogs do. Even though reptiles shed their skin, it’s not likely to cause an allergic reaction. That’s because when reptiles shed their skin, they usually do it in large pieces that won’t irritate human tissues.

Plus, pet reptiles spend most of their time in there and closures and don’t spread any potential allergens throughout your house (or on your pillows).

6. They’re Quiet

If you’re still not convinced of why people keep reptiles, here’s one more good reason; they don’t bark.

Reptiles are silent when compared to other pets. If you’re living with roommates or in a situation, where a barking dog isn’t practical, a reptile is a great solution. The only sounds that reptiles make may be hissing, chirping, or clicking, but even those sounds aren’t very loud. Reptiles can be a great solution for people who can’t keep loud pets.

Is It Ethical To Keep Pet Reptiles?

Hopefully, now you can start to understand why people keep reptiles as pets.

Even though there are so many benefits to keeping pet reptiles, there are also cons. One of the biggest cons is actually the question of whether or not keeping reptiles in captivity is ethical. Even though we love reptiles, should we keep them?

Sadly, the global pet trade is highly unregulated and has caused damage to many wild populations of reptiles. It’s estimated that thousands of species have been endangered or threatened due to the pet trade.

On top of that, many reptiles that go into captivity aren’t well cared for. Even though they’re low maintenance, their environmental requirements can be difficult to achieve. This can cause many reptiles to become ill, or even die within the early years of their lives.

It’s hard to say whether or not keeping reptiles is ethical. Since we already have many captive-bred reptiles, available to us, that’s probably the best solution for reptile lovers.

Even better than buying a captive-bred reptile is adopting one from a shelter. When people aren’t prepared to become reptile parents, these scaly creatures end up in animal shelters. Try looking at your local animal shelter first before shopping at a pet store next time you want a reptile!

What Kind of People Own Reptiles?

There are definitely stereotypes about what kind of people keep reptiles! Reptile lovers seem to be detail-oriented and appreciate the little things. Many reptile owners are quirky and find beauty in the unexpected. But, for the most part, reptile owners are anyone who has the love and opportunity to care for a cold-blooded animal.

If you’re interested in getting a different view on what kind of people keep reptiles, check the video below.

Final Thoughts

Keeping any type of pet is beneficial for us humans. Pets, make us happy and give us a purpose in life. Keeping a pet reptile is a genre of its own. Many people keep reptiles because they’re beautiful and fascinating to watch. Other people might see the more practical side of reptiles and recognize their low-maintenance husbandry requirements.

Whatever your stance is, we hope we’ve given you a little perspective as to why people keep reptiles.