Care Sheets

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With over 50 years of collective experience in the reptile trade, we have a wealth of knowledge on offer to help with any reptile related problems you may have. It is important to know the proper care for any pet you are considering getting. We have some care sheets that can help you learn about the different species and how to care for them correctly.

Reptiles

Dragons

Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps)

Most commonly refers to Central, or Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps).

Popularity: Make good house pets: Many owners report an almost dog-like affection.

Origin: Australia.

Native habitat: Arid, rocky, semi-desert regions and dry open woodlands.

Size: 18-24 inches.

Lifespan: 4-10 years, sometimes more.

 

Chameleons

Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis)

Popularity: Make fascinating and rewarding pets. Great for beginners.

Origin: Madagascar

Native habitat: Tropical forest

Size: 12-20 inches

Lifespan: Up to 10 years

 

Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus)

also known as the Yemen Chameleon

Popularity: Make good, interesting pets; however, they frighten easily and may bite if restrained. They should be handled only when absolutely necessary, and you should always wear gloves when doing so.

Origin: Mountains of Yemen and Saudi Arabia

Native habitat: Semi-arid; from tropical and subtropical plateaus to semi-desert valleys

Size: 14-24 inches

Lifespan: 3-8 years

 

Geckos

Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius)

Are native to arid regions of southern Central Asia. These terrestrial geckos are nocturnal and eat live insects. They are relatively easy to care for and do not require a great deal of attention but can still make fun and wonderful pets.

 

Crested Geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus)

Also known as New Caledonian Crested Gecko, Guichenot’s Giant Gecko or Eyelash Gecko. Rhacodactylus is Greek for “spine” and ciliatus is Latin for cilia, which means “eyelash.” It refers to the crest of skin over the gecko’s eyes that look like eyelashes.

Popularity: Make good house pets because of their distinguishing appearance, peaceful manner, and robust health.

Origin: The Island of New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific.

Native habitat: Tropical, mostly trees on New Caledonia

Size: 6-10 inches

Lifespan: 10-15 years

 

Monitors

Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus)

The savannah monitor is a medium-sized species of monitor lizard native to Africa.

Popularity: This is not a pet for an amateur herpetologist. Savannah monitors are larger pet lizards that are known to be some of the more docile lizards of the monitor group. They aren’t really active lizards but usually tolerate handling quite well.

Origin: Native to Africa.

Native habitat:  Tropical and subtropical regions of Africa.

Size:  2.5 to 3.5 feet

Lifespan: 15 to 20 years

 

Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

Popularity: While they are massive monitors, they are surprisingly good candidates as pets for those that have space and have done copious amounts of research.

Origin: Eastern India and Sri Lanka, eastward through southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Native habitat:  Tropical forests.

Size: 3 to 5 feet

Lifespan: 12 to 20 years

 

Ackie Monitor (Varanus acanthurus)

also known as the ridge-tailed monitor or the spiny-tailed monitor.

Popularity:  It is one of the most sought after lizards in the monitor family for exotic pet owners.

Origin: Australia (Western Australia, Northern Territory, and parts of Queensland)

Native habitat:  Arid regions or scrubland environments

Size: 24 to 28 inches

Lifespan: 15 to 20 years

 

Black Rough Neck Monitor (Varanus rudicollis)

also known as the red-headed monitor.

Popularity:  One of the absolute favorite monitors. Their gentle and curious temperament, coupled with their unique appearance, makes them a fascinating captive lizard.

Origin: Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sumatra, Borneo, and several peripheral islands.

Native habitat:  Rainforest near permanent bodies of water and mangrove swamps.

Size: 3 to 5 feet

Lifespan: 15 to 20 years

 

Mangrove Monitor (Varanus indicus)

also known as the mangrove goanna or Western Pacific monitor lizard.

Popularity: Like most monitors, mangroves are nervous captives at first but tame down fairly easily as pets.

Origin: Northern Australia and New Guinea to the Moluccas, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Caroline Islands, and the Mariana Islands.

Native habitat:  Warm, humid areas. In trees near rivers and streams.

Size: 3 to 4 feet

Lifespan: 12 to 20 years

 

Snakes

Ball Python  (Python regius)

Also called Royal Python

Popularity: Ball pythons are considered to be good pets. Their easy-going, nature made them unproblematic to handle. Captive bred adults rarely bite.

Size: 4 to 6 feet

Lifespan: Over 20 years, reports of 50 years!

Origin: Africa

Native habitat: Grasslands and sparsely wooded areas. Favorite hideouts include mammal burrows and other underground places where they can aestivate, or go dormant.

 

Boa Constrictor 

also known as red-tailed boa — there are 10 subspecies

Popularity: They make good house pets only for those who have a lot of time, resources and dedication to taking care of them. Those who do, really enjoy them.

Origin: The Americas and some parts of the Caribbean

Native habitat: Ranges from arid semi-deserts to tropical forests

Size: 10-12 feet and up to 60 pounds

Lifespan: 25-30 years

 

Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)

also called Red Rat Snake

Related subspecies: The Great Plains Rat Snake or Emory’s Rat Snake (Pantherophis guttatus emoryi) is found from Nebraska to Texas, and into northern Mexico.

Popularity: Make good house pets.

Origin: Southeastern and central United States from sea level to as high as 6,000 feet

Native habitat: Forests, farmlands, overgrown fields, forest openings, trees, abandoned buildings, and farms. They normally remain on the ground, but will ascend trees, cliffs, and other elevated surfaces.

Size: 3-4 feet

Lifespan: 10-15 years

 

Kenyan Sand Boa (Gongylophis colubrinus)

also called Egyptian Sand Boa, East African Sand Boa

Popularity: Make good house pets due to their small size, docility and ease of care.

Origin: Eastern Africa

Native habitat: Semi-desert, scrub savannahs and rock outcroppings. Prefers powdery, sandy soil.

Size: Up to 2 feet

 

King Snake  (Lampropeltis)

many varieties exist including Scarlet, Mole, and Eastern Kingsnakes. The California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula califoniae), and grey-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna) are the most popular with collectors.

Popularity: Make good house pets due to their ease of care and hardiness.

Origin: North America

Native habitat: Widely varies from desert to wetlands and forest.

Size: 3-4 feet

Lifespan: 10-15 years

 

Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)

Popularity: Make good pets

Origin: The Americas

Native habitat: Varies, but is normally forests, prairies or rocky slopes.

Size: 1.5-6 feet

Lifespan: 15 years

 

Western Hog-nosed Snake  (Heterodon nasicus)

also know as Plains Hognose Snake.

Popularity: Make good house pets because they are harmless.

Origin: Found from southeastern Alberta and southwestern Manitoba in Canada, south to southeastern Arizona and Texas in the United States, and into northern Mexico. Divided populations can be found in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.

Native habitat: Prairies; grasslands; and rocky, semi-arid regions

Size: 15-33 inches length; very bulky: when coiled they can take up as much space as a 5-foot corn snake

 

Tortoises

Red Footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria)

Popularity: Popular because they are easy to care for, generally stay healthy and are quiet.

Origin: They are indigenous to southern Central America and northern parts of South America. They can also be found in the islands of the Caribbean and the West Indies.

Native habitat: Forests and savannas

Size: 10-14 inches, but sometimes up to 16 – up to 20 pounds

Lifespan: 40-50 years

 

Russian Tortoise  (Testudo horsfieldii)

also known as Horsfield’s Tortoise and Central Asian Tortoise

Popularity: They are one of the most active and delightful tortoises that are hardy and easy to care for. They are quite intelligent and quickly learn who their keepers are.

Origin: Southwest Asia

Native habitat: Semi-arid landscapes

Size: 6-10 inches

Lifespan: 50+ years, even up to 75

 

Sulcata Tortoise  (Centrochelys sulcata)

also known as the African spurred tortoise

Popularity: Sulcata’s can be great pets, however, a Sulcata Tortoise is a Lifetime Commitment. Owning a sulcata tortoise is not for everyone.

Origin: Africa

Native habitat: Inhabits the southern edge of the Sahara desert.

Size: 2.5 feet long

Lifespan: 70 years

 

Turtles

Red-eared Slider ( Trachemys scripta elegans)

also known as the red-eared terrapin

Popularity: It is the most popular pet turtle in the United States and is also popular as a pet in the rest of the world

Origin: The area around the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

Native habitat: Range from the southeast of Colorado to Virginia and Florida.

Size: 12 inches

Lifespan: 20 to 50 years

 

Mata Mata (Chelus fimbriatus)

The appearance of the mata mata’s shell resembles a piece of bark, and its head resembles fallen leaves.

Popularity: When kept as pets, they can thrive in a relatively small aquarium, because they don’t move around much.

Origin: The Amazon River and its tributaries in Peru, Venezuela, Guiana, and Brazil.

Native habitat: Tropical rivers, including the Amazon, as well as other rivers in South America. They live on the bottom, in the shallow areas of muddy, slow-moving bodies of water such as rivers, swamps and marshes.

Size: 16 to 20 inches

Lifespan: 40 to 100 years