While many species of reptiles make excellent pets for kids, there are important considerations to take into account before making the decision to purchase a reptile as a pet for your child:
Reptiles require precise environmental conditions in which to thrive. For this reason, temperature and humidity levels must be checked daily and adjusted as necessary, enclosures must be spot cleaned when soiled and deep cleaned/sanitized on a regular basis, and appropriate decor (such as climbing branches and hides) must be provided and maintained. Children, especially younger ones, need to be closely monitored to assure that they are keeping the reptile in a suitable environment. Additionally, reptiles must be fed a proper diet and given supplements such as calcium and multivitamins when necessary. Be aware that this proper diet may include live insects or even live rodents!
Lifespans of 30 years or more are not uncommon in reptiles. Choosing a long-lived animal as a pet for a child commits you as the parent to the care of that animal for its lifetime should your child fail to care for it properly, or should your child go away to college, move in with a parent or guardian who will not allow the reptile in their residence, etc. Make sure you know the life expectancy of the reptile you intend to purchase for your child, and consider if you are willing to take on that commitment.
Loss of Interest
As they get older, even the most responsible of children can lose interest in pets, hobbies, and activities they once enjoyed. Rehoming a child's unwanted dog or cat is difficult, rehoming a child's unwanted reptile is infinitely more so. If you are unwilling or unable to care for your child's pet reptile should they lose interest, then a reptile is not the right pet for your household. However, if you find yourself in a situation where rehoming your reptile is unavoidable, please contact us for assistance. Never release a pet reptile into the wild!
If you have considered all of the above and still wish to bring home a scaly pet, we welcome you and your child to the wonderful world of reptile keeping! We recommend purchasing a pet from a reputable source, such as a pet store that cares properly for their reptiles, a reputable breeder, or you can adopt a reptile through our adoption program.