1.8 million households in America have a reptile as a pet, and many species can really thrive when they are being kept in the right environment. Several smaller reptile species can be easily kept in a 10 or 20 gallon aquarium tank set up with a suitable heat and light source.
These animals are relatively low maintenance to keep as pets, not needing walking or exercise, but they will need to have an interesting environment, that is similar to their natural home, with plenty of green plants and vegetation. Small reptiles can make really interesting pets and can help to teach children (and adults) about caring for animals.
The humble House Gecko is a beautiful creature with very striking eyes. They are sometimes called Wall Geckos or Turkish Geckos and are fascinating to watch. They have a lot of toe hair, a little like velcro, allowing them to grip most surfaces The House Gecko grows to no more than 5 inches long, so is perfect for a small tank.
Caring for a pet reptile is easy, as long as they have a suitable environment to live in. Geckos need the level of humidity to be between 60 and 75%, but they won’t need specialist UV lighting because they are nocturnal.
A reptile bulb or a ceramic heat element can help to keep a House Gecko’s aquarium at the right temperature, which is 70-90℉ during the day and 60-75℉ at night. House Geckos have a diet of fruit flies, mealworms, and crickets, and you should also give them a vitamin and mineral supplement to help keep them healthy.
Pygmy Chameleons, one of America’s most popular exotic pets, can be kept in a small tank – they just need lots of horizontal space to roam around as they don’t climb at all. In the wild, the chameleons spend most of their time on the forest floor, so lots of plants and greenery will help your pet to feel safe and secure.
At least 2 inches of coconut bedding is perfect for a Pygmy Chameleon, and if you are filling the aquarium with real plants, then a layer of pebbles under the bedding will be good for drainage. Small branches and sticks will help to provide interest for a chameleon.
Pygmy Chameleons like the environment to between 70 and 80℉. They don’t need any special UVB lights, but you should have the aquarium lights on a timer so that they are on for 12 hours out of every 24. Pygmy Chameleons eat small crickets, fruit flies, and baby silkworms.
The beautiful Green Anole is a type of tree-dwelling lizard that lives on ants, worms, crickets, small beetles, and spiders. In the wild, the Green Anole is quite rare – it is estimated that only 20,000 animals remain.
They do however thrive in an aquarium environment, and make interesting pets, especially because they are very active, and like to run around. Just make sure that your aquarium is fitted with a screen lid, as Green Anoles do like to climb and they can be very good escape artists.
To keep your anole happy and comfortable, line the aquarium with moss and coconut bedding, this will help to keep up the humidity levels in the tank.
This bedding will need to be changed once a month. Just like the Pygmy Chameleon, the Green Anole has a 12-hour sleeping/waking cycle, so will need lights set on a timer, to make sure he gets enough sleep.
Not all reptiles are crocodile-sized, there are some much smaller species that you can keep as pets safely. In the right environment, they will thrive, and make a fascinating addition to your household.