Eublepharis macularius

Reptiles and amphibians for beginners

I suppose you are just about to set up your first terrarium and you’ve got plenty of questions and ideas running around in your head. One of the things you’re probably wandering about is which species of amphibians or reptile to choose. Well, you should definitely pick amphibians and reptiles which are suitable for beginners.

So what are most suitable reptiles and amphibians for beginners?

It is best to get your first experience by breeding species known for their resilience, good adaptability to terrarium life and basic dietary needs. When it comes to amphibians, you might be interested in the Mexican walking fish (Ambystoma mexicanum), for example. Remember, however, that in order to provide it with the right conditions, it is essential to get a refrigerator. If this is not an option, think about such amphibians as the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), the Oriental fire-bellied toad (Bombina orientalis), and the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

Oriental fire-bellied toad (Bombina orientalis)
Oriental fire-bellied toad (Bombina orientalis)
tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)
Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

Reptile species suitable for beginners include: corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus), African house snake (Lamprophis fuliginosus), crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus), common leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius), central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus), American green anole (Anoliscarolinensis), Russian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii) semi aquatic turtles (e.g Chinese pond turtle (Chinemys reevesii)).

African house snake (Lamprophis fuliginosus)
African house snake (Lamprophis fuliginosus)
crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus)
Crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus)
central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
Central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
Russian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii)
Russian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii)

Where to buy terrarium animals?

The purchase of the animal itself is also an important issue. The best option is to buy your exotic pet in a a specialist pet shop or directly from a breeder recommended by other terrarium lovers. This strategy eliminates the danger that your new pet will be in bad shape and your terrarium adventure will start with struggling with its poor condition or illness. A good idea is to visit local fairs and terrarium exhibitions, where you can always meet breeders, other hobbyists and ask them about practical aspects of breeding the group of animals you are interested in. Such chats and discussions are a valuable source of knowledge. However, be vigilant and verify the information you get, not losing your common sense.

Chinese pond turtle (Chinemys reevesii)
Chinese pond turtle (Chinemys reevesii)

What are the symptoms of poor condition or disease in reptiles and amphibians?

When buying individuals for your terrarium, pay attention to their condition and behavior.

You should definitely be worried when you see:

  • that the animal is too thin – the easiest way to judge this is by the pelvic region and the base of the tail,
  • the animal is too fat – it looks unnatural, as if inflated, skin tight without wrinkles,
  • parasites, e.g. mites, ticks, often in wild-caught animals,
  • lack of response to the environment – apathy, lethargy,
  • dirty cloaca area – cloaca not closed, visibly soiled,
  • inflammation of the skin -– suppurating abrasions or wounds, scales that are deformed or peel off,
  • sunken or pus-filled eyes,
  • nasal discharge,
  • deformities of the limbs, muzzle, spine.

If you notice such symptoms, give up buying.

Dawid Krótki

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