Any advice on a reptile pet for a 7 year old boy? - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Any advice on a reptile pet for a 7 year old boy?

My son has been bugging us for a reptile for awhile. I'm open to the idea, but I really don't know where to start. I picked up a couple of different care sheets at Petco today to get some ideas of what's out there.

One of the things he was interested in was a Leopard Gecko, which according to the sheet from Petco is a good starter lizard. Any experience with this particular kind?

Also, I really don't think I can stomach the idea of feeding anything something that's still alive. Do you have to feed them live crickets, or mice for snakes, ect?

Thanks!!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 02:01 PM
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I would say a leopard gecko,corn snake or ball python would be the best choices for a begginer. Of course I am assuming that you will be taking most of the responsibility for it.

Leopard geckos require little care.A 10 gallon tank should be fine but many people like to use a 15 or 20 gallon - with a mesh lid.You'll also need to use a head pad or light to create and warm side and a cool side.You can keep them on unprinted newspaper,paper towels,ceramic tiles etc... which are all very easy to clean up, you could also use sand but that can lead to illness it it was to sallow a bunch,plus its more expensive and harder to clean.
They need to eat live food, as most- it not all will refuse pre-killed.So crickets,meal worms and the odd treat of a live pinky or wax worm.

Corn snakes are also an awesome beginner reptile as they are quite 'tame' and will accept being handled. Look up 'Corn Snake Vivarium and Care' here (on paw-talk) and you'll find I sheet I wrote on them.

Ball pythons are pretty much the same,but will require a bigger tank, as they get bigger and a different set-up.

Oh, and both snakes should readily accept pre-killed mice, and young rats.

I would personally go with the leopard gecko for a 7 year old, as snakes will and CAN bite and its hurts,where as a leopard gecko bite wouldn't hurt so much.





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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 03:59 PM
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I, personally, would recommend a bearded dragon. They need a little more of a set up than a leopard gecko, but they're generally much hardier, and more tolerant to the attentions of a younger child - where as a gecko may be largely hands off simply due to their physical fragility. Of course, every child is different, so you'll have to judge that yourself. Bearded dragons are much larger than a leopard gecko, so will need perhaps upwards of a 50g sized terrarium, with basking areas for relatively expensive UV lighting, as well as heat lighting. There's no shortage of care sheets out there if you hit Google. They are omnivorous, so if you are uncomfortable with feeding insects, their diets can be maintained with a good variety of vegetables (along with a calcium supplement) - though insects are definitely an important part. The majority of lizards you will find in captivity - with the exception of iguanas and a few others, are insectivores or omnivores. And before you even consider it, I promise, you do NOT want an iguana. If insects are a deal breaker, and a gecko is the way you're leaning, you may want to consider looking at a crested gecko.

All snakes are carnivorous. While a corn snake makes an excellent first snake, they do need to eat mice. You can buy those mice frozen, thaw them out/warm them up at feeding time, but that is not something many people want to do for a pet. The vast majority of snakes will readily accept thawed mice, and though some are fussier than others, most will take them eventually.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 04:09 PM
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Haku, my leopard gecko, won't eat bugs unless they are moving. I didn't like having to feed mice/rats to my snakes when I had them, but feeding Haku his bugs doesn't bother me.

If you decide to get one, I would recommend that you try to find a good breeder instead of buying from a pet store if you can. Also, make sure to teach your son how to pick up and hold them properly because they will drop their tails if you're not careful.


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Last edited by Dragonrain; 10-01-2008 at 04:11 PM.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 04:24 PM
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hmm, if you are willing to spend some money, and take care of a life long pet, i used to love turtles! and tortoises. There are a few easy keepers for the most part, they are quite hardy and great fun to watch.

red ear sliders and box turtles i think are known to be pretty easy to keep. check out google care sheets and you could get a book that you and your son could read..

just please, please, please don't get an iguana, they don't eat anything but fruits and veggies, but they get big, they are very spunky, and hard to tame. i have one, i love it, but it's not for everyone and kids especially. the only way i would suggest it is if someone that is a very good owner is for some reason having to give up their ig, with cage and it is already very very tame, and good with kids even then its a risk

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 04:27 PM
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if your son doesn't want to be really hands on with your pet, i think chameleons are neato however, they are somewhat hard to take care of, fragile, and easily stressed

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 04:58 PM
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Oh yeah, beardies and crested geckos totally skipped my mind.

Both are awesome but as Ravnos, said before bearded dragons require more care, and all the sh-bang, but they are more tolerant of handling.

Crested geckos as so very cute and they come in different morphs too!And they'll eat a mix you can buy, or crickets,or both.

Here's somethings you may want to read.

Crested Geckos
http://www.crestedgeckocanada.com/care.htm
http://www.pangeareptile.com/id52.htm
http://www.the-lizard-lounge.com/con...sted-gecko.asp

Bearded Dragons
http://www.paulfirlotte.com/beardie.html
http://www.exclusivedragons.com/Care_Info_Library.html
http://www.critterjungle.com/content/view/44/57/





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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Thanks for all the info!

To answer a few questions:
I'm def planning on being the "supervisor" for this animal. We already have a little zoo going in my house and while the kids have some responsibilities for them I actually make sure it all gets done every day.

I was not even considering an iguana. They have a reputation even to those of us that know nothing about reptiles.

Oh and I have to look up more info on turtles. I didn't even consider them because I was under the impression that they were illegal in my state (New Jersey) but I have to check on that because I'm not sure.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 01:51 PM
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I would personally stick to the lizards, and not choose turtle because they do take up quite a bit of room requiring a big tanks, good filtration etc...





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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 05:04 PM
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they don't take up any more space or expense than a beardie i don't think

beardies are known for their personalities

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 06:27 PM
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True but you can't really play with a turtle, like you can with a lizard such as a bearded dragon.Plus lizards won't need all the water that a turtle would.





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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 08:39 PM
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Just some general tips, as my reptile experience is very limited.

1.) Throw away any care sheet from a Petco or a Petsmart. They're awful. They're geared towards selling you an animal and $200 worth of supplies, generally of which $100 are useless or actively dangerous. Do research online regardless of species. Find a specialist website or messageboard and ask THEM. Also really super duper don't listen to them about what makes a good kid's pet. They say everything makes a good kid's pet, because kid's pets sales are probably 75% of their animal sales.

2.) Do not buy your reptile from a "big box" pet store like Petco or Petsmart. I hung out on the employee messageboard things for a while, and it was disturbing how many they killed or made sick. One person mentioned that they killed EIGHT shipments of some type of lizard because they couldn't figure out it's hubandry requirements.

There was constant talk of sick and dead animals of all types coming in. The employees are part timers, and trained by the same dumb corporation that wrote the care sheets that are bad. You may luck out and find someone who happens to know reptiles already who works there, but don't count on it, and don't count on them to admit their ignorance.

3.) Take lifespan into consideration. Turtles are neat, but a of them live 30-40 years, and some live even longer. A friend of mine on another board has a tortoise that should live 150 years, and has written her into the will and set up a trust fund to take care of her once she passes away. In 30 years, your child will have gone to college and probably gotten married and may not still want their pet turtle.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 09:20 PM
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I really hate to see inexperienced people, no matter how dedicated, get land turtles or tortoises. They are NOT easy to keep, ...they just take a long time to die when you keep them poorly.

You may be a perfectly rational human who takes great care of your animals, but most people just can't seem to handle the commitments required for a land turtle or tortoise (they live a looong time, hopefully outliving YOU if you take care of them). So, in general I'm against them for most people.

Additionally, turtles aren't toys. They don't appreciate handling. You might have a hard time explaining that to a 7yr old.

If you do decide to go that way, read, read, read and then read some more. Don't get a wild caught animal, and be sure you are obeying local and state laws (many states outright ban the possession of native species like Box Turtles or Sliders). Don't get something like a Leopard Tortoise or (God Forbid) a Sulcata Tortoise. They live too long and get far too large for any normal family.

If you want a turtle, I'd say get a water turtle like a Reeve's Turtle. They stay small, have amazing personalities and can live in a more reasonably sized aquarium. While they are easier to keep, no turtle is an "easy keeper". For water turtles, you'll usually need serious filtration. For most of the common native species, like a RES, you usually need a somewhat larger tank. Also, be aware, they do eat meat.

Let me recommend Melissa Kaplan's site for info, caresheets, and links.

Bob



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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-07-2008, 08:32 PM
 
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honestly i wuld say crested gecko, they is safer and easy to handle than a loepard gecko (i haved both). this is becuase insted of holding onto a posibly squishing a loepard geck, but a crested gecko clings to you so its easy to hold, and thay dont be stress easy. also they dont needs asmuch heat, and is less piky eater, you dont even have to give incects as foods, dead or alive. (though they is good occasonaly for hunting skills.) also with leopard gecko, calcium and vitiman supplement is hard, general reptile suppliment wont work. in cresties that is allready in the foods if you feeds they good you dont have to suppliment.
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