Handleable Display Reptile Recommendations

I’m looking for a display animal. One that looks beautiful and sleeps out in the open or is awake during the day. But I also want something handleable and bold, so not something that looks nice but flees when you put your hand in it’s enclosure. Or at least if it’s not handleable, something that you can interact with inside the enclosure or tong feed. This reptile can be arboreal or terrestrial. I would also like this reptile to live in nothing larger than an exo Terra 36" x 18" x 36". Ideally it could live in a 2ft enclosure, but I’m definitely open to an enclosure that’s 3ft long. I’m open to snakes or lizards, and I guess land turtles as well but I don’t think there’s a land turtle that can live in an enclosure that small. Anyone have any recommendations for what I could get?

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I was gonna say retic! But then I actually read the rest of your post and saw the cage size requirements, so no to retic. How about something small but aggressive and still pretty rare? I was thinking viper boa, they come in a wide variety of colors don’t get big at all, I have seen I myself and a lot on YouTube, they all seem to like to bite first ask last. African file snakes are small, great eaters and very unique in there scales, but some not so colorful. Other then that there is some cool rear fangers like a variety of cat eye snakes, paradise flying snakes as well. These are more slender and arboreal, but can be very pretty. Only downside, some types may need to be switched to rodents from lizards. Those are my thoughts, for smaller snakes. Also if you go 3’ cage some smaller species of carpet python could work, but they are pretty common. I’ve been tempted to take the plunge in viper boas myself, just to try something a little different!

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All amazing ideas! I love the viper boa idea. I would 1000% get a super dwarf retic, but they’re illegal in my state :cry: And I already plan to get a coastal carpet for a larger enclosure, so I can cross that off the list.

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Maybe you could look into getting a smooth green snake or rough green snake? They are, on rare occasions, captive bred. They have the same care requirements of a diurnal lizard in that they need UVB and a basking spot, and they eat bugs. You could also get a couple garter snakes of the same sex. As babies, like with most snakes, they can be skittish, but will eventually tame down with regular work.

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I do like the garter snake idea. I’ve heard lots of good things about them. Just gotta make sure your enclosures are sealed very tightly though or they’ll escape.

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I’d be tempted to try for a red sided garter snake trio. They’re visual stunners, and fun to watch.

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Oh would a Pueblan Milk Snake fit into a 3 foot enclosure as an adult? They’re gorgeous, eat like kingsnakes I hear, and Aren’t they also diurnal? Maybe they’d work.

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I don’t have first hand experience with either species, but it sounds like Schneider’s Skinks or Emerald Tree Skinks could fit your criteria pretty well. And they would be a bit closer to your original idea of a gecko.

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A male of one of the tree or ground Candoia would probably fit the bill for you, or a female of one of the smaller species.

My alterna tend to be out and about around 50% of the time, often plopping their heads on the litter dam and begging.

A group of one of the smaller garter species could do well, though you would need to work with them pretty regularly to keep them from wanting to musk

In the right setup, a suboc could work, though they can be secretive depending on the individual

One of the smaller Oxybelis might work. Not sure how handleable they are but they are certainly happy to sit out in the open and seem to be pretty good about tong feeding. They also have a really funny tongue behaviour

Rhino rats could also work, I have lots of friends that speak well of them

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You beat me to it!

A lot of the lizards I’m familiar with are nocturnal or not handleable, and I’d go with the snake recommendations of other folks, so I’m sorry I’m not much help. :see_no_evil:

:thinking: Strophurus ciliaris are nocturnal but often bask during the day. I think they are moderately handleable but have never been around them personally.

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Yes, those would fit. Good suggestion! I love milk snakes.

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I’ll be the third to chime in with emerald tree skinks. I’ve no experience with them either, but they are reportedly highly engaging little fellas - just be sure to interact with them on their terms. E.g., 1:50 - 3:20 : Emerald (Green) Tree Skink, The Best Pet Lizard? - YouTube

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I’m late to the party but wanted to chime in. I kept assorted classroom pets/ display animals through years of teaching high school. I generally had assorted corn snakes in the class. They aren’t strictly diurnal as are a number of the fun species listed (I especially love green snakes, if you can find CBB) but many corn snakes out and about during the day. Nearly every one, after a period of acclimation, was usually to be found hanging out in visible locations in their viv rather than socked invisibly under a hide. It’s a rare corn snake who doesn’t have a friendly, curious dispositions. I’m no longer teaching, but most of my corns are still out and about, and enjoyable display animals who are fun to handle. They also come in so many colors and patterns, there’s something for everyone. Although there’s no green, sad to say.

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no matter what you get I would recommend keeping it in a simple encloser and handle it often. the animal should be more comfortable with you and not retreat as readily when you are around once you put it in a display encloser

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Would you say it’s a similar temperament with everglades rat snakes? Because I have been looking at everglades rat snakes and I’m quite interested.

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I absolutely agree with this. The more the animals are handled, the more equanimity they display.

I haven’t had any experience at all with Everglades rat snakes, but corn snakes are actually a type of rat snake. They’re generally thought of as pretty easy going, and very good with handling. I wasn’t at surprised by how calm they were in the classroom. What was pleasantly surprising is how content they were to just hang out in visible locations unless they were in blue or had just been fed.

That said, of course they’re all individuals, and I have had a rare one here and there who preferred to be an inviso-snake. I could’ve persisted and I think the individual would’ve adjusted fine in time. Because I had the option, I just switched snakes and brought in another who was more socialized. I know that’s not what you’re thinking of, and it’s unlikely to happen but it’s possible. They’re individuals, in any species.

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My neon red-sided gartera are my favorite to watch, so interactive and curious.

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Those are so cute!