Best uncommon reptiles for college students

Best uncommon reptiles for college students

Victoria Foster, Staff Writer

Reptiles can make amazing pets for college students for a variety of reasons. They’re cheaper than a dog or a cat, take less time out of your day during busy weeks, are hypoallergenic, unique, personable, inquisitive, the list goes on!

If you’ve ever looked into owning a reptile, then you’ll know that there are a few species that almost every keeper recommends for beginners. Below is a list of five reptile species perfectly fit for beginner college reptile keepers that you may not have heard of before.

Mourning Geckos (Lepidodactylus lugubris)

Also known as the common smooth-scaled gecko, mourning geckos are one of the smallest gecko species in the world. Growing to an average size of three inches long, these tiny girls are a communal species that thrive in groups of three or more.

They’re engaging and fun to watch jump around, but it’s not recommended to hold them unless necessary. A trio of mourning geckos can be kept in a vertical 10-gallon enclosure, making them wonderful for students off-campus who have limited living space.

Children’s Python (Antaresia children)

If you’re interested in a ball python but want something a bit more unique, then a children’s python might be what you’re looking for. Reaching a maximum of 40 inches long, they make great starter snakes for those looking to get into the hobby and not be intimidated by their size.

While each snake has its own personality, these have been known to be a placid species. Unlike a lot of other small snake species, children’s pythons only eat once every 7-10 days, which can save a lot of food money compared to other pets.

Chinese Cave Geckos (Goniurosaurus hainanensis)

Often overlooked by gecko owners, cave geckos can be described as the emo version of a leopard gecko. Their dark coloration with vibrant orange bands and red eyes give them a menacing color palette on top of a very cute and small body.

Cave geckos have very similar care requirements to that of a leopard gecko with two major exceptions: they prefer their humidity much higher and their temperature much lower. This is a combination that can be easily achieved with the proper substrate. They also make great for handling if you ever want to show your little buddy off to your friends!

Dumeril’s Boa (Acrantophis dumerili)

If you’re looking for a sturdier reptile that can get to a decent yet still manageable size, dumeril’s boas are a wonderful start that can’t be found just anywhere. They grow to a length of three to six feet long and have a very calm and slow temperament.

Dumeril’s boas are one of the easiest snakes to keep in the hobby, especially if you live in Florida. With no need to worry about UVB lighting, all these guys need are a decent sized enclosure and a heat spot. Their ideal humidity is between 40-60%, putting it right on target for your average home humidity. They also only eat about twice a week as an adult, which means less food to buy and less poop to clean.

Dwarf Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)

Yes, there is a miniature version of the classic reticulated python. Known as super dwarf retics, these snakes are part of lineage found on a specific set of islands. How they got there is unknown, but mother nature’s methods of evolution have caused this large species to scale down to only 4-6 feet max.

Still maintaining their physical characteristics and temperament, these docile constrictors’ only difference in care is the enclosure size. It might not be as small as a corn snake or other similar colubrid, but the chances of finding someone else nearby who owns one are much less.

As with any pet you intend to keep, it’s always important to do proper research on their care requirements and species information. There are plenty of Facebook groups, Reddit communities, and most importantly, YouTube videos on all of these species made by reptile keepers around the world. 

If any of these species piqued your interest, then take a closer look into how that reptile can fit into your current lifestyle. It’s possible that one of these could be your best bud for years to come!