Snakes are great pets.
So are lizards.
I know what you’re thinking: “Thanks….how does that help my pet snake vs. pet lizard dilemma?”
Well, it doesn’t. Both make great pets. Which one is better differs from person to person. For that reason, we can’t just give you a simple answer.
But we can highlight the similarities and differences between owning a snake and owning a lizard. Knowing that will help you figure out which reptile makes the better pet for you.
And for completeness sake, we’ve also compared pet snakes to some other common pets that are not cats or dogs, because if you are reading this, it is unlikely you want either of those two as a pet (or you already have one, or both, and want something different).
Table of Contents
- 1 Pet Snake Vs Pet Lizard
- 1.1 Lizard Vs Snake: Things To Consider
- 1.2 Why We Prefer Snakes
- 2 Pet Snake Vs Pet Turtle
- 3 Pet Snake Vs Pet Tarantula
- 4 Pet Snake Vs Pet Mouse
- 5 Pet Snake Vs Pet Guinea Pig
- 6 Pet Lizard Vs Pet Snake: Final Thoughts
Pet Snake Vs Pet Lizard
Getting a pet lizard or a pet snake can be incredibly rewarding. But many people jump right in, without properly considering what it will require of them.
Before getting a lizard or a snake, you need to be sure you will be able to provide it with the type of care it requires. Only then can you be certain that you and your pet will come to love living together.
Lizard Vs Snake: Things To Consider
Below are some of the things to consider when getting a lizard as a pet.
Setting up a terrarium requires a lot of space, though this does depend on the species. Most snake species need enclosures that take up even more space, though.
Lizards generally need more specialized equipment in their terrariums than snakes. UV lighting is a good example. It is a good idea to supply UV light for any reptile, but most snakes are fine without it, whereas lizards will suffer in the absence of UV.
Your lizard requires a specific diet and its food can become expenses. And it’s not just the monetary cost, but also the time involved in getting the food. Snakes are no different, in this regard.
Lack Of Affection
Reptiles are cold blooded in every sense of the phrase. If you expect love and affection from a pet, you should not get a lizard or a snake. They simply don’t show love or attention. You’ll just keep them for the pleasure of looking at them. This goes for any other reptiles as well.
Once Gone, Gone For Good
Should your lizard escape, there is no chance of it returning on its own like a dog or cat does. It will likely die in the wild.
Lizards can carry the Salmonella bacteria. You will need to be very careful when touching your lizard or when disposing of its feces. Always wash your hands after handling your pet or cleaning its cage. This goes for snakes as well.
It is difficult to deal with an aggressive species of lizard. Lizards are usually aggressive toward other pets and most can’t live together with a cat or dog. Most importantly, larger lizards can be aggressive toward children and cause them harm.
Snakes are generally less aggressive, but not always. It depends on the species and the environment.
Lizards are usually less expensive than snakes at the time of purchase. Snakes can cost a lot, depending on the species. However, the cost of caring for a lizard adds up to a lot more than the initial cost of the animal.
Lizards are great pets, but they do take a lot of work. That is only one of the reasons we prefer snakes. Allow us to make our case for our serpent friends and if you feel you’d rather get a lizard after reading it, you’ll know for sure that’s the right choice for you!
Why We Prefer Snakes
Are you a reptile lover?
Are you trying to figure out which reptile to add to your collections or are you getting your first one?
Most people imagine that keeping a reptile, like a pet snake, is dangerous, inadvisable and expensive. And then they rather decide to get something more mainstream like a dog or cat.
But keeping a reptile as a pet is actually great fun! And it becomes more fun when you keep the right one.
All reptiles can be the right one with proper care. Some are easier to care for as a beginner than others. As with any pet, you must do thorough research and learn exactly what keeping on will require of you.
You need to consider everything, from the cost of keeping them to the level of experience needed (some pets are really best left to pet owners with lots of experience) to care for them properly and keep them healthy and happy.
Considering all factors, among reptiles, snakes are probably the best choice. At least that’s how we feel, which is probably not a surprise given the name of this site!
Let’s take a look at the things that make snakes such great pets. Then we’ll compare them to some other common pets that aren’t dogs and cats (turtles, tarantulas, mice and guinea pigs).
Snakes Are Not For Everyone
Snakes are amazing and charming reptiles and with constant handling, a snake can turn out to be the best pet to have around. However, we need to make clear that snakes are not right for everybody.
While they are relatively easy to care for, snakes do have some specific requirements. You need to have a good understanding of what snakes require and commit yourself to meeting their needs. And you have to accept that they will never love you the way a dog does.
Easy To Care For
Because snakes are carnivores, you only need to feed them one thing: meat. And you don’t have to worry about varying their diet. You can keep feeding them the same thing over and over again. In fact, that’s what they prefer.
Different species prefer different foods, but most will happily eat dead rats and mice. You can buy these in frozen packages from stores. The only other sustenance they need apart from rodents (or eggs or insects or whatever your breed likes) is a constant supply of fresh, clean water.
Snakes Don’t Require Much Exercise
You don’t have to go through the stress of making your pet do exercise to keep it from getting fat. Snakes exercise on their own without your help. Just give them some vines and branches to climb around on and they’ll get all the exercise they need.
Snakes Enjoy Staying In Their Cages
Snakes love spending time in their enclosures, if you make them nice and comfy. The closer your snakes are to their home or natural habitat, the better they feel. So when setting up their aquarium or habitat, make them feel at home by proving an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat.
This means hiding places for their relaxation, lighting to mimic natural lighting conditions, comfortable bedding, and a temperature and humidity similar to what they enjoy in the wild.
Snakes Groom Themselves
Snakes will bathe themselves, if you provide them a large enough water dish. In addition, they shed their skins once a month. In order for this process to be successful, you need to ensure the proper temperature and humidity in the enclosure. If these conditions are off, the shedding process will not go smoothly.
Snakes Love Being Handled
Snake will eventually bond with you to some degree (nothing like a dog, obviously) when you hold then often. They get used to you and learn to feel comfortable when you hold them. Of course, you should always handle your snake with care.
Can snakes recognize their owners? Again, not the same as a dog. It will learn to associate your smell with something that cares for it, but not much more than that.
Now, let’s compare having a snake as a pet to some other common pets that aren’t cats or dogs. As mentioned, snakes are not for everyone. If they are not for you, hopefully these brief comparisons will help you find the pet best suited for you.
Pet Snake Vs Pet Turtle
Taking care of a turtle is really easy for some people. But most find it difficult to keep them happy and their turtle ends up dying. And I understand. I had a small turtle when I as bout 10 years old. It lasted a few weeks.
If you’re thinking about getting these beautiful creatures, you should do thorough research and think about it properly before making a decision. Then make sure you know exactly what your turtle will need and provide it. The right environmental conditions are especially important.
Parents often get turtles for their kids (like mine did). This is not a good idea, in most cases. Turtles are not for beginners. Taking care of one is a demanding task. It is much more work than a snake, which just needs the right (clean) habitat and food.
Turtles eat far more often than snakes. Keeping one fed takes much more of your time and generally costs more, too.
Turtles need more space, respective to their size. Even small ones should have a tank that is at least 20 gallons.
Like other reptiles turtles also carry the salmonella bacteria. Without proper care, the chances of it passing the bacteria to you is high. This is another big reason they are not good pets for children.
Your turtle really only cares about you when you feed it. I guess it is good they like to eat a lot. Feed them a lot and they’ll give you a lot of attention.
Buying a turtle is inexpensive, but keeping one is not. You’ll end up spending a lot of money over their lifetime. And that could be a long lifetime. If properly cared for, they life an average of 25 years. Unless you kill them first, by not caring for them properly.
Pet Snake Vs Pet Tarantula
Most people considering a pet spider, immediately go for the tarantula. But there are other types of spiders as well. Make sure you consider them all, so you can be certain the tarantula is the best one for you.
Whether you end up landing on the tarantula or any other spider, this is a very different pet from a snake. Let’s take a look at some of the peculiarities of this pet option.
Tarantulas actually require a lot of care and attention, which is in large part due to their small size relative to other pets. They are definitely more work than snakes.
A lot of people have a phobia of spiders, and especially tarantulas. The fear ranges from mild to extreme and you might even have a family member with a strong fear of spiders. Keeping one will be off-putting to many and you will be seen as a weirdo. If that bothers you, consider another pet. Of course, all of this is true for snakes as well, but it is stronger with spiders.
Tarantulas chirp. Constantly. This could easily get annoying, not just to you or anyone you live with,but also to visitors to your home.
Pet Snake Vs Pet Mouse
Before getting a mouse, you need to do your homework (I bet this is starting to sound pretty familiar). Research the different breeds, the housing they need, the food they eat, and generally learn everything you can about the type and amount of care and attention they require.
One of the first things people will notice if you have a mouse is the smell. Unfortunately, these are not pleasant smelling animals. The odor is more noticeable in males than females. If you live in a small place, a mouse is probably not the best choice for a pet.
As you might guess, a mouse cage needs constant cleaning. This gets very tedious, but if you get lazy and stop cleaning the cage, the smell just keeps getting worse. Snakes can smell, too, but not nearly as bad.
If you fall in love with your mouse despite the odor, you’re in for some heartbreak. The average lifespan of a mouse is only about 1.5 years. As mentioned previously, snakes can live upwards of 30 years, depending on the species.
Pet Snake Vs Pet Guinea Pig
A guinea pig can bring a lot of joy and happiness to you and your household as well. But keeping a guinea pig does require a lot of feeding and care. The pleasure of owning and taking proper care of a guinea pig comes with an endless list of chores and expenses.
Guinea pigs need a larger enclosure than snakes, relative to their body size. They love to run and you want to make sure you give them plenty of space to do so. Of course, if you’re thinking of getting a large snake, then its enclosure will likely need to be bigger still.
Your guinea pig’s home will need to be cleaned regularly and properly. Keeping everything clean prevents bugs and vermin from making your pet sick.
Snake enclosures need to be cleaned regularly as well, but not as often. Doing a deep clean once a month is usually sufficient, as long as you remove soiled substrate and provide clean water every day.
For all breeds of guinea pigs, you have to make sure you keep their nails cut. Some breeds also need attention given to their fur, like keeping it neatly trimmed.
Guinea pigs are usually noisy. They don’t care about the time or if you are sleeping. They can make a loud noise even when you are deep asleep. Snakes are quiet pets.
The initial cost of the guinea pig is low, but the ongoing costs add up. If your pet needs to see the vet a lot, it can become quite expensive.
Taking care of a guinea pig also means putting up with a bit of a smell, especially if you fail to clean the cage regularly.
A lot of this goes for other rodents, too. Chinchillas are great pets, for example, but there is no doubt they require more work than snakes.
Chinchillas need play time outside their cage every day and they poop constantly. They also jump, which you do not have to worry about with snakes. Read “How Far Can A Snake Jump?” for more.
Pet Lizard Vs Pet Snake: Final Thoughts
Given all the considerations of keeping lizard, guinea pigs, mice, turtles, and tarantulas as pets, we definitely prefer to own a snake instead. But you may come to a different conclusion.
And that is how it should be. Snakes are not for everyone and neither are any of the other pets. They key is to do thorough research, so that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into with any pet, and then making the decision, based on facts, which pet is best suited to you.
If you need some more helps, read our article about pet snakes and the things to consider when getting one. You can also read Snake Eggs Vs Lizard Eggs for more on the comparison between these two species.
And whichever pet you end up choosing, just make sure you treat it with love and care!
Braden Bills says
I want to get some kind of reptile as a pet, but I’m not sure what to choose. It makes sense that getting a snake would be beneficial for me! It’s nice that they’re not as aggressive as lizards can be.
Do not release your pet outdoors. This isn t good for the animal or for the environment. Most reptiles and amphibians released outdoors will die, and some grow to become a threat to natural wildlife populations.