Don't Believe These Myths About Reptiles - Pet Hub USA

Don’t Believe These Myths About Reptiles

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Reptiles aren’t common pets, but the people who care for them are usually very passionate. Since they’re not seen often as pets, there are a lot of misconceptions about reptiles in the world. Here are the ten biggest myths about these interesting animals that their owners wish would just go away!

They Keep Growing

Green Reptile
Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels

This one is a bit strange, but some people believe that reptiles in general just grow to fit the size of their enclosure. This is not true. Like any animals, reptiles have a size they will grow to as they mature. Make sure you get an appropriately sized terrarium for any reptiles you keep as pets so they’re comfortable.

Chameleons Blend in

green chameleon on brown wooden post
Photo by Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson on Unsplash

This myth is largely caused by a turn of phrase that misunderstands chameleon biology. The term “chameleon” has come to mean “blending in,” but that’s not actually why these interesting reptiles shift their colors. Their color-changing acts as a mood indicator, showing others when they’re cold, hungry, or stressed. It has nothing to do with the color of their surroundings.


person holding bearded dragon
Photo by Giu Vicente on Unsplash

You probably aren’t going to get salmonella from your pet lizard. Just go wash your hands after you play with them or handle them and you’ll be fine. You’re more likely to contract salmonella from chicken from the supermarket than you are from handling a clean, well-kept reptile. Just keep up with their terrarium’s maintenance and take good care of them and they won’t get you sick.

“Boy” Pets

black and yellow snake on brown soil
Photo by Adam Rutkowski on Unsplash

Another common myth holds that reptiles are pets for boys only and wouldn’t make good pets for girls. This isn’t the case at all. In fact, reptiles are wonderful pets for people of any gender! Many young girls love keeping turtles, iguanas, and other friendly reptiles.

Great for Kids

green lizard
Photo by Mark Stoop on Unsplash

Don’t mistake that previous myth’s debunking for another myth, though. While reptile do make wonderful pets, you probably don’t want to get a young child an iguana to care for. Reptiles require advanced care, so make sure you’re prepared to fulfill their dietary needs as well as providing them a comfortable living space.

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Komodo Dragons are Safe

brown and black lizard on gray rock
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

You really shouldn’t keep Komodo dragons as pets. They’re not venomous, per se, but they are extremely dangerous. Their mouths cultivate unusual and highly infectious bacteria that can cause brutal infections in humans in the event of a bite. Let Komodo dragons live in their natural habitat and consider adopting an iguana or chameleon instead.

Turtles Can’t Feel Their Shells

person holding turtle
Photo by Fernando Maté on Unsplash

Turtles have thick shells that help defend them against their natural predators. Contrary to popular belief, they can feel these shells, though. Tap on your fingernail a few times and you’ll have a general idea of how they feel through their shells. In short, be nice to your turtle friends and don’t bang or scratch on their shells.

Reptiles are Emotionless

person holding reptile
Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

Another harmful misconception about reptiles is that they’re emotionless and incapable of feeling affection for other animals or even their owners. This is untrue of every variety of reptile! They’re complex animals with emotions, personalities, and dignity, just like cats and dogs. If you take good care of a reptile companion, they’ll reward you with affection. You just need to know what to look for.

Read More: The 5 Best Lizards for First-Time Reptile Owners

They Don’t Bite

brown bearded dragon on trunk
Photo by JJ Shev on Unsplash

Just because they can feel emotions doesn’t mean they’re just cuddly sweethearts, though. Again, reptiles require advanced care and they will bite you if you’re not careful. Some reptiles, like small lizards, can’t really hurt you. Others, like snapping turtles, can really cause some damage. Be careful with your reptile pets!

Read More: Is a Bearded Dragon the Right Pet for You?

You Can Just Let Them Go

brown and green bearded dragon on brown sand during daytime
Photo by Jean Daniel Photography on Unsplash

Some people think they can just release a domesticated iguana or turtle back out into the wild. Nope! Your indoor reptile is dependent on human assistance for survival and dropping them into the wild is extremely irresponsible and inhumane. If you can’t take care of your reptile buddy anymore, rehome them.

Read More: How to Set Up a New Bearded Dragon Habitat

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