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A Beginners Guide to Reptile and Set-Up Costs

This article takes a brief look at the cost of purchasing four common beginner reptiles and their basic set-up, I have only included the prices of things a reptile owner MUST have for each species. Reptile care information 

Things such as water bowls and feeding dishes are not included, as although they are necessary, a brand name product is not vital and often something that you already own will do the job just as well. Likewise the cost of substrates is not included, as one of the best substrates for many reptiles is tissue paper. Buying specifically made products for these purposes is not always vital, though it will certainly enhance the aesthetics of your terrarium.

We often find customers believing they can afford a reptile due to the deceivingly low cost of the critter itself and sometimes have to advise them otherwise. This article is designed as a simple reference for those buying all of their equipment online without the benefit of that advice. Hopefully it will help to ensure they get a fair price and make an informed decision as to whether or not they can buy their future pet everything it needs. It is not intended as advice towards any specific items, as such brand names and models are left out and all prices are generalised (where there is a large disparity between prices for a given item, the middle ground has been chosen). Costs purposely do not reflect those in our online store as we believe an impartial article will be of more use to readers.

This article is not designed in any way to be the basis of a reptile care sheet, caring for a reptile requires extensive research BEFORE purchase, if you get something wrong at the start, you may not get the chance to correct your mistake.

These two sites are a good place to start asking questions and reading up:

I haven’t included the cost of books about your reptile in the lists, as this should be something you own and have studied before buying your set-up.

So here’s the cost break-down:

Corn Snake

The Reptile – £40

20 Gallon Terrarium – £50

Hide-out Cave – £5

Heat Mat – £15

Thermo/Hygrometer – £20

Total – £130

(note: whilst technically a hide out spot could be provided without purchasing a product specifically for it, we felt that in this area the benefit of the product being made for the snake’s size made the advantage enough to merit inclusion)

Bearded Dragon

The Reptile – £30

40 Gallon Terrarium – £100

Lighting Unit and Bulb(s) – £65

Basking Lamp and Bulb(s) – £20

Thermo/Hygrometer – £20

Total – £235

(note: contrary to what you may read elsewhere, Bearded Dragons are NOT required or recommended to have a heat mat. Also that terrarium size quoted is for an adult, the use of a divide would be needed for a baby beardy to reduce stress in an overly large terrarium)

Green Anole

The Reptile – £5

10 Gallon Terrarium – £45

Basking Lamp and Bulb(s) – £20

Lighting Unit and Bulb(s) – £65

Heat Mat – £15

Thermo/Hygrometer – £20

Total – £170

(note: whilst Green Anoles are named here, many different Anoles share these requirements. If in doubt, check.)

Leopard Gecko

The Reptile – £25

15 Gallon Terrarium – £50

Heat Mat – £15

Thermo/Hygrometer – £20

Total – £110

So That’s The List!

As you can see, for an initial set up the Leopard Gecko works out the cheapest, fortunately this is also the one we would recommend above all others to a first time reptile owner.

A word of warning, whilst these reptiles are generally recommended for beginners, this does not mean to say they do not require very specific care. All reptiles have exacting needs when compared to your ‘average’ pet. Though you shouldn’t let this put you off, they are worth the effort!

I hope this info helps you decide whether you can really afford your chosen reptile, though do remember: vet’s fees, food costs and other unforeseen expenses should always be accounted for when deciding if you are able to care for a reptile, as with any other pet.

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