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How to Make Friends With a Reptile

August 15, 2021

Do reptiles have emotions? There’s no real way to know for sure, but you can say that they aren’t as affectionate or sentimental as cats and dogs. Reptiles can and do get quite close to their humans. Bonding with reptiles isn’t impossible. It just takes time and patience. Here, a veterinarian provides some tips on taming reptiles.

Adopt Young

Befriending baby animals is much easier than taming older ones that have rarely, if ever, been handled. Like all babies, many baby reptiles need a lot of care, and may not be the right type of pet for a first-time reptile owners. Before adopting one, do plenty of research.


Lizards can actually be very affectionate. Many like to cuddle or sit on their humans, with some even becoming lap lizards. But, some of these small dinos only feel comfy being handled or petted by their owners. You can’t expect too much from a reptile that you’re a stranger.

Watch Body Language 

Your pet’s body language can tell you how he’s feeling. Learning how to read your reptilian friend’s behavior. Noticing things like withdrawing, hissing, or acting as if he’s scared or going to strike will give you insight, and help you learn when you can handle him or need to leave him alone.


Many reptiles like a good bath. Some reptiles, such as iguanas, require more baths than others. Use bath time as a way to bond with your pet.  Talking to your reptile while he’s soaking is quite helpful.


Pets often learn to trust humans after being offered food or treats. But, it’s a little tricky with reptiles, as most of them don’t even eat every day. Another issue with giving out food is that you may be a little squeamish trying to offer a live bug to your pet. You’ll want to let your tiny dinosaur get used to your scent and the sound of your voice. He’ll eventually realize that you’re providing dinner.

Settling In

When you bring your reptile home, don’t immediately handle him. Let him adapt to his new  environment. Only talk to your little friend, and maybe hold your hand out for him to investigate. It’s not recommended to do this with larger reptiles, as they may bite.

Picking Up

Regularly handling reptiles can help keep them docile and tame. Make sure you pick your pet up the right way! Never hold him by the tail, and don’t unexpectedly scoop him up when he’s eating or sleeping. Talk to your vet for more information. 

If you own a reptile and need more information, contact your local animal clinic.

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