Reptile keeping in the home can be a fascinating experience for the whole family with a number of advantages over the keeping of more conventional pets. Relatively little space is required; accommodation can be aesthetically pleasing and the reptiles themselves are clean, quiet and non-demanding, given a few simple requirements.
Although reptiles are non demanding pets it is still important to keep in mind their life span which can be from 15 (lizards) up to 75 years (carpet pythons) in captivity as they have no predators. The commitment level required includes feeding, upkeep of enclosures and regular handling to keep reptiles tame.
How many pet reptiles you should keep depends on the size of the enclosure and your commitment to care. Usually housing lizards in pairs or more, is common however you should expect that they will breed if males and females are housed together. Snakes can be kept singularly, if you do decide to have two they would need to be separated into two enclosures if keeping a male and a female and only put together for breeding season (this is best left to the breeders only).
Snakes and lizards can play host to some parasites including mites, ticks and some types of worms however feeding laboratory raised food sources and keeping housing clean can minimize the introduction of at least some of them to your animal. Other problems that may occur could include bacterial diseases, respiratory infections and possible scale rot, however setting up your reptiles housing correctly and keeping it clean should prevent any of these happening.
Some other interesting facts about snakes and lizards is that they shed their skin as they grow. They shed or slough the outer layer of their skin following the production of a new one beneath it. Snakes skin usually comes off in one piece starting at the head coming off inside out like pulling off a sock from the top. Lizards skin comes off in large pieces.
Some snakes can go up to 12 months without food as long as they have access to fresh drinking water, it is because of this that snakes are a good option for people that have to go away regularly with work etc.
To learn more a very informative Australian book is available: “Care of Australian Reptiles in Captivity” by John Weigel.