Does her Reptile need a Tank Mate?

by Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)


Like us, many pets like to hang out with friends. However, the same isn’t true of many reptiles. Reptiles do just fine solo and also don’t require others in the exact same tank come thrive. In general, reptiles are much better off housed individually.

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Certain lizards (bearded dragons, anoles, geckos) and also chelonians (turtles and tortoises) deserve to live properly together when collection up effectively in same-species tanks. Snakes, however, are best housed singly and also generally have to not be linked in one tank, even if they are of the very same species.


If you room thinking about having an ext than one reptile in a tank, friend can assist ensure success with these 6 precautions.

Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife company Northeast region - Feeding time for north Red-bellied Cooters / Flickr an innovative Commons

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Don’t Limit space — bigger is Better

First, be certain the tank is large enough come house an ext than one reptile. Each reptile, nevertheless of species, must have adequate an are to exercise, hide, eat, bask, and also generally escape the vision of the other reptile(s). The biggest mistake that reptile owner make is to gain too tiny a tank to home multiple pets. Without sufficient space, pets in the very same enclosure are more likely to fight end territory and get injured. In addition, larger tanks normally require extr heat and light sources, too as much more thermometers, to help ensure environmental problems are retained constant.


If the tank is aquatic, additional rocks will be vital to ensure the there is sufficient dry floor for much more than one pet, and also if the species is arboreal (tree-climbing), extr branches will certainly be needed to ensure that everyone has a ar to perch. In general, the larger the tank, the better.

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Don’t Mix Species

residence only animals of the same types together; don’t mix. So, for example, leopard geckos might be housed with other leopard geckos but not v crested geckos or job geckos. Different varieties have different light, heat, humidity, and also temperature requirements. Thus, if you space housing more than one reptile in the exact same tank, it’s ideal to stick to the exact same species.

Image: Thoai / Shutterstock

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Do Limit her Tank to One Male: Sex Matters!

In general, groups of same varieties females may be housed together with or without one male. However, only one male have to be preserved in the tank, as males tend to be much more territorial than females and are an ext likely to fight. This is just a rule-of-thumb, as females can fight through each other as well, and individual males may torment females when they desire to mate and are rebuffed. Therefore, nevertheless of sex combinations in a tank, once a brand-new reptile is added and the social hierarchy is reconfigured, tank-mates should be monitored very closely for fighting.


If any aggressive actions is noted, reptiles have to be separated immediately before injury ensues.

Image: Sergei Mironenko / Shutterstock

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Don’t Forget come Quarantine prior to Adding

nevertheless of species, before a new reptile is introduced right into an present tank, it should be confirm by a reptile-savvy veterinarian and quarantined because that at the very least a month come ensure the doesn’t have infectious condition that deserve to be transmitted come existing pets.


When emphasize by a change in environment, a seemingly healthy and balanced reptile can break with an illness (such as gastrointestinal parasites) when introduced into its new enclosure. This can an outcome in illness and even death for the newly presented reptile or for the present pets. Therefore, housing the new introduction separately for at least a month while surveillance it for indications of sickness can assist prevent disastrous loss.

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Do Prepare for much more Cleaning

A 2nd pet in a tank way twice as much fecal and urine production and also twice as lot wasted food. Every this waste can develop up in a tank quickly, bring about high ammonia levels, bad quality living conditions, and increased opportunity of epidemic spread. Thus, more than one pet in a tank way both an ext frequent spot cleaning of bedding and an ext frequent finish tank disinfection.


If the tank is aquatic, with much more than one turtle in a bigger tank, there will be an ext waste in the water, request a much more powerful filter. Every one of this converts into an ext work for an ext than one pet. This will should be taken into consideration prior to the last decision to include a new reptile.

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Do Prepare because that the Cost: double the variety of Pets = twice the Expense

double the number of pets means not only twice as large a tank, it also means twice as much bedding, food, and also cage equipment (lights, heaters, rocks, plants, etc.). Therefore, not only is tank set-up an ext expensive, the daily treatment is as well.


Reptiles likewise need vet care, including annual check-ups and deworming. Thus, a reptile owner must think about whether he or she has the finances readily available to assistance medical care for more than one reptile over the lengthy run, particularly given that many reptiles, depending on species, can live dozens of years or longer.

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Do psychic that pets Have characters Too

Reptiles of every kinds make great pets. When housed alone, they have the right to be interactive, fun, and also happy. Before you add a girlfriend to your existing reptile’s tank or cage, be certain that the addition is appropriate, and also take all precautions.

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Even after ~ you make the addition, screen the animals’ interactions carefully to ensure the the change is smooth, and remember that no all reptiles, even of the exact same species, want to re-publishing an enclosure. Choose humans, some are much more introverted than others. For some, living following door come each other rather than in the same house is preferable and much better for everyone.