What Reptile Likes To Be Handled

Are you looking for a fun and interactive reptile friend?

Do you want to make sure it’s OK to pet or handle your new pet actively?

Reptiles aren’t like dogs and cats; they may not like being touched at all.

For some species, over-handling increases stress and causes health issues later on in life.

But if you want a pet to have some fun with, you need to pick ones we can interact with without any problems.

This is a common issue we decided to address for you.

Today, we’re looking at what reptiles like to be handled.

There are levels of enjoyment reptiles have when it comes to being handled. Some seem to enjoy it, such as bearded dragons. Common reptiles which like being handled are:

  • Bearded Dragons
  • Leopard Geckos
  • Corn Snakes
  • Ball Pythons
  • Green Iguanas
  • Red-Eared Slider
  • Blue-Tongued Skink

Look ahead to learn more about these pets and how handling affects reptile health.

what reptile likes to be handled

Do Reptiles Like To Be Petted?

Answering the question of whether they like being handled is a little tricky.

There’s no clear way to know what they actually enjoy.

But by looking at their behaviors, it’s easy to see which one handles being pet well and which ones don’t.

In general, reptiles aren’t ones to enjoy being petted or handled.

There’s no natural situation where the reptiles are picked up safely in the wild.

Think about it: If you were a small creature and a larger predator picked you up, how would you feel?

This is what we humans are to them instinctively, big predators.

For many good pet reptiles, training them to at least tolerate being handled takes time.

It’s more a matter of having them learn being handled is a positive experience.

This is done gradually by letting them get used to your scent and learning to associate you with good things like food, exploration, or bathes.

As a pet, they will need to be handled at some point, whether by the vet or when you clean their tank.

It’s in both of your interests to get them to the point where they tolerate being handled, but many can learn to like it for short periods.

What Reptiles Like To Be Handled?

This section covers our picks for the pets which like being handled the most.

There’s a range of how much these critters like interaction, and most will need to be tamed first.

Where applicable, click the link in each section for more details on how to tame the specific pet mentioned.

Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are one of the most popular reptiles in the modern-day, and part of the reason is how they actively like interacting and being handled.

Bearded dragons grow up between 18″ – 20″ inches long.

Many owners will even put a harness on their bearded dragon and walk them around the neighborhood.

Beardies love this exploration as well as eating from their owner’s hand.

In time, when you come to handle them, they’ll rush to you to be picked up.

Many owners also say bearded dragons relax when petted by someone they trust.

Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos are another cute reptile popular with newer lizard owners.

They’re small in size, making them easier to handle.

Leopard geckos rarely bite, and when they do, it’s almost painless.

For handling, they’ll need some extra time to tame as they like to hide.

In time, they’ll get used to it, though you should limit your interaction time to under 15 minutes per day.

Note: If you want to know what kind of jungle reptiles like to be handled, the crested gecko is one of the only ones.

Corn Snakes

Most people don’t think of snakes as good pets for handling, but they make pretty good ones in reality.

Corn snakes are quite docile, and though they grow to a longer size, they don’t wriggle out of your grip so easily.

Handling them isn’t something you should do when they’ve just eaten or are getting ready to shed, but their sweet natures mean they’ll mostly just let you move with them.

Unlike some fragile reptiles, corn snakes don’t have any health problems from handling as long as you limit them to shorter periods, and you wash your hands first.

Ball Pythons

Along the same lines is the ball python.

This snake curls up around whoever picks them up for more security, but they rarely panic as long as you’ve taken the time to tame them.

Some owners prefer handling the ball python for this exact reason. Both parties are just more comfortable with the situation.

Green Iguanas

Iguanas are big, herbivorous reptiles.

You wouldn’t think they’d like to be handled, but many owners believe their intelligence rivals dogs and cats.

Whether it’s going for walks or being pet, the green iguana isn’t so threatened by you, likely due to its large size.

Picking up isn’t something you’ll often do when they’re adults. These reptiles reach up to 6.5′ feet long and up to 11 pounds.

Most of this length is tail, but still, they’re not small.

Blue-Tongued Skink

Blue-tongued skinks are similar to bearded dragons.

They are big enough to enjoy interacting and exploring without being so aggressive you’re in danger of getting bit.

They tend to top out around 18″ inches in length, making them a good pet for picking up and petting.


Learning about what reptiles like to be handled is a responsible owner’s decision, so good for you!

You don’t want to end up with a pet who’s overstimulated and ill because it keeps getting handled.

Now you know which ones to look for!

Do some more research on our website and find the right pet for you to enjoy for a long time.

While you’re here would you like to learn about starting a reptile rescue?

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