It's been a very long time since I've been without a reptile of some sort in my life. Over the years I've kept everything from anoles to iguanas, turtles to pythons. Before I got my first dog, and completely fell in love with him, exotic pets, especially reptiles, were kind of 'my thing'. Although I'd love to, someday, branch out and keep other types of reptiles again, for many years now the only reptiles to grace our home have been my Leopard geckos. I currently have two geckos, both females, Aurora and Miyuki.
Exotic pets can be expensive, and difficult to maintain. However, Leopard geckos have pretty basic needs, and are easy to care for in captivity. For someone who may not be up to the challenge of keeping a more demanding pet, Leopard geckos may be a good option.
The other day I came across someone on my Facebook feed recommending goldfish as a type of low maintenance pet. But fish, if cared for properly, can actually be a lot of work! You have to learn how to cycle aquariums, buy and maintain expensive equipment (goldfish are especially messy fish), and many people aren't aware that some types of goldfish can get huge!
I may be biased, but I think Leopard geckos make much better beginner pets! They stay pretty small, require only a basic heating set up, and, unlike fish, can be handled. If cared for properly, Leopard geckos normally live between 10 and 15 years, and they are generally hardy pets. They also breed readily in captivity, come in quite a few different colors (called morphs), and normally have pretty laid back personalities. Whether your looking for your first pet or are a seasoned animal owner, setting up and maintaining a gecko terrarium can be a lot of fun!
One thing that may be a draw back to some is the fact that Leopard geckos do eat insects. However I've found that, for most people, it doesn't take long to get over any squeamishness about having to deal with bugs.
Of course, like with any pet, Leopard geckos shouldn't be purchased on a whim. Always do your research before taking in a new animal. All pets will have specific care requirements that should be followed, and there's always the possibility that you'll have to make an unexpected trip to the vet.
Leopard geckos may not be the perfect pet for everyone, but I personally find them to be awesome little animals. As far as exotics go, they are one of the easier species to care for. They live longer than other common small pets, such as mice and hamsters. In my opinion they can be just as pretty as tropical fish, it can be just as fun setting up their tanks, but they are even easier to maintain, and they can be handled.
If your interested in learning more about keeping Leopard geckos as pets, I wrote a basic care sheet you can check out here. Comment below! Have you ever kept a Leopard gecko as a pet? What was the first pet you ever had?