Reptiles make for interesting alternative pets

Column by Sarah O’Rourke

We’ve all heard the stories about how people with pets live longer, are happier and even have lower stress levels.

I completely agree with this, but I have also realized that most people only consider a good pet to be a dog or cat.

If you are closed off to just furry creatures as a pet, I encourage you to consider other options. By other options, I mean reptiles.

Now, some of you may think I’m crazy for bringing up such a strange, uncommon type of pet, but I can tell you from personal experience that these are some of the best pets you can choose.

My first reptile pet was a three-toed box turtle named Speedy. I got Speedy in fifth grade from my teacher. She was the class pet, and at the end of the year, I asked to keep her. Surprisingly, my teacher let me. And that was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Throughout all of my awkward middle school and high school years, Speedy was there for me.

Even though she is a turtle, she has so much personality that most people are surprised when they meet her.

She will stare at you and crawl toward you if you call her name. If you’re holding a strawberry or banana, she will move twice as fast.

She is easy to take care of, and I still find it extremely rewarding to know that she depends on me so much.

I have no clue how old she is since I’ve only had her for 10 years, but turtles live a really long time so I’m sure she’ll be around for a while.

My entire family fell in love with Speedy, so much that my brother decided to bring another reptile into the family.

We shopped around countless reptile shows in the Chicago area and couldn’t find the right new addition to our family.

My brother randomly decided to go to a reptile show in Wisconsin, and that was where he found Tito.

Tito is a leatherback bearded dragon, and when we first got him, he was only a couple of inches long. Right now, Tito is about a foot-and-a-half long.

Although we’ve had him for a year and a half, he has gotten huge.

Tito is also very easy to take care of. You just need to drop some crickets in his tank, and he’s a happy boy.

He also loves to watch movies. I love it when he curls up in my lap and falls asleep during a movie. And if he’s not in the mood to sleep, he’ll just sit on your shoulder for hours.

Both Speedy and Tito have brought so much joy and happiness to my life. After a rough day, I can come home and see them waiting for me. I help take care of them, and I know they will be there for me in return.

Taking care of a reptile is incredibly easy and fun.

Despite what many people believe, they do have unique personalities and are not those pets that you just stare at. If you choose a reptile as a future pet, I guarantee you will have a friend for life.

O’Rourke is a first-year pharmacy major and can be reached at


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