Debating Whether Reptiles or Amphibians Should Be House Pets

Debating Whether Reptiles or Amphibians Should Be House Pets

Many experts think these animals shouldn’t be in your home. Turning them into pets raises numerous ecological and ethical questions.

By JOANNA KLEIN

 

A snapping turtle surrendered to officials by its owner at an “exotic animal amnesty day” in Bridgeport, Conn. Credit Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Reclining with a laptop on my couch in Brooklyn, I searched “buy lizard online” and clicked the first link. I filled my cart with a flying dragon, a couple of caimans, a red-eared slider turtle, a poison dart frog and an albino garter snake.

I agreed to the terms and conditions, certifying that I knew the laws governing reptile ownership (it is illegal for me to own some of these reptiles in New York), that I understood exceptions for baby turtles (I still don’t), and that I wouldn’t hold the company responsible…