What Reptiles Can Live Together?

Written by jessica benes
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What Reptiles Can Live Together?
Large reptiles, like alligators, shouldn't be housed together because they are difficult to control. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Reptiles and amphibians are distant cousins and are usually linked when talking about creating a community terrarium. Reptiles include crocodiles, alligators, lizards and snakes. Amphibians include newts, salamanders, frogs and toads. Hobbyists interested in housing more than one species should thoroughly research the pets they want to put together, and understand the animals' varying environmental and dietary needs. Remember that there is always a risk of problems occurring when two or more species live together. Use good judgment and plan well to have a functioning and rewarding multi-species habitat.

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Reptiles and Amphibians

Different species of North American tree frogs such as green tree frogs (Hyla cinerea) and grey tree frogs (Hyla versicolor) usually don't have a problem living together. Most of these species need similar care and can be housed in a large terrarium. Some poison dart frogs (Dendrobatidae) have been put together.

Small day geckos (Phelsuma species) can often be kept with some frog species, but research should be done on temperature and largeness of terrarium.

Aquatic basking turtles, like the painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta), and map turtles (Graptemys species) generally do well together. Pay attention to behaviour and look for dietary requirements of each. Remember that these animals will grow to a large size and will need a lot of room in which to live.

Green anoles (American chameleons), American tree frogs, and rough green frogs can safely be put together. Pay attention to their individual needs, however. These snake and lizard species need full spectrum light and frogs don't like such bright light. Provide dense cover in the form of plant-life where they can seek shade.

Animals That Shouldn't Live Together

Don't mix snakes with other reptiles and amphibians because they have different needs from other types. Also, avoid mixing mix turtles and tortoises with other reptiles and amphibians.

Large reptiles should usually be kept alone or with their same species. Because they are large, they can be difficult to manage when kept in terrariums with other reptiles.


Buy animals born in captivity because they have fewer health problems and it is unethical and sometimes illegal to remove wild animals from their natural habitat. When thinking about housing different species together, it's a good idea to isolate each animal in its own aquarium for a month or more to observe the health and eating habits of each. Keep the enclosures clean and have fecal samples examined by a veterinarian for parasites.

Potential Problems

Account for all the possible problems that can arise, and know how to curb them. The size of the cage or terrarium is a common mistake. Each species should have room for its own territory. Standard aquariums are usually too small. The tank should be several feet in length, width and height.

Keep reptiles and amphibians together that are the same size. Carnivorous reptiles will want to eat anything that moves, and it's best to have animals that won't try to hunt the smaller ones.

Understand the environmental needs of each reptile and be sure that the animals you keep together don't have very different needs. Look at temperature, humidity, body of water if needed, soil, perches and climbing needs. Also, research the dietary requirements of your pets and don't house reptiles together that are too different in this area.

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