Reptiles are fast becoming popular pets in the UK. Of course the front runners are dogs and cats, as you'd expect, however scaly and shelled pets are firmly in the running. Amongst the most popular types are Bearded Dragons, Geckos, such as Leopard Geckos and Crested types, Corn Snakes and Tortoises. Maybe it's the prehistoric link that makes them so appealing, or their striking features.

A common theme among reptiles is their quiet, calm nature. If you don't want to add noise or too much commotion to your household, then this is a good choice. That doesn't mean that a reptile is boring however, when kept in the ideal environment they will behave as naturally as possible which means you can watch them in all their glory. Handled sufficiently, they can be affectionate and fun.

Speaking of environment, this can be a costly outlay at first. However it is imperative that your reptile has the right equipment. Many desert dwellers such as Bearded Dragons, need a good UVB light to promote healthy skeletal growth, a good immune system and gleaming eyes and skin. They will also need a good quality vivarium or terrarium, substrate and a basking lamp to keep him warm. A key point to remember that once all the kit is in place, there is little cost, other than food.

Another key financial advantage of owning a reptile is the lack of vet's costs. Reptiles don't need yearly vaccines and unless there is a health concern, need only visit the vet once a year for a check-up.

If you have Asthma, Eczema or allergies or children that do, a reptile is a great pet. Free from the risk of fur which can cause sometimes serious reactions, a reptile can allow your family the pleasure of a pet. It's important to mention that reptiles are not recommended for children under 5, due to the risk of salmonella poisoning. With older children and adults, good hand washing after touching the reptile is vital to avoid contamination.

Reptiles are a long term investment, some can live for up to 20 years, and tortoises and turtles can live for even longer. So it's worth thinking about this before you take one on. However as with other long term pets, they soon become a part of the family. Tortoises are often passed from one generation to the next, as they live so long.

If you have a hectic schedule, then a reptile is perfect for you. They don't need walking or taking out to the loo, so great for those with little time. They also don't need feeding every day, depending on the type you have. There are various forms of food available too, from frozen to live, so if you are a little squeamish you don't have to wrestle with crickets and mealworms.

The best way to decide upon the reptile for you, is to do as much research as possible. Forewarned is forearmed! The whole family can get involved in this, so that you all know as much as possible about the pet you decide on.