So you’ve decided to keep a reptile or amphibian as a pet. You’ve done the research, know the supplies you need, and now you have to find a trustworthy place to buy the pet.
Now what? It may surprise you to learn that finding a decent place that sells frogs, toads, salamander, and reptiles can be a challenging endeavor!
Don’t worry, friend. I’m here to help. Over the years, I’ve developed some interesting ways of finding local breeders. I’ll even share one method that might possibly score your a free pet! Keep reading to find out more…
1. Local Breeders
Finding a local breeder is my number one recommended source for reptiles and amphibians. They’re knowledgeable about the species they’re raising and it’s a source of passion for them (most of them).
How I Find Local Breeders…
There are three ways I go about finding local breeders. It’s not difficult and I imagine you’ve already thought of two of three ways. So, let’s jump in and explore. Along the way, I will put these steps into practice by finding local breeders in random cities.
The most obvious thing to do is simply to search google. Type in “buy frogs near me” or “reptile breeders in [insert your state or city/state]”. A quick google search may yield positive results instantly.
Chances are, however, that you’re not going to uncover all the local breeders in your area. “Why not?” you might ask. Well, because not everyone who breeds reptiles and amphibians has a working website on the internet.
Many of them are small. They may or may not be interested in building a website. Oftentimes they opt for a Facebook fan page instead. This, as you might have guessed, brings us to our next point…
Using Facebook to find a local breeder is probably the best way. Breeders with websites usually have a Facebook page too. The reason is that Facebook is a popular platform and it’s easy to stay connected.
Here are some phrases to search: Reptile breeder, amphibian breeder, exotic pets.
Because Facebook has your location, it will yield results closest to you. Explore the businesses and groups.
You’re most likely to find a local breeder using Facebook. If that doesn’t work, I have one more idea…
Reptile Convention/Expo Vendor Listings
Buying reptiles from conventions is a good option. In fact, I have a whole section on this below. That’s not what we’re talking about here.
Many reptile conventions have a website; especially the large ones. On their website’s event page, sometimes they list the vendors attending their expo. What does this mean? Well, some of the vendors are local breeders! Their contact info is listed too.
I’ll use ReptiCon as an example:
- Go to http://repticon.com/ (link opens in a new tab).
- Using their menu, navigate to Locations → Florida → Jacksonville [Figure 1* below]
- Scroll down until you find the floor plan window.
- There are 3 tabs (floor plan, sponsors, and marketplace). Click “Marketplace” [Figure 2* below]
- Find a breeder on this list and click its link.
- Read the description and click the “Contact Us” tab. [Figure 3* below]
- You will find an email, phone number, website, etc.
Congratulations! You just found a list of local breeders in Jacksonville, FL! Now do that search with a city near you. If ReptiCon doesn’t visit your area, google other reptile expos and search their websites for this type of information.
2. Adopt Reptiles & Amphibians
One of the reasons I like the exotic pet community is because of the helpful, caring people. When a person is unable to care for their beloved pet, for whatever reason, there is someone willing to adopt.
You can adopt someone’s reptile or amphibian. You’re helping a fellow human and possibly saving a pet’s life!
I’ve found a few reptile rescue groups in my state. Every day, sometimes multiple times per day, there are people posting in these groups trying to rehome their pet(s). That’s where you come in…
So, how do you find one of these groups? Facebook!
Go to Facebook and search for something like “[Your State] reptile & amphibian rescue“. For example: “Texas reptile & amphibian rescue”.
Some of these groups are private. Send a request to join. Other times you’ll find non-profit groups.
Here is what to expect: There are people of all sorts, of course. Some of them are honestly in need of help and want their pet to go to a good home. They’re willing to give you their beloved pet. Sometimes they come with enclosures, sometimes they don’t. Some people ask for a “re-homing fee”.
My experience adopting a leopard gecko:
My sons had one leopard gecko at the time. She’s great; we still have her. The boys wanted another. I came across a post from a nice lady who could no longer care for her leopard gecko. I sent her a message and we chatted for a bit. She liked her leopard gecko and wanted to ensure he was going to a good home. To make sure I was a good fit, she requested a picture of the habitat I would be keeping him in. After setting up the enclosure, I sent her a picture of it and she loved it! A few days later we met up and I got the leopard gecko. He’s great! The boys still have him.
Your experience may be different than mine but if you’re willing to adopt a pet, it’s worth finding a rescue group.
3. Reptile Conventions
One of my favorite places to acquire pets is at a reptile convention! I’ve talked a little about conventions in a previous section already. In case you had no success using that method; go to a reptile convention!
Go to google and search “reptile conventions near me” or something similar.
Here is a list of some popular reptile/amphibian conventions in the United States.
|Cold Blooded Expos||Website|
|HERPS Exotic Reptile & Pet Show||Website|
|Reptile Super Show||Website|
|Show Me Reptile & Exotics Show||Website|
I apologize to my readers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and other regions. I could use some help expanding this table to include expos in your part of the world! Please let me know what your favorite expos are in the comment section.
4. Online Stores
Buying animals online can be tricky due to shipping. Shipping an amphibian, for example, is challenging because they’re delicate animals. It’s hard to maintain an optimal climate from a cardboard box, especially during the winter months.
Having said that, reputable online stores are well aware of the complications. They pay careful attention to the details (weather, for example). They offer overnight shipping, ensure the animal will be comfortable, and abide by the laws.
Full disclosure: I have not purchased a reptile or amphibian from an online store. I cannot give you honest feedback on this subject.
Having said that, I’ve been in the hobby long enough to learn of two reputable online stores. Again, I have not purchased animals from either of these websites but they have a good name in the hobby. That’s all I can tell you. Do with this information what you will.
Have you bought an amphibian online? The readers and I would love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.
5. Local Stores
Local pet stores can be good or bad, depending on how well their animals are cared for.
Large chain pet stores are notorious for not knowing where they get their pets and even dealing with wholesalers known to mistreat animals. Independently owned pet stores are typically better at caring for their animals but not always. Again, it depends…
In order for you to get a solid understanding of what can happen at the suppliers of the large chain pet stores, I’m going to direct you to a link on PETA’s website. They did a good job exposing the terrible treatment of reptiles and amphibians at one supplier. Warning: this content is graphic: click here to see. By the way, I don’t support PETA or other anti-pet groups.
After seeing this, it’s hard to support big chain pet stores that acquire pets from suppliers like this. It’s for this reason that I encourage you not to purchase from one of these places.
This doesn’t mean all local pet stores are bad, however. As I mentioned earlier, some independent pet stores are knowledgeable about the pets they sell and they take very good care of them. Use your best judgment.
TLDR; Where to Buy Amphibians or Reptiles
The previous section talked about local stores and how they’ve been known to mistreat animals. This is mostly the case in large chain pet stores. For this reason, I recommend finding a local breeder.
Finding a local breeder can be as easy as searching Google. Another method is to find breeders through Facebook. Alternatively, you can find reptile and amphibian rescue groups on Facebook. This would give you the opportunity to adopt a pet that needs a new home!
Going to a reptile convention is one of the best means of acquiring exotic animals, too! Online pet stores are available but I personally haven’t tested them because it is challenging to keep a comfortable climate in a shipping box, I recommend trying to find a local breeder first.
I hope this article helps you find what you’re looking for! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to reply within a timely manner. Also, don’t forget to learn about the initial setup and ongoing cost of keeping frogs as pets.