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By Melissa Kaplan

Red-eared sliders, box turtles, red tail boa, garter snakes, Burmese pythons, green iguanas, king snakes, sulcata tortoises… So many reptiles make great pets that’s it hard to choose what you want for the first pet, or the next pet. Learn about some of herp choices for the novice and experienced herp owner.

About the author(s)
Melissa Kaplan Melissa is the author of Iguanas for Dummies as well as numerous articles on reptiles. She contributed two chapters to the 3-volume work The Biology, Husbandry and Health Care of Reptiles (Lowell Ackerman, DVM, editor), and co-authored the top-rated Captive Care of the Green Iguana video (Scimitar Productions, UK).

Melissa’s training and background in wildlife rehabilitation, animal behavior observation and veterinary clinical nursing procedures have all contributed her to study of and the care and keeping of reptiles. Through the years, she has been actively involved in reptile rescue and rehabilitation, consulting with pet owners, veterinarians, and animal regulatory agencies on reptile care, behavior and welfare issues. In 1997, she earned her master’s in education, with her thesis, "Classroom Reptiles."

Her website,, contains a wealth of information on the care, health and behavior of reptiles in captivity and in the wild.

An article,"Meet Melissa Kaplan," appeared in the January 2000 issue of Reptile Hobbyist magazine. She is also on the staff of Melissa currently lives in Northern California, and is presently co-habiting with a Cyclura iguana, blue-tongue skink, a ballpython and various chelonians. Melissa continues to promote herp welfare through her website, as well as advocate on the behalf of those stricken with invisible disabilities through her Chronic Neuroimmune Diseases site.

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