15 Unique Exotic Reptiles In The World (2023)

Reptiles are intriguing, diverse creatures. Some are common and cheap, while others are unique and expensive. This post will cover 15 exotic reptiles that collectors and fans covet. We’ll examine why chameleons and geckos are so remarkable and pricey. Whether you’re a reptile expert or new to exotic pets, this article will introduce you to some of the world’s most fascinating critters.

15 Unique Exotic Reptiles In The World

1. Spider-Tailed Horned Viper

Spider-Tailed Horned Viper
Spider-Tailed Horned Viper
Scientific Name Pseudocerastes urarachnoides
Size Up to 70 cm
Color Grey-brown, white with black stripes
Location Western Iran
Diet birds, lizards, rodents, and arthropods

The snake is an excellent mimic. When a digested lark was discovered in the stomach of the paratype specimen, the authors who named the species thought that the tail was used as a lure to attract birds.

Field investigations have proven the use of the tail to entice birds (an example of caudal luring); the tail is moved in a figure-of-eight pattern.

2. Hankel’s Leaf-Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name Uroplatus hankeli
Size Up to 15 cm
Color Shades of brown, gray, and white
Location Madagascar
Diet small invertebrates

Henkel’s leaf-tailed gecko is an arboreal creature that only comes down to the ground to lay eggs in soft soil and leaf litter.

The IUCN has rated Henkel’s leaf-tailed gecko as vulnerable. The greatest threat to this animal’s future in Madagascar is habitat destruction and deforestation, as well as collection for the pet trade.

The World Wide Fund for Wildlife (WWF) includes all Uroplatus species on its “Top ten most sought species list” of animals threatened by illicit wildlife trade because they are “caught and sold at alarming rates for the worldwide pet trade.” It is listed on CITES Appendix 2 as a protected species.

3. Tangerine Dream Honduran Milk Snake

Tangerine Dream Honduran Milk Snake
Tangerine Dream Honduran Milk Snake | Credit: morphmarket
Scientific Name Lampropeltis hondurensis
Size 3 to 5 feet
Color Bright orange with black bands
Location Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
Diet mice

It is one of the largest milk snakes, reaching a length of 5 feet, and is one of the more widely raised milk snakes in captivity.

The Honduras milk snake kills its food through constriction and is opportunistic in its diet, eating other snakes (ophiophagy), including venomous snakes, lizards, rodents, birds, and eggs.

They are successfully kept in captivity on a diet of mice and rats. Honduran milk snakes reach sexual maturity at the age of 18 months.

The females are oviparous, laying 3-18 eggs per clutch in early June on average. The eggs incubate for around two months before hatching in August or September.

4. Spiny Bush Viper

Scientific Name Atheris hispida
Size Up to 60 cm long
Color Green or brown with spiny scales
Location Central Africa, specifically Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon
Diet frogs, lizards, small mammals, birds, and snails

The Spiny Bush Viper is an African venomous snake. It is distinguished by its heavily keeled dorsal scales, which give its skin a distinct’shaggy’, almost bristly appearance.

The scales around the head and neck are the longest, and they gradually decrease posteriorly. Spiny bush vipers can be green, olive green, bluish, or brownish in hue, with a yellow or pale olive belly.

In comparison to the females, the males of this species are shockingly long and slender.

5. Dragon Snake

Dragon Snake
Dragon Snake | Credit: Herpetoeditor commons.wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Scientific Name Xenodermus javanicus
Size 1.5 to 1.8 meters
Color Dark brown
Location Southeast Asia
Diet tadpoles, frogs, and small fish

Look for a hemipenial bulge in the overall size, tail thickness, tail length, and cloacal vent to distinguish males from females. In addition to having longer, thinner tails and no hemipenial bulge, females will be larger than males.

Males, on the other hand, will be smaller, with thicker, longer tails and a hemipenial bulge. They appear to be unaffected by severe threats, and they can survive on moist agricultural sites such as rice fields. Agricultural pollution could pose a harm to them.

6. Mata Mata Turtle 

Mata Mata Turtle 
Mata Mata Turtle | Credit: factanimal
Scientific Name Chelus fimbriata
Size Up to 45 cm (18 inches)
Color Brown to black with ridged shell
Location Found in the Amazon basin
Diet fish and aquatic invertebrates, small birds, and small mammals

The mata mata is a huge, sedentary turtle with a triangular, flattened head, multiple tubercles and skin flaps, and a “spike” on its long, tubular snout.

The upper jaw has four filamentous barbels and three chin barbels. Full-grown adults weigh 21 kg (46 lb).

The mata mata’s plastron is narrower, hingeless, shortened in front, and deeply notched at the back with small bridges. They may camouflage the turtle as bark to avoid predators.

7. Rainbow Agama

Rainbow Agama
Rainbow Agama
Scientific Name Agama agama
Size 12-20 inches
Color Rainbow-colored scales (red, orange, yellow, green, blue)
Location Native to sub-Saharan Africa
Diet ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and termites

Common agamas eat insects, but they have also been observed to consume small mammals, reptiles, and plant material like flowers, grasses, and fruits.

Termites, ants, grasshoppers, and beetles make up the majority of their diet. They catch their prey using their tongue, which has a mucous gland-covered tip that gives them the ability to grasp onto tiny animals.

Male agamas are territorial and must engage in combat with other males to establish their dominance. Agamas exist in social groups that consist of a dominant male as the leader, a few dozen females, and inferior males.

8. Dead Leaf Mantis

Dead Leaf Mantis
Dead Leaf Mantis
Scientific Name Deroplatys desiccata
Size Female: 6 cm, Male: 5 cm
Color Brown with leaf-like markings
Location Southeast Asia
Diet small insects

On the ground, among the fallen leaves, on tree bark, or swinging from branches or vines are where you’ll typically find them. As long as you can distinguish them from the surroundings, their distinctive appearance will leave an immediate impact.

Warmer temperatures and a humid atmosphere that draws different insects are preferred by the Dead Leaf Mantis. The Dead Leaf Mantis has a wide range of hunting opportunities thanks to its naturally moist habitat.

9. Madagascar Worm Snake

Madagascar Worm Snake
Madagascar Worm Snake | Credit: PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BLAIR HEDGES (nationalgeographic)
Scientific Name Madatyphlops madagascariensis
Size Up to 50 cm (20 in) in length
Color Dark brown or black
Location Madagascar
Diet ants and termites

Madagascar worm snakes eat ants and termites in forests. Humans are safe from them. The Madagascar worm snake is cylindrical with a short, pointed head like other blind snakes.

Since it burrows underground or through leaf litter, it is rarely observed in the wild. They manage insect populations and are vital to the ecosystem despite their modest size and secrecy.

10. Nosy Hara Leaf Chameleon

Scientific Name Brookesia Micra
Size Up to 29mm
Color Brown
Location Nosy Hara, Madagascar
Diet tiny insects such as fruit flies, ants

Brookesia Micra chameleons have stumpy tails. It climbs trees with its tail. Biologists think insular dwarfism makes the reptile small.

Its diminutive size permits it to survive on an island with limited food and become sexually mature earlier. Brookeisa Micras have 20 vertebrae while larger chameleons have 50.

The tree-roosting chameleon turns pale grey at night. This somehow makes them more visible.

11. Pinocchio Lizard

Pinocchio Lizard
Pinocchio Lizard | Credit: David Weiller (@Youtube)
Scientific Name Anolis proboscis
Size Up to 15 cm
Color Brown or green
Location Ecuador
Diet active canopy insects

The proboscis, a stretchy, blunt appendage that extends 85% of the head length, is one of its most distinctive traits. Due to its flexibility, male-male fighting is unlikely.

The proboscis may make males appear larger, which could provide them an advantage in male-male interactions. Finally, because it’s sexually dimorphic, the proboscis cannot regulate temperature or lure prey.

12. Thorny Devil

Thorny Devil
Thorny Devil
Scientific Name Moloch horridus
Size Up to 8 inches
Color Thorny brown scales
Location Australia
Diet ants

The top of the body of the thorny devil is covered with a scary array of spikes. These sharp scales also protect it from being eaten. You can also avoid being eaten by using camouflage and tricks. This lizard walks in a strange way.

It freezes and rocks as it slowly moves around looking for food, water, and mates. The thorny devil also has a spiny “false head” on the back of its neck, which it shows to potential predators by dipping its real head. Soft tissue is used to make the “false head.”

13. Panther Chameleon

Panther Chameleon
Panther Chameleon
Scientific Name Furcifer pardalis
Size 30-50 cm (12-20 in)
Color Various color morphs, including green, blue, red, orange, and yellow
Location Madagascar and surrounding islands
Diet crickets, mealworms, waxworms, superworms, grasshoppers, silkworms, and Madagascar roaches

Panther chameleons, like all chameleons, have a unique toe arrangement. The five toes on each foot are fused into two groups of two and three; these unique feet help the panther chameleon to maintain a strong hold on narrow twigs.

For climbing, each toe has a sharp claw to gain traction on surfaces such as bark. On the forelimbs, each foot has two toes on the outside (distal) side and three on the inside (medial). The configuration is inverted on the hind legs, with two toes fused medially and three distally.

14. Mississippi Map Turtle

Mississippi Map Turtle
Mississippi Map Turtle | Credit: William L. Farr commons.wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Scientific Name Graptemys pseudogeographica kohni
Size Adults grow to be 6-10 inches in length
Color Dark olive to black with yellow or orange markings on the head, legs, and tail
Location Found in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Missouri and Illinois rivers, in the United States
Diet aquatic insects, carrion, mollusks, and some aquatic vegetation

As their name suggests, they live mostly in Mississippi. They can also be found in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, as well as along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers.

The patterns on a map turtle’s body are also how it got its name. These lines look like contour lines on a map of elevations.

Mississippi Map Turtles are more nervous than many other pet turtles, but they are also unique. They are great pets for people who want to take care of a reptile that is more for show than for eating.

15. Leopard Gecko

Leopard Gecko
Leopard Gecko | Credit: exopetguides
Scientific Name Eublepharis macularius
Size Up to 10 inches
Color Varied, usually yellow or brown with black spots
Location Native to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India
Diet  live insects

Leopard geckos are opportunistic predators that consume a wide range of animals.

Invertebrates are thought to make up the majority of wild geckos’ diets, although in captivity, they will eat small vertebrate prey such as mouse pups and even hatchling leopard geckos if given the chance.

Breeders of captive leopard geckos report that well fed leopard geckos would not cannibalise their young, and that cannibalism appears to occur primarily in poorly nourished individuals.


In conclusion, collectors and fans of exotic reptiles are driving up demand and costs. These 15 rare and pricey reptiles are treasured for their unique traits, startling colours, and elusiveness.

While having one of these exotic species may be expensive, remember the responsibility of caring for and protecting them. Before buying an exotic pet, do your research and prepare for its care.


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