The Difficulties of Mixing Pet Species in One Terrarium

Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) eating fruits

When individuals put up a terrarium, they often want to create a "mini-ecosystem" by incorporating a variety of species that will coexist in the terrarium. While this appears to be a nice concept in principle, it is a challenging dilemma that can only be resolved via much investigation and hard work. It is not something that is advised for the ordinary reptile and amphibian keeper. Consider these issues while considering whether or not to combine species in your terrarium.

Different Requirements for Each Pet Species

Even though the differences appear to be minimal, various animals have different needs. Even in the same general environment, each species has its own niche in the wild, with temperature, light, and humidity varying based on the species' individual habitat (e.g. tree versus ground-dwelling, terrestrial versus aquatic).

It's difficult to create a habitat that nearly resembles the required to keep a single species healthy and stress-free in an unnatural setting (the terrarium). Even if they come from the same location, providing natural conditions for many species is exceedingly difficult.

Bigger Terrarium Needed

Mixed-species terrariums are typically significantly larger and more difficult to maintain than single-species terrariums. The extra area is required to supply each species with the correct environmental conditions and furnishings, as well as to provide each species its own space to hunt and interact in a natural manner. Putting too many diverse species in a tiny tank can lead to tragedy.


Carnivorous animals are not fussy eaters and will consume smaller cagemates of any type. This still holds true for insectivorous species (lizards, frogs, and salamanders); most of these would not hesitate to pursue other tiny creatures if given the chance, especially if confined in a tank with them. Consider the tension that holding an animal in close quarters with a prospective predator causes.

Stress and Fighting

Animals may feel agitated as a result of unexpected behaviors and displays that they do not understand. Normal actions and innocuous displays between species that do not ordinarily interact may be misconstrued, resulting in conflict or discomfort.

Parasites and Diseases

Various locations or ecosystems have different levels of parasite and infectious disease immunity. As a result, one species may have a bug that it can transport without harm. If that bug (whether it's a parasite, virus, or bacterium) is introduced to a species that has natural immunity, the results can be disastrous.


Some frogs, salamanders, and newts may be prone to toxicity. Many of them produce minor skin toxins. These poisons may not be harmful to humans, but they can build up in a tank and create issues if they are absorbed via the skin of other tank residents or if a cagemate eats a poisonous amphibian.

A Single-Species Tank Is Best

Although some individuals appear to do OK with mixed tanks, it is better to stick to one species per tank. Mixing reptile and amphibian species in a terrarium can produce unforeseen outcomes, especially for inexperienced caretakers. Providing the right habitat and reducing stress are just too vital for reptiles and amphibians' health and well-being to risk mixing species.