Do you want a pet lizard? If so, which one is the best for you?
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the pros and cons of each of the most popular pet lizards. We will also provide tips on how to care for your new lizard friend.
So, whether you are considering a gecko, an iguana, or something else entirely, read on for the inside scoop!!
List of Pet Lizards
- Bearded Dragon
- Leopard Gecko
- Panther Chameleon
- African Fire Skink
- Chinese Water Dragon
- Green Iguana
- Caiman Lizard
- Monitor lizards
- Tokay gecko
- Blue tongued skink
- Frilled dragon
- Crested gecko
Bearded dragons are one of the most recognizable and greatest pet lizards in herpetology history. These reptiles are docile, beginner-friendly, and may grow close connections with people. They’re always up for some fun, and once they’ve gained trust in their owners, they don’t mind being handled.
This is my top choice as the “easiest” and more importantly, the most child-friendly reptile due to its simplicity of maintenance, and being active during daylight hours.
The most common pet lizard in the world. The Central Bearded Dragon is found all throughout southern Australia – Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales.
Its docile temperament is responsible for its popularity as a pet. More so once they’ve passed through the infant and juvenile stages (0-12 months). Although they are still calm at one year of age, they become far more jumpy and startled. And when it comes to any handling, it’s a problem since they’re very quick when young
Bearded dragons consume both insect and plants throughout their lives.
They also need specialized light from a white heat bulb with a basking zone of about 38-40 degrees. They require an appropriate level of UVB exposure through a reflected UVB tube at the correct distances for their required exposure (not all-In-one or coil UVB).
Bearded dragons should have a minimum size of 4ft x 2ft x 2ft for their vivarium, which should be their permanent home. The average length of an adult Bearded Dragon is about 20 inches, so if you can, go larger then I would recommend doing so.
Bearded dragons can live up to 10 years in captivity, with some surviving much longer thanks to our current husbandry knowledge and technological improvements.
Bearded Dragons are a lively reptile when provided the appropriate lighting, vivarium space, enrichment items, and environmental variables.
The leopard gecko is one of the most popular pet lizards in the trade (and one of the most popular types of pet geckos). They are readily available from many pet shops, and they are easy on the pocket too.
Leopard geckos are named for the black and brown spots that cover their entire body. These markings, against the yellow-tan background color, create a beautiful pattern that is reminiscent of leopard cats. Leopard geckos grow to be about 7 to 10 inches long as adults.
Typically found in Asia’s mountainous regions and throughout Afghanistan, northern India, and Pakistan.
This tiny gecko species, which has an average length of 10 inches and lives for 15-20 years, is a quiet and docile creature.
They do tolerate brief handling sessions, as they are a crepuscular species (more active during dawn and dusk periods). They do, however, tend to continue moving once they’re out of the enclosure, making it more difficult for little children.
They need a minimum enclosure size of 3ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft, with larger ones preferable but not required. They require overhead heating since heat always travels from the top down in nature. They also require UVB during the day, which is provided by the Arcadia ShadeDweller.
They are an insect-only diet species and prefer to eat once the lights are out.
The panther chameleon is a sought-after species of Madagascar’s lowlands, and reptile enthusiasts adore it. Some lovely color variants result from the lizard’s ability to change colors.
The panther, like other chameleon species, doesn’t want to be handled. It would prefer to stay in its safe haven as long as possible.
The history of this species in the pet trade is unusual. When it was first introduced from Madagascar in the 1980s, little was known about them. As a consequence, many captive lizards did not live for long.
Fortunately, much has changed in recent decades. We have considerably more knowledge about the requirements of this pet lizard, which has resulted in improved longevity. A panther chameleon can live from three to seven years if properly cared for in captivity.
Chameleons are generally quite territorial. If you tamper with their territory, they may hiss and strike at you. However, once they’re out of their cage on your arm, they’ll be the most calm-tempered chameleon ever.
African Fire Skink
African fire skinks are lovely animals that are both friendly and simple to maintain, making them ideal for individuals with little reptile expertise. Despite their laid-back attitudes, these house lizards aren’t dull in the least. They’re gorgeous creatures that you’ll want to flaunt!
The fire skink has a stocky, long body like other skink species. The legs are rather small, despite their strength. Lizards with hues of black, white, or silver may be seen. Of course, they have bright red scales as well. It’s how they acquired their name!
Overall, African fire skinks are low-maintenance in captivity. They don’t have stringent food preferences and aren’t overly particular about what they eat. One thing they do need, however, is natural décor.
The lizard may become anxious if there are no logs, driftwood, hide boxes, or pebbles to enrich their environment.
Chinese Water Dragon
Although Chinese water dragons are often confused with green iguanas, you’ll notice several distinct physical characteristics that distinguish them from one another.
The tail accounts for around 70% of the reptile’s length. Males reach approximately three feet in adulthood, therefore the tail is proportionally long when compared to the rest of the body.
The chinese water dragon’s color is also appealing. Their adult colors range from bright green to vivid mint, and they become darker as they get older. They acquire this hue over many years, which is astonishing. The younger ones are usually a bit duller in tone, taking on a browner appearance.
Because of the larger size, a significant set-up is required. An adult’s vivarium should be at least 5ft x 2ft x 3ft in dimensions.
They are omnivores, but their diet is mostly insect-based, with greens offered as needed for nutritional variety.
Again, UVB is essential, as it is with all of the species on this list. A mid-30 degree basking zone is also required.
The relative humidity should be between 80% and 85%, which is important for this species. This may necessitate several spray downs each day, or the use of an automated misting system.
The Green iguana (Iguana iguana) is a plant-eating herbivore from Brazil, Paraguay, the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands.
The green iguana is a arboreal species that spends the majority of its time in trees. Many people consider the green iguana to be one of the world’s finest and most readily available pet lizards. Every year, approximately one million green iguanas are imported into the United States.
The green iguana grows to be enormous. Adults can reach a maximum length of 6 to 7 feet.
As a result, they necessitate big enclosures. While many people start them off in standard vivariums or reptile terrariums, they soon outgrow such containers. They require larger habitats that are at least 12 feet long by six feet wide and six feet tall when they reach adulthood.
These are very territorial large animals and I would not recommend them to novices.
The caiman lizard is a species that thrives in a particular environment and requires specialized conditions. These reptiles cannot be kept in simple vivaria or normal cages. They must be able to immerse themselves in water at all times.
Another distinctive feature of the lizard is its diet. In the wild, it eats aquatic snails most of the time. They have a powerful neck and jaw that can break through a hard shell with ease.
Caiman lizards might be difficult for novices because to their complicated care requirements.
There are about 80 different species of monitor lizards. However, the most popular in the reptile-keeping hobby are Bosc’s and Ackie monitors, which are native to Africa and Australia, respectively.
Bosc Monitors are a large, carnivorous lizard that can reach a length of around 4 feet.
The Ackies monitor, a native of arid regions in Australia, is a revered reptile species. They are from the same genus as the Komodo dragon. They also have an alert look similar to that of the komodo dragon. However, Ackies monitors are far friendlier and laid-back than their counterparts.
Ackies may reach lengths of up to 28 inches when fully grown. As a result, having an Ackies monitor might be quite time-consuming.
They will need a cage that is large enough to accommodate their enormous size, so it’ll be 6ft x 3ft x 2ft or larger. Ideally, you should choose 8ft 3in 3in. Anything smaller would be unjust to the reptile in this case.
They will enjoy the hunt for food you provide while they would happily lay basking under their given heat and UVB all day, but they will also enjoy the game of finding it. Because bosc’s eat insects as well as defrosted frozen rodents, a mixed diet is suggested.
In terms of behavior, these are usually a very calm species. However, because to their size and requirements for upkeep, I believe they are not suitable for beginners. They have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
The Uromastyx is a unique and interesting lizard that you may adopt as your own.
There are numerous kinds of Uro in Africa and Asia. The Moroccan and Mali are the most popular, followed by the Ornate and Geyri. As a result, they like dry and arid climates. They will not live in enclosures with humid assistance or substrates that retain moisture.
You’ll get a calm herbivorous species for whatever Uro species you pick. The maximum size of the commonly kept variety is going to be around 20 inches.
You should expect to set up a vivarium 4ft x 2ft x 2ft in size, which is comparable to the Bearded Dragon. The UVB demands are also very similar. Although the basking zone of the Uromastyx may be somewhat warmer.
You’ll have a lizard that will bask and eat throughout the day if you provide it with the appropriate care. You may keep your lizard for 15 years or more if you take proper care of it.
Try the uromastyx for size if you’re looking for a rare and unusual pet lizard to call your own. This species has only been available in the pet trade for a short time. They are highly sought-after by collectors, making them difficult to find.
This is a terrtorial crepuscular arboreal gecko from Asia. It is native to several Pacific islands as well. The Tokay gecko grows on average 12 inches long and lives 8 to 10 years in ideal circumstances.
This beautiful lizard only consumes insects, with amazing hues and an attitude that reflects its reputation.
A pet lizard that is only used as a showpiece. I highly doubt you’ll be handling them much, if at all, for vet appointments, etc. They are known to be shy and aggressive in my experience, which is certainly the case.
They’re similar to the Crested gecko in terms of daily care, but I’d aim for a larger terrarium size of 60cm x 45cm x 60cm. Real foliage, plants, and cork-bark chips will help them stay moist while also providing a thorough spray down on a daily basis.
They are virtually never observed during the day, but you can discover them basking under the provided heat and UVB. They’ll dash back into concealment once they’ve been seen, though.
Blue tongued skink
The blue-tongue skink isn’t the world’s most colorful lizard species. When they open their mouths, however, they have a stunning flash of color.
The lizard’s body is usually light brown. However, there is some variation between the subspecies. You could see hues of orange, red, or gray. Whatever the situation, all these lizards have a bright blue tongue and mouth!
These reptiles have an unusual physique that is quite unique. They are huge and hefty in build. The legs, when compared to their stature, are fairly tiny. When buried, these lizards may be confused with snakes due to the scaly skin and small legs.
This lovely lizard, which is native to Australia’s woods and grasslands, has become increasingly fashionable in the last decade. It requires similar care as the Bearded Dragon.
The Frilled Dragon lizard is a species native to Australia’s Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea. Their name comes from the enormous “frill” surrounding their head and shoulders. It will widen out when threatened, appearing quite magnificent.
The Frilled dragon is also a large lizard, surviving about 12 years in captivity.
The length of this monster may reach 36 inches, which necessitates a similar setup as the Chinese water dragon. That’s a vivarium that is 5ft x 2ft x 3ft or larger in terms of enclosure size.
The crested gecko is a pet lizard that can live for up to 20 years, that needs a lot of dedication. That isn’t an issue for most reptile enthusiasts, to say the least. This species is one of the most popular in the trade and may be found in captivity across the world!
This lizard is native to New Caledonia’s forests and has a protruding eye socket that gives it the appearance of eye lashes.
The fringed crest that runs down the head and back distinguishes crested geckos from other lizards. This prickly physical feature varies in size among lizards. However, it is present in all of them.
They need a lot of greenery to hide among and climb on, as they’re tree dwellers.
They also need a suitable humidity range of 60-80% each day, via a daily spray down or two.
In general, it’s a relatively simple species to care for, but because they are somewhat reclusive, they may not always react well. Some do not like them at all. So keep in mind that your gecko could be for show only.
Which is the best lizard for kids?
The Bearded Dragon, in my opinion, is the finest lizard for youngsters. This is especially true when the dragon is over a year old and has bigger size and agility. Younger dragons might be more difficult to control for little children.
Which is the best large pet lizard?
This is very much determined by your definition of big. Well cared for Bearded dragons, can grow to over 20 inches in length. However, when compared to a Bosc, it’s not even close. I consider the Bosc from the list above as the greatest biggest and, without a doubt, one of my favorite species.
Which is the best small pet lizard?
In my opinion, the Crested gecko and Leopard gecko are equally gorgeous, as well as fulfilling, in their own special ways.
Which is the best lizard for handling?
Again, I would have to say The Bearded Dragon is the best for handling.
Which is a low-maintenance lizard?
I don’t believe any of the lizards mentioned are low-maintenance. All lizards are far from low maintenance due to their varied dietary requirements and habitat requirements that have to be met for each species’ evolutionary needs.
Which lizards can live together?
Most reptiles are quite territorial, battling or dominating others to obtain food, basking spaces, hiding places, and so on.
It’s just not worth the risk and heartache of transporting an injured lizard to the veterinarian for treatment that may have been readily prevented.
How long do lizards live?
This is determined by the species. As well as the care given by the keeper(s). It’s critical that you learn about your lizard’s nutritional, UVB, and heating requirements. Don’t be tempted to cut corners on research or equipment purchases.
As soon as possible, register your lizard with a specialist reptile/exotics veterinarian.
Where to buy a lizard?
You have a few alternatives, you can go to a pet store or a reptile breeder.
I’ve used both options myself many times throughout the last 10+ years, and I’ve never had an issue with either.
When it comes to locating a good store, visit a specialist reptile shop rather than a large chain retailer. The staff will be far more knowledgable about the animals that a large shop that sells a wide variety of animals.