IN THIS ARTICLE
- The 12 Best Pet Lizards for Beginners
- Benefits of Keeping Lizards as Pets
- Factors to Consider Before Getting a Lizard
- Common Mistakes to Avoid When Keeping Lizards
- Join the Lizard-Loving Community Today!
If you’re looking for an exotic pet, a lizard is a great option. However, they do require a high level of specialized care. For instance, lizards are ectothermic (cold-blooded). This means that they use their habitat to regulate their temperature. As such, their environment should include objects that radiate heat in one area, as well as a supply of cooler energy in another area.
This article will outline the best pet lizards for beginners. Additionally, you’ll learn about the care requirements for each species, the factors to consider before acquiring a pet lizard, and what common mistakes to avoid.
The 12 Best Pet Lizards for Beginners
Lizards have a range of diverse needs. For that reason, it’s important to know how to properly care for them, especially if you’re a beginner. The guide below will discuss the unique features, care requirements, diet preferences, habitat basics, and pros and cons of various species of lizards.
1. Leopard Gecko
Leopard Geckos, better known as “Leos,” is one of the best reptiles for beginners. Their care requirements are basic and straightforward, and they’re generally easy to manage. Leos have lively personalities which make them fascinating to watch. They come in different colors, patterns, and various morphs that are great for enthusiasts.
Leos are nocturnal and mostly ground-based. They don’t climb walls so they’re much easier to tame. However, they do have eyelids, which is unusual for geckos. Regarding their habitat, a tank with a minimum size of 10 gallons is required. However, it’s better to place them in a larger tank. Fish tanks without water work well. To maintain the humidity and hydration levels of your Leo, you can soak it in shallow, lukewarm water for anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this process at least once or twice a week. If your Leo is shedding a lot, you can increase the duration of soaking per week. You’ll also need to clean the tank more often due to shedding.
Leos are insectivores. This means that their primary food source is insects. Your Leo should be fed every day or every second day. You can feed it crickets, super worms, waxworms, and dubia roaches. Make sure that your Leo always has fresh water.
2. Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragons have a friendly and calm demeanor, making them great for handling. Hence, they’re especially suitable for beginners as they’re usually quite docile. You’ll rarely find aggressive behavior from Bearded Dragons. However, their nutritional needs and environmental requirements are slightly more complex.
You’ll need to house your Bearded Dragon in a 55-75-gallon tank size. You could place younger ones in a smaller tank, but they’ll quickly outgrow it. Due to the tree-dwelling nature of a Bearded Dragon, it’s important to ensure that the tank is secured on all sides, especially the top area. It’s also vital to maintain the temperature levels in the tank. This should range between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit for a cooler temperament. The temperatures at night can vary anywhere between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bearded Dragons are omnivores and require a mix of insects as well as vegetables. They should be fed at least once a day. Crickets should be the primary food source. However, you can feed a combination of insects to the adults such as crickets, earthworms, silkworms, and waxworms. The size of the food items is vital. Don’t feed your Bearded Dragon anything larger in size than the distance between their eyes. Remember to dust the food with vitamin D and calcium weekly to prevent bone disease.
3. Crested Gecko
Crested Geckos are unique, fascinating, easy to manage, and one of the most famous pet reptiles in the world. Crested Geckos are absolutely beautiful and come in a wide variety of patterns and colors. As more of them are bred, different morphs and pattern variations are created. Their lifespan typically ranges between 15-20 years, so the commitment is lengthy. However, their lifespan can be negatively affected if they’re constantly exposed to stress and improper care.
A Crested Gecko should be housed in a minimum 20-gallon tank size. They spend most of their time in trees, so remember to provide a similar environment that allows for vertical motion and climbing. You can use a variety of vines, driftwood, and bamboo as climbing branches. Additionally, you’ll need to add plants to their tanks to maintain humidity levels. The temperature requirements range between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another advantage of Crested Geckos is their low-maintenance diet. You can feed them live insects like waxworms, roaches, and crickets. Remember to dust calcium and vitamin D3 on their food a few times a week to maintain a healthy diet.
4. African Fat-tailed Gecko
African Fat-tailed Geckos are one of the lesser-known species. However, they’re peaceful, affordable, easy to manage, require a low-maintenance living environment, and make great pets. As the name suggests, the most distinctive feature is their fat tail. Interestingly, African Fat-tailed Geckos can lose their tail if they get into a fight. However, the cool thing is that it will grow back a completely different color. Another unique feature of these lizards is their functioning eyelids which shield them from any dust that could hurt or damage their eyes.
African Fat-tailed Geckos can perform well in a 10-gallon minimum tank size. It’s important to create a natural wildlife environment. These pet reptiles require a habitat that absorbs and supports moisture. Use substances like shredded pieces of newspaper, coconut thread, and orchid bark. Hide boxes are vital and need to be added to their tank. You can either purchase a ready-made box or build one yourself.
African Fat-tailed Geckos are insectivores. Their diet should only consist of insects that are high in protein. You can feed them crickets, canned snails, silkworms, waxworms, and caterpillars. Sprinkle vitamin D and calcium supplements on their food for every second feeding. Additionally, they’re nocturnal reptiles so they’ll be much more active during the night.
5. Blue-tongue Skink
Blue-tongue Skinks are one of the best-loved pet reptiles. Generally easy to care for, they’re perfect for beginners. These pet lizards are known for their unique blue tongue. They are medium-sized and grow to a length of 20-25 inches.
Their diet is pretty versatile. As omnivores, they should be fed a variety of vegetables, fruits, and animals. You can feed them leafy greens, blueberries, melon, pumpkin, small mice, and commercial food for reptiles and insects such as crickets, roaches, and worms. Additionally, make sure that they have fresh drinking water available. The habitat for Blue-tongue Skinks should consist of a plastic or glass enclosure. You can fill this with shredded newspaper, soil, or orchid bark. Additionally, you need to add a hide box in their enclosure.
6. Green Anole
Green Anoles make great pet lizards. They are affordable, small in size, and are known for their eye-catching green color. Insectivores by nature, you need to feed them high-protein insects daily. These creatures are quite fragile and shouldn’t be carried or handled much or at all. They have a short life span of up to seven years. Green Anoles are arboreal and will require vertical climbing setups. Active during the day, they have a fun and curious personality.
7. Water Dragon
Water Dragons are harmless which makes them great pet lizards. Additionally, the more they’re handled, the friendlier they become. Water Dragons are colorful and attractive. Ideally, their habitat should consist of climbing and exploring vertical spaces. They need to be in an environment that absorbs moisture. Water Dragons are omnivores, making their diet quite varied. You can feed them insects, pinky mice, vegetables, and fruits.
Uromastyx comes in 15 different species. Their habitat consists of rough and extremely dry climates which makes them quite adaptable. For this reason, they’re generally easy to maintain as pet lizards. Their most distinctive feature is their spiny tail. They come in vibrant and striking colors and are usually 10-18 inches long. They have a long lifespan of around 15-20 years. Their diet includes fruits, vegetables like leafy greens, and some insects on an occasional basis. Dust their food with multivitamins once a week. Uromastyx requires high levels of heat and strong UV radiation to survive.
9. Tokay Gecko
Tokay Geckos are nocturnal and mostly sleep during the day. Known for their vibrant colors, they can be aggressive but are much calmer with regular interaction. This could make them difficult to handle, especially for beginners. Interestingly, their tails will detach when escaping from predators.
Tokay Gecko’s habitat should consist of hide boxes, climbing features, and secure enclosures to prevent them from escaping. They require a minimum size of a 20-gallon tank. Their diet preference includes high-protein insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, worms, and roaches. You can also feed them pinky mice. Note that calcium supplements should be dusted on their meals.
The most unique and well-known feature of Chameleons is their color-changing ability. Additionally, they possess highly specialized characteristics, like stereoscopic eyes, and are built for climbing.
Chameleons might not be the best choice for beginners due to their complex care needs. Their habitat requires a ventilated enclosure with lots of growth space. The humidity and temperature levels require constant monitoring. As insectivores, their diet includes crickets, snails, butterflies, ants, caterpillars, flies, wasps, and even smaller lizards. Their food needs to be dusted with a calcium supplement every week.
11. Frilled Dragon
Frilled Dragons are rare and fascinating creatures. Known for the frills around their necks, they possess a calm composure and have simple nutritional needs. This makes them great pets for beginners. Frilled Dragons are arboreal, and their habitat should include enough climbing opportunities in a 55-gallon tank size minimum.
As omnivores, they usually eat a lot of super worms and crickets. Additionally, you can feed them carrots, green beans, and leafy greens. Like other species, their food should be dusted with multivitamins and calcium every second day.
12. Green Iguana
Green Iguanas are known to be affectionate. They are large lizards and can grow to around 5-6 feet in length. They come in a variety of bright colors and are highly adaptable. Their habitat requires a custom screen or cage. The correct size of the cage is based on the physical size of your Iguana. To determine the cage size, measure the length of your Iguana and double this measurement. Additionally, the cage needs to be 6 feet tall and the width of the cage can be the same measurement as the width of the Iguana. They need a lot of climbing opportunities.
Green Iguanas are herbivores and should be fed a variety of leafy greens like collards, lettuce, and black mustard seeds. You can also feed them broccoli and kale but only in small amounts. Their fruits should also be rationed to a maximum of twice a week. Vegetables such as green beans and carrots are also great options.
Benefits of Keeping Lizards as Pets
There are many benefits to owning pet lizards:
- Many species are pretty low-maintenance and easy to handle.
- They possess unique adaptable abilities, temperature regulation, and habitual lifestyle.
- Pet lizards only require the correct size tank as an enclosure to live in. This ensures that they’re kept in one space instead of moving around freely. This helps you to have more control over the space within your environment.
- Many lizards have eccentric and fascinating personalities which are quite entertaining to observe, especially for enthusiasts.
Factors to Consider Before Getting a Lizard
Although there are many species available for beginners, it’s still essential to consider other important factors before committing to having a pet lizard:
- You have to understand your pet lizard’s specific care needs and ensure that they’re being met to the best of your ability.
- Different lizards have different lifespans, grow to different lengths, and have different environmental requirements. All of which directly affect the amount of time and energy that you’ll invest in looking after a pet lizard.
- Although many lizards have basic nutritional requirements, the financial aspect of acquiring their food and setup needs to be considered.
- There are important legal aspects to consider. You may need to obtain a permit or license to own a lizard. Furthermore, your lizard should be legally and ethically sourced from a reputable supplier.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Keeping Lizards
It’s natural to feel excited about purchasing your first pet lizard. However, it’s still essential to take your time and do the necessary research before making a purchase.
- Be sure to do your due diligence and proper research instead of giving in to impulse buying.
- The habitat requirements for your pet lizard are extremely important. If you don’t have the correct lighting, proper heat and humidity levels, and adequate housing, your lizard may be subject to health issues that affect its lifespan.
- Consider the nutritional needs of the lizard you want to acquire. Always provide a balanced diet for your pet lizard. Additionally, overfeeding or under-feeding your lizard can lead to a lot of health problems and reduce its lifespan drastically.
- Avoid mishandling your lizard. Some lizards can be handled more frequently than others, while certain lizards shouldn’t be handled at all. You can hurt, or even kill your lizard if you mishandle it.
Join the Lizard-Loving Community Today!
Lizards are exciting and exotic creatures that make great pets. There are many different options to choose from for beginners. Each species comes with its own set of nutritional and environmental requirements that need to be adhered to for a long and healthy lifespan.
To get the best equipment and exotic pet supplies for your pet lizard, head to Quality Cage. The products of this exotic pet store are reliable and will help maintain healthy living conditions for your pet. The best part is that it’s all in one place!
What is the best lizard to have as a pet?
Crested Geckos are one of the most popular pet lizards worldwide. They’re easy to care for and fascinating and unique.
What is the easiest pet lizard to take care of?
Leopard Geckos. They require basic and minimal care.
What is the calmest pet lizard?
Bearded Dragons are known for their calm demeanor.
What is the most playful pet lizard?
Compared to Iguana vs Bearded Dragon, bonding with Bearded Dragons is easier as they can be playful.
What are the signs of a healthy lizard?
If a lizard is healthy, their jaw should be firm without any swelling present. Their stomachs always look full instead of repressed. Their eyes are bright and clean.
How do I ensure my lizard’s habitat is ideal?
Test the temperature levels to make sure you’re maintaining the correct cooling and heat levels. It’s also important to maintain humidity levels.
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