5 Great Pet Lizards for Beginners
When choosing your first pet lizard it is important to do your research. Knowing what you’re getting in to is half the battle. That cute baby lizard of yours will eventually grow in to a large reptile which requires a fair amount of attention. And despite the relatively low cost of lizards, it is the price of their cage, lighting and food that costs the most (generally). Try to be realistic on what you’re willing to do, what you can afford and how much time you can spend with your new pet! Below is a list of 5 popular pet lizards to help you get started. They’re easy to care for, friendly and wont set you back too much money.
1.) Leopard Gecko
The Leopard Gecko has been one of the most popular lizards for years. They’re small, docile and very easy to handle. Because they’re small, they do not require a large habitat. A simple 15-20 gallon tank is enough to keep them happy. Leopard Geckos are also nocturnal so they don’t need special UVB lighting! Some owners suggest a nice place for them to hide, carpet substrate and a variety of other inexpensive items to keep them happy. They’re strictly insectivores, eating small crickets, mealworms, etc.
2.) Fat-tailed Gecko
Much like the Leopard Gecko, they don’t require special lighting. They are small and friendly lizards which are easy to handle. The Fat-tailed Gecko is an insectivore, so they will eat small insects like mealworms, crickets, etc. There are not many differences between the fat-tailed gecko and the leopard gecko. They’re simply found in different parts of the world and usually have different colors!
3.) Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragons are very popular, small and cheap but they require a little more attention. Unlike the geckos above, these bearded dragons require UVB lighting and moderate temperatures ranging between mid 80’s °F in the day and as low as 70 °F at night. Despite the extra attention, buying a breaded dragon can be very rewarding. They have several cute behaviors like head bobbing, arm waving and more. Bearded dragons are omnivores so they can eat certain insects and vegetables.
4.) Green Anole
Another great first pet is the Green Anole. They’re small, cheap and do not require special lighting. They’re usually easy to find at a pet store or local dealer. The only draw back of keeping this lizard as a pet is their temperament. They can easily becomes stressed or irritated. Handling them requires patience and a keen eye for spotting changes in behavior.
5.) Blue-tongued Skink
The blue-tongued skink is very similar in difficulty compared to the leopard gecko and fat-tailed gecko. They are roughly the same size as the bearded dragon (around 13 – 20 inches full grown) but sport a different color and a pretty blue tongue. They’re also omnivores which require both insects and vegetables.
Things to Consider Before Getting A Pet Lizard
- Can You Afford it: Most lizards require UVA and/or UVB lighting. The cage is necessary whether you’re using a terrarium, tank or wire cage. The food is generally inexpensive but required. Along with lighting, housing and food there are more items required by certain types of lizards. These items can include a heating rock, substrate (sand, gravel, plants etc), misting systems, humidifiers and more. Find out what your lizard needs to see if you can afford it.
- Do You Have The Time: Handling lizards for 5 or 10 minutes per day can help keep them friendly. This is suggested for most lizards but not all. Along with handling comes feeding and caring. Some require a certain humidity, which is often achieved by misting their cage. Find out how to properly care for the lizard to make sure you have the time!
- Do You Have the Space: It is very important to find out how large your pet will be as a fully grown adult. If your lizard can grow up to 5 feet in length you will need a rather large cage. Check your house, decide where to place their cage and make sure you have enough room!