10 Best Pet Lizards for Beginner and Advanced Owners Alike

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Lizard TypeProsCons
Leopard Gecko– Easy to care for – Fun to interact with – Visually appealing – Minimal care compared to other lizards– Need to monitor for potential health problems
Bearded Dragon– Beginner-friendly – Friendly temperament – Moderate size – Various morphs available– Specific temperature and UVB light requirements
Crested Gecko– Easy to care for – Social and can be handled – Low-maintenance– Delicate skin and tail
Blue-Tongued Skink– Docile and gentle – Low-maintenance – Unique appearance– Need a spacious enclosure
Iguanas– Striking appearance – Unique personality – Various morphs available– Require high level of care – Can grow quite large
Monitor Lizards– Various species suitable for beginners – Intelligent – Active and inquisitive– Some species can grow very large – Specific care requirements based on species
Chameleons– Unique characteristics – Various types and sizes available– Specific care requirements based on species
Green Anole– Low-maintenance – Diurnal – Can change color– Might be skittish initially
Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink– Unique appearance– Sensitive to inappropriate husbandry – Does not handle well – Hard to find in average pet stores
Black and White Tegu– Friendly when socialized – Trainable – Omnivorous diet– Require spacious enclosure – Specific temperature and humidity requirements

1. Leopard Gecko

Close up of a cute small yellow leopard gecko with a water dish beside it

As a reptile lover, I can’t help but share my enthusiasm for leopard geckos. They are one of the most popular pet reptiles, and it’s easy to see why. These lizards are not only easy to care for but also fun to interact with and quite visually appealing!

When setting up a habitat for my leopard gecko, I ensure they have the proper tank setup for their comfort and well-being. I’ve quickly learned the importance of heat, light, and humidity in maintaining a healthy habitat for my pet.

Feeding my leopard gecko has also proved to be an interesting experience. By providing a balanced diet of insects and supplementing with vitamins and minerals, I have witnessed my gecko thrive and remain healthy. Regularly monitoring their food and water intake has become a staple part of my routine.

One aspect I appreciate about owning a leopard gecko is the minimal care required compared to other lizards. Still, it’s essential to be vigilant in checking for any potential health problems that may arise. Early detection can make all the difference in ensuring my pet remains in tip-top shape!

Having a leopard gecko as a pet has brought me great joy and satisfaction. Their easy-going nature, unique appearance, and manageable care requirements have made them a welcome addition to my home.

If you’re interested in getting a leopard gecko of your own, I highly recommend conducting thorough research to understand all aspects of their care and ensure they will thrive in your household.

2. Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are one of my favorite pet lizards on the market. They are considered beginner-friendly lizards and make perfect companions for reptile enthusiasts. These lizards are native to Australia and come in a variety of types, like the Eastern Bearded Dragon.

In my experience, bearded dragons have a friendly temperament and are easy to care for. They usually grow to a moderate size, about 18-24 inches long. When it comes to their enclosure, I use a heat lamp to maintain a temperature gradient of 75-85°F during the day, with a basking spot around 95-110°F. These temperatures can vary based on my beardie’s specific needs. It’s important for me to provide a UVB light source as well to ensure their overall health.

Feeding my bearded dragon consists of a balanced diet of insects and vegetables. Some food items I usually feed them include crickets, mealworms, and dark leafy greens like collard greens or mustard greens. Remember, the size of their food should not be larger than the space between their eyes to prevent choking hazards.

One thing I appreciate about bearded dragons is their friendliness. I learned how to pet my beardie gently and it helps us build a strong bond. When petting them, I usually stroke them gently along their back, avoiding the head, tail, and bones along their sides.

There are several different bearded dragon morphs as well, each with their unique appearance. For example, the blue or purple morph is created by breeding translucent bearded dragons together, which results in a greyish-blue skin tone.

Bearded dragons are lovable, curious pets that are relatively easy for new reptile keepers to care for. Provide them with a comfortable environment, proper diet, and lots of love, and your bearded dragon will make a wonderful reptilian friend.

3. Crested Gecko

As a reptile enthusiast, I can’t help but admire the Crested Gecko, one of the most popular pet reptiles on the planet. These unique lizards are not only beautiful to look at, but they are also very easy to care for, making them perfect for both beginners and experienced reptile keepers.

Crested Geckos are social creatures that don’t mind being handled. They can cling onto surfaces with their specialized feet, allowing them to climb and explore, which makes them quite fun to observe. Their small size also means they don’t require a very large tank, usually around 20 gallons for an adult, which can be a plus for those with limited space.

I appreciate how low-maintenance these lizards are compared to other reptiles. Crested Geckos don’t require additional heating since they can thrive in room temperatures between 70-78°F. This makes setting up a comfortable environment for them a breeze. Their diet consists of a pre-made fruit mix which can be supplemented with insects like crickets or dubia roaches for variety and better nutrition.

When it comes to their appearance, Crested Geckos display a wide range of beautiful colors and patterns. Their most distinct feature is the crest that runs along their head and back, giving them their name. Their skin is delicate, so handling them gently is essential to prevent any harm to their skin or their delicate tail.

Overall, I believe Crested Geckos make great pets for reptile lovers who want an easy-to-care-for and friendly companion. Just remember, like with any pet, always conduct thorough research and understand their needs to ensure a happy, healthy life for your new pet lizard.

4. Blue-Tongued Skink

As I write about the 10 best pet lizards, I must mention the Blue-Tongued Skink. These large, diurnal lizards are known for their docile and gentle nature, making them a great option for beginners and children alike. I can’t help but be fascinated by their unique appearance, highlighted by bright blue tongues used in defensive displays.

The Blue-Tongued Skink (genus Tiliqua) is native to Australia and is considered one of the most popular skinks among reptile keepers. What I find most appealing about them is their relatively large size and typically docile temperament, making them easy to care for. They are low-maintenance lizards and won’t need too much of your time and attention for their upkeep.

When setting up an enclosure for these lovely skinks, it’s important to prioritize floor space. These lizards thrive in a 40 or 50-gallon tank, with minimum dimensions of 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 10 inches tall ^1^. They don’t require as much vertical space as some other lizards, so you can focus on giving them plenty of room to roam around.

Their diet mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, and proteins like insects and even some meat. Remember to provide them with a variety of foods and a well-balanced diet to keep them healthy.

In summary, the Blue-Tongued Skink is a friendly, low-maintenance pet lizard that is perfect for people new to reptile keeping. With proper care, they are sure to bring joy and fascination to anyone willing to learn about and appreciate their unique characteristics.

5. Iguanas

I’ve always found iguanas to be fascinating creatures, and they’re certainly one of the most popular pet lizards out there. Originating from Central and South America, these reptiles are known for their striking appearance and unique personality.

The most common type of iguana that people usually think of is the Green Iguana. Interestingly, green iguanas come in a wide range of colors, not just green. In fact, some dedicated herpetology enthusiasts collect exotic morphs with purple, black, brown, pink, and more.

One thing I’ve learned about iguanas is that they require a high level of care, so it’s essential for potential owners to be prepared for the commitment. Iguanas have strict feeding and housing requirements. They can grow quite large, sometimes reaching up to six feet in length, live a long time, and possess impressive strength.

In my experience, iguanas are not the most beginner-friendly pet lizard. However, for those ready to invest the time, effort, and resources into their care, they can be incredibly rewarding pets. Their unique appearance, intelligence, and interesting behavior make them a favorite among many reptile enthusiasts, myself included.

To summarize, iguanas are beautiful and popular pet lizards originating from Central and South America. Although they are not the easiest reptile to care for, the dedication and effort can ultimately pay off in the form of a truly unique and engaging companion.

6. Monitor Lizards

I’ve always been fascinated by monitor lizards, and I’m excited to share some information about these magnificent creatures with you. Monitor lizards belong to the genus Varanus, and there are approximately 80 recognized species worldwide. However, only a few of them are commonly kept as pets.

One of the best pet monitor lizards for beginners is the Ackie Monitor. They are friendly, easy to tame, and require a relatively small enclosure compared to other monitor species. These fascinating reptiles are native to Australia and can grow up to 24-28 inches long.

Another great option is the Savannah Monitor. Hailing from Africa, they are known for their mild temperament and manageable size, reaching up to 2.5 to 3.5 feet in length. Regular handling and socialization are key to ensuring a friendly and docile Savannah Monitor pet.

For those interested in semi-aquatic reptiles, the Asian Water Monitor might be a good fit. Being one of the largest monitor species with the potential to grow up to 9 feet in length, it is important to consider the space requirements needed before bringing one home. Despite their size, they are known for their intelligence and relatively calm disposition.

A smaller and less commonly known option is the Pygmy Mulga Monitor. These monitors are native to Australia and typically grow to around 14-20 inches in length, which makes them a great choice for a more compact pet.

Lastly, the Timor Monitor is another smaller and beginner-friendly species, growing to an average of 2-2.5 feet in length. They are known for their active and inquisitive nature, providing endless entertainment for reptile enthusiasts.

When exploring the world of pet monitor lizards, it is essential to consider factors such as their adult size, temperament, and care requirements before making a decision. I hope this brief overview has provided you with a glimpse into these incredible reptiles, and maybe even inspired you to add one to your family.

7. Chameleons

As a reptile enthusiast, I find chameleons to be an amazing group of lizards and excellent pets for those who appreciate their unique characteristics. These fascinating creatures come in various types and sizes, each with its own appeal.

One popular option is the Veiled Chameleon, known for its striking appearance and relatively easy care requirements. As a beginner, you might find this species to be a good introduction to the world of chameleons.

For those who are looking for a slightly smaller pet, the Pygmy chameleons, like the Flap-Necked Chameleon, can be safely kept in a glass terrarium and still offer the unique experience of owning a chameleon. They’re also quite charming with their miniature appearance and distinctive markings.

If you’ve had some experience with reptiles and are up for a challenge, the Jackson’s Chameleon is another option worth considering. While requiring more attention and expertise, Jackson’s chameleons reward your efforts with their captivating colors and distinctive horns.

So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced reptile keeper looking for a new addition to your collection, there’s a chameleon out there that will fit your preferences and expertise. Just remember to research the specific care requirements for each species, and be prepared to provide the appropriate environment, nutrition, and attention to ensure your chameleon thrives as your pet.

8. Green Anole

As a pet lizard enthusiast, I can’t help but adore Green Anoles. These little reptiles, scientifically known as Anolis carolinensis, are popular pets for a good reason. They’re low-maintenance, captivating, and perfect for beginners!

Males of this species can grow up to eight inches long in captivity, with females being slightly smaller. Their average lifespan is around four to eight years, making them a great long-term companion.

What I love most about these little lizards is their behavior and temperament. These curious creatures are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. They love to bask under a heat source and then retreat to cooler spots when they want to regulate their body temperature. Moreover, they can change color from green to brown, which is a fascinating trait!

Caring for Green Anoles is quite manageable, even for beginners. A well-ventilated and secure enclosure is essential along with a temperature gradient, UVB lighting, and some hiding spots. Anoles are mostly insectivores, so their diet mainly consists of insects such as crickets, mealworms, and fruit flies. Providing appropriate calcium supplements is equally important to ensure their good health.

Although Green Anoles might be a bit skittish initially, they usually become more comfortable with their human caretaker over time. So all in all, if you are considering getting a pet lizard, Green Anoles are definitely worth a look!

9. Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink

As someone fascinated by unique reptiles, I can’t help but be captivated by the Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink. This species has an extraordinary appearance and would be an interesting addition to any reptile enthusiast’s collection.

They stand out among other reptiles with their casque-headed, triangular-shaped head, and a spiky ridge towards the back. When I first laid eyes on them, their interesting looks captured my attention right away.

In terms of size, Red-Eyed Crocodile Skinks usually grow to be around 7-9 inches long, and can live up to 10 years. While adorable, this species is sensitive to inappropriate husbandry and does not handle well. Therefore, they may be a bit challenging for some reptile owners to care for properly.

When it comes to acquiring one of these fascinating creatures, it’s not easy to find them in your average pet stores. Since they’re more popular among breeders, your best resource for purchasing a Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink would be a reputable breeder who specializes in exotic reptiles.

Keep in mind that proper care involves creating a bioactive terrarium that can support their natural habits and needs. I’d recommend studying specific requirements such as diet, habitat, and behavior, to ensure you can provide the best possible environment for your Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink if you decide to add one to your collection.

10. Black and White Tegu

I think the Black and White Tegu can be an amazing pet lizard for many enthusiasts. They are scientifically known as Tupinambis merianae and are one of the largest species of tegu lizards, with adult males capable of growing up to 4 feet in length and weighing over 20 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, but they still reach notable sizes.

These attractive lizards have a striking black and white coloration, and they can be surprisingly friendly to their owners when properly socialized. They are known for being trainable for handling, making them a popular choice for a pet lizard. Additionally, they are known for having a forgiving temperament, which means that they are less likely to develop nutritional diseases when compared to other lizards like iguanas.

Caring for a Black and White Tegu involves providing them with an appropriate enclosure. As they can grow quite large, they require a spacious home where they can move around comfortably. A proper diet is also important for their health and well-being. Tegus are omnivorous, eating a varied diet that includes insects, fruits, and vegetables. It’s important to balance their meals with a mix of protein sources and plant-based foods.

In addition to a suitable diet, maintaining an optimal temperature and humidity level within their enclosure is crucial to keep your Black and White Tegu healthy. Providing them with a basking area with temperatures around 100-110°F and a cooler area with temperatures ranging between 75-85°F is necessary. Regular monitoring of the humidity levels, ideally kept between 60-80%, ensures that their environment remains comfortable and conducive to their long-term health.

So, if you’re considering a pet lizard, the Black and White Tegu is an excellent option that offers a unique and rewarding experience. With proper care and attention, these fascinating reptiles can become a beloved and long-lasting addition to your family.

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