There are many types of lizards you can keep as a pet, but you should choose a lizard that fits your lifestyle. Some lizards eat bugs, while some eat bigger things, such as mice. Some eat live prey, some eat dead prey. Some, such as the Komodo Dragon, eat both. Lizards can be high-maintenance pets, depending on the type you get.
The bearded dragon is the most popular type of pet lizard. The bearded dragon is a good lizard pet for beginners and experienced reptile lovers. These lizards do well in captivity and aren't too large. A Bearded Dragon will live for around 10 years and reach an adult size of about 24 inches from nose to tail. With regular, gentle handling, a Bearded Dragon will become quite tame and rarely act aggressively toward people.
This lizard is a native of Australia, although dragons sold in the United States are almost always bred in captivity. A Bearded Dragon needs special lighting that produces UVA and UVB rays in its tank, as well as a separate light for basking. Their diet consists mainly of live crickets, supplemented with fresh greens and vegetables.
The uromastyx is also called a spiny-tailed lizard. There are 13 different species available, which gives a pet owner plenty of lizards to choose from.
Care needs are similar to the Bearded Dragon. The Uromastyx needs a basking light, a light that produces UVA and UVB rays and a temperature-controlled tank. These lizards eat crickets and mealworms, and their diet should be supplemented with fresh greens.
With proper care, Uromastyx have lived for more than 30 years in captivity. Most of these lizards are caught in the wild, and there is a very high death rate for some species within the first two months of captivity. Generally tame and shy, these lizards may shun contact without regular handling. They also like to burrow, so the tank should have material at the bottom that allows them to dig.
The Blue-Tongued Skink has a bright blue tongue and a pink mouth lining. They are docile and are easily tamed. Like the Uromastyx, this lizard likes to burrow, so it needs room to dig at the bottom of the tank. Its diet consists of live insects supplemented with fresh greens.
Depending on the species, these lizards will grow to a size of between 7 and 24 inches. They are quite tolerant of handling and become tame easily. Their average lifespan is about 20 years, although they will live to 30 years with proper care and feeding.
Getting a Lizard
Prior to purchasing any lizard for a pet, make sure to research everything about the lizard, including what it eats, the type of lighting it needs, its personality and how big it will grow. Some lizards can grow quite large, and it is not feasible to keep them inside.
Make sure you're ready to deal with some of the challenging aspects of lizard care as well. Lizards aren't cute and fuzzy; they molt their skin as they grow and they often need to eat live food. These realities can be challenging for some people. If you're looking for a pet that you can cuddle and play with, lizards aren't the best choice. They will tolerate interaction with people and often become tame, but they don't crave companionship like dogs, cats, guinea pigs and other social animals.
Find out as much as you can about sellers before you buy. It's better to get captive-bred lizards than wild-caught lizards, because there is a much lower risk of health problems and disease in captive-bred lizards. If a seller cannot prove that a lizard was bred in captivity, look for another seller, unless you know you're dealing with a species that isn't commercially bred.
Learn some interesting lizard facts that show the unique ways these creatures have evolved.
Considering a lizard for a pet? Find out what's involved in lizard care and learn how to tell if owning a lizard is right for you.