Interest in keeping lizards as a pet has flourished for the last couple of decades. Along with it, the number of keepers is growing. Today, a person who wants to have a lizard pet has a huge selection. But which are the best lizard pets?
There are many misconceptions supported by sellers in the lizard market about the most simple species to maintain.
What makes the best lizard pets for beginners?
Several factors make a lizard look attractive for starting a hobby. Clearly, the first is simple maintenance. All lizards require careful attention and care, but taking care of some species is a wasted effort. Species that are simpler to keep are adapted to live in a wide temperature and humidity range and, accordingly, are more resilient.
Another critical factor is the size of an animal. It is easier to maintain and care for small or medium-sized species. The friendly nature of the animal is another important aspect if you sometimes want to pick up an animal. Not a single lizard is happy with excessive contact with humans. Still, some species will bear with handling better than others. This seems to be a determining factor for reptiles acquired for young children, as they tend to pull and drag animals around sometimes not too carefully.
The issue of feeding is also essential for choosing a «starting» lizard. Most species that are considered easy to maintain are not picky about food and have a good appetite.
Price is also a factor. However, some of the cheapest species on the pet trading market are not suitable for beginners, an excellent example of this is the Green Iguana. In the end, you can draw a portrait of the perfect lizard to start a hobby. This is an animal of medium size and price, which has a calm character and is tamed, with an excellent food instinct and, which might be necessary for a beginner – easily bred in captivity.
Bearded Dragons – Best Lizard Pets
It’s not a secret that Bearded Dragon as a lizard pet is the right choice for beginners because of its flexible character, tamability, and ease of maintenance. Due to its friendly disposition and original appearance, Bearded Dragons gained well-deserved popularity. They became trendy among lizard keepers in recent years. Keep in mind that comparing to other lizards in this article, they might require a bit more place as fully grown Beardies can reach 15-20 inches in total length. That’s an essential thing if you have space constraints in your location.
Having a calm and balanced character, they can be handled and are unable to harm even a child. Surprisingly, without much effort, Bearded Dragons become completely tame, love to be scratched and fed from keeper’s hands. This creature is definitely one of the best lizard pets today. In case you’ve already decided to get a Bearded Dragon as a pet, you might want to check out or guides on how to pick up a healthy Bearded Dragon or male Beaded Dragon names.
Bearded Dragon Living Conditions
Both temperature and proper lighting are critical. A low horizontal terrarium with scenery and a microclimate imitating desert is suitable for them. You can use have a thick layer of sand with several snags and stones installed under the heating lamps. Bearded Dragons live well in groups and are often breed in captivity.
Bearded Dragons require full-spectrum ultraviolet lamps with sufficient UVB emission (290-315nm), necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D3, which is needed for the body to absorb calcium from food. Animals that are kept without ultraviolet radiation and food additives, as a rule, suffer from calcium deficiency. The optimal temperature for bearded dragons is 75-80F in the cold corner and 90-100 degrees in the warm one.
Bearded Dragon Terrarium
There are some options when choosing a Bearded Dragon enclosure – juvenile reptiles can be kept in a low 20-gallon terrarium, however, they grow up quickly and, in a few months, will require more space. Adult lizards should be kept in no less than 55-gallon terrarium, that’s where «the larger, the better» rule applies.
You can use both aquariums made of glass and plastic, and terrariums explicitly designed for reptiles. The main thing is that they shouldn’t have any sharp edges. Bearded Dragons shelter is also a thing, so this can also be placed in a terrarium.
Bearded Dragon Substrate
It’s best to use plain paper, paper towels, or reptile carpets. They are very affordable, cheap, and safe for lizards.
Bearded Dragon Food
Baby Dragons can be fed with small insects and well-chopped vegetables daily since they eat more during the growing period. Adults can be fed every other day. Their diet includes crickets, mealworms or waxworms, roaches, and earthworms that can be offered. Sometimes, people that are keeping a few Bearded Dragon as a pet are also breeding feeder roaches to use them as food. They get most of the necessary fluid from plant foods, but a dish with clean water should always be in the terrarium.
There is ready-made canned food for Bearded Dragons widely available. Still, with much stronger desire, they will eat natural products. You can read more about Bearded Dragon nutrition in our guide.
Bearded Dragon Life Span
Usually, Beardies live around ten years, and however, reportedly, there are cases where they would live twice as more.
Bearded Dragon Price
Bearded Dragons are widely represented on the reptile trade market, and, as in the case of Leopard Geckos, the price isn’t high – $30 to $60 for a young Bearded Dragon and up to $100 for an adult.
Leopard Gecko – Best Lizard Pets
The Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius) is one of the most common lizard pets in herpetoculture today. Many breeders produce thousands of these animals. Leopard Gecko is sold in almost any pet store in the United States and is always represented by reptile fairs.
Leopard Gecko Living Conditions
This lizard pet can be called an ideal reptile to keep for several reasons. They are small, so a couple can be kept in a 20-gallon or even more miniature terrarium. They are easily tamed, and this makes them a good first reptile even for a child, but of course, under the supervision of adults.
The optimum temperatures for this species are 75 to 80 Fahrenheit in colder corner places and 84 to 90 Fahrenheit in the warm spots. Leopard geckos are active at night and don’t need UVB lamps. As a substrate in a terrarium with these animals, you can use sand, newspapers, turf, or paper towels.
Leopard Gecko Shelter
It is important to provide shelter in the terrarium both in the cold and in the warm corner. Besides, there should be a place with high humidity to give the gecko conditions for molting. To do this, you can either wet the substrate under the shelters or put a plastic box with a wet substrate inside. Make sure that the size of the container allows the animal to fit entirely into it. Though there are gecko shelters that you can purchase, it’s easy to make such a house yourself by cutting a hole in the side or top in a regular plastic box of an appropriate size.
Leopard Gecko Food
Leopard Geckos are predators by nature, and crickets are the most suitable base food for them. Also, they can sometimes be offered with cockroaches, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, or crickets. But make sure they are caught in conditions without pesticides. Young geckos require 3 to 5 small crickets daily. Adults will need 10 to 15 insects 3-4 times a week. There should always be a shallow dish of clean water in the terrarium.
Leopard Gecko Life Span
Surprisingly, Leopard Geckos are relatively long-living reptiles, their average life span is 6 to 10 years. Many male geckos live 10 to 20 years in good condition.
Leopard Gecko Price
As mentioned before, Pure Leopard Geckos are widely available to purchase in the United States, starting from $20 for a single lizard. However, there are different unique morphs of Lepard Geckos on the market, with prices well over $100 per animal.
Crested Gecko – Best Lizard Pets
These guys were considered a rare species a while ago, but now it is quite actively bred in captivity. Having an Eyelash Gecko lizard pet is well suited for beginners thanks to their unpretentious and quite exciting behavior. They are used to live on trees in nature. Still, in captivity, they look fantastic in terrariums reproducing their natural environment.
Crested Gecko Living Conditions
Lizard’s body temperature depends on the ambient temperature, so it is crucial to maintain comfortable conditions in the terrarium. This said, getting a thermometer or even a pair of them to place in opposite terrarium corners is a requirement.
Eyelash Geckos prefer temperatures of 70-80 Fahrenheit during the day, at night it can drop a bit to 70-75F. To keep the heat up, you need to use special lamps as other heaters do not fit them well. Crested Geckos spend a lot of time climbing or sitting at height, and heaters such as heat mats won’t suit them.
Crested Gecko Cage and Setup
Young Eyelash Geckos are best kept in plastic covered terrariums with a volume of 10 gallons or more. Adults will require a 20-gallon terrarium or larger, and it should be top covered as well. Another important thing to remember is that you need to keep one male and several females. You can’t keep a couple of males together as they are going to start fighting each other.
Crested Gecko Substrate
These species spend most of their lives above the ground, so the choice isn’t critical. The most practical are special reptile carpets or paper towels. You can use soil mixed up with coir if you are planning to grow some plants.
Crested Gecko Food
Another good thing about Crested Geckos is their diet – you can easily feed them with special commercial food. They are going to be happy with that. In addition, they will gladly accept crickets, roaches, mealworms, or waxworms, that’s where their predatory instinct comes into play. Also, Crested Geckos can be offered with sweet types of fruits like bananas, peaches, apricots, and mangos.
Crested Gecko Life Span
Well-cared Eyelash Geckos can live up to 20 years in captivity and grow up to 7-9 inches in total length.
Crested Gecko Price
Common Crested Gecko price range is around $40 to $80 but can be more for rarer morphs and colors.