Lizards can make fantastic pets for beginners who are looking for an exotic companion animal. When cared for properly, pet lizards can live for many years and provide their owners with a unique pet experience. However, it’s important for any prospective lizard owner to do thorough research to determine what lizard is best suited for them. In this article, we will discuss the best lizard pets for beginners and provide tips on their proper care and handling.
The leopard gecko is often considered one of the best pet lizards for beginners. These small lizards reach 6-10 inches in length as adults. They have docile temperaments and are easy to handle. Leopard geckos only require a 10-20 gallon tank, making them a good option for those with limited space.
Leopard geckos are insectivores and will thrive on a diet of crickets, mealworms, and other small insects. A commercial crested gecko diet can also be offered. These lizards do well at room temperature, so no special heating or lighting is required as long as the temperature stays above 65°F. Just be sure to provide a warm hide box on one side of the enclosure.
Overall, leopard geckos make fantastic pets for novice keepers. Their small size, simple care requirements, and calm demeanor make them an ideal “starter lizard.”
The crested gecko is another lizard that tops the list of best lizard pets for beginners. Native to New Caledonia, these geckos are small (6-8 inches as adults) and easy to care for. Crested geckos are arboreal, meaning they like to climb and prefer vertically oriented enclosures. A 10-20 gallon tall tank will suffice.
Crested geckos are omnivores in captivity and will eagerly eat specially formulated crested gecko diet available from pet stores. This powdered food is nutritionally balanced and eliminates the need to provide live insects. These geckos do well at room temperature like leopard geckos.
Crested geckos have calm dispositions and will tolerate gentle handling. Their unique crested eyelids and range of colors and patterns make them one of the most visually appealing lizard choices for beginners.
Though they require more space than leopard and crested geckos, bearded dragons remain a top choice for best lizard pets for beginners. Their medium size (15-24 inches as adults), docile nature, and relative ease of care make them an ideal entry into intermediate lizard care.
Bearded dragons are diurnal lizards that prefer warm, bright conditions. They require large enclosures (40+ gallons) with proper lighting and heating. Luckily, the specialized lighting and substrates needed for bearded dragons are readily available from pet stores.
Bearded dragons are omnivores and will eat a varied diet of greens, vegetables, live insects, and occasionally rodent prey. Their appetites and interactions at feeding time are often a source of enjoyment for owners!
Overall, bearded dragons are super responsive reptiles that seem to thrive on human interaction. First-time lizard owners will certainly find these dragons a rewarding intermediate level pet.
Blue Tongue Skinks
Looking for a pet lizard that is mellow, friendly, and has unique appeal? Look no further than the blue tongue skink! Though not as widely available as leopard geckos or bearded dragons, these Australian lizards make fantastic pets if you can find a captive bred specimen.
Blue tongues reach 2+ feet in length but have very calm temperaments. They move slowly and deliberately, often tolerating handling well. Their signature wide blue tongues give them a fun flair!
These skinks do well in 40 gallon enclosures with an appropriate lizard substrate. They prefer warm conditions with basking spots up to 100°F. Blue tongues will eat a mixed diet of chopped vegetables, ground meat, dog food, insects, and egg.
For keepers looking for a pet lizard that is a bit different from the more common species, the blue tongue skink is a great choice! Their laidback personalities combined with their size and appearance make them a winning intermediate pet lizard.
Lizards can make outstanding companion pets for new and experienced keepers alike. We have covered some of the best lizard pets for beginners including leopard geckos, crested geckos, bearded dragons, and blue tongue skinks. These lizards combine great dispositions with manageable care requirements.
Of course, there are many other types of lizards that may also suit beginner owners. Do thorough research before bringing any new pet home. Make sure to replicate the lizard’s natural habitat as closely as possible. This includes providing proper housing, heating, lighting, humidity, and food. With their needs met, pet lizards will thrive and reward their owners with many years of enjoyment!
Do beginner-friendly lizards have specific dietary requirements?
Yes, beginner-friendly lizards often have less complex dietary needs. Many accept a diet of insects or commercially prepared lizard food. However, it’s crucial to research and meet the specific dietary requirements of the chosen lizard species to ensure their health and well-being.
What are the key considerations for creating a beginner-friendly lizard habitat?
Creating a beginner-friendly lizard habitat involves factors like enclosure size, temperature, and substrate. Provide a spacious, easily cleaned enclosure with appropriate temperature gradients. Select substrate that suits the lizard’s needs, offer hiding spots, and provide proper lighting and humidity levels for their species.
Can beginners handle the care and maintenance of a lizard?
Beginners can successfully care for lizards with proper research and commitment. Learning about their chosen lizard’s needs, providing suitable habitat and nutrition, and seeking advice from experienced keepers or reptile experts can help beginners provide excellent care.
Are there beginner-friendly lizards that are more child-friendly as well?
Some beginner-friendly lizards are also suitable for children. Species like leopard geckos and bearded dragons are known for their docile nature and ease of handling. However, supervision is essential to ensure safe interactions between children and lizards.
What is the average lifespan of lizard species?
The average lifespan of lizard species varies but typically ranges from 5 to 15 years or more. Proper care, including a suitable habitat and a balanced diet, can contribute to a longer and healthier life for these lizards. It’s important to research the specific species to understand its expected lifespan.