We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Choose the Best Pet Lizard?

By Angela Brady
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
AllThingsNature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllThingsNature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Lizards can make excellent pets, but buying one on impulse can be a very bad idea that leads to frustration. Just because a lizard is in a pet store does not mean that it makes a good pet, or that it’s the right lizard for you. Lizard species vary greatly in size, habitat, temperament, and feeding requirements, and all of these factors should be researched thoroughly before deciding what kind of lizard fits into your lifestyle.

Depending upon the species, a full-grown pet lizard can range from five inches (12.7 centimeters) long to six feet (1.8 meters) long, and will require food and housing to support its size. Green Iguanas are popular pets, but they can grow to be up to six feet (1.8 meters) long, requiring 216 cubic feet (6.1 cubic meters) of cage area. If you are unable or unwilling to provide that size habitat, a smaller lizard is a better option. Geckos come in many varieties, and most are comfortable in a 20-gallon (76 liter) aquarium when full grown.

Size is not the only habitat requirement to consider when choosing a pet lizard. Many species, like the Green Anole, require specialized lighting or misting systems that can cost more than the lizard itself. Take into account the climate in which you live. If you live in the desert, maintaining the tightly-controlled humidity for a Chameleon will take up much of your time and money. People who live in humid climates will not be able to provide the necessary dryness for some desert species, which can result in illness.

If you’re looking for a cuddly pet, lizards are not for you. That said, there are some species of lizards that can be tamed, and grow accustomed to being handled everyday. The Red Ackie and the Bearded Dragon are two species that are highly social, and actually develop a bond with their owners. Some pet lizard species, like the Savannah Monitor, can be aggressive, and other species, like the Chameleon, suffer severe stress when handled and are better enjoyed from afar.

Keep in mind that captive lizards cannot hunt, and rely solely on you for their food. If keeping a constant supply of live crickets and mealworms in your home does not sound appealing, then your lizard options become limited. There are some species, like the Uromastyx and Iguana, that are exclusively vegetarian, but you must be hyper-vigilant about removing uneaten food from the cage before it begins to decompose.

Research is your best tool when deciding what kind of pet lizard to buy. Make absolutely sure that the daily care and maintenance will not take more time or money than you are willing to spend. When you finally decide what kind of lizard to get, find out everything you can about that species before you buy it and make it part of your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors should I consider when choosing a pet lizard?

When selecting a pet lizard, consider its size, habitat requirements, diet, temperament, and lifespan. Some species, like the Bearded Dragon, are known for their docile nature and manageable size, making them ideal for beginners. Research the specific care needs of each species to ensure you can provide a suitable environment and commitment level.

Are there any beginner-friendly lizards that are easy to care for?

Yes, the Leopard Gecko and Bearded Dragon are often recommended for beginners due to their relatively simple care requirements and friendly dispositions. These species are hardy, have modest space needs, and their diets are straightforward, consisting of commercially available insects and supplements.

How much space does a pet lizard need?

The space requirement for a pet lizard varies by species. Smaller lizards like Leopard Geckos may thrive in a 20-gallon tank, while larger species such as Iguanas need much more space, sometimes requiring custom-built enclosures. Always provide the largest habitat possible to ensure your lizard can exercise and exhibit natural behaviors.

What is the expected lifespan of a pet lizard, and how does it impact my choice?

Lizards can live for a considerable time, with some species like the Bearded Dragon living up to 10-15 years, while others, such as Iguanas, can live for over 20 years. When choosing a pet lizard, consider the long-term commitment and whether you can provide care for the duration of its life.

Can I handle my pet lizard, and how often?

Many lizards can be handled, but the frequency and duration should be limited to reduce stress. Species like Bearded Dragons and Leopard Geckos are more tolerant of handling. Start with short sessions and gradually increase as your lizard becomes accustomed to you. Always handle your lizard gently and with care.

What kind of diet is required for pet lizards, and how does it vary among species?

Lizard diets vary widely among species. Insectivores like Leopard Geckos eat insects, while herbivores like Iguanas require a diet of leafy greens and vegetables. Omnivores such as Bearded Dragons need both plant-based foods and insects. Research your lizard's dietary needs to provide a balanced diet and consider any required supplements for their health.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon144061 — On Jan 18, 2011

Chosing the right lizard is not always easy. For me it was. This is how I chose.

First, consider the size of lizard you want. If you want a big lizard, look for something big, like a iguana or komodo dragon.

If you want something medium sized, get something like a bearded dragon, but if you are looking for something small, check into a smaller lizard.

Then think about what you can afford. Bigger lizards are more expensive do to size. The bigger the lizard, the more it eats. So if you can't afford to feed a lot go with a smaller lizard or medium lizard.

Then think of space. Large lizards need large space, medium, medium, and small, small. Then consider what you are willing to feed. If the lizard eats something you would never touch, it is probably not the lizard for you.

Also, look up pictures of the lizards you are interested in and see if it is a look that you think is cute. So be careful, and get lots of information before picking you lizard. Good luck.

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.