Lizards are some of the most fascinating pets for people of all ages. Nonetheless, they can pose a challenge for their handlers on how to take care of them. It is important to make the right choice of the lizard, especially for a beginner.
There are different lizard species. Their characteristics differ and make them ideal or otherwise as pets. Considerations should include their diets, temperament, habitats, lifespan, and susceptibility to diseases.
Therefore, whether you are selecting a pet lizard for the first time or as an addiction, I hope these best starter lizards will be a guide for informed decision making. Whereas the list is not exhaustive these are some of the best pet lizard species.
Best starter lizards
1. Leopard Gecko – Best cheap starter lizards
We mentioned Leopard Gecko in the Top 5 reptiles to raise here and now, it being the first in best starter lizards. This is arguably the most popular pet reptile. The leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, comes in different attractive colors and patterns. They are considerably small in size. It is easy to tame them as they have a docile demeanor in general. In fact, they even become more docile with age.
They have simple care requirements as adults can be fed every other day and may even be left alone for a few days without a problem. However, babies require feeding daily. They are both hardy and long-lived with a 15 to 20 plus years lifespan. They grow up to 7 to 10 inches.
- A 20-gallon tank or equivalent cage is ample space for an adult
- Controlled heating
- Easily available
- Relatively cheap
- No special lighting needed
- Require constant supply of crickets, mealworms and wax worms at home as they are insectivorous
2. Bearded Drago
Another cool lizard mentioned in the previous article. They are great first pet lizards. They are also referred to as bearded dragons, or “beardies”. Similar to their leopard gecko cousins, they are relatively small and have a docile demeanor. Their requirements are straight forward making them easy to tame and keep as pets. Unlike the leopard geckos, they are active during the day and this makes them excellent display pets.
They trust with ease and are naturally laid back. As such, they are easy to handle and ideal as first-time pet lizards. They are ideal for people who are afraid of lizards and snakes or those who are hesitant from reptile pets. The “beardies” can grow to between 14 and 24 inches and life from 8 to 10 years. They are especially found wild in Australia but are also widespread around the world due to their popularity. Below is some info that tells you why Bearded Drago also one of best starter lizards
- Adult bearded dragons require a minimum cage size of a 40 gallon tank or equivalent
- Access to special UVB lighting daily
- Controlled heating
- Additional care especially for babies although adults are considerably hardy
- Cheap to acquire
- Easily accessible
- Limited care needs
- Appealing looks ideal for converting non-reptile lovers
- They are omnivorous, hence, require insects and fresh greens diet daily
3. Crested Gecko – Best simple lizards for starter
The crested gecko, Rhacodactylus ciliatus, is another pet lizard species that is gaining popularity fast. They are originally from New Caledonia. Whereas they are slow, they climb a lot, which necessitates plenty of vertical space in their tanks. Their popularity is increasing for good reasons. The “cresties” as some people refer to them, require no special lighting or heating. Their feeding includes simple fruit-based powders mixed with water. Therefore, there is no need for insects or other difficult diets that the pet owner has to be concerned about.
These beautiful creatures come in a variety of colors and patterns. Some of them have beautiful stripes while others have spots or a mixture of the two. They are easy to handle and tame, but their small size means that they are more delicate. Important to note is the tendency to accidentally lose their tails, but it does not harm them since it grows back. They live up to 5 to 15 years. Their size may reach 5-8 inches.
- A cage of minimum 20-gallon tank or equivalent, with consideration on their climbing tendencies.
- Natural or synthetic foliage for climbing and hiding
- Considerably the most simple in relation to care needs
- Do not require supplemental lighting or heating
- Their diets are simple mix-with-water varieties
- Spend most of their time hiding, hence not the most ideal for show
- They are nocturnal
- Their relatively small size makes them more delicate to handle
4. Red Ackie – Unique look lizard for starter
The red ackie, Varanus acanthuras, also popularly referred to as, the “ackie” is a common pet lizard. Red Ackie has a ridge or spiny tail in type of small lizard, which makes it ideal for pet lovers and it is straightforward on its requirements. It looks like a dwarf monitor lizard, which adds to the aesthetics. The lizards look like beautiful little dragons and they are normally active, which adds to the fun of watching and caring for them.
One can hold them every day without any concern and they are easy to tame. For the adults, they can feed every other day, and their diet has a wide variety of items including pinky mice and crickets. They live for more than 10 years and can grow to 16-26 inches.
- Adults need 55 gallon tank or equivalent at minimum
- They also require controlled heating and UVB lighting
- They have a unique look
- Relatively small sized
- They are docile and hardy
- More costly than other beginner lizards
- They are also difficult to find
5. Argentine Black and White Tegu – An intelligent for starter
In this pet list, the argentine black and white tegu, Tupinambis merianae, is the largest lizard. In most cases, the adult tegu requires more space than what an average lizard pet owner would be willing to provide.
Nonetheless, if that is not a concern for you, it is an ideal pet to keep. These are some of the smallest reptiles that can learn various tricks and responds to the sound of their name.
They have a calm demeanor and can learn to walk on a harness and frequent handling from a young age. There are other tegu species, such as, the Colombian tegus, which are not ideal pets due to their aggressiveness. They live for more than 15 years and can grow to 3-4.5 feet.
- An adult tegu needs 4-6 foot cage by 2 feet in width or larger cages
- Reptile substrates to burrow in
- Controlled heat and UBV lighting
- They are intelligent
- They are hardy and captivating
- They are relatively large hence need large spaced cages.
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