Smiling lady holding a bearded dragon lizard.

Lizards are among the most interesting animals out there, and some make excellent pets for beginners. Available in all sizes, colors, and dispositions, lizards can find a home in many kinds of households. With an equal dose of proper planning and thorough research, you can provide top-notch care for a new scaly friend. We’ll help you get started on this memorable, gratifying experience with our suggestions of the top 5 pet lizards for beginners. 

Be Prepared

Lizards have various lifespans. Generally, smaller lizards live approximately 5 years and larger lizards can live up to 20 years. Adequate housing with high hygienic standards are paramount to a lizard’s health and well-being. Species-specific requirements for heat, light, and humidity (depending on the species) are also vital. 

Live bait, in the form of insects, is the most common diet, but some lizards enjoy a full or partial vegetarian meal plan. Calcium supplements can prevent nutritional problems in lizards, and can be easily purchased in powdered form. 

Best Pet Lizards

Once you have a handle on their housing, diet, and hygienic needs, and have decided that your wallet can handle the associated expenses, you can start to assess which lizard would make the best addition to your family. For first-time owners, we recommend the following five options:

  • Leopard Gecko. These are great starter lizards because they are relatively low maintenance. They require heat, but not humidity, and can survive on an insectivorous diet. Some geckos seem to enjoy being handled and look forward to human interaction. Some also thrive in the company of other leopard geckos. 
  • Fat Tailed Gecko. On the smaller side, fat tailed geckos are fun to care for. Content to share their space with numerous other geckos, it is advisable to have one male to several females. These come in a variety of stripe patterns and colors.
  • Bearded Dragon. These omnivorous lizards can grow quite large (up to 24 inches long!), and they are hardy and low-maintenance pets. They will likely need to graduate to larger tanks over time. Given the right amount of socialization and training, many “beardies” are perceived as affectionate and playful.
  • Blue Tongued Skink. These pets are popular not only because of their cobalt blue tongue, but their well-balanced diet of fruit, veggies, and protein makes skinks so easy to care for. They can grow fairly large, so investing in a 50-gallon tank may be worthwhile. 
  • African Fire Skink. This burrowing lizard is a bit reclusive, but they are among the best pet lizards because of their unique orange, black, and brown coloring. Be sure to provide a tank with a seep substrate, heat, and gut-loaded crickets for best results. 

Fascinating and Fun!

If you’re interested in owning a lizard, you’re not alone. More than 9 million in the U.S. count lizards among their household pets, and their popularity is growing. As you develop the skills necessary to properly care for lizards in your home, you may be able to graduate to more challenging species, such as chameleons or iguanas.

If you have additional questions about the best pet lizards to consider, please call us at(260) 493-3739. Our staff is also happy to help connect you with a vet that specializes in lizard health.