12 Best Lizard Pets For Beginners: Easy, Safe and Low-maintenance Lizards

12 best lizard pets

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Are you looking for a lizard to keep as a small pet but don’t know where to start? You don’t need to waste your time searching! Just look up this blog and you can come up with the best option. Lizards can make wonderful companions because it is not only easy to take care of but also a low-maintenance pet. However, it’s important to choose the right one that suits your lifestyle and is beginner-friendly. In this article, we will introduce you to the 12 best lizard pets for beginners with useful information including their lifespan to size and intriguing fun facts. Let’s dive in and find the perfect lizard pet for you!

1. Bearded Dragons – the best lizard pets of all time

A Bearded Dragon With A Flower, Best Lizard Pets

The Bearded Dragon is often considered the best and most iconic lizard pet for beginners. These docile and friendly lizards are known for their calm demeanor and ease of handling. That’s why people name it the “Gentle Giant” as a compliment for its chill and adorable characteristics. Contrary to normal assumptions about a lizard, Bearded dragons are tame, joyful, and intelligent, which makes them good company with a child or teenager. 

LENGTH16-24 inches
WEIGHTunder 1.5 pounds
LIFESPAN10-15 years

Owning Guide:

  • Bearded Dragons originate in a warmer environment but can totally survive in various habitats, which makes them low-maintenance pets. They specifically require a spacious enclosure with proper heating and basking lighting. Just like other lizards, Bearded Dragons are attracted by caves, climbing structures, and shelters where they can hide for security. So make sure to set up a habitat with territory accessories like caves, grapevine hides, slate hides, or rocks for them to entertain and feel safe.
  • Bearded Dragons have an omnivorous diet, consisting of insects, vegetables, and fruits. Stay focused on their diet in combination with regular handling and socialization are keys  to trust and bonds with your Bearded Dragon.
A Close Up Of A Bearded Dragon Defense On A Rock

Fun Fact: Bearded Dragons get their name from the spiky “beard”, which, in fact, are scales under their chin. This “beard” puffs out when they feel threatened or want to display dominance.

2. Leopard Gecko

Brown And White Leopard Gecko Lizard On Brown Wooden Surface

Originating in the dry and semi-desert areas in America, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and northwest India, Leopard Geckos have been imported to mainland America, bred, and tamed to become friendly and adorable pets for over 30 years. Nowadays, Leopard Geckos are among the most popular lizard pets among pet enthusiasts in the U.S.

Lepard Gecko usually comes in yellow, hot orange, or white with dark spots all over the body, which explains the name “Leopard Gecko” as the spots resemble the pattern of a leopard.

LENGTH7.8-11 inches
WEIGHT1.8 to 2.8 ounces
LIFESPANup to 20 years

Owning Guide:

  • Leopard geckos are primarily nocturnal creatures, preferring the cover of darkness to explore and engage in their activities. So they require a habitat with hiding spots and a warm basking area. Unlike some gecko species, they are ground-dwellers, choosing to remain close to the substrate rather than climbing walls. Therefore, it is important to prepare suitable bedding and set appropriate habitats to stimulate these cute creatures to move and grow.
  • Leopard Geckos do not require UVB lighting but need a heat source of around 75-85°F to maintain proper temperature gradients in their enclosure and prevent skin diseases.

Fun Fact:

  • Leopard Geckos have the ability to detach their tails as a defense mechanism. The tail will regenerate over time, but the new tail will not be as vibrant as before.
  • Leopard Geckos have eyelids so they can sleep with their eyes closed.
  • There are more than 50+ morphs as a result of genetic breeding and each represents its rarity.
Leopard Geckos Defense Mechanism

More interesting information about leopard geckos

3. Crested Gecko

Brown Crested Gecko

Crested Geckos are known for their unique appearance and low-maintenance care requirements. These arboreal lizards are native to New Caledonia and have a lifespan of 15-20 years. Therefore, Crested Geckos can make loyal companionship for pet lovers. Like Leopard Geckos, Crested Geckos come in hundreds of morphs but the most popular appearance is shades of brown, orange, red, and light yellow. From the head down to the back, they have two lines of fringed crests which make them distinguished from other geckos.

LENGTH8-10 inches
WEIGHT1.5 to 2.2 ounces
LIFESPANup to 20 years

Owning Guide:

  • Crested Geckos are known for their ability to climb smooth surfaces, thanks to their specialized toe pads. So they require a tall enclosure with plenty of branches and foliage for climbing and hiding.
  • They have a diet consisting of commercially available powdered diets, supplemented with occasional live insects.
  • Crested Geckos are nocturnal and prefer a temperature range of 72-78°F.

Fun Fact: Crested Geckos can also regenerate their tails if they lose them due to stress or injury. However, the regenerated tail will not be as long or as well-formed as the original.

4. Blue-tongue Skink

Blue Tongue Skink Best Lizard Pets

Blue-tongue skinks may not be appealing with their appearance but definitely fascinating lizards known for their striking blue tongues and friendly personalities. 

Blue-tongue skinks are medium-sized lizards, usually having brownly striped yellow skin with a few orange-round shapes on the sides. Large, broad, blunt, and triangular, flattened at the top head makes them look like a snake from the top view. The steel blue tongue is the highlight of this species.

LENGTH18-24 inches
WEIGHT1.5 to 2.2 ounces
LIFESPAN15-20 years

Owning Guide:

  • Blue-Tongue Skinks require a spacious enclosure with a temperature gradient and UVB lighting. They have an omnivorous diet, consisting of a variety of vegetables, fruits, insects, and even small mammals.
  • Blue-tongue skinks are generally calm and can be easily handled with proper care and gentleness. Regular handling and socialization are important to build a bond with your Blue-Tongue Skink.
  • These creatures are large in shape but have quite small legs so the habitat is not supposed to be set up with high rocks or pointed ledges but should include sands, grass, and tropical lands to provide humidity and resemble their natural habitat.
Best Lizard Pets, Blue Tongue Skink, Blue Tongue Lizard

Fun Fact:

Blue-tongue skinks use their bright blue tongues as a warning to potential predators. The vibrant color is a signal that they are not to be messed with! 
When the blue-tongue skink is buried in sand, its body shape, patterns on the skin, and the long blue tongues make it look like a snake.

5. Green Anole

Green Anole On A Leaf, Best Lizard Pets

Green Anoles are small and charming lizards that are native to the southeastern United States. Thanks to their small sizes, peaceful and non-demanding nature, they are best suitable for kids to raise. These arboreal lizards have a lifespan of 4-8 years and can grow up to 8 inches in length.

It is quite popular for schools to keep these in the classes for the kids to learn how to take care of an animal. As the name, they are covered in bright green skins, sometimes with a touch of yellowish scales on the head.

Owning Guide:

  • Green Anoles do not require a large enclosure but because their natural environment is trees and tall grass, they prefer a tall enclosure with plenty of branches and foliage for climbing and basking. While they can be handled, Green Anoles are quick and may be skittish, so gentle handling is necessary.
  • They have a primarily insectivorous diet, feeding on small insects such as crickets and fruit flies.
  • Green Anoles are diurnal and require UVB lighting to maintain proper health and avoid skin disorders.

Fun Fact: Green Anoles have the ability to change color, but their color change is not as dramatic as that of chameleons. They can darken or lighten their skin to blend in the tree leaves, regulate their body temperature, or communicate with other lizards.

6. Gargoyle Gecko

Gargoyle Gecko Best Lizard Pets

Gargoyle Geckos are unique and extremely attractive lizards known for their spiky but majestic appearance and their ability to climb. Gargoyle Geckos are usually gray, reddish brown, orange or dark yellow with horn-like cranial bumps on the head. Their appearance resembles ancient dragons with imperial charm in fantasy novels.

They come in a wide variety of patterns and colors, which makes them even more appealing to lizard lovers. Their skin is polymorphic so the coloration among different Gargoyle Gecko individuals can not be 100% alike. Nowadays, breeders utilize modern breeding techniques to make use of these characteristics and create babies with vivid coloration.

LENGTH7-9 inches
WEIGHTaroung 3 ounces
LIFESPAN15-20 years

Owning Guide: Gargoyle Geckos require a spacious enclosure with plenty of climbing structures and hiding spots. They have a primarily insectivorous diet, feeding on small insects such as crickets and roaches.

Fun Fact: Gargoyle Geckos’ personality is totally contrary to its thorny and spiky appearance. They only become aggressive with other lizards when fighting for territory, but not with humans.

7.  African Fat-Tailed Gecko

African Fat Tailed Gecko

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are small and adorable lizards known for their fat tails and calm personalities. Being calm does not mean they have a slow speed. In fact, they are really quick and also enduring.

As the name implies, the tail is an important part of these creatures. They use the tails to store nutrition and energy just like the way a camel store energy in its humps to survive through famine, drought, or diseases.

LENGTH6-8 inches
WEIGHT1.4 to 2.2 ounces
LIFESPAN15-20 years

Owning Guide:

  • African Fat-Tailed Geckos require a properly sized enclosure with hiding spots and a warm basking area.
  • They have a primarily insectivorous diet, feeding on small insects such as crickets and mealworms.
  • African Fat-Tailed Geckos prefer a temperature range of 75-85°F with a slight drop at night.
  • These geckos are generally calm and can be easily handled, but care should be taken to avoid dropping their delicate tails.

Fun Fact:

African Fat-Tailed Geckos have tails that store fat, which they can use as a source of energy during periods of food scarcity.

They also utilize their tail as a weapon in hunting prey. Fat-tailed geckos will wave their tail to distract and make the insects exhausted before killing them.

8. Crocodile Skink

Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

Native to the tropical rainforests of New Guinea and surrounding islands, Crocodile Skinks have earned their name from the prominent, crocodile-like scales that adorn their bodies, creating a distinctive and eye-catching visual that reminds people of a mini dragon.

Their bodies are typically dark brown to black, often accented with lighter spots or patterns, perfectly blending in with trees, woods, and branches of their natural habitat. One of the most popular Crocodile skinks is the Red-eyed, crazed for its prominent red or orange area surrounding the eyes and dragon-like appearance.

LENGTH7-9 inches
WEIGHT1.2 to 1.6 ounces
LIFESPANup to 15 years in captivity

Owning Guide:

  • These creatures are quite shy and reclusive, thrive in high-humidity environments, and it’s crucial to replicate their natural rainforest habitat in captivity. A well-maintained terrarium with ample hiding spots, such as cork bark or live plants, is advised. 
  • They are also nocturnal, so providing low-intensity UVB lighting is recommended to simulate their natural day-night cycle. The temperature should be around 64-86°F to avoid skin disorders and keep the moisture of the terrarium between 70-95%.

9. Uromastyx

Uromastyx Lizard

The Uromastyx lizard, a coveted gem in the realm of exotic pets, definitely the best lizard pet for people who enjoy thrills and adventure. This species is still relatively new to the pet trade, making it a rare find that collectors eagerly seek out.

These giant lizards are distinctive for their bulky bodies with broad heads and strong tails with large spines.

LENGTH10-36 inches
WEIGHTup to 4.5 pounds
LIFESPANup to 30 years in captivity
and with proper care

Owning Guide: Originating from the arid regions of Northern Africa and the Middle East, the Uromastyx thrives in dry, desert-like environments. So they shun humid conditions and instead, thrive in habitats filled with sand, rocky terrain, and ample heat which is up to 120°F in the basking area.

10. Green Basilisk

Green Basilisk

The Green Basilisk is one of best lizard pets, native to the tropical rainforests of Central America, including parts of Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Often referred to as the “Jesus Christ Lizard” due to its remarkable ability to run on water, they use this ability to escape dangers. These lizards are known for their keen intelligence and curious nature.

With vibrant emerald-green scales, intricate green-yellow patterns along the sides, and slender, elongated fingers, the Green Basilisk’s striking appearance mirrors the lush foliage of its rainforest habitat.

LENGTHup to 2 feet
with the tail making up a significant portion of their overall length
WEIGHTup to 4.5 pounds
LIFESPANup to 10 years in captivity

Fun Fact:

Green Basilisk has a special ability to “walk” on water. By rapidly slapping its feet against the surface, they create a pocket of air that allows them to skim across bodies of water for short distances, a skill vital for escaping predators or seeking prey. 

They have vertical sail-like crests running from the top of the head down to the tail which helps maintain balance while running on the water.

Basilisk Walking On Water

11.  Chameleon

5 Types Of Chameleon

Chameleons are renowned for their captivating ability to change colors and distinctive, swiveling eyes. Among the best lizard pets are the Veiled Chameleon, Panther Chameleon, Pygmy Chameleon, and Jackson’s Chameleon.

Chameleons’ appearance features prehensile tails, independently mobile eyes, specialized feet for climbing, and the biological ability to change the color of their skins in complicated patterns and colorations. Layers of specialized cells beneath the skin controlling this remarkable adaptation are called chromatophores.

They have relatively short lifespan, which is only from 5-10 years with proper care. Otherwise, under 5 year lifespan is common in this species.

Fun Fact:

They possess one of the fastest tongues in the animal kingdom, capable of extending up to twice their body length in milliseconds to catch prey. 

Their distinctive swaying motion when they move imitates the movement of leaves in the wind. 

Their eyes can move independently without coordinating with each other, allowing them to survey their surroundings in two directions simultaneously.

Chameleon Fast Tongue

12. Green Iguana

Iguana Best Lizard Pets

The Green Iguanas are possibly the best lizard pets of all time as they are widespread and easily found in the market. While “green” is part of their name, it’s worth noting that they can come in a range of colors, including shades of green, brown, pale green, and even blue. They’re often selected for their gentle temperament and their adaptability to captivity.

LENGTH4-7 feet
WEIGHTup to 9 pounds when maturing
LIFESPAN10-15 years

As Green Iguanas are giant lizard pets, they require spacious and enriching enclosures to allow them to move and grow over time. It’s important to maintain high humidity levels, and offering a shallow water dish for them to soak in can aid in their shedding process.

Fun Fact:

Green Iguanas are one of the largest reptiles commonly kept as pets.

Green Iguanas possess a unique third eye, called the parietal eye, on the top of their head. While not capable of forming detailed images, it helps them detect light and movement, acting as an additional safety mechanism. 

Green Iguanas also have a defense mechanism like leopard geckos and house lizards called tail-autotomy.

Green Iguana

Conclusion

In fact, there are more than 12 lizard species for beginners to choose from but this blog filters out the 12 best lizard pets to make it simple and time-consuming for you to consider. Whether you opt for a docile Bearded Dragon, a charming Leopard Gecko, or a unique Crested Gecko, you are sure to find a lizard companion that will bring joy and enchantment to your life.

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