Lizards no doubt make great pets. They have been seen to display similar appealing personalities and behaviors typical of pets. But, for this to be true all depends on the type and species.
With the huge number of them available, making the right choice can be a difficult one. This is why I have taken the time to compile a list of the good pet lizards to help in narrowing down your options and making the right choice. This list is not in any particular order.
- 1 1. Green Basilisk
- 2 2. Green Iguana
- 3 3. Caiman Lizard
- 4 4. Gidgee Skink
- 5 5. Gargoyle Gecko
- 6 6. African Fire Skink
- 7 7. Crested Gecko
- 8 8. Savannah Monitor
- 9 9. Long-tailed Lizard
- 10 10. Bearded Dragon
- 11 11. Chameleon
- 12 12. Ackies Monitor
- 13 13. Green Anole
- 14 14. Chinese Water Dragon
- 15 15. Gold-Dust Day Gecko
- 16 16. Jeweled Lacerta
- 17 17. Uromastyx
- 18 18. Leopard Gecko
- 19 19. Blue-Tongue Skink
- 20 20. Tokay Gecko
- 21 Final Words On Best Pet Lizards
1. Green Basilisk
The Green Basilisk also is known as double-crested or plumed basilisk is characterized by its ability to run across and over water for a short period of time.
This unique characteristic is a result of their hydrophobic scales and partly fringed skin and long toes on the back of their feet, and why it’s called the Jesus Christ lizard.
This thin and long species of lizard which according to “Reptiles Magazine” inhabits warm Central America features a dark-striped green or bluish-green coloration on the abdomen’s height and back of the tail.
It is only natural to say they thrive best in an environment with mid to high humidity and absorbent decorations for climbing over and basking.
Their males have on their heads large plumes which run down to the spine and are generally larger than their females.
In addition to running around water bodies are also spending time in surrounding trees. They are generally an entertaining pet lizard.
They are omnivorous and in captivity like to feed on live insects like black and brown crickets, locust, cockroaches, beetle grubs, wax worm, and so on.
2. Green Iguana
The Green Iguana is one of the coolest pet lizards for me, and very large too with a length of about 6.5 feet and a weight of 11 pounds.
They are also very popular both as a reptile or species of Lizard, particularly in the United States even though it takes quite an effort to care for them.
They occur in northern South America, Central America, through Mexico as far as the Caribbean/Brazil. The sight of it resembles a miniature dragon – with a row of spines running through its tail and back. The scary-looking beard underneath its chin and the texture of its skin.
When it comes to their color – because they are green iguanas does not mean they are all green. Their coloration ranges from bright green, blue-green, grey, red, lavender to yellow. But, the common iguana appears green, featuring dark bands ring formation on the tail.
They are primarily herbivores, with their food consisting primarily of buds, leaves, fruits, and flowers. Occasionally they can be feed with live insects, snails, and eggs.
3. Caiman Lizard
This is a lizard option you will like for its characteristic and unique color pattern and excellent diving and swimming abilities.
Their bodies feature bright to olive green and orange or red head coloration. It also features a brownish/black stripped and flattened thick tail, horny-like raised scales for protection.
The Caiman Lizard is from Central and South America and is well-adapted for both life on water, land, and trees.
They are one of the largest types of pet lizards, with their males growing up to five feet and their females about four feet and both weighing between 9-12 pounds. This already suggests that they will need an enclosure that is exceptionally large, especially as they attain adulthood.
They are also tropical animals and as such will optimally thrive in warm temperatures.
When it comes to their dieting, they feed wide food items but are more at home with aquatic snails, shrimp, crickets, super worms, and fruits such as banana, kiwi, papaya, and mango, and so on.
It may be important to note that they most likely than not are messy eaters and you should be ready to handle their waste, probably with an aquarium filter.
4. Gidgee Skink
This is one of the few cute pet lizards characterized by their shyness and desire for feeling secure. These skinks love to bask and need places where they feel secure to hide. They love to shelter between logs and trees, rocks, and hollows.
They are medium-sized with short tail and keeled scales along their dorsal surface running the back of their neck to the tip of their pointed tail. They have short legs and because of this, the lizard has to slide on its belly when it’s moving around.
They feature rusty to dark brown color with paler scales of scattered patches. They feed on a wide variety of items, ranging from fruit, beans, ground turkey, most insects like crickets, canned omnivore food, and so on.
5. Gargoyle Gecko
When it comes to having a friendly characteristic, this cool pet lizard is one you want to consider.
Originally occurring in New California, the Gargoyle Gecko is very docile and quite easy to care for. They may be hostile at first, but when they get used to and trust their keepers, they become easy and fun to handle. This makes them one of the best lizards for beginners or novice keepers.
Their coloration is somewhat complicated and varied. But, their major defining characteristic is their big eyes. Additionally, their heads are triangularly shaped, their tails are semi prehensile and their bumps are cranial.
They are medium-sized (about 8 inches in length) and always love to climb and spend most of their time on tree-like structures, off of the floor. To help them with this adaption is their special sticky toes.
This species of lizard is omnivorous, feeding on varied diets such as fruits, vegetation, and live insects like brown crickets, black crickets, locust, and so on.
6. African Fire Skink
Here come another beautiful lizard types for pets you would love.
To begin with, its colors are striking – from its bright red to the black and white bars flecked along their side. Their backs range from golden to bronze coloration. To complement its good looks is loads of personality it rewards hobbyists with.
It naturally occurs in the West African tropical forests and tends to stay in hideouts except when hungry and needs to eat. This can be perceived as being shy or afraid, but after some time (say weeks) of being kept captive, they usually get used to the keeper and no longer stay hidden.
I personally think they are easy to cater and care for, as long as you provide them with a proper enclosure. They thrive best when provided with a well-spaced room, but not-too-much ventilation.
Foods like snails, worms, roaches, spiders, and insects make up a large part of their diet. Seldom do they accept to eat foods that have to do with fruits.
7. Crested Gecko
On the New Caledonia islands lies a relatively robust crested gecko. This reptile is characterized by its hair-like projections around the eyelash position. Additionally, it features a head triangularly shaped and a semi prehensile tail.
They are by nature nocturnal and as such are only active during the night and then stay hidden for the most part of the night.
They generally come in shades of brown, grey, yellow, red, and orange. They also feature two rows of spines running between the base of their tail and the sides of their head.
They like to climb whatever they find around and spend less of their time on the floor. This means that their enclosure should have decorations and structures that will encourage climbing.
Compared to other species of lizards, the crested gecko is a perfect candidate for handling; as long as it’s done gently and not too frequently.
These robust lizards are omnivorous and as such can feed on fruits, live insects, and vegetation.
8. Savannah Monitor
If a robust reptile is what you need, you got yourself one.
The savannah monitor is a medium-sized lizard discovered around the south of the Sahara desert, Africa as clearly suggested by their name. They are also found in woodlands, open forests, and rocky habitat.
They are characterized by their incredible limbs adapted for digging burrows. Because of this they primarily dwell on the ground. Their scales are large and grey in color with a touch of light brown and yellow patterns running through its back.
This species of lizards are generally carnivores and as such feed on a variety of animals, such as snakes, small mammals, birds, snails, beetles, eggs, and even other lizards.
They have a brightly bluish snail-like tongue, powerful dentition, and jaws – an adaption for feeding on its prey.
They are characterized by symmetrical rows of circular, dark-edged yellow spots across the animal’s back. Its tail features alternating yellowish and brown rings, and a yellowish-grey belly and limb interior.
9. Long-tailed Lizard
If you are looking for the best lizards as pets that are easy-going and gentle, the long-tailed lizard is a suitable option to consider. It is obvious that they get their name from their characteristic long tails that grow so to as much as four times their bodies’ length.
This species of lizards occur in Southeast Asia, southern Russia, and China.
They are generally characterized by a brown body with yellow stripes running all through. Depending on their size and maturity level, their bodies could feature a green haze.
Their long tails are an adaption for their weight distribution and balance during their swift movement with their habitat. They are very agile and can move extremely fast, that it takes a deal of effort to capture them.
An unusual trait amongst other reptiles is their monkey-like ability to wrap their tails. Their natural behaviors when kept in a suitable enclosure can be interesting.
They thrive best in a spacious enclosure with tree-like structures where they can perch on. Their diet is crickets but can consume commercial foods, fly, and worms.
10. Bearded Dragon
This is simply a dragon in sheep clothing. This is largely for its characteristic spiny reptilian scales armor. This is seen from the flap of skin (beard) below its chin when threatened puffs up.
The bearded dragon is a robust looking lizard that has the potential of growing up to about 45cm. It primarily lives in central Australia, particularly the deserts and arid woodlands.
They are categorized as cold-blooded animals and thus thrive in a warm habitat.
Of all the pet reptiles that have grown in popularity, bearded dragons are one of the most inquisitive, active, and gentle.
In wild environments like a forest, they tend to be aggressive; but docile when in captivity.
They are not picky eaters, but with the help of their powerful jaws can crush and clench hard and soft-shelled insects alike. Even though they are omnivores, they can also feed on fruits, flowers, leaves, smaller-sized rodents, and even lizards.
One of the most popular lizards is chameleon. This is because of its unique features and characteristics. Chameleons were discovered in rain forests, semi-deserts, and savannas of Africa, Madagascar, Spain, Asia, and Portugal.
They are commonly known for their ability to change between colors. This is something you won’t get with other lizards and reptiles.
Another unique ability they have is being able to independently move each eye. This way, they look in two directions. They also have hooded heads, shaped feet, and other adaptations that help them to survive.
Together with its specialized tongue-projection, this reptile is able to spot predators or its food from a distance.
This species of lizard feed on birds and insects. They enjoy staying in trees, and bushes, and sometimes on the ground.
Chameleons are very firm, inquisitive, and active, and do prove difficult to handle as a pet.
12. Ackies Monitor
Every reptile enthusiast agrees that the Ackies monitor is a favorite amongst lizard pets. They have one of the most mellow temperament and unique look of lizards.
They naturally occur partly in scrubland environments and arid dry regions of Western Australia, Queensland, and Northern Territory.
These pet lizards are relatively medium-sized and have a friendly behavioral trait every owner would love for a reptile pet.
Their bodies are generally colored in brown, with darker brown covering their back and yellowish to cream-like contrasting stripes and spots.
The Ackies monitor features a long rounded tail two times its body length, depending on the age. Covered with spinose scale (running through to other parts of the body) its tails gives it a characteristic spiky look.
They are somewhat very active and inquisitive and are easy to care for and handle. They easily get to learn how to tolerate and interact with their owners and keepers.
They are generally carnivores, and even in captivity, these lizards are able to consume a variety of live items such as crickets, mice, cockroaches, snails, shrimp, and other foods typical of lizards.
Their level of intelligence is quite fascinating making them a great reptile you’ll enjoy as a pet as long you provide the right and spacious enclosure and conditions for them.
13. Green Anole
Here’s another lizard capable of changing between colors – particularly from green to black and vice versa like chameleons.
Naturally occurring in the Caribbean and United States, these small-sized lizards are great pets even for first-time reptile owners.
They exist in colors of bright green, but can easily change into gray, yellow, or brown. It’s changing between different colors is largely associated with factors such as mood, humidity, and temperature.
They have a narrow head, slender build, white lips and belly, sharp nose, long hind legs, long tail, and can independently move each eye. It likes to climb and cling to surfaces above the ground.
They are quite pretty, easy to take care of, but should rarely be handled. They are a fragile species of lizards, and their tails can easily break and fall off. If you must handle them, do it quite gently.
They tend to be shy during your initial contact with them, however, subsequently get acquainted with their keepers.
These lizards feed on small invertebrates which include crickets, roaches, mealworms, fruit flies, farm-raised maggots, and so on.
14. Chinese Water Dragon
If you are up for the task of more intense handling, you may want to consider this popular exotic Chinese water dragon as a pet.
Their friendliness and potential for social interaction even with a human are fascinating. But, they can be somewhat aggressive if not regularly and well handled.
They are medium-sized and are naturally found in Asia mainland – like southern China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
As the name suggests, they love it in tropical and swampy environments as they are mostly discovered in areas with water bodies such as rivers, lakes, creeks, and so on. This also suggests that they are great swimmers.
They grow up to as much as 3 feet and range in very appealing shades of green with stripes of turquoise vertically running through. This serves as an adaption for blending into its environment. Their bellies are colored in pale yellow or white with their throats colored with a blend of peach, yellow, and orange.
They feature a narrow long tail with bands of brown and green. A distinguishing feature between their males and females is in their heads and crests. Male heads are larger; same with the crests developed on the back of the neck and header. These lizards are generally carnivores and vegetation as an alternative. They can feed on insects, reptiles, and small fishes ad even mammals.
15. Gold-Dust Day Gecko
If you’re looking for a beautiful and dazzling pet lizard, this is one lizard species you won’t want to pass, the gold dust day geckos.
They are discovered in northwestern Madagascar and are primarily covered in green color, with spots of red between their nose and eyes and running through their mid-back.
Their name is gotten from speckling of gold on their necks, hindquarters, legs, and as far down to their nails. The eyelids are sky blue, and running through the top of the head and snout are rusty red lines.
And as also suggested by their name, this lizard is diurnal; which means it is only active during the day and not at night.
You want to be careful when handling them, as they seldom encourage so, partly because of their fragile nature. For this reason, they are recommended for pet owners that are experienced.
These geckos feed primarily on feeder insects such as crickets, mealworms, roaches, hornworms reptiworms, waxworms, and silkworms.
16. Jeweled Lacerta
This is one reptile pet you will find desirable and fascinating owing to their attractive coloration. From its blue eyes to the bright green dorsal background coloration and then the rosette-patterned spots that sparkle around its back.
It’s no wonder where it gets the name jeweled Lacerta. Just to mention that sometimes, you could find them rather covered in grey or brown.
They were primarily discovered in Europe, but also in Spain, northwestern Africa, northwestern Italy, and southern France.
They are large, reaching up to 80cm and have long tails that are about two-thirds their entire length.
Their legs are strong and thick, with curved toes and long claws. Despite their robust nature, it is a wonder how light they weigh.
They are insectivores by nature and feed on roaches and crickets, worms such as mealworms, super worms, wax worms, etc. They are sometimes seen to consume fruits such as seedless watermelon and strawberry.
Here is yet another robust but great reptile straight from the Sahara of Africa to southwestern Asia (Middle East).
The Uromastyx, otherwise known as the spiny-tailed lizard is popular for its friendliness and docility. They are no doubt that is befitting for a pet. They can be entertaining and fun to have around, plus they are somewhat easy to take care of.
They are usually covered in brown color with a highlight of yellow running through their backs. Their distinct characteristic can be seen from the triangular shape of their head, and their tail.
Featured in the tail are large running between its base and tip. It uses this adaption on its tail in defense against predators like a dinosaur. To further add to their defense mechanism, they are blessed with a powerful jaw, and their biting hurts. This shouldn’t be a concern when they are kept in captivity.
They thrive best in arid regions where you have temperatures reaching over 120 degrees F.
Additionally, having climbing and hiding spots, and a rock-like edifice for basking in their enclosure goes a long way to make them comfortable.
They are generally more likely to shy away when you’re trying to handle them. But as they get acquainted with the owner, they will gradually tolerate a little and gentle handling, as far as eating right from the hands of their owners.
18. Leopard Gecko
If you’re looking for a lizard that is full of personality, you got yourself one – a leopard gecko.
They naturally occur around Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and northwest India. They are naturally docile, friendly, and easy to tame.
Their array of patterns and colors is quite dazzling. They generally come in yellow, and white, with spots or stripes of black, depending on their age.
Another characteristic feature you can recognize them by is that they have eyelids. Additionally, they are nocturnal.
Their toes are not sticky like most lizards, this is why they spend most of their time on the ground. They are easy to handle and cater to and need little cage setup and maintenance.
With a lifespan of between 12 to 20 years (when in captivity), having them can be a big commitment, but, loads of happy memories.
They are not picky eaters, and as insectivores, a simple diet of mealworms, cockroaches, and cricket selection is more than okay to keep them happy.
19. Blue-Tongue Skink
As far as lizards go, blue-tongue skink is a great pick for a pet. They belong to the category of lizards that have a docile nature. They are relatively large and heavy-bodied, but easy-to-care-for, and maintain.
According to their name, it is obvious that one feature that defines them from other lizards is the color of their tongue – berry-hued, bright blue.
They are doubtless beautiful in appearance with a high-glossed scale, and fascinating background colors ranging from cream, orange, golden yellow, silvery gray, red, and so on.
Their heads are triangular in shape. They are primarily ground-dwellers and slow in movement because of their stubby and short legs and tails.
They get easily attached to their primary keepers and owners and rarely resists handling. This is because, unlike most other lizards, they have firm bodies that won’t fall off when handled.
They feed on green leaves, legumes, and fruits, and not live food like a lot of other lizards.
20. Tokay Gecko
If any pet lizard can be interesting and fun, tokay geckos are definitely one of them.
These nocturnal lizards native of the rain forest areas of Southeast Asia are fairly large and vibrant in colors – usually, background color of blue-gray and blue to bright orange spots.
Their bodies are cylindrical and covered with spots; their limbs are powerful and well-defined. It has quite an impressive and incredible ability to grip and stick to surfaces
They are known by their croaking and hissing noise as a form of communication – particularly when threatened.
They have a reputation for being aggressive and can give a painful bite. Hence may not be recommended for owners looking to welcome home their first reptile pet. But, after a couple of interactions with their keepers, they tend to get less aggressive.
Their main diets are invertebrates, such as moths, beetles, locusts, crickets, grasshoppers, termites, cockroaches, termites, spiders, and mosquitoes. If provided with the likes of mice, snakes, and small rats, they won’t refuse.
As unusually looking as they are, they are fascinating and make a great pet, as long as they are well handled and cared for.
Final Words On Best Pet Lizards
You can’t talk about reptiles as pets and not have lizards on the list. Of all reptiles, they enjoy the company of humans the most.
If you’re considering having one, the above list should get you started. Whether it’s your first reptile pet or looking to add another reptilian buddy to the family. Now your decision on which type and species of lizard are right for you will be more informed and educated.
Is any name in the above list of best pet lizards your favorite? Do you have other options you think should be featured on the list? Kindly drop your ideas in the comments section below.
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