Best Pet Lizards for Beginners

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There are more than 6000 species of lizards that are spread across the world.  Some of these lizards are as small as less than an inch long, while others are very big and can reach more than 10 feet in length.  The lizards have become a popular pet in the present day due to a variety in colors, sizes, and species.  Recent research shows that more than 2 million households across the United States have lizards as their pets, and this number has been increasing by the day. Mainly the lizards are easy to take care of, but they require special housing with strict temperatures and humidity regulations.  If you are new to the lizard pet industry, then this article will give you a clear list of options you should consider when deciding which lizard to keep as a companion.

Bearded dragons

The bearded dragon is an all-around lizard that is outgoing, popular, and it is easy to take care of.  They are among the best reptiles to keep as a pet, more so as a beginner.  These animals originated from Australia before spreading to the rest of the world, such as the United stated. They are popular for the way they communicate with each other.  The bearded dragons have a fold of skin under the chon, and this is what puffs out as a beard.

The bearded dragons are usually active during the day. They consume the insects and plant matter s their diet. They need calcium to supplement their diet and enable bone development, and they also feed severally in a week.  The dragons are very sociable animals, and they are said to enjoy interacting with human beings; each dragon has its little personality.   Due to the ease of taking care of this animal, it is the best choice for a beginner. They grow to a length of one to 2 feet and have an average lifespan of  10 to 15 years under proper care. The average cost of one bearded dragon goes for 30 to 60 dollars, depending on factors such as species.

Leopard Gecko

The Leopard geckos are very popular lizards that are widely known as the best pet for beginners. These lizards are coated with patterns of dark brown spots, just like the animal they are named after. These lizards entirely depend on insects for food and therefore need calcium to supplement their diet.  These pets can sometimes be noisy since they like vocalizing, especially when they are hungry, and therefore they may not be the ideal choice for someone who does not like noises.  These lizards do not need a tall tank like most of the geckos because they do not climb. The reason behind this is their toes are not sticky.

These lizards are less than the bearded dragons in size, and they grow to up to a foot at most. The average lifespan of a leopard gecko that is well raised and taken care of is 15 years.  The average cost of one of these lizards is between 20 to 40 dollars, but some of the rare morphs can be a bit expensive.

Green Anole

The Green Anole is a lizard that originates from the United States.  To the reptile enthusiasts, they are popular for extending their bright red dewlaps under their chins, and this greatly contrasts their body that is bright green in color. These Green Anoles are small lizards that have small tails, and this, therefore, means the housing does not need to be so big.  This animal can afford a comfortable life in a 20 gallons tank. The reason why these lizards are the ideal choice for a beginner is due to their small size and the fact that they are easy to take care of. However, these animals will need a live plant within their enclosure to provide a place for hiding and leaking dewdrops.

These lizards do not need special conditions, and this means they need the basic lighting, humidity, and temperature just like any other pet lizards. The Green Anoles are very shy and therefore can only be ready to be handled if they are gently handled from a young age.  These lizards are small with about 5 to 8 inches long, and they have a shorter lifespan of about 3 to 6 years.  These are among the most affordable pets, and they cost around d 10 dollars or less.  This is the ordeal pet for a beginner who wants to take care of a lizard but does not want to handle them frequently.

Bluetongue skink

As the name suggests, this lizard type is known for its bright blue tongue. These lizards are natives of Australia, and they later spread to the rest of the world, including the United States. They are omnivores since they feed on insects and some fruits. They need a diet of fruits and vegetables but also the meat should be provided in the form of insects such as worms and mice. 

 These lizards are a bit bigger than the rest, but they do not get very long for their weight.  The Blue tinged skinks are easily tamed since they are very docile and quiet. These lizards have a strong bite that they use whenever they feel threatened. This is the reason why the children should handle them under the supervision of an adult. The skinks live for up to 20 years, and the average cost of buying one skink is between 150 to 250 dollars, but there are some rare morphs that can cost up to a thousand. They are suitable for a beginner due to the ease of taking care and the docility.

Crested Gecko

These lizards originate from Caledonia, and they spread to the rest of the world, including the United States.  These geckos are very popular for their eyelashes which are spines that travel from their eyes down to the tail. Just like any other gecko, the crested geckos have webbed feet that are sticky, and this explains why they like climbing. This means strata require a tall tank to prevent them from escaping as they climb the walls of the tank.  The ideal climate for keeping these geckos should have warm temperatures and high humidity.

 Since these lizards are nocturnal, they require no special lighting, but it is important to give them at least two hours of light each day for the good of their health.  Just like the Bearded dragons, these geckos are not likely to bite, and this makes it easy to handle them and makes them the ideal choice for a beginner. These lizards are generally small in size and grow up to 8 inches in length, and they can live for about ten or more years when they are properly taken care of.  The price of one crested gecko ranges from 30 to 300 dollars, and this depends on different factors.

Red-eyed Crocodile Skink

The red-eyed crocodile skink is an attractive lizard with a unique look. It was named after the reddish coloration that is around its eyes, and the rest of this lizard’s body is impressive too.  These lizards look more like a miniature prehistoric beast due to their triangle-shaped head and keeled scales. These lizards have a very intimidating look, and one might confuse them for an aggressive animal, but in an actual sense, they are very shy. They are very docile, and they spend most of their time hiding, and even when it gets comfortable in the new home, it will still not be so active during the day. Mostly they do much of their activity over the night.

The red-eyed crocodile skinks are easy to take care of and manage in terms of housing since they grow to a maximum length of about 7 inches. These animals do not require a very big enclosure to live comfortably, but the more space you provide, the better. They prefer to live in a natural habitat that has plants and hiding palaces, and you can also provide a few branches for climbing. If this animal is in captivity, it spends most of its time on the ground.

Ackies Monitor

The Ackies monitors originated from the arid regions of Australia and spread across the world, including the United States. These animals have a very intimidating look, and they resemble a Komodo dragon.  They are, however, very docile and easy-going. They get very peaceful once they get used to their new home, and they will also be comfortable around human beings. They can, however, turn aggressive when they are stressed, but when they are well taken care of, they will be at peace for a long period.

 These animals can become very big to a length of up to 28 inches, and they also have a long lifespan compared to most of the species.  Therefore, as you choose the Ackies monitor for a pet, you should be ready for a long-time commitment. These lizards need some special conditions you keep them. For instance, they will need a basking space with an average temperature of about 12o degrees F. Some of the requirements can be difficult to meet, but the struggle is worth it.

Rankin’s Dragons

The Rankin’s dragons can easily be mistaken for a standard beardie at first glance. But if you closely look at them, you will notice some finer details that will make this species unique from the normal beardie.  These lizards are a bit smaller compared to the popular beardie, and they are more bearded. They are also available in different morphs.  These lizards are socially different from the rest of the lizards since they mainly thrive in small colonies, and as they live together, there can be constant fights among the males, but the females just get along.

It is also important to provide a good enclosure with a necessary condition, and this may promote better behavior among the groups. They need strategically placed rocks, branches, and plants for hiding within their enclosure. They also need several hiding boxes to get some quiet and peace.

African fire skink

The African Fire Skink originated from the subtropical forests in Africa and spread across the rest of the world. They are large in size. Personable and attractive. They are named after their bright red bellies, and they also have black and white bars on their sides and golden backs. The maximum length of an adult skink is about 15 inches. These animals will appreciate as big an enclosure as possible, but it should be at least be 30 inches long. The provided habitat should have some rocks, low branches, and driftwood to explore and hide under. They also appreciate subtracted they can borrow in like the organic topsoil.

It is important to ensure their enclosures are moistened twice a day and the humidity is maintained at around 60 to 70mpercent since they rarely drink eater from the dish. They thrive best under the ambient temperature of about 80 degrees F and UVB-lit basking spot that has an average temperature of 94 degrees F. These animals do best in captivity, and the ideal diet is live gut loaded, and calcium dusted roaches and crickets after every three days.


The chameleon is a very popular lizard that can be recognized by even the herpetologist for these reasons.

  • Their color-changing abilities
  • Their claws and slow movements
  • Their telescopic eyes.

Though they are popular with most people, they have a very hard time adjusting to life in captivity. They will require a lot of work and care to feel safe in captivity.  The majority of the keepers, more so the beginners, take a lot of keenness providing the enclosure and fil to understaff the responsibility of caring for an easily stressed species. They are, however, the ideal choice for a beginner since they make very entertaining displays.

These lizards originated from Africa before spreading to the rest of the world, but as time goes by, they are slowly disappearing due to massive deforestation. The majority of the chameleon are caught from the wild, and they may not be ideal for a beginner. The Chameleons are not aggressive species but very shy, and they have small ways of defending themselves whenever they feel threatened. They do not like being handle since any form of handling stresses them. These lizards vary in size, and this is determined by the species ranging from one inch to 27 inches.  The average cost of one chameleon is between 30 to 300 dollars, and this is determined by vitreous factors, and it can live up to 2 years in captivity.  They are good for a beginner due to their docile nature but are among the most difficult to take care of.

Fat-Tailed Gecko

The fat-tailed gecko is among the best lizards for a beginner since it is easy to maintain. They do not require a lot of space, and one of them can fit comfortably in a 10-gallon tank. The males of this species are highly territorial, and it is, therefore, advisable to avoid putting many males together within the same enclosure. These animals are increasingly becoming popular, and the breeders have started creating new morphs with different colors and stripe patterns.

The average size of an adult Fat-tailed Gecko is between 6 to 10 inches, and they live for between 12 and 20 years. These lizards mainly feed on insects. They require some heating around the environment they are living, and they do not necessarily need lighting. The diet should include gut-loaded crickets.

Chinese Water Dragon

The water Dragons have many species, but the common ones are the Chinese and Australian Water dragons. These are the water dragons that are popular for beginners, but the Chinese are more preferred than the Australians. These lizards require a big enclosure with regulated temperatures. The diet of these animals consists of insects s and some plant matter.  It might be a bit difficult to take care of these lizards since they require high humidity.  They are mostly green in color, and they may be some advanced care.

  • These animals can grope up to 3 feet, and therefore they will need a large tank that is between 4 to 6 feet.
  • These lizards love and enjoy swimming, and this means they need a large pool of water within the enclosure to swim in.

These animals are a bit smaller than most water dragons, and they must be taught t be social from an early age for them to be accustomed to being handled. When they get socialized, they become very friendly and enjoy handling. The average lifespan of a Chinese water dragon is between 15 to 20 years, and the average cost is between 200 to 300 dollars. Despite the fact that they need some special care, it is easy for a beginner with a dedication to own it.

African Fat-tailed Gecko

The African Fat-tailed Gecko looks similar to the Leopard gecko, and the care and maintenance are the same. Just as the name suggests, these lizards are of Africa origin; their tails are as thick as their bodies. These animals are the ideal choice for beginners since they are easy to take care of, and they have easy husbandly and easy feeding requirements. These animals are very friendly and docile.

The average lifespan of an African Fat-tailed Gecko is between 15 to 20 years, with an average cost of 150 to 600 dollars.  These animals are, however, not as popular as the Leopard geckos, and therefore, they are rare to find.

Gold Dust Day Gecko

These geckos feed on insects and some fruits occasionally. This species of lizards originates from Madagascar, but it has spread to the rest of the world, including the United States. It is mostly green in color, and the name is derived from the gold specks that develop on their dorsal side.  These lizards are small in size with an average length of 5 to 6 inches, but they require a large tank of about 20 gallons with logs and branches to hide and climb.

It is important for the logs and branches to be within their closure to be able to accommodate its shy nature.  It is good for beginner’s but the reason whys some beginners reject them is simply because they easily stress and tiger skin tears easily. These animals thrive best as display pets rather than handling. They are not suitable for those beginners who want to learn how to take care of lizards without having to handle them. The average lifespan of these geckos is ten years, with an average cost of 40 to 250 dollars.

Savanna Monitor

The Savanna Monitor is a large lizard that originates from Africa.  It is, however, smaller than other monitors with an average size of 2.5 to 3 feet in length. These animals require a large enclosure that will be able to accommodate their large size.  These animals are also smart and strong, and therefore the house should be properly built to ensure they do not escape.  They also love digging on the ground, and this means they will need a substrate that allows them to dig.

The Savanna Monitory feeds on insects, mice, and other invertebrates. These animals, just like the Ackies Monitors, are easy to tame and can become very docile with regular gentle handling. They have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years with an average cost of 30 to 40 dollars. Being very docile makes them the ideal choice for a beginner who wants to keep a pet that is large in size.

Long Tailed Lizard

These Lizards are also known as the Asian Grass lizards, and they have a tail that is three times the length of their bodies.  Despite having this big tail, they are small in size.  The body is usually small and slender, and they grow up to 8 inches in size from snout to vent. Despite the fact that these animals are small in size, they require a 20-gallon tank to be able to accommodate their long tail and enable fast movements. Inside their enclosure, these lizards require a lot of leaves and branches to be able to match their wild habitat. 

These animals are easy-going and gentle, and they are the ideal choice for a beginner who wants to keep a small species in a well-decorated tank.  In captivity, the average lifespan of these lizards is 5 to 6 years, and they are very affordable, with an average cost of between 5 to 15 dollars.

Gargoyle Gecko

These geckos originate from New Macedonia, and they are related to the popular Crested Geckos. They look similar to the crested geckos with the large slitted eyes, but they do not have the spiny eyelashes that are popular among the crested geckos. They require similar care and husbandry as the crested gecko, and the only reason they are not as popular as the crested is due to their timid and shy temperament.  Whenever they are being handled, they are likely to escape.

They are the ideal choice for a beginner who seeks to adopt a pet lizard that will be for just viewing without handling them frequently. In terms of size, these geckos are similar to the crested with an average length of 8 inches and with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years.  The average cost of these animals is 50 to 100 dollars. Despite these lizards being shy, they are easy to take care of, and they are a good choice for beginners who do not want to keep the crested ones since they are popular.

Green Iguana

Iguanas are popular among beginners due to their beautiful look and the herbivore diet.  Their diet consists of leaves, flowers, and fruits and also makes the best first-time pet for someone who does not enjoy feeding live. These animals originate from Central and South America and grow to a maximum size of 5 to 6 feet.  These animals are big, and they, therefore, need a large enclosure with a big pool with enough water to soak in, and by providing these, they will live comfortably. The iguanas are very shy, and therefore before getting them to ensure that they are used to being in your home.

To be able to tame the iguanas, you need to start handling them gently immediately they get comfortable living in your home. These animals have b=very sharp claws, and it is, therefore, important to know where the legs are whenever you are handling them.  The average lifespan of the Iguanas is 10 to 15 years, with a cost of between 20 to 50 dollars for the babies’ and juveniles. They are the ideal pet lizard for a beginner who has patience, dedication, and space.

Caiman Lizard

The Caiman is a great pet lizard for a beginner looking for a unique color pattern.  This species has heavy scales with all the colors of a rainbow. These animals are great at swimming and climbing, and this makes them active in their vivarium.  These animals are big in size and can grow to a length of 2 to 5 feet, and this means they need an enclosure that is big and strong enough to house them.  They also need a very large pool that they can get submerged in since they love swimming. They prefer an enclosure that is very hot with high humidity.

These animals are mostly carnivores which means they mainly eat invertebrates. Insects, snails, clams, and crawfish. The Caimans are very smart and knot aggressive, but they do not like being handled.  They are the ideal choice for a beginner who is looking for a pet to take care of from a distance without handling as they enjoy the beautiful colors.  The average lifespan of these lizards is 10 yards, and they are a bit expensive compared to top other lizards with a cost of between 350 to 900 dollars.

Argentine Giant Tegu

This is an intimidating pet lizard that is not for the faint-hearted. Just as the name suggests, they are large creatures that require large space for them to live in comfort. An adopt Aventine Giant Tegu can grow up to a length of five feet. The juveniles are very small, but as they grow to adulthood, they become very large. These animals are known to be very aggressive, and it is advisable to avoid putting them together to avoid constant fights.  They sometimes become aggressive to humans too. However, they can become friendly if they are handled well and taken care of Properly.


The Chuckwalla is a small pet that belongs to the family of Iguanidae, and this makes them the perfect choice for a beginner who is interested in a small pet that requires a small enclosure.  The average length of these animals is between 15 to 30 inches, and they, therefore, requoted an enclosure that is at least 4 feet in length and 2 feet in depth. The diet of these animals mainly consists of plant matter. They enjoy eating vegetables, flowers, and fruits, and they require calcium and multivitamin supplements to strengthen their bones.

The environment you provide within your enclosure should be the same or that of its natural habitat, the desert. It should give them an opportunity to enjoy climbing rocks and hiding in the caves. They need a basking spot that will reach 100 to 120 degrees F with UVB lighting. The room temperatures should be between 70 to 90 degrees F with humidity below 50 percent.

In captivity, these lizard pets can live up to 25 years, making them one of the longest living lizards. The average cost of these animals is over 100 dollars.


The Sandfish is a small lizard species that originates from the deserts of North Africa. They are popular for their ability to swim and disappear in the sand, just like a fish in water. These animals are small, and they grow to a length of between 6 to 8 inches and they, therefore, have a 20-gallon tank to live comfortably. These lizards are the ideal choice for a beginner since they are hardy and require simple husbandry.

These animals require a substrate that they bran burrow into since they are fossorial. The substrate must be at least 4 inches deep. These lizards need the UVB light, and they will come out in the open to bask during the day. The lighting in the basking spot should reach a temperature of between 95 to 110 degrees F. The room temperatures should be between 75 degrees F to 90 degrees F. The humidity level should be kept below 25 percent. These animals still need a water bowl within their enclosure.

The Sandfish fits bets a beginner who wants a lizard pet for display and not for handling since they do not like being handled. They are diurnal, and you can observe them displaying these behaviors during the day when they come out to bask and hunt.

Central American Banded Gecko

These lizards are similar to the Leos, which are nocturnal, ground-dwelling lizards that feed on small live insects. However, their appearance is a bit different with a body that is much more slender, black and white bands instead of smooth skin with spots. These lizards are generally small since they grow to a maximum length of between 4 to 5 inches, and this means they will comfortably fit in a 10-gallon tank.

The enclosure must have a constant humidity of 50 to 60 percent, and misting g should be done daily. The ideal substrates for this lizard are moss, coconut coir, and vermiculite since these animals spend most of their time burrowed in the ground. To be able to enrich the life of this gecko inside the enclosure, It is important to use rocks, branches, and live or faux plants. The ideal room temperatures for this lizard should be 75 to 80 degrees F, while the basking spot should be at 92 degrees F. These animals do not require any specialized lighting since they are nocturnal.

This diet of these geckos consists of small gut-loaded roaches and crickets.  Under proper care and a healthy diet, they can live for 8 to 12 years. These animals are small and have very thin skin, and it is, therefore, vital to handle them with a lot of care and caution.

Green Basilisk

This species loves swimming, and it is famous for its green plume. They are famously known as the lizards that can run over water, and that is where they derived the nickname “Jesus Christ Lizard.” These lizards are commonly found in tropical rainforests. These animals are omnivores, and the diet consists of insects, invertebrates, and some fruits. They are the ideal pets for a beginner due to their size. They grow to a maximum length of 3 feet, and they are very light for their length. The enclosure should be large, and the temperatures and humidity should be higher than normal. They ate the ideal choice for those seeking a pet for display without much handling since they do not like getting handled.

They are best suited for those beginners who are ready to meet their husbandry requirements and at=re not interested in handling.  The average lifespan of these lizards is between 8 to 12 years, with a cost of between 25 to 65 dollars.

Factors to consider when choosing a pet lizard


Bidding goodbye to a pet you have lived with for maybe a decade is one of the hardest parts of owning one in a case where it passes befog you. Some people may prefer getting a pet with a long lifespan to ensure the companionship is long, but there are other reasons because people part ways with their pets. They can be, for instance, when the housing lifestyle changes and the pet can no longer be accommodated.

 As you look for a lizard pet, it is advisable to choose one with years instead of decades, and in case you find yourself so much attached to one pet, it is time to try out new pets. As a beginner, you can start with a pet that has a short lifespan of about five years.

Size and Care

For a beginner, it is important to consider the size of the animals end the enclosure it requires. This is because some pets are large and will require a big space that might not be available. As the size of the animal increases, it also means it will require more feeding, and this can be a challenge for a beginner.

 Some lizard pets require special conditions that match the natural environment, and they may not be available to a beguiler.


Whenever you are picking a lizard’s pet, it may appear to be difficult, but this article makes it easy by giving a full description of the various species. It is vital to take time to get the information about every lizard and choose that which you can be able to provide the requirements by carefully analyzing this information it is definite that you will end up making the best choice for a pet.

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